Au pair screening
Old School Cool commenced as a result of our immense concern for the well being of children and families with whom unscreened au pairs were being placed. Thus, our screening process is the fundamental cornerstone of our approach, one which you can be assured we take VERY seriously!
Most agencies claim to screen their candidates however in our experience as au pairs, we often found that this was not the case. Even subsequent to our working as au pairs, it has been a phenomenal experience seeing how many au pairs are shocked at the fact that we do in fact follow through on their reference checks a first for many of them in their dealings with agencies.
Our registration process is relatively simple, yet comprehensive. To begin with, each au pair completes an Au Pair Attributes form (our registration form to be completed online).The completion of this form gives us an indication of all the particulars of an au pair, including the contact details of all their referees.
Whilst validating references telephonically is great, an updated hard copy reference, obtained at the time of interview, is of far more value. Thus, each referee listed by an au pair, will be contacted and requested to send through validation of the specific au pair’s employment, as well as a description of that au pair. In this way, we ensure that as far as we possibly can, we verify all references, and maintain a transparent means of conducting this process (as our clients you will be sent copies of all these references and will not be required to merely take our word for it).
Those au pairs whose Au Pair Attributes forms, as well as references, indicate suitability to au pairing, are invited for personal interviews. Those candidates who make it past the interview stage are sent for practical evaluation in order to ascertain and affirm their suitability for and ability to work with children.
We place great importance on the practical evaluation element of our screening process. It is only through this element that we are able to aptly gauge whether an au pair is able to work with children. It also provides us with one standard of measure on which to grade each candidate. In order to facilitate this practical element, we have affiliated ourselves with two wonderful non-profit organizations.
The first, Magical Moments, is a charity aimed at creating Magical Moments and Extra-ordinary days for abandoned, abused, neglected, orphaned, underprivileged and vulnerable children in the greater Johannesburg area. Au pairs are able to attend their weekly events and assist with all child related needs during these times. It is a requirement (at least for a pass) that the au pair really get involved with the children and assist with the entirety of the event whether it be wiping away tears, or dishing out hugs, or merely refilling cups, each au pair is required to fully participate in the goings on in order to receive his/her wings.
We are also affiliated with the Embark Foundation which endeavours, amongst other things, to create a safe and loving environment for HIV/abandoned babies until they are either adopted or die of related diseases; to establish projects that support less fortunate children by meeting their nutritional, educational and recreational needs and to offer support through building of relationships that imparts energy and vitality into people. Au pairs are sent to the Florida Baby Home which falls under the auspices of Umephi, to assist with day to day childcare related activities from feeding to bathing, stimulating to nurturing; really anything required by their dedicated staff! The au pair becomes an extra pair of hands within these homes during their stints there. This is a very real form of experience for these au pairs, as these homes are just like family homes just with many more bodies!!!
Each prospective au pair is required to partake in a number of practical hours at each charity (dependant on her experience � the less experience the au pair has, the more hours he/she must partake in). During these practical hours, the au pair demonstrates her abilities with children by partaking in and assisting with all childcare activities. The au pair is then strictly assessed by one trusted evaluator within each charity creating an equal level of comparison for us to judge each candidate by.
Practical evaluations are essential for a number of reasons. First, and foremost, they facilitate a good means of assessing an au pair’s hands-on ability with and affinity for children. However, these evaluations go further than this. They allow us to assess whether an au pair is able to be punctual consistently (it is easy to arrive for a once off interview on time, however returning to subsequent events allows us to really test an au pair’s punctuality) as well as to assess the way in which an au pair deals with superiors, criticism and praise. It also facilitates a safe place in which inexperienced, yet eager and willing, au pairs can gain valuable experience. Last, but definitely not least, it provides a means through which Old School Cool can give back to the community!
Upon successful completion of their practical evaluation, we are confident not only in the au pair’s character suitability, but also their practical abilities. Whilst interviews and referees may paint a beautiful picture of someone, practical evaluations paint a realistic one!
NO person who fails their practical exposure will be recommended to a family or qualify as a Cool Carer, even if their references are great. However, those special people who complete their practical experience will be inducted as Super Cool Au Pairs, and Old School Cool will commence work at finding the perfect family for them to join!