The aim of this course is to help you recruit host families and secure high quality placements for our students.
You will learn how to build up a placement area, and to ensure that you are recruiting the right host families for our programme. The course will cover:
How to find and recruit host families for our students
Recruiting host families is an essential part of your role. Without good host families, we have nowhere for our students to live.
We work actively to recruit host families from head office. You can also do a lot to recruit host families in your local area.
In the first section, we’ll show you how to get the most out of the leads we send you from head office. Then we’ll look at what you can do to find host families yourself.
Dealing with the leads we send you from head office
We advertise for host families on Facebook and Google. Watch the video below to learn more about what happens to when we receive an application.
We’ll send you an email when we have a potential family in your area. Contact the family as soon as possible.
It’s important that you contact potential families within 48 hours. The quicker you contact them, the more likely you are to succesfully recruit them as a host family.
Video here - screencast
Move on to the next section to learn how to deal with the questions you'll get when you call a potential host family to follow up
It's a good idea to use an Excel worksheet to keep track of your leads. You can download a template here. Remember to save the file on your computer before you enter data!
Following up Host Family leads
- Call all your leads within 48 hours
- Talk to them about the hosting experience and start to form an impression of the family – do they seem genuinely interested in hosting foreign students?
- If they are serious and sound suitable, arrange to visit them
You can see hear how Julie deals with the most common questions about hosting in the video below
Video where Julie calls a HF
Answer the questions on the following pages to test your understanding of how to work with potential host families. Use the information you have received so far, as well as your own knowledge/ideas. Your answers will be sent to your training manager.
Why might a family be unsure if hosting a student is a good idea?
What arguments could you use to convince a potential host family that hosting is a good idea?
How could you assess whether a potential host family might be suitable when calling them?
Find potential host families yourself
Recruiting host families is one of the most important parts of your job as a Local Support Coordinator.
Word of mouth (telling people about our programme) can be an effective way of recruiting families, but you need to advertise for families in your local community as well.
You can order flyers and other marketing materials from our website. Login at www.interstudies.info. You can see a selection of our adverts above.
You should place flyers anywhere you think potential host families may see them, for example:
- School notice boards
- Local clubs/Socities (e.g. WI, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides etc.)
- Doctor/Dentist surgeries
- Community centres
- Charity shops
- Church notice boards
- Shop windows
- And anywhere else you can think of...
When you are contacted by potential host families the recruitment process is the same. Tell them about our programme and what hosting involves. You’ll also need to send them a link to the host family application form, which can be found on our website at www.interstudies.com
Activity: Advertising in your local area
List the places in your local community where you could place adverts. Include exact locations, and descriptions of who comes there.
You can also list websites or local newspapers / newsletters etc. which could be suitable for advertising for host families. Include descriptions, and prices for advertising.
Your list will be sent to your training manager
Finding the right host families
Now you know how to recruit host families, great!
But, we need to make sure that they are the right families for our programme. We are looking for families who will:
- Treat our students as family members
- Include the student in their day-to-day life
- Learn about the student’s culture – and teach the student about their culture
Watch the video below, where one of our most experienced LSCs will explain what kind of families we are looking for, and how you make sure you find the right families.
Video: Julie explains what we are looking for in a host family – why this is so important, and gives a basic intro to the idea of screening a HF.
The Screening Process
The screening process is the most important part of recruiting a host family. This is our quality control. This is where you can make sure that you find the right families for each of our students.
In this section of our training, we will make sure you know what kind of families you are looking for, and give you the tools to assess the families you visit, to ensure that they are suitable.
Here are some of the key qualities we are looking for in a potential host family.
The Screening Form
The screening form uses targeted questions to assess whether a potential family will provide what we are looking for. This is one of your most valuable tools when you are screening a host family. Watch the video below, where Julie will go through the screening form, and explain exactly what we are looking for.
Unless you are an estate agent, you’ve probably never assessed someone else’s home before, and the idea might be a bit daunting. In the next section, you can see Julie checking out a potential host family’s home, and interviewing the family.
Video: Screencast of the screening form
Now we know what kind of host families we are looking for, and how to fill out the screening from. Click to the next page to see Julie visiting a potential host family – and see how we put this into practice.
Visiting a family
Here are some practical things you need to remember when you visit a family
- Make sure you know who all the family members are
- Find a time when all the family members will be home. The student will have to live with all of the family – so you need to meet them all!
- If they’ve completed a host family application form, read it through. Read the student letter carefully – this will give you a good idea of the type of family they are
- Arrive in good time, so you can have a look round the area
- A camera (the one on your phone is probably OK)
- The host family handbook
- The host family introduction leaflet
- The host family screening form
- DBS forms for everyone in the household over the age of 18
- Paper and a pen/laptop/tablet to make notes
At the interview
When you visit a family, you need to look round their home, and talk to them to make sure that they are suitable. It’s up to you which order you do this in – but it can be a good idea to look round the home first, to break the ice.
Make sure the family is comfortable before you start the interview. Listen carefully to what they have to say, and avoid making on-the-spot judgements.
You can see Julie visiting a potential host family and looking round their home in the videos below. Pay attention to what we are looking for in the family home, and how Julie phrases questions to see if the family is suitable.
Video 4: Looking round the family home
Video 5: HF interview
- Make brief notes while you are with the family, and fill in the screening form later – focus on forming an impression of the family and making sure they understand what hosting involves
- Speak to everyone who lives in the family home – and find out how they all feel about the idea of hosting
- Go through the host family handbook with the family, and give them a copy
- If the family hasn’t already filled out the application form, then remind them to do so. Remember that the letter, pictures and information from the form will be forwarded to their student, who will be keen to learn as much about their family as possible
In the questions on the following pages you'll be asked to think about what you need to look for, and what questions you can ask to assess if a potential host family is suitable for the programme. Your answers will be sent to your training manager, who will be able to use them to help you prepare for the first time you screen a family.
When visiting a family, what should information should you find out about the local area?
What questions could you ask the family about the local area?
What should you look for in the host family home?
What should you look for in the the room that will be for the student?
How would you assess if the room is suitable for 1 or 2 students?
Interviewing the family
When you interview a family, it's important that you are able to assess whether they will be a suitable host. It's not possible to ask all questions directly.
In the following questions you will be asked to think about how you can phrase different questions to assess if a family is suitable.
What questions could you ask to assess whether the family will be able to adapt to living with an exchange student?
What questions could you ask to assess whether the family will treat the student as a member of the family, and as an equal to any of their own children?
What questions could you ask to assess whether the host family is primarily interested in hosting as an additional income?
How could you assess whether the family needs the extra income from hosting?
How could you assess whether the family would involve the student in their day to day family life?