When nearly everyone you know hires someone to clean their home, having a total stranger sweeping the shelves containing your precious family photos and wiping down the medicine cabinets holding your prescriptions seems perfectly normal. It’s easy to forget just how intimate these professionals get with our homes. In fact, in order for them to do a thorough job, they almost have to have access to private areas of our houses, and rooms that contain things like personal documents and family heirlooms. Choosing a housekeeper isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. While thoroughly researching and interviewing housekeepers may be time-consuming, not doing so could mean you pay a high price later. Here is how to interview and hire a housekeeper you trust.
Ask for references
Don’t be shy about asking for references. If the person is insulted you ask, then that’s a clear sign that you probably shouldn’t hire them. Anyone with a good reputation will be glad to hand over references.
Ask how long they’ve been a housekeeper
Ideally, you want to hire someone who has been a housekeeper for at least a few years to ensure they have conducted themselves in a way that allowed them to stay in the industry. If they can work several years without any incident forcing them to quit, that’s a good sign. It’s also important that the number of years they say they’ve worked as a housekeeper corresponds with the timeframes they give you for past employers.
Do they mind if you’re home
Your housekeeper shouldn’t mind if you are home when they work. If the individual says something about being distracted when you’re home or needing to be alone to do a good job, that is a red flag. There’s no need for housekeepers to need the home to themselves to do their work.
Check their ratings
Check their rating with the Better Business Bureau or Yelp. Make sure they have plenty of reviews and good ones at that.
Request a trial period
It’s perfectly normal to request a paid trial period. During this time, you can see if they show up on time, do a thorough job, are respectful, don’t touch things they aren’t allowed to and so on.
Why did their last job end?
They aren’t required to tell you every little detail of why their last job ended, but it’s important that they don’t seem defensive, angry, or evasive in their answer.
Give them time to talk
Make sure you don’t do all of the talking. Ask some open-ended questions like, “Tell me about yourself.” Give them a chance to talk, freely, for a few minutes so you can get to know their personality.
Ask about their life outside of work
Do they have children? A spouse? Hobbies? Interests? These are other questions that can give you a sense of their values and level of responsibility they’re able to take on.
Ask if they have questions for you
Any housekeeper who cares about their job will have plenty of questions for you. They should want to know exactly what’s required of them if there is anything you like done a certain way, if you have pet peeves. They will be spending a lot of time in your house, so it’s only natural that they would have questions.
Run a background check
First, ask if the person you’re hiring doesn’t mind if you run a background check. If they rather you not, that’s a red flag. If they give you the green light, run a background check. There are several online agencies that will run one for you for a small fee.
Call those references
Call the references that the person gave you. These are great resources of information on what sort of employee the person will make. Also, many people list references, assuming you’ll never call those people (and hoping you don’t, because they won’t have good things to say).
Housekeepers get nearly free reign over our homes. Isn’t it important that we know as much as we can about them before hiring them?