Au pair : Choosing an Agency

With so much choice of agency, it is a good idea to contact several agencies initially, in order to compare their services. If you want to find a childcare and nanny overseas agency in a specific city or area, it is possible to check online first.

After comparing agency terms, warranty period, what is included with their au pair  program, benefits for both au pairs and families, offered support , available families,  placement process, and fees it is advisable to choose just one agency with whom to register. If you are unhappy with their service for any reason, you should contact them and tell them that you are going to apply to another one. Sharon Legg, registered with several agencies at once and shared her feedback:

I learned my lesson the hard way. While I was looking for work in France, I used three different agencies simultaneously and it all became extremely confusing. I was receiving phone calls from families and, because their English was often poor and my French non existent, I found it difficult to establish which agency they were connected with. It all became very awkward indeed and I upset a lot of people!

If you apply too widely, it can work to your disadvantage. One Italian agency refused to try o place one girl whose application she had received from six different agents.

In the first instance check the website, then email, phone or write, briefly describing any relevant experience you might have, what kind of position and country you are seeking and requesting an application form and general information about the agency. You should be able to conclude a certain amount from the tone and style of the agency literature. If in any doubt about an agency, ask them to refer you to one or more au pairs on their books who may be willing to describe their experiences with the agency and with their partner agency in your destination country. The services offered abroad differ drastically.