How will I find the perfect au pair?

Question of the week (13 December 2010). Host mother Isobel C. from England broke away from her au pair sooner than originally planned. Reason: Although the au pair possessed a driving licence, she had no driving experience. Her question: How can I protect myself from choosing the "wrong" au pair next time?

Dear Support Team,

We found an au pair through AuPairWorld whom we primarily wanted to host for six months. Unfortunately, we had to separate after two weeks. Although the au pair possessed a driving licence - just as stated in her profile, she had no driving experience. Our children's school is very far away, therefore, it is obligatory that our au pair can drive. Fortunately, we found a prompt replacement through AuPairWorld. An au pair who was currently looking for another host family. She could drive perfectly. Nevertheless, I would still like to know how I can protect myself from choosing the "wrong" au pair next time.

Kind regards,

Isobel C. from England

The Support Team's Reply

Dear Isobel,

I am sorry that things did not work out well between you and your first au pair. However, we are glad that you found a prompt replacement through AuPairWorld. As soon as au pairs and host families contact each other personally, they usually clear up organisational issues in advance. In many cases, they miss discussing the details provided in the profile once again, although this is indeed of great importance. Your case is a good example! Your previous au pair replied to the standard question of whether or not she possesses a driving licence with "yes". Apparantly, you took the fact of her being able to drive for granted!

The fact that an au pair possesses a driving licence, does not automatically mean that this person also has driving experience. Host families often forget that most au pairs are very young and therefore novice drivers.  If the au pair moreover comes from a country, where vehicles drive on the other side of the road, driving will become even more difficult. Therefore, we always advise host families to ask, ask and ask again! Not only about the driving experience of the au pair, but about the culinary skills of the au pairs and their ability to deal with children as well. After all, the children's wellbeing is all that matters! Ask about everything else that is important to you. Even if it is already mentioned in the profile. Ask the au pair to send you references. The more details you clarify in advance, the more certain you can be that you have chosen the right au pair. This also helps you get to know your au pair even better.

Best wishes,

Your AuPairWorld Support-Team

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