Interviewing a maid is one of the most critical job in your search for a trustworthy and also capable maid.
In the interview, you will certainly have the ability to evaluate the maid’s communication skills and also motivation. This step of the hiring process is hard to contract out as it all depends on how you hit it off with the candidate as well as your instinct.
We advise you to personally interview all shortlisted candidates face-to-face or using a video call. By doing this you can assess the candidate’s body language in addition to her personality. A candidate may look excellent on her resume but might turn out to be a poor match for your family. On top of that, a candidate with much less experience might not be able to react correctly or fast enough during different situations which will occur during work, in contrast to the candidate with years of experience under her belt. As such, it is important to prepare and ask various situational questions to test the candidates and see which of the candidates is suitable for you.
Questions To Ask When Interviewing A Maid
It might be easier to ask as many questions as possible during interviewing a maid, however the responses may overwhelm you, which will certainly make it hard to keep in mind all the details.
A checklist can assist you with this, yet likewise targeted clear interview questions will make the selection process much simpler. It may be challenging to recall all the questions that you wished to ask throughout the interview, which is why we advise you to print your checklist of questions.
Why do you want to work in Singapore?
If she used to work in Singapore, find out if she has completed all her contracts and the circumstances that caused her to stop working for her previous employers. If she has not completed any contract, you will have to dig deeper to understand why she left her previous jobs, see if the reasons are legitimate. She might be hard to get along or not committed to work for the long haul.
How tall and heavy are you?
This is one of the most important information that you will need consider when employing a maid. This is even more so if you are hiring her to be a caregiver for a family member, her weight and height will indicate if she is able to carry the person or move the person from the bed to commode or wheelchair.
Tell me more about your family?
You are trying to find out if anyone is relying on her to send money home, more often than not, maids who have family members depending on them for income are more inclined to complete their contract as they are looking at long-term job security.
Their family background will also allow you to size them up in terms of their childcare or eldercare experience. Some are even the designated cook for their families, which would indicate that they are very comfortable in the kitchen and have certain culinary skills.
If you do come to Singapore, who will be helping you to take care of your children/elderly parents?
This will let you know if she is mentally prepared to work overseas as all the necessary preparations are made. It can be difficult for some candidates to leave their young children behind especially if they are 1-3 years old and not independent enough. You would like to ensure that she is emotionally ready to work overseas for 2 or more years.
Where is your hometown and how is it like?
Perhaps she stays in a remote village, if this is her first time working as a domestic helper ask her if she knows how to operate a vacuum cleaner or washing machine. Candidates who stay near or in cities usually will have an easier time integrating into life in Singapore, especially if they are going overseas to work for the first time.
Past Employment Questions
Tell me more about your last employer? How many family members? What are your responsibilities?
Check if the scope of work and family make-up is similar to yours. Handling a household with 5 members is very different from handling a household with only 2 members.
How big is the house? Are you the only maid?
If there is another maid, is there any aspect of the household chores that she is not required to do? This will give you an indication that she might not be proficient in that specific area.
Did you follow a schedule set by the employer or do you plan the day’s activities yourself?
This will give you a sense of whether or not she is independent.
How does your daily schedule looks like?
This will indicate the amount of workload she is used too especially if she has worked with her previous employer for a long period of time.
How long did you work for the employer? Why did you leave?
Her answer will give you some insight into what she is looking for and can help you decide if she is a good match for your family.
If you drop raw food on the table, how would you clean it?
This will give you insight into her basic food hygiene standards.
How often do you do the laundry?
This is a good indicator of her hygiene standards.
How did you help your previous employer do their laundry?
This will give you an idea of how she has been doing laundry up to this point. Families have different needs and requirements, so some prefer hand washing while others rely only on machines. Some hang their clothes outside to dry, and others use a dryer- knowing whether she’s capable of handling your needs is easy when you know that she follows a system or process about doing the laundry!
How would you wash the toilet?
This will let you know if she knows how to wash the toilet in the correct way using the correct tools.
What is your signature dish? Describe how you cook it.
In order to test her knowledge of cooking, we need to know if she can describe the steps in detail. It doesn’t matter what food it is as long as she has the skills.
Would you be to go to the supermarket or wet market and buy items based on a list that is provided?
If your helper will be doing any shopping, you’ll need to find out if they have experience with buying products at the supermarket or wet market.
If the recipe was for 2 persons and you were cooking for 4, how would you adjust the recipe?
Some candidates may have completed high school, but they are still not able to do simple Math. This will judge her math capabilities.
How do you learn new dishes?
This question will let you know if she has the passion for cooking and how she learn to cook new dishes. She might be a visual person and prefer to learn through Youtube videos or she prefer to learn new dishes through recipe books. If you want her to learn new dishes, you will need to provide her with the appropriate resource.
Do you know how to cook curry/chicken rice? If so, how would you cook?
This is a common question by employers to test culinary skills of helpers. The simple way is to use sachet from supermarket, the more authentic way is to cook from scratch using raw ingredients.
If I ask you to plan the meals for my family for the entire week will you be able to do so?
This is a good way to test her confidence in her cooking skills and her repertoire of dishes.
Do you have experience with a newborn baby?
This will let you know if she has the skillset and patience to take care of a newborn.
Do you have experience burping a baby? If so, can you describe how would you help the baby burp.
This will show you if the helper has the correct technique to help the baby burp. A helper with babycare experience will definitely be able to do this correctly.
What do you do if the baby does not stop crying?
If she has experience with babies, then she might be able to come up with a few things that make a baby cry. She should at least be able to think of checking the diaper, feeding the baby or rocking/swaying/singing to the baby.
If the baby can’t sleep at night, what are some of the methods you use to get him to fall asleep?
Likewise, if she has experience with babies, she will be able to suggest several ways to get the baby to sleep. Swaddling, gentle massage, make the baby is not overheating are common ways to help the baby sleep.
How do you change a diaper?
This will give you a good indication if she is changing the diapars and disposing them in the correct way.
Do you know how to make baby food? What are some things you have made.
If the candidate knows how to make baby food, you will save you the hassle of teaching her.
You realised you left the baby’s bottle on the counter during her 2 hours nap, what will you do?
This will tell you a lot about her hygiene standards.
Do you have any experience taking care of children?
Here you will want the candidate to elaborate more about her experience taking care of children. Did she manage the children herself or did she have help from the employer? You will like to find out how actively was she involved or at what capacity was she involved in taking care of the children. Some maids read stories to children before bed, some do not engage much with the children and will only prepare their meals and help them to clean up. Getting a full picture will allow you to decide if the candidate is the one you are looking for.
What are some activities that you do with the children?
Like other questions, ask the candidate to go through the activities as detailed as possible. This will let you know how she engage the children and if she has the patience to deal with young children.
Have you packed a school lunch before? What do you normally pack?
This will give you a good idea of the type of food she will prepare and if you need to tweak the type of food she packs to fit your requirements.
If you were watching my child and he burned himself on a hot kettle on the stove, what would you do?
These types of situational questions are good for determining her ability to think on the spot and getting a sense of her common sense.
If my children were fighting and not listening to you, what would your approach be?
This will give you an idea of whether she has cared for children before, and her answer should tell you how she feels about discipline.
Do you have any experience taking care of an elderly? What are some of the duties you had to perform?
This lets you know her ability to take care of elderly and if she has the specific skillset required. For example, stoma care, operate home dialysis, handling dementia elderly, etc.
What are some ways for dealing with an elderly person who is being nasty to you?
You want to see if she do not take things personally and mature enough to let things slide. Otherwise, the maid will take things personally and quit or even escalate to elder abuse.
Do you have experience changing a bed pan, adult diapers or pushing a wheelchair?
If the candidates have done these before, she knows what to expect and the probability of her quitting is less. Someone who is doing this for the first time might not be mentally prepared for the work required.
Do you have experience giving medicine on a schedule?
It is important to have a helper who can handle your medications responsibly. If she will be giving you medication, it’s also very important that she knows how to keep track by writing it down or having some sort of system in place that minimises errors. She needs to know how to measure properly as well and cut pills if this becomes necessary.
What will you do if the elderly makes you really angry?
You will want someone who can deal with the frustration of your loved one in a mature, non-confrontational manner so as not to cause them any emotional or physical harm.
Keep in mind that the candidate needs to determine whether she wants to take up your job. Do not forget to smile and to display your finest side, while also act appropriately.
Give the candidate a taste of life working for you, you can present your way of living, your children and/or pets to them as well as going through the scope of work the maid will be responsible for. If the candidate has any type of questions for you, encourage her to ask and clarify all doubts.
Make sure to tell them if you are prepared to pay bonuses or even pay for additional plane tickets home. This is the time where you can present your own expectations as well as talk about the job hours, days off, health insurance and so on.
Always remember that good candidates will be snatched up quickly. A good tactic is to arrange mutiple interviews with different maids of similar experience and capabilites at one go. This will allow you to compare the candidates and also give you the confidence to put up a job offer once you come across a good maid. You can also request for another interview with the potential candidate a day later to iron out any further details or get to know her better before offering her the job.