Tag Archives: interview tips

What can I tell my cleaner on the first day?

Here at Amy Cleaning we consider quite beneficial to always arrange a meeting with your domestic cleaner before s/he starts cleaning on a regular basis. Your requirements and expectations as a client can be very different from those of your neighbour, friend or any person you cross on the street; and this is the main reason why it is essential that you pass on this information to your cleaner before the work starts on a regular basis.

Here are some ideas on what to talk about with your new domestic cleaner on the first visit:

1- Explain what needs to be done in the house. I know, some people may think “it’s just cleaning what s/he has to do”; but it may be that you don’t want your domestic cleaner to clean the fridge every week or do the washing up. Explain her/him what you expect  to be cleaned and how often; this will avoid confusion on a later day. Check the task sheet on our web to help you out.

2- Show cleaning products, and most importantly, where you keep all the stuff. So, domestic cleaners are not magicians. They know how to use a hoover, but they don’t know where you keep yours; so it would be better if you can show them around the house and tell them where and how to keep everything after each use. And if they will need to use your washing machine or iron, just give them a quick lesson on how to use it (we all remember how crazy we got the first day we used our state of the art-do-it-all-digital washing machine!).

3- Rubbish collection. It is part of a domestic cleaner’s job to get all rubbish out at the end of the cleaning job, that we know. But you will need to explain her/him where to put it, if s/he needs to do recycling, on which day your council is collecting the rubbish and so on.

4- Keys and alarms. We all have our tricks to open the main door to our home and we may need to show this to our new cleaner if we don’t want her/him to get stuck outside the house on her first day of cleaning. So show her and let her try her new set of keys and let her practice with the alarm code while you are beside her; that will give her confidence and you will avoid major problems in the future.

5- Specific requirements. We talked about the “What to do” but here at Amy Cleaning we believe the “How to do” is even more important. If you want your domestic cleaner to take her shoes off when entering the house, tell her; if you are an organisation freak and don’t want her to touch the papers you usually leave on the desk, then tell her; if you want her to start by cleaning the bedrooms instead of the kitchen, tell her. Explain your new cleaner what you like and dislike with no fears; believe me, they will appreciate the honesty as it will make their jobs easier.

Share with us! what other information you would consider essential to communicate to your cleaner on the first meeting?

Non-Verbal communication (2): Listen with your eyes

On the first part of these articles regarding Non Verbal Communication we spoke about the first impression when you meet your domestic cleaner for the first time. On this article, let us explain you what happen when you are interviewing your potential cleaner.

There has been a unanimous agreement between different psychologists regarding the perception of a person’s message. Basically, professionals consider that 55% of what we perceive when someone is talking to us is visual (that is body language), 38% is vocal (that is how the person sounds) and 7% is verbal (that is what the speaker is actually saying).

Everyone can do the maths on this matter: what someone is saying is not as important as how they say it. Do you remember that situation when you asked a friend that was crying if everything was ok and they just said “fine”? You didn’t believe them, did you? So keep reading and you will find some very useful tips on how to listen to your domestic cleaner and how much you can believe what she says!

There are some basic aspects of body language that you will need to check when interviewing your potential domestic cleaner:

·         Eye contact: Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest. If your future cleaner is looking at you without a blink or not at all, then you have something to worry about.

·         Arms: Extrovert people tend to use their arms very often, contrary to shy people. That is fine; the only thing you will need to check is if the potential cleaner has her arms crossed on her chest or has her hands on her hips as it is a very defensive and aggressive posture.

·         Legs: We know that we tend to move our legs a lot when nervous, and most probably your new domestic cleaner will be like a jelly on her first day, so be kind on this one. Anyway, if she is sitting with her legs crossed or her foot is kicking slightly, in general terms it will mean that she is bored.

·         Hands: They can say a lot, but again, there are many different gestures and culture differences may change meanings drastically. Generally, someone with their palms up is seen as open, friendly and sincere.  Someone tapping their fingers will most probably be impatient. And someone biting their nails will imply insecurity or nervousness.

·         Distance from others: Too close to you and you will see your cleaner as pushy; too far and you will consider her not to be interested. As with the hand gestures culture difference play a big part on this. Generally Latin cleaners will tend to get closer to you and Asian cleaners will tend to maintain a larger space between you.

Other gestures that you may have seen:

·         If your potential cleaner puts her hand on the cheek, most probably she will be evaluating something or thinking about something.

·         If she touches or rubs her nose, the meaning is clear: rejection, doubt or lying.

·         Is she fondling her hair? It usually is a lack of self-confidence or insecurity.

·         If she quickly tilts her head that means interest in what you are saying.

 There are thousands of different gestures that will tell you a lot about your domestic cleaner. You will not be an expert on the field on your first interview, but do not give up and keep trying!

Non-Verbal communication (1): The first impressions

It has been said by some professionals that it usually takes about two minutes to create an opinion on someone. Others rebate this by saying 30 seconds. Actually, there are others saying that you only need 2 seconds to get an opinion on someone! You know now that, what it takes you to open your front door to meet your new cleaner would be more than enough to decide if you really like her or not.

