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How to Interview Household Staff Candidates & 9 Tips for Success

You have several CVs for prospective candidates in your hand and wondering what shall you do next...? Read more to discover the art of Conducting Effective and Successful interviews...

Curriculum vitae CV

When interviewing domestic staff candidates, it’s essential to ask the right questions and assess their qualification and suitability for the role. If you are hiring with the help of a recruitment agency, most of the leg work is done and you are presented with the top suitable candidates for the role, however the importance of getting the feel of your new potential household staff member is still essential to ensure the most possible compatibility.

''An interview is only as good as both parties are willing to give to the interview and that includes the interviewer.'' – Jay Dupless

Here are 9 tips to help you conduct an effective interviews for domestic staff candidates, which you'll feel good about.

1) Organise an interview

To help you minimise any misunderstandings, get as organised as possible. Schedule the interview for exact date and time and mention how long you are planning to carry out the interview for. There’s been a growing popularity in conducting interviews over Skype or other Face Time platform, therefore make sure you agree on the type of interview with the candidate. If you are conducting remote interview, it’s helpful to agree on who initiates the call and don’t forget to put this down into your calendar.

2) Prepare for the interview

organised desk

It might seem a bit time consuming, but take time to prepare for the interview. Before you take any further steps, make sure you go through the candidate’s CV and make notes of anything you want to ask or clarify. It’s important that the candidate’s CV matches with your overall idea of a good candidate for the role.

3) Understand the Job Requirements

This step might come around slightly repetitive and the candidate knows all details from the recruitment agency (if engaged), however defining all necessities, requirements and responsibilities in your own words helps the candidate get better idea of the work dynamics and your expectations.

Make the candidate understand what’s important for you. The information helps them to make sure they commit to a suitable role.

4) Start with an Introduction

Begin the interview by introducing yourself and providing overview of the position and your household. Make the candidate feel welcome and comfortable.

5) Assess Qualifications, Abilities and Compatibility

Ask the candidate about their previous relevant experience, including specific tasks they have performed, duration of employment and their level of responsibility. Tailor questions to evaluate the candidate’s skills and abilities related to the role. For example, if hiring a nanny, ask about their approach to discipline, sleep routine and their ability to handle various situations. Enquire about any certifications of training they have completed.

For this step it’s helpful to have the candidate’s CV printed and on hand.

6) Cultural Fit and Adaptability

Determine if the candidate can adapt to your household’s culture, dynamics and routines. Enquire about their flexibility and willingness to accommodate specific needs or scheduled.

7) Establish Non-negotiables

It’s important for you to identify non-negotiables before conducting interviews. This can refer to skills, or other criteria that are essential for a candidate to possess in order to be successful in the role. For example, you might be needing a live-in nanny but the candidate’s looking for live-out position, you might have residence abroad and want your staff to accompany you there for certain amount of time of the year, you might enjoy Italian cuisine however the candidate for chef specialises in French, you might follow the Montessori model for childhood education but the candidate for nanny specialises in Waldorf model. Those are only few examples of non-negotiables. Don’t think only about the job role and its specifications, try to include your family’s values and approaches.

8) Provide an Opportunity for Questions

9) Plan Next Steps

Once the interview is done, let the candidate know about the timeline and procedure for decision making. You will then avoid any unwanted follow ups from the candidates asking for answers.

If you are engaging agency, follow up with them and discuss the next steps. It is advised to interview 2 more candidates within a certain time frame before making final decision. This does not mean you need to choose a candidate after just one interview, it is advised to meet face-to-face if possible and perhaps consider a trial day where you can assess the candidate’s compatibility first hand.


A Guide to Finding the Perfect Fit

Remember, effective interviews go beyond simply asking questions and receiving answers. They require active listening, thoughtful assessment, and genuine engagement.

Now, armed with this knowledge, go forth and conduct interviews with confidence, empathy, and the desire to uncover the best candidates.

Happy interviewing!


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