What questions should you ask when interviewing au pair candidates?

(Also to be found with keywords Questions to ask au pairs, What to ask au pairs and Interviewing au pairs)

Interviewing prospective au pairs is a great way to get to know them better - and is an important part of choosing the right au pair for your family. Here are some questions to help you get ready to conduct an effective interview.  

Questions to an Au-pair

A live interview is a great way to check if an au pair will fit well for your family. A video call is the most effective way to manage such an interview, but a regular telephone call is also a good possibility. In the time you spend with an au pair candidate, you can introduce your family and both you and the au pair have a chance to talk about expectations and wishes for the au pair stay.

Ask lots of questions! It's the best way to find out as much as possible in the limited time you have.

The following questions can help to prepare for the interview. Plan enough time for the call so you're not rushed. And be sure to do at least some of the interview in your own language to check on the au pair's communication skills in their second language.

Questions to ask about his/her decision to become an pair:

  • Why would you like to be an au pair?
  • Why would you like to be an au pair together with our family?
  • Have you ever been to our country before? If so, did you have the opportunity to learn more about our culture?
  • Do your family and friends support your idea of becoming an au pair?

Questions to ask about the potential au pair stay

  • How long do you want to stay and when would you like to start?
  • What are your expectations concerning your stay as an au pair?
  • Do you wish to be fully integrated in our family life or do you prefer to have more space and time for yourself?
  • Would you be willing to accompany us on our holiday and take care of our kids during this period of time?
  • Is your driving licence valid in our country?
  • Are you an experienced driver?
  • How often do you wish to travel home?
  • What are the things you wish to do and see in our country?
  • Would you help us with light housework?
  • Which kinds of meals could you prepare for our children?
  • If you have special dietary preferences (vegan, vegetarian, etc.), would you still be prepared to cook meat dishes for our children?

Questions to ask about childcare

  • Do you like children?
  • Do you feel comfortable taking on responsibility in a childcare situation?
  • Imagine you are given two hours to play with the kids. How would you keep them occupied?
  • How would you handle situations in which the children disobeyed you?
  • Have you had any experience in childcare?
  • How old were the children you were taking care of?
  • Have you already taken care of children for a longer period of time?
  • Have you worked as an au pair before?
  • Can you provide references for your childcare experience?

Personal questions for the au pair

  • What are your favourite foods?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Is there anything important we need to know about you?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • If yes, will they be supportive during your stay as an au pair?
  • Have you and your boyfriend/girlfriend talked about how you will deal with the situation of being apart from each other?
  • Would you like your family/friends/partner to visit you while you are at our home?

Questions to ask if you have pets

  • Do you like animals?
  • Are you prepared to take our dog for a walk/feed our cat, etc.?

If your au pair needs to enter your country on a visa

  • Have you already applied for your visa? When could you arrive?

Furthermore, you should provide your au pair with sufficient information on your family and life. This way they can get a fuller impression of your family life and your daily routine. Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • Draw up a work schedule for your au pair in which you define the most important aspects of the au pair stay, such as duties, regular dates and free time.
  • Discuss the exact working hours together with your au pair. How often are they expected to babysit for you? When will your au pair get the opportunity to take some time off and participate in a language course? When can they take their holidays?
  • Apart from the amount of pocket money, you should also clarify who will organise the language course and pay for it.