So you want to hire someone but you don't know where to start? Here are some tips on what you need to know before you hire a helper:
1. Have a clear idea of what you want to get done
You need to have a clear mind on what you want to get done around the house. You also need to work out your budget. Having a clear mind will help you and the helper discuss and negotiate better. Without this preparation you may find yourself not knowing what to discuss with clarity.
2. Communicate: Learn How to delegate work
2.1 Written Instructions
Can you imagine on your first day at work your boss left you without any explanation or instructions about the work involved? It is the same with housework. It is very important that the helper knows what is expected of her/him.
This might be daunting in the beginning but you'll save considerable time and frustration in the future. Every household has a personal touch or way of doing housework hence it is very difficult to achieve the desired results without clear instructions. Don't forget that if you don't get what you want then it may not be the helper's fault.
Clearly define responsibilities and tasks. This will give the helper a sense of satisfaction once the tasks are completed. This will also less likely to confuse the helper what is expected of her/him. It will create a mutual respect and a sense of professionalism on both parties.
Start by jotting down the very important things that need to be done. For example bathroom basin, shower, bath tab, floor, etc
The benefits of written instructions:
Do you remember the first time you bought your washing machine and how long it took you to figure out the settings?
It'll save your helper's time and your money if you leave brief instructions on what settings to use for different fabrics and how to start the cycle.
Laundry manual - Washing linens:
If you've specific setting requirements for your dryer, ironing, pool maintenance, etc then mention that too.
Do not assume the helper knows how you run your household without any guidelines. Every household is different no matter how experienced the helper is.
Detail written instructions vs simple written instructions:
You might like to decide on whether you would like to write detailed instruction or simple instruction. If you're particular on how you want things done around the house then detailed written instructions are needed. On the other hand if you don't mind how it is done as long the helper does a good job then simple instructions will suffice.
To write a clear detailed instruction start room by room and write each task in detail.
Living Room/Lounge Cleaning:
3. Hiring the Right Person
When posting a help-wanted ad, write as much information as you can about the job. This will narrow down the type of helpers that are qualified to do the job. HelpAroundTheHouse registration form allows you to put a detailed description of the job.
3.1 Do Your Research
Know about the different type of helpers. It's good to go through your priority requirements. For example if you're looking for someone to stay with your kids long term then you should note this down. A background check will indicate the stability of the helper. On the other hand, some helpers may leave a replacement when they leave so if you're okay with this you may not need to worry about stability.
3.1.1 Types of Helpers:
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different type of helpers:
3.1.2 Hiring Professionals
3.1.3 Hiring Students
3.1.4 Hiring Stay At Home Mums (SAHM)
3.1.3 Hiring OthersThis list include helpers who work full time in other industries but available to work after hours.
You'll need to do some screening before you invite the helper to your home.
Try to have as much communication as you can before you meet the helper. You'll save a lot of time by doing this. As mentioned earlier, there are a wide range of helpers out there with a wide range of experience and expertise. Explain to the helper all your requirements such as:
Some helpers, especially students, and newly migrants have limited English so you may like to ask them if they can have a relative or friend that can interpret for them. You don't want the friend or relative to speak on behalf of the helper, you only want them to interpret. So the helper must participate in the conversation.
3.2.1 Sample Questions:
You might like to take notes for later referral here.
If you've a pet you should mention this to the helper as some helpers may be uncomfortable with pets.
The communication can be through phone or email. Some helpers may not have access to their email on daily basis so telephone if you can't get in touch with them through email.
Try to create a two-way conversation. Ask question as well as encouraging the helper to ask you.
If the helper advertises for specific work such as babysitting it is not good to contact them for cleaning work. They may be pressured to say yes but they may not do a good job because of lack of experience or enthusiasm. Some babysitters may be willing to provide light housework but not a full duties as their main preference is to provide care.
You might like to do a quick simple background check here. Ask if the helper has a current police check. If the helper doesn't have a police check ask to get one and bring it with him/her to the interview. You may like to do more background checking later on.
Once you're satisfied with the above mentioned criterion it is only now that you should invite the helper to your house for interview.
Unless you're looking for one-off help to get you up to date with the housework, it is always a good practice to start with a clean and well organised home. A well-structured and clean house indicates your standard and your expectations. Chaos creates chaos so avoid chaos on first day.
If you're looking for one-off help to get you up-to-date with the housework then a pile of laundry, ironing, messy rooms, etc are predictable and perhaps acceptable.
If some reason beyond your control you couldn't get the house in order before the helper arrives then explain this to the helper otherwise they may assume that you are OK with a low standard of work.
If the helper you're interviewing is an international student or new to the country then you'll need to speak slowly and clearly. Most international students are good at following written instructions. So your written instructions will come in handy here. On the other hand if the helper is newly arrived to the country and learning English then verbal communication may be preferable, however you'll still need your written instructions for future reference.
3.4 Follow up
Following the interview, be considerate and contact the helper to let them know about the outcome of the interview, whether they were successful or not.
4. Your Helper
Now that you have hired a helper what to do and not to do next:
Ongoing feedback is important in order to have a good relationship with your helper. Prepare to give feedback and develop a system for ongoing communication. If you are not at home while the helper is working, then have an ongoing phone or written communication such as email or a simple post-it note hooked on the fridge.
Some Tips on Feedback
It cannot be emphasised enough how household and duties are a personal thing. If you don't like the way your helper is making the bed or folding your clothes then tell them so.
Make sure you have a system to continually replace used materials. Ask your helper to write you list of products that need replacing. Also make sure at no time the helper is left without the right tools and materials that they need to complete the job.
Always maintain professionalism. If you're continuously interrupting your helper for chatting and asking questions then don't get surprised if the helper didn't get the chance to finish the tasks. Maintain a friendly and professional environment.
Happy hiring and please tell your friends about HelpAroundTheHouse.
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