Hi, Abbie and Maddie here. Asking the right questions is crucial to making a great au pair match.
There is a fine balance to strike. On one hand you need to learn about what it will be like for this person to live with you and care for your children. You also want them to feel comfortable enough to answer your questions honestly and ask you questions back. On the other hand, you don’t want them to feel like they’re being interrogated.
Then add technical issues, time zone differences, and a potential language barrier to the mix. Interviewing is stressful!
We have some help for you. Here is our ultimate list of Au Pair interview questions (and our accompanying list of Au Pair Host interview questions coming soon!). We designed this list of au pair interview questions to be a conversation. Most of the questions are open-ended, and any yes/no answers have easy follow-up
As the discussion evolves you can choose questions from the list to keep up the dialog and get to know your au pair candidate better. We don’t recommend asking every question on the list. Start with the most important ones, then follow up afterwards with extra questions if needed.
Most importantly, make sure to make it a conversation. Ask your au pair candidate if they have any questions for you! Even if they are too nervous to ask, they might if you’re sharing information back and forth.
Au Pair Basics
- How did you find out about the au pair program?
- Why would you like to become an Au Pair?
- Have you ever traveled outside of your home country? When? How long were you away from home? Who did you travel with?
- Have you ever flown on an airplane? Where did you visit?
- Have you ever been to (fill in the blank country)? Where did you go?
- Why do you want to come to (fill in the blank country)?
- What are the things you wish to do and see in our country?
- When you take your vacation holidays, where would you like to go and what would you like to do?
- If we traveled as a family, would you be interested in traveling with us?
- Are you considering au pairing in other countries as well? Which ones?
- What are you hoping to gain or learn from the au pair program?
- What are you looking for in a host family?
- How long are you planning to be an au pair? What you want to do after being an au pair?
- What are your expectations concerning your stay as an au pair?
- Do you have any worries about becoming an au pair? What are they?
- Does your family have any worries about you becoming an au pair? What are they?
- Are your family and friends supportive of you becoming an au pair? What about your boyfriend / girlfriend?
- Do you wish to be fully integrated in our family’s life or do you prefer to have more space and time for yourself?
- We love that you’ll hang out with our family, but it’s also really healthy that you have other friends to hang out with as well. What are your plans for making friends and combating homesickness after you arrive?
- Would you like your family/friends/partner to visit you while you are at our home? What would they like to see during their visit?
Background and Personality
- Tell me about your family. Do you live close to each other? How often do you see them? What do you like to do together?
- How would you describe yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How would your friends describe you? How would your teachers describe you?
- Do you have any degrees or certificates? (CPR, etc.) Which ones?
- Have you thought about what kinds of classes you might want to take while you are an au pair?
- Are you working? What do you do? Do you like it?
- Are you going to school? What do you want to do with your degree once you graduate?
- What does a typical day look like for you?
- Do you like animals? What kind?
- Do you have a pet? Who took care of feeding and cleaning up after the pet?
- Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Have you talked about how you will deal with being apart from each other?
- What is your favorite color? Book? Type of music? Artist? Movie?
- Is there anything important we need to know about you?
- What is your usual bedtime? Are you a morning person or evening person?
- How well do you follow instructions? If I ask you to do something and you don’t understand why/how to do it, what will you do?
- What languages do you speak besides English? Would you be comfortable teaching new languages to my children?
- What do you like to do when you are by yourself?
- What do you like to do with your friends?
- What are your interests and hobbies?
- Do you like to have friends over? What do you like to do together? Do they stay the night?
- When was the last time you were at a party with your friends? Was it a big or little party? Did you host the party or was it at a friend’s house?
- Have you ever hosted a party? Do you like to host parties?
- Do you smoke or vape? Have you smoked in the past? When was the last time you smoked?
- Do you drink alcohol? Socially or at home? When was the last time you drank? What was it (beer/wine/hard alcohol/mixed drink/etc.)?
- Do you like being outdoors? What are your favorite outdoor activities?
- Tell me about your childcare experience. How long have you been working with children?
- Have you worked as an au pair or live-in nanny before? How did you and the parents communicate and share responsibilities?
- How many kids have you watched at once? Were you by yourself? Were you comfortable with that many kids?
- Have you ever worked with (fill in the blank age) kids? What did you do with them?
- Have you ever been alone for 8 to 10 hours with (fill in the blank age) kids?
- How do you plan to keep the kids busy when the weather is bad?
- Have you ever soothed a crying baby/changed a diaper/made a bottle? When was the last time? What would you do if the baby won’t stop crying? Has a poop all over them? You run out of bottles?
- Have you ever potty-trained a toddler/introduced solid foods to an infant?
- What is your favorite thing about working with children?
- What do you find is the most challenging about working with kids?
- What is your least favorite thing about working with children?
- Is there anything you are excited to share with or teach children?
- Can you help the children with their homework/virtual school? What would you do if the child is not paying attention or has a bad attitude about learning?
- How do you help a child who is angry? Sad? Having a tantrum?
- How were you punished as a child? Did it work? Do you use the same/different techniques on children you are caring for?
- Do you have experience with children who have allergies/medical needs/special needs/learning disabilities? What needs did they have? What did you have to do differently to make sure they received the care that they needed?
- How much screen time do you think is appropriate for children?
- What do you think children need most from their au pair or care giver?
- Do you have a driver’s license in your country? How long have you had it?
- Where was the last place you drove? Is that far away from your home?
