AHN Guidelines for Interviewing Homestay Hosts

AHN Guidelines for Interviewing Homestay Hosts

Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates.

Document Outline:

This document is for use by a supervisor when conducting a home interview with a new host applicant or a follow-up interview with an existing host. It outlines the procedure that should be followed in order to ensure all hosts meet with supervisor’s expectations, and should be used with reference to the Selection Criteria for the Recruitment of Homestay Hosts.

Make an Appointment

As a supervisor you will be alerted when a host applicant is ready to schedule their interview, which will mean that they have already completed their training, passed their assessment and are otherwise ready to begin hosting. The first thing to do is to organise a convenient time to schedule an appointment. This can be done using the system or by telephone at the supervisor’s discretion. The following is the checklist for making an appointment.

  • contact the host and establish a convenient time when the family can all be together for between thirty minutes and one hour
  • advise the host of the reason for the interview (i.e. part of their application) and let them know what will be covered in the interview
  1. check the accommodation is appropriate
  2. check the accommodation is safe and meets building regulations
  3. verify the host Profile
  4. verify the host meets with the criteria
  • explain that the AHN community selects its hosts as per the AHN Host Selection Critieria
  • explain that you are not looking for a particular type of family – the AHN community needs many different types of families and all are assessed equally as to their suitability

Prepare for the Interview

Before the interview can be conducted you must first ensure that you are prepared and have all the relevant information printed out and filed to take with you. This should include:

  • Interview Checklist relevant for your office
  • print out of this host’s Profile
  • print out of this host’s Assessment

By the time of the interview you should already have an understanding of the host’s Profile. The checklist for any new host house inspection can be customised with any further questions specific to your needs. MAKE SURE THE HOST SEES THE CHECKLIST BEFORE THE INTERVIEW.

Additionally, you will need to be familiar with all related documentation and be able to discuss this with the host and be able to answer questions. You may also wish to take a copy of the following documentation with you for reference:

  • AHN Host Agreement
  • AHN Code of Ethics and Best Practice Policy

Note: The AHN Host Agreement can be reviewed during the House Inspection and can also assist with the answering of any questions. AHN Host Managers should not feel pressured to reveal whether the interview is successful at its completion.

It is best practice to have two people conducting any house inspection for multiple reasons:

  • one driver, one navigator (or perhaps invest in a car navigator confirmation of suitability of the host
  • general safety issues

Finally, make sure you check your journey to the house so you don’t get lost and always carry a mobile telephone and the host applicant’s telephone number for general contact.

Dynamics of Interviewing

During the interview you should take particular care when filling out the host Interview Checklist to ensure that all fields are completed accurately. You should also pay particular attention to the Selection Criteria for the Recruitment of Homestay Hosts, but always remember that the contents of your file should be kept private unless you decide to share relevant documentation. This is at the supervisor’s discretion.

The exact format and order of the interview is also at the supervisor’s discretion provided all fields are completed on the interview checklist. The following are some general guidelines for conducting the interview:

  • interview the whole family if at all possible
  • help the family to feel relaxed by adopting a friendly, relaxed attitude yourself while remaining professional
  • note the group dynamics and the way in which people interact
  • stay focused and direct the interview according to your schedule and aims. A directed interview will give the most information
  • don’t develop an authoritarian attitude and avoid judgmental responses
  • discuss confidentiality and that all personal information entered on to the system will remain private and is protected and encrypted
  • an interview should be more than just a question and answer session, it should be a friendly, professional conversation and an exchange of information
  • establish a good rapport before discussing sensitive issues, begin on safe topics
  • if the host Profile does not already include photographs, seek permission to take a photograph of the family together


The following are some recommended techniques to utilise during the interview process:

  • historical questions are good – tell me about a time when
  • descriptive questions – what is it about hosting that you think you will like … discuss the host’s Assessment and any incorrect answers
  • discuss cultural differences
  • summarise the responses back to the family so they can correct or add to the question
  • ask for examples


The following are some relevant topics to assist with conversation during the interview.

  • sport interests
  • weekend activities
  • activities with extended family holidays
  • travel

Close the Interview

  • thank families for their time and let them know that they may not have a guestplaced with them if one cannot be found to be successfully placed in their home
  • advise the family that you will be in touch to confirm their acceptance to your program
  • leave the interview on a positive note with all paperwork completed

Reviewed March 2022