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Sitters / Au Pairs in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria - Sitters4U Babysitting, House sitting and Au Pair services. - Interview Guide for Sitters

Interview Guide for Sitters

Going for an interview can be daunting, if you are not prepared. No matter how experienced or trained you are, every family is different, each expects different things from a candidate, has different needs and each child is an individual. Many experienced au pairs are passed up for candidates who are less experienced or trained, simply because they are unable to adapt to the clients needs during an interview. Above all else, it is the children and parents experience of who you are during an interview that counts. Do the children naturally bond with you, do you seem really interested in the children? These are only a few of the deciding factors. We have put this guide together so that you have the best chance possible of not only bringing across your skills and experience but your real interest and the value that you will add should you be chosen as the successful candidate by the family.

Preparation for the interview

Using the information provided, familiarize yourself with as many details as possible. Think about questions you may have about the family and the position that you are still unsure of.

Helpful Tips

Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Families want to know that you are interested in their family, and are well informed on what life with their family will be like. If there is something said that you don’t understand, ask the family to repeat themselves, or to rephrase the question. It is important that you are calm and focused during the interview. Be honest about your past employment history, without breaching the confidentiality of your previous employers. Talk about the children you cared for, what you enjoyed most, how you handled difficult situations, your responsibilities etc. After considering the details of the client you are going to be interviewed by, consider the following:

  • What strengths do you have that would be beneficial to the family?
  • What weaknesses do you have that may affect your chances of been the “chosen” applicant, how can you improve on these?
  • What are your goals? How would these goals affect the family in the long term?
  • What is your approach to discipline? How do confront discipline issues in a non confrontational manner?
  • What are your hobbies, sports and interests; do any of the children share your interests?
  • What type of activities would you enjoy doing with the children in your care?
  • Are the activities you are thinking of appropriate for the age groups you would be caring for?
  • Try to think of activities you would use to keep the children busy on a rainy day.

The family will want to know that you are adaptable to their individual situation and that you are competent to care for their children, they want to know that you are interested in them and that you are would add value to their lives, helping to reach their fullest potential.

Q&A you can ask about the family

  • Ask about the children, their ages, their friends, what they like to do, their interests and activities.
  • Has the family ever had an au pair before? If so, have they had an au pair from your county?
  • What type of area does the family live in?
  • What type of activities does the family participate in? Are they active? What does the family do on weekends? Do they like sports, movies, computers, etc?
  • Why does the family want an au pair?
  • What type of jobs do the parents have? Where do the parents work?
  • What is a typical day like for the family?
  • What are your working hours?
  • Will you be asked to prepare meals for the kids? What type of food does the family eat?
  • Will y ou be expected to drive the children to school and activities?
  • How do the children feel about a new au pair joining the family? Did the family have a good relationship with the last au pair?

Q&A families may ask you during an Interview.

It is a good idea to go through these questions and think about your answers in terms of the family that will be interviewing you:

  • Why have you chosen to become an au pair?
  • What do you enjoy most about working with children?
  • What appeals to you about taking care of children in a home situation?
  • What do you find to be the most challenging and interesting part of working with children?
  • What did you study at school?
  • What are, in your opinion, are the most important aspects when raising a child?
  • What type of relationship do you have with your family?
  • What similarities do you have to your parents?
  • Can you tell me about your childhood experiences and how they relate to your chosen career today?
  • What type of relationship do you have with your family?
  • How do you think your family would describe you and your personality?
  • As a child, how were you disciplined?
  • Do you enjoy sports, travel, swimming, the beach, etc?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do children like most about you and being around you?
  • Do you have a boyfriend or any dependents? Where will your child be when caring for the clients children?
  • How far away do you live and how long will it take you to get there?
  • Do you have any allergies or problems with pets?
  • If you are vegetarian, will you be willing to cook meat for the children?
  • Do you smoke? How often
  • What do you usually wear to work?
  • What is the first job you ever had and what did you enjoy about it?
  • What childcare experience do you have?
  • Describe the children and the last child care experience that you had.
  • Describe your last employer?
  • Explain why the last position you held ended.
  • What do you enjoy most about caring for children?
  • What are the ages of the children you have cared for in the past?
  • Have you ever worked with children the same age as the clients?
  • Do you have First Aid/ CPR or other Child care qualifications?
  • Have you ever had to handle an emergency situation? If so, what happened and what action did you take?
  • Have you ever bathed or cooked meals for children?
  • How do you discipline children?
  • What was your worst child care experience and how did you resolve it?
  • What kinds of activities do you think are good and appropriate for children .
  • Do you like to get involved in the children’s activities?
  • Do you cook? What type of meals can you cook for the children?
  • Do you swim? Are you happy to swim with the children.
  • Are you happy to help with household chores that pertain to the children? How would you encourage the children to be neater in daily life?
  • What are your views on eating between meals and how do you feel mealtimes should be managed.
  • If the children have allergies you may be asked how you  would manage these?
  • What are your ideas for entertaining children?
  • Are you happy to do shopping and take the children on outings?
  • What kind of outings do think would be fun and appropriate for the children?

Questions that are targeted at the age of the children you will be caring for that may be asked:

0-2 years

  • How do you handle a crying baby?
  • What do you see as your primary responsibility to a child this age?
  • What activities would you engage in with a child this age?
  • Have you worked with a child this age before?

2- 3 years

  • How would you handle a temper tantrum in a public place? Would you handle this differently in a home situation?
  • How do you feel toilet training should be approached?
  • What role should outdoor play and interaction with other toddlers have in a child's day?
  • What types of educational activities would you engage a child in at this age?
  • What indoor activities would you engage a child in at this age?

3- 5 years

  • What methods of limit setting or discipline do you find effective for children this age?
  • What television shows do you feel are appropriate for this age group?
  • How much television do you feel is appropriate for children this age?
  • Are you willing to supervise play time with other children in our home and/or take our child to outside activities which may or may not require your active participation?

5 years and older

  • Are you comfortable reviewing and assisting with my children’s homework?
  • Are you willing to supervise friends of our children who are invited to our home while you are in charge?
  • Are you happy with staying with the children at their extra curricular activities?
  • What kind of outings would you organise for the children?

Use the resources on Sitters4U's website site for advice on discipline, routines, cooking, outings and activities. Above all relax, get comfortable and let the family know as much about you as possible. Be honest, if you are lucky enough to meet the children find out as much about them as possible, from them, and always remember never to leave your smile behind.

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