What to Look For When Hiring a Housekeeper
When your schedule is hectic, your house is large, and things just always seem to get out of sorts, keeping up with the housework can be a near impossible task. For many homeowners in this situation, hiring a housekeeper has been a game-changing solution. Here’s what you need to know and what you should look for when seeking a private housekeeper for your home.
Defining the Role of a Housekeeper
A housekeeper is typically defined as an employee who comes to your house several times per week to perform regular cleaning and basic household duties throughout the home. Duties might include things like dusting, mopping, cleaning up toys, making beds and changing sheets, doing laundry, organizing things, doing dishes, etc. An executive housekeeper might also handle various additional tasks like grocery shopping, meal preparation, and some limited childcare duties.
A full-time housekeeper from Staffing at Tiffanie’s typically visits their employers’ home between three and six days per week for a total of 30-50 hours. If you would prefer to have service every day, we also offer candidates for live-in housekeeping positions.
Traits to Look For in a Candidate
Before you start interviewing candidates, make a list of the things you want to see in a housekeeper. The following are a few suggestions for characteristics you might look for when talking with candidates.
Previous Housekeeping Experience
A simple way to know if someone will have the skills and knowledge necessary to be a good housekeeper is to look for candidates who have prior experience in the field. Look for candidates who have experience cleaning similar households and/or types of belongings, and ask if you can contact their previous employer(s) for references.
Strong Work Ethic
A strong work ethic is key to housekeeping, as the job often requires quite a bit of “elbow grease.” Depending on how large your home is and what the housekeeping duties are, the candidate you choose should be able to thoroughly clean and maintain things without slacking, cutting corners, or losing motivation.
Good Communication Skills
Your housekeeper should be able to clearly and openly communicate with you, your family, your guests, and your other household staff. They should be comfortable telling you about work-related concerns, notable incidents, and upcoming requests for time off. They should also be able to keep other staff informed so that duties aren’t missed or overlapped.
Ability to Work with a Team
If you plan to have several in-home staff members, you’ll need to make sure your housekeeper can work as part of a cohesive team. If they can’t play well with others, they’re probably better off working in a household that does not have additional staff.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Homes aren’t businesses; they never close, and they certainly don’t always run like clockwork. Things are bound to change and shift in your household, which is why your housekeeper needs to be able to “roll with the punches.” Look for a flexible schedule and someone who adapts well to change.
Reliability and Trustworthiness
No one wants to pay for a housekeeper who doesn’t show up on time or do what they’re supposed to do. Look for signs that a candidate has been reliable in previous jobs and in their life. You also want to have someone who is trustworthy, as your housekeeper will have access to all your belongings on a regular basis.
For your convenience and security, Staffing at Tiffanie’s runs all candidates through thorough background checks, so you can rest assured that our housekeepers will not have a criminal history.
Good Organizational Skills
This is a key trait for a housekeeper, for fairly obvious reasons. Before you hire someone who says they’re good at cleaning and keeping house, make sure you know that their skills are really up to your expectations. Watch for signs of disorganization in your interview, as well. First impressions may not tell the whole story, but they can certainly give you a head-start.
Positive, Personable Nature
Although first impressions aren’t always an accurate picture of a person’s personality, there is something to be said for a candidate who has a friendly, positive, and personable affect during the interview. A resilient, friendly individual will be able to handle things calmly and with optimism—making them a good model for children in the home.
Questions to Ask During the Interview
To find a housekeeper with the desirable traits you’re looking for, you’ll need to ask the right questions. Below are a few examples of questions you might ask during the interview.
“What Do You Love Most About Working as a Housekeeper?”
This question gets to the core of why they do housekeeping work and what motivates them to do a good job. When a candidate really enjoys what they do, it’s more likely that they’ll commit greater effort and do a more thorough job. Asking them to describe what they love also gives you an opportunity to discover their strengths and personality traits.
“What Was Your Role in Previous Households? What Was Your Experience Like?”
In addition to knowing how many previous households a housekeeper has worked for, you’ll want to have some idea of what their daily duties were and what they took away from the experience. Were the tasks they performed similar to the ones you have in mind? Did they get along well with their employers? Good candidates are honest about any problems they had, while a catty, dismissive attitude toward past employers is a red flag.
“Have You Ever Had to Make a Big Decision or Resolve a Problem When the Homeowner Was Unavailable? What Did You Do?”
The candidate’s response to this question speaks to their ability to solve problems and exercise good judgment even when they can’t turn to you for input. A good answer might be something like “I would make a decision based on what I know of your feelings and the best interests of the family. If hired, I’d like to discuss some hypothetical situations with you so I have a reference in such cases.”
“How Would You Handle a Conflict with Other Household Staff Members?”
If you have multiple staff members in your home, your housekeeper will need to be able to work well with them and manage interpersonal conflicts. An example of a good answer here is “I would speak with the person directly about the issue and, if we couldn’t resolve it or find a compromise, I would escalate it to the household manager to determine what’s best for the team.”
Take the Guesswork Out of Hiring with Pre-Screened Candidates from Staffing at Tiffanie’s
At Staffing at Tiffanie’s, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality of home staff candidates to our clients. From housekeeping and nanny services to estate managers and personal chefs, we offer a carefully vetted selection of skilled, experienced professionals to meet your household needs.
To make it into our candidate pool, each applicant must undergo a variety of reviews and verifications, including a social security trace, criminal background investigation, and motor vehicle investigation. When you review one of our candidates, you’ll receive a full profile report for your reference.
We also make the hiring process easier than ever by selecting pre-screened applicants for your review, scheduling interviews, and supporting you throughout the process until you find the right match. It doesn’t end there, however—we’ll also maintain a working relationship with you and your staff throughout their employment to ensure the best possible experience.
To learn more about what we do, or to start looking for your own housekeeper, call us today at (866) 484-5550.