I had absolutely no idea what questions to ask a host family when I had my first Skype interview. Everyone knows the basics, of course. The money, daily hours, and living arrangements. But more specific questions were left out, because, well um, basically I had no clue of their existence.
So be aware each family will have a very different set of rules and obligations for their future au pair and obviously knowing them in advance is key. Keep in mind it’s not always just about asking questions about mandatory work, but the expectations of a family that will really determine if this family and job is a good fit for you. If you’re a chain-smoking atheist you wouldn’t want to be tied down with a family that has a strict no smoking policy and expects you to go to church with them every sunday and teach their children bed time prayers, right?
You better get as much detailed information out of them before hand with some suggestion questions like these,
some of which I really should’ve asked my host families.
1. How much will I be paid?
2. Is it a weekly or monthly payment?
3. Will the host family pay for language classes?
4. Will the host family pay for a metro/transportation pass?
(If so, ask if they will be covering all zones within the city or just certain areas)
5. How many mandatory babysitting nights will I have per week? (if any)
6. Do I receive extra payment for babysitting or is that apart of my stipend?
7. Will I be required to work weekends? If so, is this apart of my stipend?
8. Will I get paid during holiday time?
9. Will I be required to do household chores?
10. If so, which ones?
Making up Beds?
Vacuuming, Dusting, Mopping?
Clean the children’s rooms?
11. How many times a week will this be expected from me?
12. Am I expected to cook dinner for the children/family every night?
13. Am I expected to know how to cook well?
(and with the cuisine of the country?)
14. Will I be required to take the kids to school in the mornings or will I only pick them up in the afternoon?
15. Will I be required to speak/teach English with the children or expected to speak their native language?
16. Will I be allowed to give out punishments when the children misbehave?
17. Do the children have any dietary needs or health requirements?
18. Will I be expected to attend family events and holidays?
19. Will I be expected to hang out with the family on the weekends?
20. Will I have a curfew?
21. Will the family expect me to stay in most nights or will it be alright with me going out during the evenings?
22. Am invited/expected to eat dinner with the host family every night?
23. Can I be a smoker? (obviously only if you already are)
24. Will I have my own bathroom?
25. Does my room always need to be tidy?
26. Will I need to buy my own food or am I able to eat whatever is in the kitchen?
27. Can I ask for certain food items to be bought?
Obviously this is not a complete list, there are many other questions that need to be thrown out there. This is just a little something to get your own started on the right foot. You will, most likely, be living with these people, remember? So don’t be embarrassed to ask any and all questions that pop into your mind.
Cause, hey, I once knew a girl who showed up only to find she didn’t actually have a door attached to her room…
Proving that there is no question too simple to ask, folks.
Not only will you get wanted information about the next year of your life but you can also judge how they react to such detailed questioning. If they’re really a good family to work for, they won’t mind answering, no matter how random the question may seem. If they seem hesitant or annoyed about having to answer, it probably is just a precursor for how working and/or living with them would turn out, so count it as an interview well done and move on to the next potential fam.