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The Ultimate Maid Interview Questions Guide for Families and Employers

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In hiring a domestic helper, you must understand how crucial the interview phase is. Your final choice can change your life. But what if you let go of someone who would have been a perfect fit for your household and family members because you did not prepare the right interview questions?

How important is it to come up with good interview questions for domestic helpers vying for a position in your household?

Let’s help you prepare for a domestic helper interview by formulating the right interview questions. This guide aims to make the selection process easier for potential employers and families.

Besides, you can only be a good employer when you have a good domestic helper under your wing. Consider this a handy companion in choosing the right domestic helper you can trust with household chores, watch your baby sleep, or care for your elderly parents.

And the only way to spot a good maid is by learning the most you can about them during the interview. So let this provide a helpful list of what you need to prepare for before coming face to face personally or via a video call with the applicants.

Preparing for a Domestic Helper Interview

Employers can develop their interview questions based on their requirements and expectations. If you are unsure where to begin, take a quick look at the job postings made by current and previous employers.

This could provide insights into other employers in a similar situation and the skills they seek in a potential domestic helper and gauge the expected salary.

You must also choose your primary motivation for employing a maid. Do you need someone to watch a newborn baby and prepare baby food while you’re at work? Do you need someone in charge of the housekeeping duties? Or are you after someone to help you with the work schedule around the house, so you can manage more spare time for yourself, have a healthy work-life balance, or finally return to a job?

After you have thought about why you’re hiring, you must sit down in creating maid interview questions. Spend time polishing the interview questions. Your goal is to find the most efficient domestic helper who can get along with everybody living in the house. Preparing for the interview will help you avoid different maid problems you may encounter in the future.

Location of the Interview

Prepare for when and where you will meet with the domestic helper applying for the job. Choose a location where you feel at ease and won’t get distracted by an accidental drop of toys, a toddler who won’t stop crying, or a server reminding you to leave the venue after an hour.

On the other hand, if you conduct the interview over the phone or through a video chat, check your connection and make sure you’re someplace where there won’t be sudden noises or people barging in.

Schedule of the Interview

If the domestic helper you’re interviewing has a current employer and is applying as a transfer maid, expect you can only meet up with them on weekends, which coincide with their rest days. While it may be tempting to meet as many applicants as you can in a single day, make sure you give each domestic helper enough time so you can get to know them well.

Avoid any rush, as it can lead to missing the red or green flags about the person you’re interviewing. Give enough time for each interview, and speak with at least a few candidates so you have a basis for comparison.

Do not rush but avoid unnecessary lingering. It is best to find a reasonable time frame before others because other employers might beat you into hiring the best domestic helpers.

Checklist for a Good Interview

Keep notes of your interview questions and the characteristics you’re looking for. Your list can be helpful if you are interviewing a large number of applicants. It will make it easier for you to remember key information from your encounter. Additionally, you’ll be able to use it to quickly summarize the information to make an educated choice in choosing shortlisted candidates.

Additionally, request the domestic helper to bring her passport, prior work contracts, reference letters, and training certificates (if applicable) during the interview. These documents will make it easier for you to verify the maid’s work history.

What to Ask During the Job Interview?

Here are some job interview questions you can throw to potential maid candidates. They are categorized respectively to make it easier for you to remember and ensure you’ve covered everything you want about them.

Icebreaker Questions

These are the questions you ask to make the other person feel comfortable about you. This will make it easier for them to open up.

Icebreaker questions aim to break the wall of anonymity. They are given at the beginning as a getting-to-know-you phase but done in a less formal approach.

Here are some of the questions you can ask to break the ice or make the two of you more familiar with one another:

  1. Tell me something about yourself (who you are and where you’re from). How many siblings do you have, and describe your relationship with them?
  2. How’s working overseas so far, and where is your home country?
  3. Are you married? With kids? Describe their living arrangements now that you are far from them.
  4. If single, do you have a special someone, and when do you plan to settle down?
  5. What’s your highest educational attainment?
  6. Do you have a vice? Do you smoke or drink?
  7. What’s your religion, and how do you practice it?
  8. Do you have any food allergies or food restrictions due to your culture or religion?
  9. What are your interests and hobbies?
  10. What’s your relationship with your parents? Who is looking after them now that you are away from home?

Personal Background Questions

So you’ve already asked some personal questions in the icebreaker phase. Now it’s time to get deeper, so you will know more about the person on another level.

These questions aim to understand their personality, motivations, and passion. They will help you assess if the applicant comes physically and mentally prepared for the interview. You will also find out what prompted them to work as domestic helpers.

