Au Pairs – Find your next Au Pair with Little Ones London
Hiring an au pair is an important family decision. The right au pair can
become an invaluable part of the family. They can form a bond with your
children, while providing domestic support within the home. However, there
are certain pitfalls involved in hiring an au pair. In the following
sections, we take a look at the process and highlight some issues of which
to be aware.
What to look for in an au pair
Au pairs are foreign nationals, usually aged under 30. They can come from
many different backgrounds and bring different levels of experience to the
role. This can make selecting the right au pair for your home a difficult
process. For example, do you need an au pair with specific language skills
or cultural sensitivities? Maybe your children have certain needs that you
need an au pair to accommodate. There may also be issues if you need an au
pair to travel regularly with the family. These are all questions to clearly
define before you begin the process of selecting a candidate. Overall, the
au pair needs to be a 'good fit' with the family and able to fulfil their
role within your home.
What duties do au pairs undertake?
The duties can be quite broad. The key role is taking care of children,
although au pairs are not fully-trained nannies. In addition, the au pair
may undertake light domestic chores, such as dusting, tidying up and
laundry; however, they are not expected to carry out full housekeeping
duties. It is important to define and communicate what you need from your au
pair ahead of time, so you are both happy with the arrangement. It is also
worth noting that while the au pair will share their culture with your
family they will not 'teach' your children a foreign language. Their English
skills may be limited and they will use their time with you (usually up to a
year) to develop these further.
Selecting and screening potential au pairs
This can be difficult and the reason why so many families choose an agency
to help them vet and shortlist candidates. Finding suitable candidates in
itself can be challenging and time-consuming. When you have a shortlist, you
should conduct an interview, obtain and follow up references, carry out a
background check, and ensure all immigration paperwork is in place, if
applicable. This can be frustrating, but it is crucial. If possible, the au
pair should also meet and interact with your children under your
Au pairs generally come from overseas, which can raise issues over visas and
the right to work in the UK (especially if they come from outside the EU,
although this may change post-Brexit). Other issues to consider include the
hours you would like the au pair to work each week (the maximum is usually
35) and how they will integrate into your household. There is also the
matter of pay and holiday. An au pair is a live-in role, so you will need to
consider the living arrangements, which should include a private bedroom and
Useful au pair interview questions
Here are just a few questions you might like to ask a potential au pair:
Do you smoke?
What are you hoping to gain from your time in the UK?
Do you have experience caring for children?
Have you ever worked in a similar role?
Do you have any relevant training for the role?
Are you trained in paediatric first aid?
Do you have a driving licence valid for the UK?
Direct recruitment vs agency recruitment
When it comes to au pair recruitment, you can go it alone or use the
services of a specialist agency such as Little Ones. While recruiting
directly gives you an element of control over the process and also some
flexibility, it can be a daunting task. An agency can take the stress out of
the process and also give you peace of mind, as they will carry out
screening and interviewing, including a full background check. There will
also be consultants on hand to answer any questions and resolve any
concerns. In addition, the agency will often provide training for the au
pair, so they can carry out their role more effectively.
The benefits of hiring an au pair
When you hire an au pair, you get the chance to welcome someone from a
different culture into your home, who will be eager to learn and who will
provide valuable help around the home. In return, your au pair will learn
about the UK, develop their English skills and gain practical work
experience in childcare. More cost-effective than a nanny, an au pair is a
popular choice for busy families.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of hiring an au pair,
please contact Little Ones. We will be happy to provide help and advice on
any aspect of the au pair recruitment process.