January 18, 2013

Host Family Poll: How many candidates do you interview before making your final selection?

3 minutes
Advice for host families

The phone interview is a critical part of the au pair selection process. Once a family reviews au pair applications and finds a candidate that they feel would be a good match for their family, they set up a time to interview the au pair. For some families, they are able to make their decision after that first interview. If, however, the match does not seem quite right, the host family can select another candidate to consider and interview. How many interviews does it take to find the right match? In a recent Cultural Care Au Pair parent poll, 47% of respondents said that they interviewed between three and five au pair candidates before making their final selection. Thirty percent indicated that they interviewed even more, between six and ten prospective au pairs. Some families found the right match right away – 23% said they only interviewed one or two au pair candidates.
Sometimes it’s “love at first sight”. One family told us, “We currently have our first au pair and we found her right away. She has been just amazing.” Out of the pool of au pair applications, sometimes a perfect match surfaces right away. “We go with our gut,” another family responded, “and sometimes that means selecting the first au pair we interview.”
Pre-interview screening. Several families indicated that, although, they may interview only a few candidates, they review quite a few. “I watch dozens of videos online, then narrow my choices down to 3-5 that I will Skype with and interview. Usually I narrow it down to two and then have a second or third interview on Skype with my kids present to decide between the two of them.” Another family told us, “We may interview 3-5, but we review at least triple the amount of applications.” An experienced family responded, “We have had seven au pairs. I usually communicate via email a great deal first before trying to deal with the phone call. By time I get to the call, I am really just asking some final questions, testing their English, and finalizing my decision. I have always asked them to final match during the call. I look at several, though, before choosing with whom to begin communicating.”
In search of particular characteristics. Some families are looking for a particular skill and, therefore, find that they need to spend extra time on the interview process. “We are very particular about Spanish speaking drivers, so I think it takes us more time to select the right girl.” Another host mom wrote that she required a special needs qualified au pair and uses the interview to determine the level of hands-on work with special needs children that the candidate has.
Can’t put a number on it. Some families indicated that the number of interviews needed to make a final selection varied. Sometimes they found their au pair after their first interview and sometimes it took several interviews – they stopped when they felt like they had found the right one, regardless of how many au pairs they had spoken with. “I don’t put an arbitrary number on how many au pairs I interview before I match. I have matched with the first and only au pair I interviewed (she turned out to be one of the very best au pairs we’ve ever had), and with the 10th. I have found that if I keep an open mind and don’t look for predefined characteristics (i.e., the au pair must be from a certain country, of a certain gender, of a certain age) but look for the best fit with my family, warts and all, then we do very well. Sometimes you find that right away. Sometimes you don’t.”