  1. Why did you choose to work in Singapore?
  2. Do you have any sicknesses, allergies, migraines, etc.? Tell me about your medical conditions and if you have any health insurance.
  3. What’s your motivation for working as a maid?
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  5. What are your future plans? And what are your life goals?
  6. How do you prefer spending your rest day each week?
  7. How do you handle homesickness or loneliness?
  8. Are there any specific plans or dates when you would like to visit your home country?
  9. Do you have a mobile phone, and how do you ensure it doesn’t interfere with work?
  10. How do you cope with stress? With grief? How do you celebrate joys and successes?

Beginner Questions For First-Time Maids/FDWs

Even though you prefer to personally interview applicants, you will most likely talk to first-timers via phone or video call. A helpful list of questions will make it easier to recall what questions to ask.

Likewise, they may likely have their own sets of questions for you. On your part, you can focus on the job and their expectations. You can also ask them about all the details regarding all the jobs they have handled before applying as a maid.

  1. Is this going to be your first job? If not, tell me about your job experiences.
  2. What do you know about being a domestic helper in Singapore?
  3. Why encouraged you to work as a maid in a foreign country?
  4. Do you know anyone working in Singapore, friends, relatives or family members?
  5. Are you emotionally and mentally prepared to work overseas?
  6. Are you up for the workload and schedule of a domestic helper?
  7. Is this going to be the first time that you’d be working in Singapore?
  8. How do you plan to spend your rest days? Are you willing to get compensated at times when you can’t be allowed to take a day off?
  9. How are you handling your own time and schedule?
  10. Do you intend to work long-term or only finish a 2-year contract in Singapore?

Experience Questions For Seasoned Maids FDWs

If you’re interviewing someone with long years of experience working in Singapore, you can focus on their experiences and skills. You can also ask about their previous jobs, previous employer, or the situation at their previous employer’s house.

Your questions must give you an idea of whether or not they are a great fit for your household. Ask them about their learnings and skills that make them last this long working as an FDW.

  1. How long have you been working in Singapore, and what do you like about the country?
  2. Can you describe your past jobs in the country and how long you worked for each employer?
  3. If currently employed, why are you applying for a new job or transferring to a new employer?
  4. How many rooms, bathrooms, and floors does your employer with the biggest house have?
  5. Were you given your room and bathroom in your previous employer’s house?
  6. Can you describe your relationship with your past employers and their family members?
  7. Have you experienced physical abuse or been told abusive words while working as an FDW?
  8. What do you like the most about your last employment? What did you like the least?
  9. How much are you earning from your current job, and what is your expected salary?
  10. Can I talk to your previous employer to learn more about you?

Situational Questions

You can take this interview as a chance to find out how applicants will respond when faced with various situations. This will give you a better understanding of their character and how they typically solve problems, especially in their tasks.

When you ask situational questions, you can gather more details if they are fit for the job.

  1. Your employer has a sudden change of plan for the week that will prompt you to change your daily schedule, including your rest days. Will you agree or ask your employer to hire part-time help on days you have already planned to be elsewhere?
  2. Your employer forgot to tell you what to prepare for the kids’ school lunch. Are you going to decide what to prepare on your own, as the children, or call your employers?
  3. An elderly family member appears to be having a stroke. What first-aid solution will you perform, and what will you do after?
  4. The litter box needs cleaning, but your employer forgot to ask you to do it. Are you going to clean it voluntarily?
  5. You mishandled the vacuum cleaner, and it broke. Will you come clean to your employers or blame other helpers for what happened?
  6. Someone rang the doorbell and told you they were sent by your employer to perform some house repairs. What would you do if your employer did not tell you about anyone coming?
  7. The children are arguing and shouting at each other. Their parents are still not at home; what are you going to do?
  8. The bed pan of the adult you’re looking after is already full, but they’re insisting on using it; how are you going to react to this situation?
  9. What will you do when the baby doesn’t fall asleep even though it’s nap time and they have been crying for a long time already?
  10. You cut yourself deep while preparing and meal planning; how will you handle the situation?

Financial Questions

You need to gauge how they handle finances and where their money goes. You can also use the questions to assess whether or not they can be trusted with the household’s money matters.

  1. Do you own a savings account in Singapore?
  2. How much of your monthly earnings go to savings?
  3. What are you saving up for?
  4. Do you remit money to your loved ones back home? How often and how much?
  5. Have you invested anything from your salary for being a foreign domestic worker?
  6. How often do you buy things for yourself, and what do you usually buy?
  7. When your employers pay bonuses, do you save the money, buy something for yourself, or instantly send the whole amount to your family?
  8. How do you ensure you don’t forget to pay your employer’s utility bills if they put you in charge?
  9. What has been your biggest splurge in life so far?
  10. How much of your salary goes to insurance, health care, and other financial aid that can become handy in the future?

Elderly Care Questions

If the job entails caring for elderly family members, you must know if they are capable of the job. You must also ask if they have experienced looking after older adults in their past jobs and how they fare in doing related tasks.

