Inviting a new housekeeper into your personal space is a big deal. Finding a cleaner who you can trust and who meets all your needs, can be overwhelming. So, how do you avoid this stress? The folks at Housekeeper.com have put together the ultimate interview guide for you. These 36 questions will help you find the perfect house cleaner for your family!
Starting your housekeeper interview:
Before you start asking the big, complex questions, there are some important steps we recommend taking. Doing the following will help you and your potential housekeeper get comfortable and allow you to get to know one another before asking the tougher questions.
Set the stage: begin by introducing yourself. Let your new possible maid know a bit about you and your space. Let them know that they can take time to pause and think about an answer or ask you to repeat a question if they didn’t hear you the first time.
Help your cleaner feel comfortable: interviews are stressful and can be uncomfortable. Make every effort to be welcoming and positive as your potential housekeeper walks in. Give them a short tour of the space, offer them a glass of water, and ask them if they need to use the restroom.
Make sure your cleaner understands the role you’re hiring for: depending on the situation or the qualifications you are looking for in a cleaner, the person you’re interviewing may respond differently. Open the interview with a brief overview of the job description and your expectations.
Introductory Questions for Maids:
Every professional relationship is built on trust, and to trust someone, you have to know them. Spend some time at the start of your interview getting to know your candidate. Select a few of these interview questions to get to know your housekeeper candidate.
Goal: to gain an understanding of your housekeeping applicant.
Potential Red Flags: watch for evasiveness or overt negativity.
What are your most significant accomplishments as a housekeeper?
Tell me about yourself?
What are your hobbies and interests?
What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
What is your concept of a clean house?
How do you handle stress?
What motivates you, or makes you happy?
What are you looking for in a housekeeping job?
What makes you happy?
What are the most important qualities for you in a job?
What are you looking for in an employer?
General Housekeeping and Cleaning Skills:
The next section is dedicated to evaluating house cleaning skills and assessing housekeeping potential. Make sure to choose the questions you feel are most relevant to your own house!
Goal: ensure your home will be a good fit for the housekeeper
Potential Red Flags: watch for uncertainty - but make sure you’re flexible in what you’re asking!
Why did you choose to become a housekeeper?
What qualities do you have that make you a good housekeeper?
Do you charge by the hour, or by the square foot?
Do you supply your own cleaning supplies?
You have your own rags, glove, and mop?
What do you enjoy about looking after a home?
Can you tolerate heights?
How many years of experience do you have with house cleaning?
Do you have experience with outdoor cleaning?
Will you wash windows inside and/or out?
Can you and would you be willing to use power washing equipment for windows, etc.
Do you believe in the value of using green products?
Are you knowledgeable about the treatment of different countertops (marble, granite, etc.)
Are there particular cleaning products that you feel are superior and/or cost efficient?
What do you find the most challenging/interesting part of house cleaning?
Do you have any pet allergies?
Are you willing to work in a home with a dog and/or cat?
Are you willing to work in a home with a smoker?
Are you willing to work while the owners are home?
What are your expectations regarding the condition of the house when you arrive?
Can we leave dishes in the sink?
Can we leave toys on the floor?
Have you ever worked with children in the house?
Do you keep records of necessary tasks done daily, weekly, and monthly in each client's house.How do you prioritize your work?
Are you thorough in your cleaning?
Do you move furniture and objects when vacuuming and dusting?
Do you dust baseboards?
Do you wipe pictures and/or light fixtures?
Specific House Cleaning Skills:
Make sure you follow up by asking about the specific skills you’re looking for your new cleaner to have. Having prior experience with these skill is very valuable! Also, make sure to find out if their schedule will align with yours.
Goal: you want to make sure that every task you’re looking to get done will get done!
The broader the range of skills your housekeeper has, the easier your life will be, because they will be able to do more.
Potential Red Flags: in general, you should know what you need! If your housekeeper is actively learning new skills, that is likely a good sign. It means that if you need them to do something they’ve never worked on before, they could teach themselves.
When are you available for cleaning, and how often?
Are you willing to take out the trash?
Do you do laundry and iron?
Do you have any professional experience cleaning clothing?
Will you clean large appliances inside and out?
Do you know how to clean an oven?
Do you have experience cleaning walls or windows?
Would you be comfortable cleaning an attic?
Are there any parts of the kitchen you are unable to clean?
Are you comfortable cleaning every part of the bathroom?
Do you charge extra for bathrooms or bedrooms?
What was the last cleaning skill you learned?
Would you be able to feed pets?
Is there any skill you’re working on improving right now?
Consider asking some of these housekeeping questions to assess your cleaning candidate’s additional talents.
Goal: are there things you didn’t realize, but that your housekeeper can do?
Do you know how to make homemade cleaning products?
Do you consider yourself a physically strong person able to cope with the challenges of heavy cleaning?
Have you ever worked as a nanny before?
Are you able to cook occasional meals for kids?
Are you able to sing lullabies?
Are you comfortable reading bedtime stories?
If required, could you work evenings or weekends?
Do you have experience caring for or training a pets?
Employment History and Professional Goals:
Past work, and future plans, tell a lot about an individual. Ask your housekeeper candidate to share details from previous cleaning jobs, and what their goals are for their future.
Goal: you’re trying to understand if the applicant has a successful history and if they’ve learned from their mistakes.
Potential Red Flags: the applicant places a lot of blame on others and is not taking responsibility
Do you have a current housekeeping position?
If so, why do you want to leave?
If not, why did you leave your last job?
Describe your favourite housekeeping job, what made the experience positive?
Describe your least favourite cleaning job. Why was it unpleasant?
What are your expectations for your next position?
What are your long-range goals?
How long do you plan to work this job?
Where do you see yourself in 6 months? A year? Two years?
Are you willing to learn new skills to work this job?
It’s crucial that you and your potential hire have aligned expectations. At this point, if all the boxes have been checked, consider talking about salary and availability.
Goal: these questions help ensure you and your potential hire start on the right foot.
Potential Red Flags: ridiculous salary expectations, or a lack of references, might be cause for concern. However, some other countries place less emphasis on references than most North Americans do.
When would you be available to start a new position?
What salary are you seeking?
Can you provide two current references with phone numbers?
How do you feel about a trial period; how long should this be?
What hours do you expect to work each week or bi-weekly?
What are your holiday expectations?
Would you be willing to sign a contract?
Situational Caregiver Questions:
One of the most valuable ways you can assess a house cleaning candidate is to understand what they would do in a specific situation. Ask these questions to see how they would respond under pressure.
Goal: is this someone you can trust at home with your kids?
Potential Red Flags: panicked, or incoherent responses may be cause for concern.
It's 8 am and you're just arriving for work. You notice that the dog is missing when you enter the house. What do you do?
While cleaning the house, you hear the smoke alarm go off, and notice one of the kids left an oven element on. What do you do?
You're cleaning the bathroom with multiple supplies. You notice a toddler is crawling around the house. Is there anything to be done?
Tell me about a time you handled conflict.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake, how did you handle it?
Goal: give your house cleaner a chance to learn more about you
Do you have any questions for me?
Is there anything you feel you didn't get to mention earlier that you would like to share?
What would you like to say about yourself and this position to conclude this interview?
You made it! We hope you’ve found a good candidate. If not, search for others on Housekeeper.com
Editors note: this post was originally published on April 11, 2017, and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness