Other Articles from Patricia Wanjala
Ask a Mum: Househelp Interview Questions
Q: Please give me some tips on what to ask a potential Househelp during an interview. How will I know if someone is lying or telling the truth? And once she starts work, what can I do to make it work so that she can stay?
Carol, 35, mother of one advises: During an interview, I ask the normal questions about her background, experience, and if she is able to work with children. I also inquire about her level of education, basic knowledge of cooking and cleaning, and employer references.
Sometimes the candidate will lie but If I interview a house-help today, I always give two days before I actually hire her.
I ask some minor questions very casually then on the third day when we meet again, I ask those same questions to see if there is any inconsistency. This usually works. I ask about future goals to detect if this person is focused on working for me, or if they are just using this job as a temporary stepping-stone before they move on.
Even if I do hire someone, within the first two weeks I’ll hover around and ask the same things.
To ensure long-term retention of a good employee, I set up my rules and I look out for her well-being by paying her well. This is vital especially because I am leaving her with the child. I avoid being too close and limit chit-chat to pleasantries and generalities. Be sure to define your space by your actions so she will respect my boundaries. It is important not to get into any personal conversations with her and I make it clear that I don’t want to hear about the neighbour or anything else that is not my business.
In terms of duties, list the jobs you want to be done but also give her leeway to arrange her own schedule on a weekly basis.
I check every so often to make sure my list is being followed and remind her when there is laxity. During special occasions or stellar performance, I also give gifts (monetary and otherwise) as gratuity and incentives.