One of the crucial steps before hiring a domestic worker in Hong Kong, particularly those coming from foreign countries, is to seup an interview. By going face to face, whether in person or through video interaction, helps both parties gauge each other and provide hints, whether by instinct or psychological, whether they are a good fit or not.
Before conducting the interview, here are the things employers ought to do:
1) Set up a conducive interview venue.
Interviews are supposed to be private, with quiet surrounding and an environment that is free from distractions: turn off television, mute mobile phones and notify everyone nearby that you need privacy and tone voices down. Some interviews are done for the sake of convenience — at McDonald’s or agency office premises where noise can be too much for to concentrate. If possible, avoid such places; investing on time and a proper venue to get the right candidate on board for the next two years or more can be a rewarding experience.
2) Allocate quality time for interviews.
If your interviews include multiple candidates, set aside quality time — sufficient for each of them — to do the interview. Each of these candidates has her own personality, strengths and weaknesses that need to be examined thoroughly. Also set aside time for yourself to evaluate their skills, experiences and characters. It might be counterproductive to get as many answers as possible in a day, but fail to digest them properly and end up deciding based on anecdotal evidence and trivial information.
3) Take down notes.
Grab a notebook and pen, prepare your list of questions to ask before sitting down with a candidate. If you don’t have one yet, consider this list to start with — but consider picking only the important ones that require brief, concise answers. With every question you answer, keep track not only of candidate’s answers but how they answer your questions. Are they pragmatic and straightforward or prefer to elaborate things? This could boil down to how they respond to a simple or complicated tasks at home such as what to cook for dinner, when to pickup the kids or what to pack for an out of town trip.
4) Share background information and prepare a description of the job.
Interviews are supposed to be two-way interactions. While employers need to know as much information about the candidate as possible, domestic helper candidates also need to know the background of their would-be bosses and types of work they need to perform. Are both employers working full-time? Do they have kids, pets or cars their would be maids need to look after? Does the job include merely looking after young children or household work such as cooking and laundry or both? Will they employ only one helper or merely adding one to an existing employee? Providing such information also helps applicants gauge how they fit in.
5) Ask for candidates’ expectations.
While you set expectations for them to fulfill, helpers should also be heard of what they expect from your family: are you an organized family beset with hectic schedules or laid back family that only require basic things to get done? Are you obsessive compulsive with cleanliness or fine with it as long as the children’s well-being are attended first? Set them assurances of financial stability, following labor laws regarding minimum wage, insurance and respect for days off.
6) Set a professional tone.
Once you meet the candidate, show a warm disposition towards her. Smile, greet and offer them a seat. Even though right from the start, the candidate is clearly not going to be shortlisted, you still need to be at best form. Showing courtesy and respect can go a long way — including getting good referral feedback from an unfit candidate. If you have decided on whom to employ, it helps to offer good gesture to others — expressing regret they were not chosen. Who knows, if the chosen candidate opts to stay with her current employer, the one next in line is reassured that the goodwill you have shown earlier provides her with good vibes.
Domestic work is not an easy task so employers should value their helpers as much as anyone at home. Therefore at the start of the hiring process, such connection between employer and helper must be established to create a great working relationship. Remember that you are opening your home to this person to help get things in order and you are hiring not only for yourself but also for your family. Failure to go through the process well could spell misery to both parties.