As psychologists say, we humans are confronted on a daily basis with complicated situations, or maybe we are forced to decode important information quite quickly. On these cases, without even knowing it, we tend to our beliefs, values and attitudes to make a decision or create an opinion on the matter.

It is part of our nature. I suppose it is our animal instinct; we need to protect ourselves. But this natural reaction can have big implications on the way we communicate or relate to others. Imagine your first meeting: You open the door to your new long waited domestic cleaner and… you don’t like her, you just don’t like her! But still you need to give her a chance, let her in, do the interview and hopefully change your mind about her. There is only one problem: it is extremely difficult to change your feelings once you already made up your mind about your domestic cleaner.

These unconscious judgments that we make can be very tricky. On one hand, this “ability” (let’s call it this way) can bring on us our worst prejudices which will stop us from interviewing our prospective domestic cleaner appropriately. On the other hand, it can save our lives.

Now that you have this information, use it to your advantage! We know that there will be situations where our most hidden part of our minds will work by itself to create a general idea of our new cleaner when we meet her for the first time. At http://www.amycleaning.co.uk we consider important to try and force yourself not to react instinctively by creating a structured interview, writing down your possible questions in advance. It will help you a lot to get a better idea about the experience, skills and attitude of the domestic cleaner.

How to get the best of your cleaner on the interview

Choosing a good domestic cleaner is not easy. There are always potential problems that need to be addressed from the start. Using a domestic cleaning agency will be an advantage for you in terms of quick replacements in case your regular cleaner is ill or resigns unexpectedly; but still, there is always some tips that you, as a customer, can follow during the interview with your prospective domestic cleaner to get the best of it (and her!).

Thinking of a domestic cleaner that can, magically, guess your cleaning requirements and get them done with a touch of a magic wand is not at all realistic. Every person has different priorities and expectations and it is important that you communicate them to the domestic cleaning agency as well as the domestic cleaner.

So, before the interview is arranged, make a plan and prioritize your needs. At http://www.amycleaning.co.uk we recommend that, when doing this, you consider: a) What tasks require equipment or supplies you don’t have; b) what tasks you prefer to do yourself; c) what items or areas in the house are of special importance.

When interviewing the cleaner that the domestic cleaning agency has allocated to you consider these easy to follow points so you can get more information about your new cleaner at the same time that you give her all the information she needs to provide a high quality cleaning service:

  1.        The length of the interview will depend on you; it is usually  between 5 and 30 minutes (but do not be afraid if it takes you longer than this! At the end of the day she is going to be your regular cleaner!).
  2.    Check the domestic cleaner’s appearance and non verbal communication. Someone that is looking down to the floor when you are explaining where the chemicals are kept won’t be very willing to work!
  3.      Ask a variety of questions including those relating to training, experience, cleaning times and days…
  4.      Show her your priorities: Which room is more important for you? How often do you want the blinds to be dusted?…Make sure she understands your needs; it will be easier to get what you want if you make it clear at the start.
  5.      Ironing: This seems to be a very obvious task to do. Nothing further from reality; everyone has specific preferences. Explain the domestic cleaner how you would like your shirts to be ironed (creases on your sleeves for example) or what would be the essential clothes for you to be ironed.
  6.      Laundry: It would be fine to ask your cleaner to organise the laundry and change the bed linen but it would be better for you to leave very clear instructions to avoid any pink socks in the future!
  7.       Rubbish: There are a lot of councils that issue fines if the rubbish is placed in the wrong place at the wrong day. For this reason, make sure you let the domestic cleaner know on the interview about the correct procedure.
  8.   The task sheet: Some people feel more comfortable writing a task list for the cleaner. It is in fact very useful for the domestic cleaners as it enables them to follow your requirements more easily (remember that the first days on your house will be the hardest ones for your domestic cleaner as she needs to get used to a “different way of doing things”). The domestic cleaning agency will have the possibility to give you an easy to use task sheet, making your life easier.
  9.      Cleaning products: You know by the domestic cleaning agency that you will need to provide the chemicals yourself. The interview is a good time to go through the chemicals you have in your house and also get to know the knowledge the domestic cleaner has on the different chemicals and cloths used.
  10.  The keys and the alarm: No one wants to get called in the middle of an important meeting because the cleaner has turn on the alarm by mistake or maybe she cannot open the door! It is better to make sure the cleaner knows how the alarm works from the beginning (make her practice a little bit) or any other “tricks” to open the door to the house.

Hiring your cleaning services from a domestic cleaning agency not only saves you time; it can also reduce your stress level. The domestic cleaning agency can always communicate your cleaner any changes on your priorities or needs to make sure that the information shared on your interview with the cleaner is accurate and up to date.

We can say that proper communication on the interview with the prospective cleaner is the key to a successful relationship with her. You have to get to know her at the same time that you need to assess her suitability; but it is important to make the effort at the beginning and avoid any stressful situation afterwards.