We believe our au pair search and selection process is unrivalled. We provide our host families with extremely comprehensive information - more than you will find elsewhere. We are able to do this because we do not work with overseas partner organisations. When we meet prospective au pair candidates, it is people from our UK team who travel to the continent to meet the au pairs in person. This allows us to be very thorough when we meet them - allowing us to use psychometric and motivational questionnaires, utilise multi-media technology to capture audio and video clips of the person, as well as conducting a very thorough competency based interview.
Our standard process is that the person dealing directly with the family in the UK, is the same person who has physically met and interviewed the prospective au pair. Unlike other agencies who work with partner agencies in other countries, we remain in control of our quality standards. We adhere to the strictest of quality standards that are above those required by the REC or BAPAA. In fact we have the highest standards in the industry.
All of our candidates complete a detailed application form that gives us details about their current status, their own family, their home and location, their education record, work experience and history, any experience and responsibilities they have had with regard to childcare, their hobbies, the type of host family they are seeking (number of children, ages, location, duties etc).
Candidates will then send a number of additional documents to accompany their application including a letter of motivation describing their background, life in general and what they hope to achieve from the experience. They also send photographs of themselvesand their families. We obtain details of education and any other training certificates.
We endeavour to meet all of our candidates ourselves face to face. This means we do physically travel from the UK to other countries,where we spend generally up to 2 weeks visiting centres to meet our shoirt-list of prospective candidates. The interviews generally last between 45 inutes or one hour and cover family backgrund, experience with caring for children, motivationsfor wanting to be an au pair, hobbies and interests, friends and social life, habits and personality, and anything else that comes up that we choose to probe.
The interviewers will either be mself who has worked in management for almost 20 year period and has extensive interviewexperience, or a UK based team member who has been attended professional training in interview techniques. The candidate's spoken English is checked, and if necessary a local assistant will translate difficult questions and phrases to ensure total understanding between the interviewer and the candidate.
Eachof our candidates summarises their personal situation in a short 2 or 3 minutes video clip that we shoot at the time of teh interview. We do this also so the family can see that we have met with our candidates who are wearing our badge - not the badge of another agency.
Camdidates are asked to provide two written references, of which both should be relating to child care. Since many candidates have had childcare experience only within their own family, then in this case we allowdamily referencesbut ask for an additional character reference from ateacher, priest or another member of the community that would know the individual. All referencesare contacted by telephone to check the details of the reference. These calls are recorded and kept on file.
We interview au pair candidates throughout the year so that when families contact us we always have candidates ready to travel. The following are the steps we take with our host families from the initial enquiry.
We establish the requirements of your host family both by the information provided on your registration forms, more detailed conversations over the telephone and sometimes home visits. The purpose of all these is to clearly lay out the requirements of the family - to establish that an au pair will be the appropriate solution and to give potential andidates as much information as possible about the role, your family, your home and location. No information is forwarded to candidates until you are happy and we never forward any personal contact information or addresses.
We find a short-list of candidates who meet our basic requirements (driving ability, childcare experience, age range, smoking status etc) and send you these people for your opinions. Youare able to also see the candidates video introductions, review part or all of their interview recordings and see supporting documents such as references, qualifications, ID etc. We will then forward a sumamry of your family profile to each one of the short-list that you like. Based on the responses from these people, we will organise telephone callsfor you to contact the candidates to ask your own questions, and for them to have an opportunity to ask you things.
When you are happy with choosing one of these candidates you will let us know and we will check that the au pair is also happy to come to your family. If both are agreeable then we will draft a letter of invitation for you to review. ONce you have reviewed and made any modifications to the letter, this is sent to the au pair and we obtain confirmation of her official acceptance.
As this is the point that the au pair will have to book flights, buy insurance etc. then this is the point of commitment to our fee.
The au pair will travel to the UK and you are responsible to collect her from the airport or coach station where she enters the country. If you are unable to collect her then we will advise her about onward travel to the nearest bus or train station for the family, but it is the family who are responsible for paying the cost of this transfer from the airport even if they cannot collect. Of course it is strongly recommended that all au pairs are met at the airport where possible in order to start the relationship on the best foot.
Our short guide to au pair pocket money should help you work out what to pay your au pair..