Au pairs have a wide choice of families from which to choose. Here are some suggestions that may help you:
1. Make sure that your membership form is complete, and has a nice photograph attached. If you leave information vague or unclear you may find that potential au pairs choose to communicate with families who have been more clear and definitive in describing the position available. Remember that the au pair has a wide choice of options available in terms of both whether or not they travel as an au pair, and through other au pair sites.
2. We recommend that you offer a fair amount of weekly pocket money for the position. Of course, terms of the position will be negotiable once you are talking to interested parties about the fine detail, but if one simply advertises ‘salary negotiable’ there is a risk that au pairs will feel that they will have to battle to get a fair amount of pocket money before they have even entered in to a discussion with you, got to know you, or found out if the position is really of interest.
3. Compose an interesting initial contact email, highlighting the key features of the au pair position available, and inviting potential au pairs to ask questions about it. Be positive. Focus on the areas that appear to match, and point these out to the au pair as the reasons you have selected them for intial contact. Once you have a positive dialogue going on, you will both be more inclined to be flexible, and therefore more likely to find a suitable candidate.
4. Using Search and Advanced Search compile a list of possible candidates and save these to 'Favourites'. We recommend that you cast your net as wide as possible. On many occasions the au pair’s requirements regarding start date, location, etc may be negotiable.
5. When writing to au pairs compose your email and use 'copy and paste' to save time in writing to your selected list. You can then personalise the salutation. It is not unusual for a family to write to 100 or more potential au pairs during the search process. All initial communication is managed within the site - you send and receive messages this way, so none of your contact details are published on the Internet. Messages and replies are sent to members' email addresses as well as to their Universal Au Pairs account. You are free to share your personal contact details in your messages whenever you wish. You can add selected au pairs to your 'favourites', and notes can be stored against those au pairs in whom you are interested.
6. Many au pairs on the site will be in communication with families already, and may also have joined other au pair sites so it is important to contact as many au pairs as you feel may match your criteria.
7. Monitor the site regularly and contact new au pairs as they join where these are possible matches. Typically we have had over 300 new au pairs joining every month, and we run permanent advertising campaigns across Europe. New au pairs are allocated the next sequential reference number and search results are presented in order of the time the au pair last visited the site as a logged in user - so the most active members appear at the top. You can also search the more recent members using the advanced search feature.
8. Don’t give up! We understand the frustrations where au pairs
- Do not provide the requested information
- Do not return emails or telephone calls
- Fail to keep appointments – e.g. where a call with a family has been scheduled
- Appear to provide positive feedback and show interest in a position, and then change their mind
- Confirm that they are accepting a position and then change their mind
9. It is also worth noting that not all au pairs have immediate access to the Internet, and may only check messages periodically when the opportunity arises via, for example, a friend’s computer or an Internet café.
Good luck with your search…