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Helpful Advice on Interviewing A Maid

Here's some advice from our forum on how to interview a maid.

Helpful Advice on Interviewing A Maid
Having a live- in maid means that someone new will be living and working under your roof. It is vital that you get the right person and that your helper will be happy too. This starts with the interview process. The interview may take place in person, on the phone or by Skype.
 
Remember the maid will be very keen for the job and may say yes to things e.g. are you good with pets? when she may be scared of dogs. It's important for everyone to be clear on what the job will entail e.g. cleaning? pet care? babysitting? child care? driving? etc. to make sure before she makes a major life change and you spend a lot of money on the sponsorship process that there is a better chance she is going to fit in with your family and for you both to be happy.

Here's some advice from our forum

"When I initially speak to them, I ask a lot of questions on the phone. From there I decide if I want to meet them. Recently when interviewing, I spoke with a girl who sounded great. When she turned up for the interview, it turns out that the person I spoke with was her aunty and the maid could speak hardly any English!

You just have to go with your gut on how they fit with your family. It is best they come to your home and see where they would be living. Talk to them about hours, salary and expected duties. Important they meet with your children (if you have any) to see how they react. Same with pets ... one did not like the fact I had a cat as she has asthma.

Some girls that I interviewed did not understand that we were meeting a few girls and would then make a decision. They would end the interview asking if they were starting the next day or week.

I usually have an interview sheet that I fill in my comments on with basic things such as age, visa status, availability, current salary and some notes so I can refer back to. If you are interviewing a lot, it can get confusing."

SEE ALSO: A Guide to Maid Salaries in Dubai

"Arrange to do the interviews at your house. First task is for the candidate to find your house, be on time and show up, many fail even at this stage. Make sure you make several appointments, as you might only get 1 or 2 from 10 spoken too, even if they have confimed day before."
"I would ask what experience they had with children. how long they have worked for other families. this will give you a good indication if they change alot? If they have worked in the region before I think that's better as they may have some friends here and then they have something to do on their day off. If they have kids its hard, as obviously they miss them alot. But then its great if they do and you have kids as you know they have experience."
"Ive just started interviewing, and have found that I'm learning on the job. I used to text message to set up interviews, now I call to check on their English. Have a list of questions ready before you meet them and go through it.  Also ask about their visa & what they expect from you. Decide on salary and what is included so you can tell them on the phone without wasting either of your time."
"I have had 2 bad experiences now and with both there were tiny little warning bells ringing at the very start, in the future, if there are any such bells I will keep looking. Be very, very sure before you sponsor, and if you can't afford to lose the sponsorship money, then go through an agency because even if you are sure, it may go wrong."
"Discuss salary expectations and a brief outline of the job over the phone, or you may end up interviewing someone who wants 500 Dhs more then you want to pay, who has a husband she wants living in and wants afternoons off! "
"We looked in the local supermarkets for adverts because we wanted a lady who would work in our area (Umm Suqeim). All initial contact was by phone because we did want someone with reasonable english. Make sure a husband isn't coming along and ask questions until you are sure of the answer. Be very clear about the salary - best to discuss this over the phone before the interview. I found it quite hard work and I did feel I was a bit of an interrogator but flippant answers generally hid a bigger problem. The maid we found is super and I did speak to her previous sponsor. Good luck - will be worth it in the end. "
"Interviewing my first ever potential full time live out maid in an hour.... I am going to ask...
Visa status
Location
How will you get to work
married or single
Salary expectation
Experience with children
First aid experience
Why are you leaving your current job
Availability to start
Reference from last employer"
Hiring a Maid

"Sorry this is a bit long winded, but after doing this several times... I've found these to be good questions.

If you have kids there are certain questions to ask:

Ask what she would do if you were out, not contactable and your child burnt himself on the oven door. You may get some very surprising answers (eg. putting a tomato on the burn). Think of a few scenarios and ask how she would deal with them. You want to see if she has initiative/common sense.

Here are some other really good questions and things to discuss...

Ask her if she likes partying. What does she do on her day off? What sort of things does she do on her day off? Does she do any part-time work to earn extra money (this would be illegal here)? What time does she come home on her day off, and has this caused a conflict with her previous employer? (Obviously you would check with her employer as well).

Ask her about what salary she would expect and what she currently earns. (See if the current employer is paying what she says). It will probably be the first thing she will want to ask you, but you could say that you are interviewing other maids too and you will decide the final salary when you have taken experience and references into account eg. what you would do is to give her a probationary period for the first month and if she is a good worker, give her a decent raise. Inform her that under no circumstances will you pay any wages in advance

Ask her if her parents are alive. Are they in good health? (Many maids often like to get a free trip home after a few months and tell your that their 'father is dying'. I kid you not.)

Ask her about her usual daily routine. What does she like about her current job, and what does she dislike? If she says bad things about her current employer then you need to be very wary - she could do the same with you!

Ask her what dishes she can cook - can she follow a recipe? You can test this by giving her a copy of one of your recipe books and seeing if she understands the instructions or finds them too difficult to follow. You will also be able to observe her reading skills (assuming your cookbooks are written in English!).

SEE ALSO: Getting a Maid Visa and Medical in Dubai

Ask her why she is looking for a new job. Maids like to work for expats because they think they will get more pay and better working conditions (ie. more time off).

Beware of expat employers who are leaving the country....they often give brilliant references to lousy maids as there is no comeback and they palm her off so they don't have to pay for an airfare to the maid's home country.
Always speak with the current employer and don't just go on what you have in writing.

Ask how much experience the maid has had working for “your nationality” families.

If she's never worked for an expat before she may well be hard working (eg. used to strict discipline) but you may have to retrain her as the cultural differences may mean that the way you prefer things to be done may be very different and your maid might not be amenable to change.

Ask the maid when her passport is going to expire. It might need renewing in the near future and she might be expecting you to pay for the new one. I know that the Philippine one is expensive and is valid for 5 years. Also ask when she last went back to her home country. If it was a long time ago she might be getting homesick and want to go home.

Other random but good ones
1. Do you have anyone that would want to visit you? (friends, boyfriend, husband, etc).

2. Do you practice any religion? (this is simply for you to know and to understand if there are any practices that the person might want to follow while in your house. Abstaining from certain foods, prayer, burning candles, etc)

3. Do you have friends or relatives in Dubai? (I think its important for the person to have some type of social network locally)

4. Do you have any medical conditions? Do you take any medications?"

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