Hi, Abbie and Maddie here. For aspiring au pairs, the first interview with a host family can be extraordinarily stressful. Au pairs are just as nervous about finding the right host family as host families are about finding the right au pair. What should au pairs ask host families to start the relationship off well?
There are so many things to think about. What will the children be like and the job entail? What will it be like living with this family and so far from home? What will my free time look like and will I be able to make friends? Then add in a potential language barrier, time zone differences, and technical difficulties.
We have some help for you! Here is our ultimate list interview questions that au pairs want to ask host families.
We designed this list of questions to be a conversation. As the discussion evolves, choose questions from the list to keep up the dialogue and get to know your host family 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.
For host families, this also serves as a list of questions you can ask yourself. Use these questions when you’re reading the ultimate list of interview questions host families ask au pairs to keep the conversation balanced and not too one-sided. Did you cover this information when talking with your potential au pair? It is often very difficult for au pairs to think of all the things they need to ask when they are first conversing in a new language and with a new family.
Ask Host Families About Au Pairing Basics
- How did you find out about the au pair program as a host family?
- Have you hosted an Au Pair before? How many and do you still talk to them? Would it be possible for me to speak with your current or former au pair?
- If you have hosted an au pair before, what are your favorite things about hosting au pairs? What are your least favorite things about hosting au pairs?
- How long are you planning to host au pairs? Would you consider extending with an au pair if it was a good match?
- Are you considering au pairs from lots of countries or just from my country?
- Which languages do you speak at home? Are you looking for an au pair who speaks a certain language? Would you like your au pair to help your children learn a second language? (A lot of au pairs are looking for an English immersion experience, and want to make sure they get lots of English practice.)
- What are you looking for in an au pair?
- Do you have any worries about hosting an au pair? What are they?
- Do you wish for your au pair to be fully integrated into your family’s life or do you prefer your au pair to be more independent in their off-time?
Ask Host Families About Their Children and Childcare Duties
- Tell me about your children. How old are they? What are their interests? What are their personalities like?
- Are there any activities your kids really enjoy? What activities have your kids enjoyed with previous caregivers?
- How do you deal with bad behavior? How do you reward your children? How do you discipline and train good habits into your children?
- What types of behaviors require punishment or reward?
- Have your previous caregivers had any trouble with your children? Are there any techniques you can recommend to help me work with your children?
- What will a typical day/week look like for your au pair?
- Do you provide a written schedule? Is there flexibility in the schedule or is it the same every week? How much notice will you give if the schedule changes?
- Do you have activities planned for your children? Who arranges those plans?
- What duties do you expect your au pair to handle?
- Will I need to drive as part of my child care duties?
- Do you have your au pair help with light housework like kids laundry / cleaning up after kids meals/ picking up toys / etc.?
- Will I be helping the children with their homework/virtual school? What resources will be provided?
- Do your children have any special needs like allergies/medical needs/special needs/learning disabilities? Is there anything I will need to do to ensure that I provide the care that they need?
- How much screen time do you allow for your children?
- What do you think children need most from their au pair or care giver?
- Is there anything important I need to know about caring for your children?
- What is the best way to contact you if something happened? Do you provide an au pair phone?
- How do you pay your au pairs and how often? What is your weekly stipend/pocket money? Do you provide other perks to your au pairs?
Ask Host Families About Their Family Life
- What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?
- Do you or your spouse work at home? Do you work evenings or weekends? What is your typical work week schedule?
- What does your family like to do in their free-time? What are your interests and hobbies?
- Do you like to invite friends over? What activities do you enjoy with your friends?
- Do your kids like to invite friends over? What activities do your children enjoy with their friends?
- Do your au pairs invite friends over? Can they stay the night? What about friends of the opposite sex?
- Do you or your spouse smoke or vape? Do you drink alcohol? Socially or at home?
- Does your family like to travel? Do you have any trips planned? Does your au pair travel with you?
- Do you like being outdoors? What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Ask Host Families About Their Culture
- 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?
- Are you religious? Do you actively practice your religion?
- Do you enjoy going to church / temple / synagogue / mosque? What’s your favorite part?
- When was the last time you went to church / temple / synagogue / mosque?
- Are there special things you do or don’t do in observance of your religion?
Ask Host Families About Their Location and Transportation
- What is it like to live in your city/town? What activities are close by?
- How is the weather in your city/town? Is it hot/cold/rainy/snowy?
- Do you have family or close friends who live close by? Do you see them often?
- Are there other au pairs who live close by?
- Is there a college or university close by so I can take classes? Do you know what types of classes they offer for au pairs?
- How do you handle the expenses for classes? What and how much do you cover?
- Is there public transportation available in your area? Are there any other transportation options?
- Do you have an au pair car? What kind of car is it? Is it a stick shift or automatic?
- Is the car shared? Can the car be used by your au pairs in their free time?
- What are your car rules? Do you have any restrictions?
- Who takes care of putting gas in the car? Who cleans the car?
- Who fixes the car when it is broken or needs maintenance?
- Will I need to get a local drivers license? Does that include taking a written and/or driving test?
- How do you handle the car/transportation expenses while on duty? How do you handle the car/transportation expenses while I am off duty?
- What happens if I damage the car? What happens if something happens to the car that is not my fault?
Ask Host Families About What It Will be Like to Live With Them
- Do you like to cook and/or eat as a family? What are your favorite meals to prepare?
- Who typically cooks the meals? Who cleans up afterwards? Does your au pair join you for meals?
- Do your au pairs prepare meals for your children? Would you want your au pair to take a turn cooking meals for the family?
- Is there anything your family doesn’t like to eat or can’t eat? Do you eat meat / pork / fish / shellfish / dairy / gluten / etc?
- Would you be ok with your au pair preparing foods for themselves that the family doesn’t eat? Who pays for your au pair’s special foods?
- Are there food items that you do not want the children to eat or see your au pair eating?
- Have you ever tried (fill in the blank favorite food)?
- Do you have other household help? Who cleans the bathrooms? Who cleans the kitchen and floors?
- What are your house rules? Do you have an au pair manual you can share with me?
- What is your usual bedtime? Are you a morning person or evening person?
- Do you have any pets? Who takes care of feeding and cleaning up after the pet? Do you ask your au pair to help with any pet duties?
- Is there anything important I need to know about living with your family? Do you have any pet peeves?
- Can I see the au pair bedroom and bathroom? Where is in relation to the other bedrooms?
Ask Host Families About COVID-19
- What will happen if your au pair falls ill and cannot work?
- What are the COVID-19 laws in your area?
- How seriously is your family taking social distancing? What COVID-19 precautions are you following now? What safety precautions are you asking your au pair to follow?
- What precautions will I need to take before arriving in your home? Will I need to quarantine or have a covid test?
- Will I be able experience the area and culture once I arrive? Will I be able to travel during my vacation weeks?
- Will I be able to meet with friends or have friends over?
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, we would love to hear from you!