Sure, I know they might share some criticisms about our family that would make me cringe if I knew about it, but I figure if a candidate knows what they are getting into directly from the person currently doing the job and accepts the job, then they are prepared to live with our rules and quirks.
Our last au pair was really direct in telling our candidates that we were not the right family for them if all they wanted to do was party.
And since we do have that luxury– and so do potential au pairs– we may not focus on the most important questions. I think the core objection to these questions is not that they were asked at all, but as any American adult can tell you, you don’t ask about pay and benefits in the early parts of a job interview.
Here’s a question for you: If a potential au pair wanted to learn more about your family in order to assess YOU for a match, what three questions should she ask? You learn about the job, what your role would be, see if you like the fit, etc.
(I mean, let’s face it–there is a lot of coaching that these girls get, depending on their situation and nerves, I bet.) And I agree that asking about internet is not a deal-killer. Frankly, this post and comments have made me nervous; I am thinking about next July when we have to decide what to do, whether to keep a full timer, switch to edupair, or patch together an afternoon schedule of college students and early mornings for me at work.
I remember asking everything, EVERYTHING about the kids on the first phone call.
Being able to talk to my loved ones via the internet improves my well-being, makes me more emotionally stable, and therefore makes me a better au pair to the children.
Will I be responsible for shuttling the boys to and from activities? Maybe that shows you that I’m selfish and incompetent, but if I didn’t have skype, I don’t know how long I would make it so far away from all of my friends and family.
–to me this shows that the potential au pair is interested in her role in the family. What is one problem you had with your previous au pair? What was it about her/your relationship that worked? About the internet…I would never consider matching with any family who had no internet.
Here are the best questions I’ve heard from au pairs we interviewed: 1) Tell me why your first au pair worked out so well. You need to be able to call the parents if there’s an emergency with the children, period.