An au pair is a live-in caregiver from another country who will care for your child in exchange for meals and boarding. An au pair is an alternative to more traditional childcare, such as The Briar Patch Child Care Centre. Hiring an au pair is similar to hiring a live-in nanny. As such, your au pair will become almost like a member of the family. Here are some tips for hiring an au pair for your child.

Utilize an Au Pair Service

Although you may find some individual postings for au pair services, it's safer to hire through a service. Au pair services vet their applicants ahead of time, so you can be certain that at least the bare minimum requirements have been met. You also will have some recourse regarding a replacement if something goes wrong with your au pair, whereas if you just hire an individual by themselves, you could be suddenly left hanging with no childcare.

Take Your Time With Interviews

Try not to limit your interview time to just 10 or 15 minutes. The longer your interview, the more your interviewee will relax and feel more comfortable letting their true selves show. Consider bringing them out to lunch to see how they act in social settings. You might also want to have them spend time with you and the kids at the park to observe how your kids feel about the candidate.

Ask Situation Questions

Situation questions are ones that require your interviewee to answer what they would do in certain situations. You can tell much about a candidate by the way they respond. Here are some examples of telling situation questions:

  • What would you do if my child threw a temper tantrum on the bus ride home?
  • What if my child started choking here in the kitchen?
  • What if you found a stranger in the house?
  • What if the parent of a play date made a pass at you?

Though these might be rare and sometimes awkward situations, the answers will divulge your interviewee's ability to handle unexpected circumstances.

Check All References

Don't be lax about checking both work and personal references for a candidate you're seriously considering. It can be easy to just check one or two and leave it at that, but it's better to check all the references personally. That will let you know whether they are all using the same wording, indicating that they may have been coached ahead of time as to what to say.

Since the au pair will be living with your family and having such an emotional relationship with your child, it makes sense to ensure you take every possible precaution to make sure you hire the best candidate. Follow these tips and your au pair experience will likely be very positive for you and your family.