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How should I structure a domestic helper interview?

When interviewing a potential domestic helper, we recommend you structure your interview in five parts. The questions you ask should help you figure out if the applicant is a good personality fit with your family.

Part 1: Situational questions

It is a good idea to find out how the applicants will react in different scenarios. The goal of this exercise is to improve your understanding of their personality and how they problem solve.

Remember personality and problem solving are not things which can be easily be taught or learned. We like to do this by asking ‘situational questions.’ We’ve included some examples below:

  • You accidentally drop a plate. What would you do?
  • You seriously cut yourself with a knife. What would you do?
  • If a child uses abusive words with you, what would you do?
  • Imagine you are home alone and a workman rings the doorbell. Your employer didn’t tell you anyone was coming. What do you do?
  • What is the first thing you should do before you cook any meal?
  • The children are arguing with one another over a toy, how do you handle the situation?
  • How would you put a baby to sleep? What if she cries for a long time?

Part 2: Work experience questions

Next, you should try to understand the domestic helper’s previous work experience. Try to figure out the management style of the previous employer. Think about how this differs to your own style and whether or not the domestic helper worked well with this. Some example questions might be:

  • Did she manage her own tasks?
  • Did she work to a set schedule?
  • Ask for her to explain her approximate schedule.
  • Did she cook using recipes or was she shown how to prepare dishes?
  • Did she have any problems with her previous employers? How did she resolve these conflicts?

Part 3: Your schedule

  • Go over your basic weekly schedule and the tasks you expect a domestic helper to manage.
  • Make sure to clarify the anticipated rest day. How flexible is she to changing it if needed?
  • Does she know when she would be taking her annual leave?

Part 4: Other important discussion items

  • Will you give a food allowance or will you provide food for your helper?
  • Go over any specific important home rules you have.

Part 5: Applicant’s questions

The domestic helper may have questions for you. Make sure you allow some time for her to ask questions and offer her the opportunity to ask. This will help her determine if she is a good fit with your family.

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Last updated on May 26th, 2020