  1. Do you have any experience in caring for older adults?
  2. What’s the most challenging task you have to do that is related to elderly care?
  3. How comfortable are you in caring for the elders?
  4. Do you know how to change diapers and clean after your patient has made a mess?
  5. Do you know how to bathe a senior patient?
  6. Will you not mind waking up in the middle of the night to monitor your patient or make them take their meds?
  7. Are you capable of pushing patients on wheelchairs and assisting adults with disabilities?
  8. Are you willing to attend job training and courses related to elder care?
  9. Do you know activities or simple games you can play with your patient to keep them engaged?
  10. How do you handle elder care when your patients become hot-headed or impatient?

Child Care Questions

If you have children they will look after, you need to know if they have experience handling kids. You must ask questions to assess whether your kids will get along with them or not.

You can also explain the scenario and the usual behaviour of your kids. This will allow them to get a peek at what they’re getting into before committing to anything.

  1. How are you with babies or children?
  2. What are your experiences related to childcare?
  3. Are you familiar with a breast pump? How do you wash it? How do you handle pumped milk?
  4. Are you comfortable reading books to kids and reciting nursery rhymes with them?
  5. How do you bottle feed a child, and do you have experience burping them after each feeding session?
  6. Is it okay with you to have irregular hours of sleep since you will care for an infant?
  7. Do you know how to assist and care for kids with disabilities?
  8. What do you usually play with the kids you’re caring for?
  9. Do you know any sports? Do you swim or know how to dance?
  10. How would you react when the child commits a mistake?

Housekeeping Questions

Since you will ask them to be in charge of housekeeping, you must know what they and they cannot do. You have to assess their knowledge of handling appliances and their openness to learning new things.

  1. What are the housekeeping duties you’ve handled in the past?
  2. How much do you know about the most basic housekeeping chores?
  3. What are the appliances you know how to handle? What types do you need more time to learn and get accustomed to?
  4. Do you use the machine to do the laundry? What are the garments that need hand washing?
  5. Do you iron clothes? Do you know how to use traditional iron and steam?
  6. Do you know how to clear household insects and pests?
  7. What is your experience in gardening?
  8. Do you know how to clean the garage and wash the cars?
  9. Can you sew? How about basic shoe repair?
  10. Do you know how to change the bedsheets and other bedding?

Cooking and Grocery Questions

You must be clear if you are after a maid who can cook. If they say that they are, you must explain the food preferences of the household members. You must also explain your family’s food allergies to know what ingredients they will use to ensure everybody’s safety.

  1. Do you know how to cook? Describe your style of cooking.
  2. Are there any foreign dishes you’re familiar with and can cook? Can you prepare any Indian, Chinese, Malay, or Western dishes?
  3. What is your speciality in cooking?
  4. How good are you at following recipe books?
  5. Are there any dishes you can make for specific types of diet programs?
  6. Can you bake? What are your specialities in baking?
  7. Explain a hygienic process of preparing and cooking food.
  8. What do you do before cooking any dish?
  9. Can you share the process of how you prepare and cook your speciality dish?
  10. Can you go to local wet markets early in the morning?

Schedule Management Questions

You must also gather ideas about how efficiently the maid would manage their time and schedule. However, you must give them tasks according to their job description and enough daily tasks but never too much. You must allow them to rest between doing jobs or whenever they need to sit, eat, or have a snack after each assigned daily task.

  1. What time do you usually wake up?
  2. What’s the first thing you do upon waking up in the morning?
  3. Do you have any preference in what chores you do first each day?
  4. How do you ensure to finish all the assigned tasks per day?
  5. What if we have a large group of guests? How do you accommodate and feed them without ruining your daily schedule?
  6. Do you need to rest or nap at certain times during the day?
  7. What would you do if we suddenly asked you to change your rest days?
  8. Would you tell us if you didn’t finish your daily tasks and be honest about the reasons?
  9. What time do you sleep at night?
  10. Are you willing to have an erratic schedule, especially if you’re caring for an elderly adult or child?

Final Thoughts

One of the most important steps in your search for a dependable and competent domestic helper is interviewing potential candidates. You can assess the candidate’s body language and how they communicate as they respond to the maid interview questions you’ve prepared.

If you find it hard and want professional help in the hiring process, you can get the services from the top Singapore maid agency. Let Red Crowns Caregivers screen potential applicants, make them go through aid training, and assess the best ones suited for your home and other given requirements.

Joshua is the founder of RC Caregivers. Having been the primary caregiver of his father, he has been undertaking ways to provide affordable and quality care, not just to his father, but to all elderly in Singapore. He has founded multiple care companies, such as Red Crowns Senior Living, and has been featured in Straits Times, Zaobao and Money 93FM. He has also been lauded by DBS, with the company being the recipient of the DBS foundation grant.
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