Video calling can be stressful and not knowing what to say or ask can make it even more stressful. In this post you can find questions that you can ask during the matching phase. And some questions that you must know the answer to before saying yes to a family.
Some quick questions to help you on your way:
- How will my schedule look like? Will it change a lot every week or is it stable?
- Do the children like going to school/ day care etc?
- How do you expect me to contribute to the household?
- Which rules do you follow in your household?
- Do the children like to go on play dates with other children in the neighborhood?
- Do you have contact with other families that have au pairs? Do they have children of similar ages?
- What is your child’s favorite activity to do inside/ outside the house?
- Do you have any dietary requirements or allergies that I should be aware of?
- How is the relationship between the children and the au pair now?
- Do the children have household responsibilities, for example chores?
- What does a typical day look like for your family?
- Will you plan a schedule for a week or month in advanced?
- How will you help me settle in when I first get there?
- How have previous au pairs gained their educational requirements? Are their colleges near by?
- Is there a lot to do in the neighborhood? In the nearest city?
Tips and tricks for asking your burning questions:
Think about the order of your questions
When you are talking to your maybe future host family, think about which questions to ask first. For example if you are only asking about your free time and car usage, you are probably not going to give the best impression. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask these questions just that you need to tactically ask them.
When you start asking questions, ask about the children. These people are trusting you with their children! Show them that you are thinking and are serious about your main task. Think about hobbies, interests, school work, free time. Did something in their profile speak to you about the kids? Maybe it says that the children want to learn an instrument and you play the piano, ask if the family expects you to guide them while they learn.
Start by asking about life with the host family. Do they plan to eat with the au pair everyday, do they expect you to help with the household. From there it’s easier to go into free time and other questions.
How should you ask your questions?
How you ask your questions also tells the host family a lot about your personality. Try and formulate your questions in a nice and positive way.
One rule I always try and use is to reformulate questions that start with ‘what’ and ‘why’ into ‘how come’ or ‘how’ questions. Let me show you:
- What do you think an au pair should do?
- How do you view the au pair role?
The second one sounds a lot more welcoming and less intimidating. Another example is:
- What car usage do I have?
- How do you see me traveling in my free time?
In the first question you are 1 automatically assuming that you will have a car to use and 2 that it is a requirement for you. The second question is open for the host family to answer, maybe they do have a car, maybe there is good public transport, maybe you’ll have an uber allowance.
Think of specific questions
Look through the profile carefully to make detailed and personal questions. This shows the host parents that you have invested your time to look through everything properly. It’s also a nice idea to start off with some personal questions or highlight things you noticed about their profile.
Good luck with your interviews!