- Do you own your own car or use your family’s car? What kind of car is it? Is it a stick shift (manual) or automatic?
- Have you ever driven a big car like a van / pickup truck / SUV?
- Who takes care of putting gas in the car?
- Who cleans the car?
- Who fixes the car when it is broken or needs maintenance?
- Have you ever been in an accident when you were driving? What happened? What did you do? What was the outcome?
- Have you ever been in an accident when you were not the driver? What happened? What did you do? What was the outcome?
- Have you ever gotten a ticket? What happened? What did you do? What was the outcome?
- Have you ever driven in a big city / highway / dirt road / other side of the road / long trip / snow and ice?
- Have you ever driven with kids in the car? Where did you take them?
- Have you ever buckled kids into a car seat? How old were the kids and what type of car seat (Infant bucket, forward/rear facing, 5 point harness, seat belt booster, etc.)?
- Have you ever installed or uninstalled a car seat before? When was the last time? Did you need help?
- Pretend there is a police car with lights on behind you. What do you do?
- Pretend you are parking the car on a busy street and accidentally damage another parked car. What do you do? What if no one saw you do it, then what would you do differently?
- Pretend you are in my car and you get into an accident. What would you do?
- What did you have for breakfast this morning? Is that a normal breakfast for you?
- What did you have for dinner last night (tonight)? Is that a normal dinner for you?
- When was the last time you prepared a meal for others? What did you prepare? Do you cook for others often?
- If you cook the meal who cleans up afterwards? Who cleans up when you are not the one who cooked?
- Do you like to cook? What is your favorite meal to prepare?
- Would you be willing to cook meals for the kids?
- Would you be willing to take a turn cooking meals for the family?
- Is there anything you don’t like to eat or can’t eat? (Funny story – one of my au pairs was terrified of mushrooms. I couldn’t even have them in the house or she wouldn’t open the fridge.)
- Do you eat meat / pork / fish / shellfish / dairy / gluten / etc?
- Are you willing to prepare types of food you don’t eat?
- Have you ever tried (fill in the blank family favorite food)?
- Who do you live with now?
- Have you ever lived away from your family before? Did you live alone or with roommates?
- When you lived with ___ who did the cooking? Dishes? Shopping?
- Who takes out the trash? Cleans the bathrooms? Cleans the kitchen?
- How often do you do laundry? Do you take care of your own laundry? Or take care of laundry for others?
- Would you be willing to help us with light housework like kids laundry / cleaning up after kids meals/ picking up toys / etc?
- What are some challenges you’ve faced in past living situations? What did you do to resolve it?
- Is there anything that drives you crazy? What are your pet peeves?
- What is your favorite holiday? Why?
- Tell me about a tradition in your family. How do you celebrate birthdays / births / weddings / new years?
- Do you have any favorite traditional foods? Do you know how to make them?
- Are you religious? Do you actively practice your religion? What does that look like to you?
- Do you enjoy going to church / temple / synagogue / mosque? What’s your most favorite part?
- When was the last time you went to church / temple / synagogue / mosque? What was the occasion?
- Are there special things you do or don’t do in observance of your religion?
- How would you help two young children who are angry and fighting over the same toy?
- What would you do if Wednesday afternoon swim practice is cancelled and you find yourself with a free afternoon with my 4 year old?
- What would you do if I was stuck in traffic and couldn’t be home at 5:00 as I originally anticipated?
- Imagine you are given two hours to play with the kids. How would you keep them occupied?
- What would you do if the children were disrespectful or disobeyed you?
- Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with someone. How did you work through the problem? What was the result?
- Tell me about a time you faced an emergency situation. What happened? What did you do? What was the result?
- What would you do if a child locks themselves in the bathroom? A car?
- What would you do if a child is choking on something?
- What would you do if my baby had a fever? What if the baby fell and became unconscious?
- Pretend that your host parent said something that you disagree with. What would you do?
Medical and COVID-19
- Do you have allergies or medical conditions we need to know about?
- Have you been vaccinated (or had) Chicken Pox, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Whooping Cough, etc.? Would you be willing to receive vaccinations if you joined my family?
- What are the COVID-19 laws where you live now?
- How seriously are you taking social distancing? Who did you see this week/month? Where do you go and what did you do? Did you were masks or social distance?
- What COVID-19 precautions are you following now? Would you be willing to (fill in the blank safety precaution) when you arrive?
- Would you be willing to quarantine/wear a mask/get tested before/during/after your arrival?
More Resources for Au Pair Interview Questions
Our Experiences with Au Pair Interviews
Abbie says: I like to send my au pair candidates a list of questions ahead of time so they can prepare. They are working hard at English, so it helps if they have time to think about how they are going to answer in English. It’s okay with me if their English isn’t perfect. I’m going to try my best to make the relationship work, and I want to know they are going to try their best to make our match good, too.
Maddie says: I can usually tell in the first few minutes of an interview if an au pair will not be a good fit for my family. I don’t follow the scripted questions that the agencies provide. Instead I like to have a conversation. I ask questions like “what did you have for breakfast?” or “where was the last place you drove the car?” I need a au pair who can converse – answer my questions and follow up with questions of their own. I don’t expect perfect grammar or for an au pair to know all the words in English. As long as they find a way to communicate.
Do you have favorite interview questions? Comment below or head over to the My Au Pair and Me Host Parent Community on Facebook. We would love to hear from you!