How To: Housekeeper Interview Questions
Understanding expectations and finding the right fit…
A common mistake is to confuse a housekeeper with a cleaner; a cleaner will clean your house but a housekeeper is all encompassing. As the ‘keeper of the house’ the housekeeper does not just come in to clean, she maintains the house in an excellent state and focuses on details like fresh flowers and stocked fridges.
It is also here where the confusion starts with many people; what should my housekeeper be doing, what can and cannot I ask from them – and what expectations are realistic?
As professional recruiters we’ve vetted and hired countless housekeepers over the years. We know it’s not an easy task, but we hope our advice will help! Here is list of things to focus on during the interview process (and also for yourself to think about when creating the role).
So what are the 10 Most Important Interview Questions To Ask A Housekeeper?
- Discuss the exact job role. And be very clear about the tasks at hand – do you indeed need someone to mainly focus on the daily cleaning of the house, or is laundry, making the beds, and ironing also required?
- Laundry and clothing skills. If you would like the housekeeper to take care of laundry and clothing besides the cleaning of the house, ask about his/her experience with this. A great idea is giving them a couple of different pieces of garment of different material, and ask them how they would clean each particular piece. Also ask if they are skilled and comfortable with mending clothes when need be.
- Knowledge of Silver and other valuable materials. If you have any type of material in the house that needs special care, like woods, silver, brass and marble, ask the housekeeper about their experience with this. Have they cleaned these types of materials before? And if so, what products do they use and how do they treat the materials?
- Flexibility. Do you need your housekeeper on weekdays, evenings or weekends? Perhaps you would like the housekeeper to be able to come in every so often on a weekend, or stay later in the evening, because you might be stuck at work. It is important to talk through this and manage expectations accordingly.
- Cooking and food prep. This is again another task. Would you like your housekeeper to prepare dinner too – and would this be for you, the whole family or just for the children? Perhaps you would like the housekeeper to prepare breakfast or snacks whilst she is around? Ask on experience of this and what type of food she would be preparing. This gives you a good idea of her creativity and experience in the kitchen.
- Is your candidate fit and energetic? Housekeeping is a physically demanding job; it takes someone fit, and with a lot of energy, to carry out. The housekeeper might be dragging hoovers up and down stairs, lifting furniture and scrubbing floors. This can only be done properly if the person indeed has the energy and stamina to keep doing this every day, so definitely be mindful of this.
- Working around people/children in the house. Are you or your children in the house when the housekeeper is working there? Then definitely check – firstly if a DBS is in place – and secondly that the housekeeper is comfortable around children. Have they worked with/around children in previous roles, and would they be comfortable watching the children as and when needed?
- Types of Cleaning products. Could the housekeeper recommend organic cleaning products which will be more beneficial for the health of everybody living in the house? Nowadays more and more households use green/ organic cleaning products because they care about their health and understand that the chemicals in the products can do more harm than good.
- House management and running errands. Would you like the housekeeper to be in charge of grocery shopping/ordering shopping online and dealing with contractors? Make sure the candidate is a clear communicator and perhaps has done this in previous jobs. Do check the candidate is happy to take on more responsibilities like this.
- Silver service and dinner parties. Some housekeepers have Silver Service experience, and could be of great help either for more formal dinners with your family, or more extensive dinner parties. If you would indeed love this as part of the skillset – do check with the housekeeper they are okay with these added responsibilities and ask them to give you examples of previous experiences of this. If it is very important to you, you can even ask them to set the table for you so you can check their skills and knowledge around silver service etiquette.
Polo and Tweed is a professional domestic staffing agency. We have interviewed countless nannies, housekeepers, and nanny/housekeepers, so if you have questions or need help feel free to reach out to one of our professionals.