Every domestic helper has her own specific set of skills, personality, and interests, while each employer has unique needs and expectations for the whole family. Finding the most suitable candidate for your personal needs requires some preparation and time, while you will also have to deal with some challenges after hiring a maid.
What should I expect from a domestic helper?
There are nearly 250,000 migrant domestic workers in Singapore. These helpers have different backgrounds, depending on their nationalities, levels of education, training, and cultures.
When looking for the best helper for their needs, employers should find someone with the skills necessary to perform the job at hand and meet their expectations, as well as a personality that agrees with their family’s habits.
Of course, if one of the biggest reasons you are hiring a live-in maid is to have someone around who can look after your babies or kids, then the domestic worker should be adequately equipped to take care of children. If she has taken a first-aid training course, it is even better.
Ideally, you should look for someone with appropriate qualifications or experience in that regard. However, personality also matters. If your preferred candidate is not the most experienced or qualified, you could consider sending her for post-employment training to improve her own skills.
What should I check during the interview process to be pretty sure I will hire the right maid?
The interview process is the time to narrow your search until finding the most suitable candidate. Does the domestic worker know first aid, and does she have any qualifications relating to infant care? Additionally, she should also have an understanding of household management.
Besides questions such as these, employers should ask workers about their individual characteristics. Are they creative, assertive, independent, and so on? If you are looking for a domestic worker who can work and take care of your children independently, and a candidate seems to prefer following instructions, she may not be the best candidate for the job.
Finally, you will likely want to find a maid who has a positive and professional attitude. Did she show up to the interview on time (if she is in Singapore), or let you know she was running late? Did she approach the salary discussion in an appropriate manner?
What should employers know about pre-employment training?
Domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines (and some other approved foreign countries) must take mandatory training courses before coming to Singapore. These courses are in place so that domestic workers have the required skills and can negotiate higher wages. In addition, this initiative is aimed at protecting domestic workers by informing them about their rights.
How should I train my domestic helper once she is in Singapore?
Most of the basic skills needed by domestic helpers are relatively easy to teach. On your maid’s first day, you can introduce her to your family. Show her how you like things done, such as cleaning and cooking. Over the following days, let her take over the job while you supervise. You should also consider showing her around Singapore and your neighborhood if she is unfamiliar with it.
If you do not have the time or resources to coach your maid, you can send her to a course. There are quite a few courses in Singapore specifically designed for domestic workers. In some cases, training is provided in maids’ native tongue, making it easier for domestic helpers to follow. In Singapore, you can find training courses specialising in infant and child-care, hygiene, cooking, and so on.
When hiring a maid from a foreign country, employers should be prepared to deal with cultural differences and other challenges after their arrival in Singapore. Some domestic helpers may have a different approach to childcare – and discipline – than you do, and finding the right approach can take some coaching or even compromise.
Also, bear in mind that selecting the right maid for the job will lessen the chances of disputes arising. And remember that while full-time help carries a lot of responsibilities on the part of both the employer and maid, the benefits to your family can easily outweigh the benefits to be gained from hiring only part-time cleaning services.