Choosing a helper can be a daunting task, made much harder if you are unable to find a suitable one to meet your family needs. Interviewing a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) is a crucial step in the selection process and doing it personally will allow you to look beyond their paper qualifications such as their personality and communication skills, among others.
The interview is usually done ‘live’ via video conference or face-to-face if the candidate is a Transfer FDW. With the right questions, you will be able to narrow your candidate options more efficiently and find a good fit for your household. It is recommended that you make a checklist of questions before the interview and prioritise them based on your needs and expectations. Do not rush through the interview and do take notes if you are interviewing more than one prospective candidates so that you can compare their responses later and make an informed decision.
To help you get started, we have compiled some sample questions you can ask during the ‘live’ interview with prospective helpers and why it will help.
Tell me about yourself.
Before getting into the specifics of the job, this is a great opportunity to warm up and get to know your potential helper. For starters, information such as her hobbies, love for children and favourite dishes to cook are good points to take note. Throughout the interview, you will be able to tell if you can communicate well with her. You can also have an indication on her language proficiency for example, English, Chinese, Malay or dialects like Hokkien, etc.
At the end of the day, effective communication plays a crucial factor in having a smooth work journey on both ends. It would be good to also use the opportunity to find out her family background and if there are any social obligations, for example, share in the up-keeping of aged parents, young siblings or young children if she is married.
Why do you want to work in Singapore?
Her answers would allow you to understand her motivation and drive. Take this time to gauge how dedicated and committed she will be to her work with your family.
What were your previous job tasks?
If you are engaging a Transfer FDW, you will want to know how many years of experience she has as a domestic helper. Let her describe her everyday tasks in her previous employment to you; this will give you an indication of how quick she will be integrating into your family lifestyle. Let her know upfront if it differs from your requirements. Some families prioritise childcare or looking after an elderly family member while others put more emphasis on household chores. Depending on what your family requires of her job scope, this will give you a better understanding of how well she will perform her various duties and the amount of time you will need to spend guiding her, ultimately managing everyone’s expectations.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Apart from her experience, her character and attitude to her work are other vital factors in fostering a happy work relationship between you and your domestic helper. If she talks about strengths such as patience, first aid and good listening skills, this will be beneficial to your family. If her weakness clashes with your expectations, that is a red flag to look out for. Do take note that “strengths” and “weaknesses” may be too conceptual for some helpers to answer. You may consider asking what they are good or not good at doing.
What would you do in this situation?
Especially if this is her first job as a helper, you can give her scenarios and how she will react in them. For example, what will she do if your child keeps crying? More importantly, you will want to know her response in case of emergencies. What will she do if your elderly parent falls down? Looking after children or the elderly is a job that requires patience; this sets the stage of what you can expect from her.
During the interview, she may have her own questions to ask so do take note of her concerns. Some of the helpers may be shy or afraid to ask questions since this is effectively a job interview. You should encourage her to ask questions since she has to also understand your expectations. Ideally, you should be as explicit as possible when sharing information with the helper on her scope of work and day-to-day activities, and be prepared to get rejected by the helper if she finds your requirements or expectations too difficult to fulfill. This is after all a two-way interview between you and the FDW.
We hope that these questions give you a head start in your search for the right helper. If you lack the time to carry out a thorough interview process and need additional help, get in touch with us. To ensure a clean, healthy and happy home, it is important to find a reliable employment agency that will provide well-trained domestic helpers for your family.
Since its establishment in 1992, Nation has been providing trained FDWs to over 50,000 households in Singapore. Get in touch with us to start looking for the most suitable domestic helper for you and your family today.