How to choose a house maid or housekeeper

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A House Maid or House Keeper or Domestic Worker commonly referred to as a maid in Zimbabwe, is very common in almost every household in Zimbabwe. It’s important however, to note that with changing times it’s more important than ever to choose the right maid for your family. The challenging economic times introduce dynamics that were not so important 20 years ago! Things like simple bitterness for what you may take for granted as part of the haves in our society could affect your relationship with your house maid. We are not saying every housemaid will be a problem or that they are bitter but merely saying understanding how to choose the right one for your family will save you a lot of issues down the road and also result in a happier employee… a win-win for both of you!

Before we get into choosing your maid we feel we should give reasons for why you might need a maid in the first place. We know there are probably some readers thinking why would anyone need a maid and have a stranger in your house, in your space…

  • Busy Schedules: We don’t just mean busy with a regular job but you could be a stay home mom with a hectic schedule that doesn’t permit you enough time to take care of house chores and still spend quality time with your family.
  • You Don’t Enjoy Housekeeping: Just because you grew up watching your mom doing all the house chores doesn’t mean you will grow up to also enjoy house chores. Some people really hate housekeeping and getting a housemaid could be the best thing for your happiness… and the family. The next time you are miserable and can’t explain it try eliminating housekeeping and see if your morale changes.
  • You Don’t Think You Do A Good Job at Housekeeping: Just because you are the mom or the individual in charge of housekeeping doesn’t mean that you will do a good job. Keeping a house clean can be frustrating if you feel you never do a good job. Hiring a maid might just be the solution for you.
  • Special Circumstances: Say you have a huge number of guests visiting you or you just hosted one of our famous big African weddings; cleaning the entire place and completing the preparations on your own may not be realistic so hiring a maid is the obvious help that saves the day.
  • Surfaces and Parts of your House That Need Special Cleaning: Well some of these house furnishings look like in the kitchen or lounge department when you are shopping for them but quickly become a nightmare to maintain and need special cleaning detergents and equipment to keep them looking beautiful. Hiring a maid service, in this case, could help keep your place looking clean and homey.
  • A Physical Hindrance: You may be ill or elderly or unable to perform the physically taxing house chores, so hiring a housemaid would, in this case, be the obvious solution to avoid hurting yourself.

As you can see the list is not exhaustive but certainly gives those doubting the need to hire a house an insight into some of the good reasons one would need a housemaid or housekeeper.

Choosing Your Maid

Once you have determined that you truly need a maid, and have researched the applicable laws governing employing a maid, the different types of maids from the direct employee, independent contractor to an agency employee, it’s time to choose your maid…

  • Background Checks: When you hire a housekeeper, you are entrusting a stranger with your house and all your assets. How do you know you’re hiring someone worthy of that trust? Background checks are an imperative part of the interview process. These should at a minimum include reference checks, criminal background checks and work eligibility in Zimbabwe. By performing each of these background checks, you can be assured that you have done your very best to ensure that the housekeepers you hire will live up to your expectations and be worthy of your trust.
  • Home Walk Through: Give your potential housemaid a tour of your property so that during the interview they have a good understanding of the work involved in the job they are applying for. You would rather stop at the interview level if the maid knows that the work is too much than come home to the surprise of finding out the maid left without notice because the work was overwhelming.
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  • Interview The Candidate: You must be well prepared as this is the most critical stage in ensuring that you hire the right person for the job. If you ask all the wrong questions you will get all the inaccurate responses and end up with the wrong fit and at worst put your family at risk. By asking the right questions, you gather information that you will need to choose the best housekeeper for you and your family. Remember that you will be inviting a stranger into your home and have unsupervised access to your assets; that responsibility is not to be taken lightly. See some sample questions we have gathered for you at the bottom…
  • Agree To a Trial Period: This protects you and the housekeeper as it will give your housemaid time to get used to your expectations, and give you an opportunity to let them settle into what your home is in need of.
  • Create Clear Expectations and Boundaries: This is important for a healthy relationship once you have chosen your house maid. You will need to have a clear idea of what exactly your housekeeper will and won’t be doing in your home. Your housemaid will need clear and specific instructions to guide expectations. Be sure to set some boundaries about what won’t be occurring in your home; this could include but not limited to use of your telephone, computer, stereo, or television.

These articles in our blog are not exhaustive but are meant to give you some good tips on the house to save yourself money or worse problems in the future. It’s up to you to do your due diligence to ensure that you hire or choose the right maid for you and your family.

Some of the Interview Questions can include the following:

  • How long have you been cleaning houses professionally?
  • Do you have a list of references or letters of recommendation from your former or current clients? If so, may I have a copy of that list/those letters?
  • Please tell me about your favorite housekeeping experience to date. What made that experience meaningful to you?
  • Please tell me about your worst housekeeping experience to date. What made that experience so difficult for you?
  • What do you like most about being a housekeeper?
  • What do you like least about being a housekeeper?
  • What are your charges? Do any of your services cost extra?
  • Are you able to do everything needed to clean my home?
  • Have you ever cleaned a house of this size before? (If there are other distinguishing factors about your home, ask about that as well.)
  • I have ___pets____. Is that a problem for you?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony or work-related misdemeanor? (Note: emphasize that an affirmative answer is not necessarily a bar to employment as criminal history will be evaluated with regard to its severity, recency, and job-relevancy.)
  • Are you legally able to work in Zimbabwe?
  • Would you be willing to sign papers allowing me to perform background checks on you?
  • Why are you the best candidate for this job?

Don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments below…

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