How to Interview Potential Housekeepers
You've figured out how much you should be paying for a housekeeper, now you're ready for interviews.
Once you've identified some candidates who look promising, your next step is to make sure they're a good fit for you, your family, and your home. In fact, this step is of the utmost importance. As such, it’s imperative that you know which questions are the right ones to ask when interviewing potential housekeepers. Remember, this is an individual or team of people you are going to trust with your home and all of its belongings. Communication is key. Asking the right questions will not only provide you with peace of mind, but also a cleaner house and a healthier relationship with your housecleaner.
Preparing for the Interview
- Think Ahead: Prepare a list of questions to ask and be upfront with your expectations.
- Do Your Research: If using a franchise or agency, check their rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as other online reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook.
- Create an Application: Provide a short application to learn more about the person’s background such as criminal history and education. Allow your candidate time to fill it out during the interview. A few points to consider including:
- Social Security number, driver's license number or ID card
- Full name and street address
- Documentation of legal permission to work in the U.S.
- Reference names and phone numbers
- Address, phone and email contact information
- Ask whether or not the candidate is bonded and insured
- Emergency contact name and address
What to Ask About When It Comes To...
- Their Experience: How long they have been in the cleaning business? How many houses have they cleaned? What services do they provide when cleaning?
- Your Expectations: Do you want the baseboards scrubbed every visit? Or the windows washed? Be upfront with your cleaning expectations. Not sure where to begin? We’ve rounded up the eight dirtiest places in your home. Other things to consider: How is their work ethic? Are they going to show up when they say they will? Ask them to cite specific examples to ensure you will find the perfect match.
- How They Take Direction: Do they take feedback well? How have they handled conflict with a customer? How do they approach cleaning? Listen to their responses to determine if they may be a good fit for you.
- Their Personality: Let them do some of the talking so you can get an idea of their personality and their communication skills. It’s important that you and your housekeeper are compatible, paving the way for clear communication.
- Their Background: Have them fill out the form you worked up. Can they provide at least three references? Be sure to get the full name and phone number for each reference so that you may call them.
After the Interview
- Contact Their References: Be diligent about your hire, since this is a stranger you are inviting into your home. Call each reference to learn more about your potential housekeeper’s background, work ethic and personality.
- Run a Background Check: For your safety, it’s important to run a background check on people you hire to work in your home. There are many agencies that will do this for a small fee. Read our Care.com Safety Tips for more information on how to request a background check.
- Do a Trial Period: If you are on the fence about a hire, request a trial period of two to three cleanings, so you have time to evaluate their skills over time and to make sure you have a compatible relationship.
- Be Upfront About the Job Details: When you think you've found the right person for the job, be very upfront about what you'll pay and what you expect of them. It is important to know ahead of time what cleaning tasks they dislike doing or will do at an extra cost. For example, some may change your sheets as part of their housekeeper duties or opt to do windows if you pay an additional fee.