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Questions when interviewing potential DH?

  1. #1
    kiwiinoz is offline Registered User
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    Questions when interviewing potential DH?

    Hi all

    We've finally decided we want to get a domestic helper, but I am unsure what to ask and look for when interviewing potential applicants (most important is they be loving to our kids, and have the ability to do the housework). I tend to be the type of person to see the good in everyone, and I worry I might be led on by applicants...

    Are there any good questions to ask?
    Are there any good/bad signs to watch out for?

    What questions did you ask your prospective DH's?

    I've also had a DH in the building we live beg me to employ her. She's currently employed, but tells me she will terminate her contract and go back to the Phillipines to sign up with a different agency to work for me because she loves my kids (and her current employer treats her badly.. she gets hit, has bite marks from the child, etc). I'm not sure this is the right thing to do, as nice as she is.
    Is there any ettiquette/protocol for this kind of thing?

    Any and all advice .. please...

  2. #2
    0ze_Kid's Avatar
    0ze_Kid is offline Registered User
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    You want to see how they react with your child/children (do they get down to child's level, does the child seem comfortable with her?).

    Other questions:
    * What is your family situation? (who are they sending money back for?)
    * Do you like children? What do you like about looking after children?
    * Why did you leave your last three jobs?
    * What are some of the activities you would do during the day to keep children entertained?
    * What are your feelings on setting boundaries and discipline? (we wanted someone who could say no to our child when it required. She looked after our children, our children were NOT her employer!)
    * What is your least favourite part of being a helper? (weaknesses such as cooking or cleaning)
    * The baby has been crying for an hour and nothing seems to work. What do you do?
    * The baby vomits a feed, feels very hot, falls asleep and you can't wake them up. You can't contact us. What do you do? (Right answer: call an ambulance)
    * I ask you to do something and you don't quite understand or are unsure of the request. What do you do?

    Hope these help.

  3. #3
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    I am not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that I've gone through 4 DH in a year and half to have finally found a GEM!... at last... we have a wonderful DH.

    (1) NEVER believe anything a DH tells you about their current employer - I have been made to look like a b**** because they weren't happy that the got fired and I have a reputation... the Terminator. They will NEVER admit that they have a fault.
    (2) DHs will say whatever it takes to get the job... especially experienced DHs who have been around for awhile. NEVER hire one who wants to break their contract or cannot fulfill a contract term.
    (3) If they have been around in HK, always ring more than one reference. We've had one whom we've spoken to their one reference, it turned out to be someone they knew pretending to be a reference (a Chinese lady) and we hired her in the end as she turned out to be a dud.
    (4) Give them lots of situations... see if you like their reaction. Bear in mind... point (2)... Think of your own personal situation. Always ask questions related to your personal needs.
    (5) When asked if they can cook, ask them... the answer should be more than pasta, fried rice... any good DH who has worked for an English speaking family can give you a detailed answer apart from "pasta with meat sauce"... and if she's an Indonesian, check if she can read... if she can read.. ask her to explain... we hired one... she could read.. but couldn't understand what the cook book said... when asked to look for the insurance paperwork despite being shown a sample while my son had a raging 40 degree fever, walked away because she couldn't understand. And this was with YMCA English classes over 3 years!
    (6) Do you mind if your day off was NOT on Sunday if we have guests from overseas, or need you to work on Sunday? Do you mind taking the day of on another day if required?

    And lastly, Use the Helper's Helper to help you with the questions you may not think of... it's a fantastic resource... I think you can get it from Rani from ShopinHK.

  4. #4
    NYCMel is offline Registered User
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    I completely agree with Spockey - never believe what they say about their previous job unless you hear straight from the employers mouth. Things to think about when interviewing - cooking, childcare, certified in first aid/cpr, experience with the age range of your child, what do they do on their days off, how long they have been in HK for, family situation, if breaking a contract - why?

  5. #5
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    I agree with the last two posters. Don't believe too much they say as they are trying to get a job. We went through 2 in a year before finally get a good one. We were naive the first two times round but not the third. We had one who couldn't cook at all but said she could. In fact she couldn't do anything, was just hopeless.
    The second one was completely deaf but having been in HK for over 10 years knew all the ruses.At the interview she said she had trouble understanding our accents! She denied being deaf the entire time she was with us and was really lazy. Wanted to live out and start at 10am... We had a new born at the time and a 16 month old so I couldn't leave her alone with them as she never heard them crying.
    She bitched about us a lot to every helper in the building so we had a tough time finding a replacement. In the end we got lucky and found one but every time she would go to the playground helpers would ask her about how bad we were. She ignored them but now 6 months on is friends with all of them and they realise our previous helper was a liar and we're not so bad!

    I think you have to work out what is most important to you. It's almost impossible to find a helper who is good at everything and has a good attitude. I prefer to go with newer helpers as the ones who have been here for ages know all the tricks and only want to do things their way.

    I would ask if she feels comfortable being given a schedule for the first few weeks so she can get an idea of how you
    want things to go. The alternative is leaving her to it but imagine if you got a new job and your boss just left you to it and expected you to just know what he wants you to do. Doesn't work.

    It's important you set her expectations appropriately. It is better to scare them a little by saying the job will be hard, the kids are tiring etc and seeing if they are still ok than letting them think they are going to get an easy ride. That way they can only be pleasantly surprised if things work out easier and they'll have nothing to complain about if they don't! Remember that they think westerners are easy compared to Chinese and they want to work for us because of this.

    As you have children I would definitely hire someone who has children of her own. Our first one didn't and she was absolutely clueless. I found out that mothering doesn't come naturally to everyone!

    There's so much good advice on this forum about this exact matter. Do some searchs and you'll be ready to go for the interviews!

    Definitely check out threads about remuneration. I think most agree to start at a certain wage and if she's working out in 3 months you agree to raise her salary to x. This is far better than starting out being generous only to be disappointed you got a dud. Better to give her something to work towards.

  6. #6
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussiegal View Post
    Definitely check out threads about remuneration. I think most agree to start at a certain wage and if she's working out in 3 months you agree to raise her salary to x. This is far better than starting out being generous only to be disappointed you got a dud. Better to give her something to work towards.
    I agree with Aussiegal... Start basic... The ones who claim to have had only wonderful experiences and deserve the higher wages are often not necessarily the ones who will live up to your expectations. Better to start low and work towards something higher... we've done that with our current helper as she's proven to be an absolute GEM! If i got a raise... she got one too

  7. #7
    curiousmummy is offline Registered User
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    i am expecting a new born in jan 09, do you recommend looking for a dh with new born baby experience from previous job? I was reading some of the recommendations to hire DH who has fewer years in Hk, this would mean that they have less experience, and even a smaller percentage with new born experience.

    Is it easy to train a DH to take care of new born?

  8. #8
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    If they've had their own children they've had newborn experience. It is of course good if they've looked after a newborn in HK but either way, it would come back quickly to them.

    Experience is not all its cut out to be. As long as they are kind and loving, have had their own children they should be well suited to looking after a newborn. Most importantly if they haven't been here for years they will be open to being told how to do things exactly the way you want and not how their last employer/s wanted, or how they want to.

    Wherever you can get a helper through a recommendation from a friend or a friend of a friend. Another good way is by telling a helper you like that you are looking to hire and does she know anyone good. This is actually how we found our current (fantastic) helper. She is the friend of a good friend's helper and I told her we wanted someone like her!

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