These are some suggestions for thorough interviews with candidates, gathered over the years.
Before the Interview
clarify your requirements (primary and secondary responsibilities of the au pair)
read the information provided on each candidate
write down a list of questions you may want to ask during the interview
During the Interview
the application forms completed by each candidate are very extensive and a good springboard to asking general and more in depth questions
briefly explain your requirements of the au pair, then allow the candidate to talk and ask you questions, you can go back to specific job requirements later in the interview
observe the candidates communication skills and over all demeanour. Nervous au pairs can be closed off and some probing may be necessary to allow their true personalities to become evident
trust your instincts, ask ‘difficult’ questions that come to mind and try to ‘get to know’ the candidate as much as possible during their interview
questions such as ‘how they would handle certain behaviour or issues’ or ‘their general approach to discipline’ and ‘some examples of activities they feel are appropriate for your age group’
if your children are at the interview observe the candidates interaction with them. Children have excellent instincts which should not be discounted, regardless of age
ask yourself whether you can see this candidate fitting in to your home environment
what do you intuitively feel about the candidate
After the Interview
1. after each interview, spend some time reflecting on the candidates strength and weaknesses
2. identify your top candidate/s and invite them to spend some more time with the children at your home
3. during the time the candidate is in your home observe the following:
are the children at ease with the candidate?
did the candidate instinctively interact with the children?
is an effort being made to talk and play with the children?
has a bond naturally occurred between them?
are your children relaxed and do they display enthusiasm at spending time with the candidate?
what is the atmosphere like in the room/house?
do you feel relaxed and comfortable with the candidate around?
4. do some telephonic reference checking and ask questions around any concerns you may have - we will have done relevant checks ourselves, but do advise you to contact some previous employers yourself
ask your children about their feelings on the candidates. Who they most favoured and why
who would the children best benefit from and what would they bring to your family
who is the best match
please do not delay in making a decision as you may lose your chosen candidate to another family
once your decision is final we will send you the necessary paperwork to complete the placement process