May, 2013 By Reema Verma
Let’s face it–Housekeepers play an extremely important role in every hotel’s success. The second guests walk through the door they begin analyzing the cleanliness of their room. If their room isn’t spotless, there’s a good chance they will not come back to your property again. This is why hiring a motivated, intelligent, polite housekeeping staff is vital to a hotel’s success. Here are some tips & interview questions that should help you find a great housekeeping staff.
To begin with, before interviewing any candidate, run a background search on them. This will help weed out any bad candidates before interviewing them, saving you time & money. Many states and counties publish legal records online for free, while other states charge a few dollars for the service. Running a check can reveal previous legal troubles. For example, if your candidate has a history of theft, then you may want to reconsider hiring them as your housekeeper, where they will have lots of chances to steal from your guests.
Facebook can also be a great background research tool since many people reveal personal information on the social network. As such, Facebook pages can provide a good insight into the candidate’s personality and work ethic. If you locate a candidate’s page, and it is public–meaning anyone can view their page – it’s fair to take everything they have listed into consideration. Look at their profile – what are their interests? Does what they have listed on their application match what is on their Facebook page? Are there personal pictures on their page – if so, is the candidate involved in any questionable activities? Have they posted and negative or inappropriate material? While some people find checking Facebook pages unfair, it is a public website and fair game. If a candidate doesn’t want you to find out something, they shouldn’t have posted in on Facebook or online to begin with.
Once you have done your background research and are comfortable with the candidate, it’s time for the interview. We won’t try and tell you how to perform the interview, since each interviewer has their own style, but here is a list of housekeeping specific interview questions that you might consider asking:
• What makes you a more qualified housekeeper than the other candidates?
• What are the most important skills needed to be a housekeeper?
• Why do you want to be a housekeeper?
A candidate who is willing to take any job is totally different than a candidate who is hoping that becoming a housekeeper will help them learn more about the hotel business in hopes of one day becoming a hotel manager. Their motivation and quality of work will differ accordingly.
• How long should it take to clean a guest room?
• How would you react to a guest screaming at you?
Guests and housekeepers interact often. Your housekeepers must be able to deal with all types of guests–nice or rude.
• How would you handle being asked to re-clean a room?
If the candidate takes offense to being asked to fix their work, think twice about hiring them. An ideal candidate should take the situation as a learning experience and express their desire to improve–rather than being defensive or objectionable.
• How would you handle a guest that demands extra soaps, pillows, etc.?
• How do you measure your success as a housekeeper?
• What would you do if you were cleaning a room and damaged a guest’s belongings?
Whatever their answer, it had better include something about honesty…
Answers to each of these questions should give you a good understanding of the candidate, their motivations, and their likelihood of success as your housekeeper. However, before hiring any candidate, take some time to set your expectations with them. Unless you explicitly tell your candidate what to expect as your employee, there is no way they will know. If you want the room dusted after every guest, say so. Don’t just expect your new hire to dust every day. The more detail you provide, the better your new employee will perform. It is up to you to make sure they know what is expected of them and by discussing expectations prior to hiring, there shouldn’t be any surprises. Also, by discussing your expectations with the candidate, you give the employee the chance to decide if they want to work for you, under your rules. If they can’t live with your expectations, they shouldn’t work for you – but it’s better to find this out during the interview, than to hire the employee and find out later.
Alternatively, you might also consider hiring the candidate for a trial period. Hiring the candidate for just a few days will allow you to evaluate their abilities before you actually hire them. In that time, you will be able to determine how fast and thoroughly they clean each room, and how well they interact with you, your staff, and your guests. If the candidate really wants the job, they should pass the trial period without any problems. However, if the candidate is slow or has a bad attitude, the trial period should reveal this and allow you to reconsider hiring them.
Hopefully, by following these tips, and learning more about your candidates, you will be in a position to choose the right housekeeper for your hotel or motel. Remember, just because housekeepers are in charge of cleaning rooms, does not mean that you can just go out and hire anyone off the streets. The more thorough you are, the better your hire will be and the better your hotel will perform. Oh, and let’s not forget that your day will be easier and less stressful too. Good luck with your search.