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The market is flooded with au pair agencies, all offering the same thing- screened au pairs. How do you know which one is the best? The people that look after your children need to be screened more thoroughly than most other employees, and agencies give parents the peace of mind that all the candidates sent to them have been checked and double checked THOROUGHLY. You put complete trust in them. You do however still need to make sure you have chosen to go with an agency acting in integrity and looking out for your child’s best interest. Here are some things you must check with the agency you choose before going ahead with them

1. Does the agency meet the candidates face to face for an interview?

This is so important. Chatting to someone over the phone, or via Skype, is a last resort. If you are going to have someone look after your child, wouldn’t you want to meet them in person first? Taking a personal, invested interest by taking the time to meet the candidate in person, is a sure sign that this agency knows what they are doing and is willing to go the extra mile for their clients. Telephonic and WhatsApp interviews (yes, this happens) just does not give you the full impression of a person. So ask your agency if they have actually met their candidates, you will be surprised to learn that many have not.

2. Do they do a criminal background check?

If the agency doesn’t meet the candidate face to face, then it is unlikely they do a criminal check as the candidate needs to be there in person to capture fingerprints (there are sometimes ways around this, but not often). Knowing the criminal background of a person who will be looking after your child, completely unsupervised, is a no brainer.

3. Do they offer refunds?

Ask about the refund policy. Many parents unwittingly sign into agreements with agencies who take no responsibility if the candidate they have placed turns out to be anything but what they put forward in their CV. Refunds can be tricky, but need to be available in to the parents in the appropriate situations.

4. How long is their replacement guarantee?

Anything less than a 3-month replacement guarantee is too short. An Agency needs to be able to stand behind the candidates they place, a short replacement guarantee is a sign the agency is covering their tracks for early termination.

Click here to view the screening process of a reputable agency in Johannesburg

All in all, there are many highly reputable au pair agencies out there, and you will find them with no problem if they are able to answer the above questions favourably. Happy hunting parents!