Monday, May 3, 2010


I have a question for you...yes you. I'm putting together an interview form for house helpers and I'm wondering what you have or would ask prospective employees. Hm...that's less of a question and more of a statement but you get it, right? Please help me out! Thanks!


Z. Marie said...

I mentioned this on Nicole's blog, so you may already have seen my advice, but in case not:
Come up with a list of tasks you want done BEFORE you interview anyone. Ask whether they're willing/able to do everything on the list.
For example, in Port of Spain, the cleaning lady I ended up hiring couldn't iron. But I didn't realize that until it was too late. She was great, and it all worked out OK. But I probably wouldn't have hired her if I'd known about the hand problem that prevented her from ironing. (It wasn't her fault; I didn't ask initially.)

Sara said...

Ironing! My husband loves his stuff ironed and I hate doing it. Thanks Zoe, I hadn't thought of that yet. I have been putting together a To Do list to show them when they were here. I plan on asking them how long it takes for them to do stuff. Hopefully they're truthful.

Bryn said...

Make sure you have a set time in place (like 9-3, or something liek that). And ask her if she finishes early, what are some things she might "find" to do to take up the rest of the time. I've heard others say they wish they told their maid "if you don't show up more than twice without letting me know in advance you will no longer work for me."

Sara said...

Good ideas Bryn!

Anonymous said...

My biggest "irks" are ::

1. if you find a pile of things on the living room floor, would you put them AWAY, or make sure to clean around/under and leave the pile there.

If you want it put away, you're going to be irked if she leaves it ... and vice versa. I happen to want my piles LEFT and my housekeeper ALWAYS puts it away (in places the stuff doesnt belong!)

2. Ask HOW she cleans. If she is not used to (or won't) clean a floor the way you want/need it to be done, you're going to always butt heads (i.e. with a small one, do you want it simply rag mopped, or do you want it scrubbed with a sponge.

3. I agree with the other girls about the list of tasks you want done and on what basis (toilets everyday, but windows once a week, etc.)

4. It's easier to let up LATER and be strict early on. Much harder to try and get tough after they've already started working for you.

(i ramble!)

Sara said...

Windows! I forgot to put those on my list but wanted to, so thank you for the reminder, Naomi. Good advice, thank you!

BTW I think it's funny that we were reading and commenting on each other's blogs at the same time.

modestmuse said...

Make sure they're clear about letting you know if there is a problem; this may not be culturally comfortable for them. Or maybe make sure they're honest! Our (former) househelper broke a few things/ruined a couple things in the laundry and just put them away without telling us. I would have much preferred it brought to my attention than finding the problem when I needed the item!

Jill said...

I set the expectation as well about theft... that is, if they steal from me it's an immediate deal breaker. Period. End of story. I'll call the police and report you. Lots of times the maids don't realize that taking things here and there IS a big deal... and slowly but surely things can be lifted... food, change, personal items.

I also have lists - a list that can be checked off daily, weekly, and monthly. I also walked through the entire house and showed every single thing I wanted done. Anal retentively wanted done. If you want a copy of my list, let me know. I have it stuck to my fridge!

Be as specific as you can - they don't know what you want until you show them - and you'll both appreciate it later.

Sunny said...

I have yet to hire someone (even college educated) who understands fractions for cooking. If you can find someone who understands what 2/3 cup is and how to measure that, you have gold.