The matching process is probably the hardest part before you can board your plane, so listen up! As soon as you’ve submitted your online application, you will hear from the agency not long after. It is sent to the Boston office (if you chose Cultural Care like me) where they will read through it and decide if you are accepted. You can read more about the application process here and about how you decide which agency here. As soon as they’ve accepted you, you will be able to log into your new account if you follow this link. You will have access to this website even during the year in the U.S. and here you will see your family matches! You will also receive a package from Cultural Care with information, probably a some forms and a few documents, but also “My Au Pair Travel Kit”. This book holds a lot of information and exercises for your pre-departure training. Haven’t you already submitted your health and criminal record, do this now, because after saying yes to the family you will have your hands full!
You can only have one match at a time, while families can have multiples. To get a new match, that means either you or the host family has to remove the other from the page. Remember that this is a job application and that you have to be active and responsive during this process. That means checking your email and online account multiple times a day to make sure you notice a new match. There were times when I didn’t get a mail about my new match until two days after I saw it. And the same thing goes for the matches. It IS normal if you don’t get a match for a whole week or two. One week I would get 3 matches and I had a two week gap between two other matches.
During this time, you will also be able to upload a au pair video. 70% of all host families choose an au pair with a video, which means having one is a big perk! So even if you’re shy and hate being in front of the camera, put yourself out there and show them that you wan this! It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood-creation, it is enough that you show who you are. You will also have to do the MyAuPairCourses before you go to New York, so start with them as soon as possible. It will show your progression when you do them and is used combined with your “My Au Pair Travel Kit”.
So, now that you’ve uploaded your video and you’ve got an email from your first family, it comes to you to impress them during your meeting at (most likely) Skype. You will decide a time and remember that being flexible is the key! Prepare questions you’d like to ask them and answers to questions that they might be asking you. Maybe you both feel like this is the one, or you’ll let each other go and move on to another. However, saying yes is hard. So when you get there, just remember these questions:
- Could you live with them for a whole year?
- Do you have any doubts? Then ask about it!
- Do you have similar interests?
- Do you have the same expectations?
- Do you have the right experience and competence needed?
Tips and tricks:
- Smile and show the family that you’re excited when talking to them via Skype. That gives them a positive feel of you.
- Be polite and don’t ask the questions about car access outside work hours or internet access until you have asked about the children. The family wants to find an au pair, not someone who only thinks of themselves.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for time to think or for another meeting! Just make sure they know that you want to make a mature choice.
- Don’t turn down a family based on location. You could get a family in your dream state, but they could also be a horrible match for you.
- Think 2 out of 3! Location, family and perks and choose two of them. You can rarely have it all so you have to put your priorities straight.
- Be creative while making your au pair video! Show them your strengths and what makes you special.
- Take responsibility! Check your email, even the trash inbox, daily!
- Put yourself out there and tell the family that you like them.
- Do the MyAuPairCourses in your own speed. Don’t rush, but don’t take too long!
But as I said, it’ll be hard. Really hard and you’ll doubt your choice. But you’ll make it one day and that will be the beginning of your journey!
Any questions or things I should add? Please comment below!