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Would you hire this helper if you were me...

  1. #9
    MLBW Guest

    I would feel uncomfortable if a helper approached me like that and sweet talked me by saying, "Oh, your kids look so much easier to take care of." To me, the hidden message is, "You look like a easy, pushover type person and I want a smoother job that demands less of me." That might me just reading more into it than there is. But I have also been approached by really nice-seeming helpers at random (at a park, on the street) and it always feels to me like that person is "hawking" something.
    With helpers, you really don't want a "quick job" that gets botched--take your time and really investigate, interview several people, check their references, have them come to your house and work for a day or two for a trial run, talk with them, get to know about their life, and trust your intuition. If you just jump into a contract with a nice-seeming person, you are bound to get burned--and this is the person you are trusting with the run of your home and the care of your children--it's a big deal.

  2. #10
    val23 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Agree with MLBW, you should take your time finding a new helper. One very good way is to ask around friends who perhaps know some friends who are leaving HKG. Many expats are leaving right now and their helpers are probably looking for jobs. Then you can meet them, interview them and ask their current employers for references.
    Good luck.

  3. #11
    bumpkin is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    hong kong

    I second this and also want to point out to you, take time to get used to everything here before you leave your children to a helpers to care about and go out to work. Yes, it is a hard time to look for a job, if you are not careful enough on hiring helpers, you may end up having more trouble than just not having a job. Depend on how old your children are, you need time to find right schools for them--big headache for a lot of people, get familiar with your building guards, a few neighbours, school teachers, other parents, even other people's helpers, you can ask them later how your helper perfom when you are not around, if you do get a helper later. Also get familiar with where you can get things that your family needs and how much they cost, so it will be easier for you to find out if your helper are playing games with you.

    I was in your shoes and are looking for a job now. I am a slow learner so it took me 6 months to get ready to go out and work. Hope you don't need this much time. But be careful as you do want peace and love at home.

  4. #12
    MLBW Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by val23 View Post
    Agree with MLBW, you should take your time finding a new helper. One very good way is to ask around friends who perhaps know some friends who are leaving HKG. Many expats are leaving right now and their helpers are probably looking for jobs. Then you can meet them, interview them and ask their current employers for references.
    Good luck.
    I agree with Val that it is much better to get introduced to a helper through people you already know. It was really a nightmare when we were on the lookout for one and had to go to the agencies--we actually ended up not even hiring a foreign domestic helper for the short time we used one (3-4 months because I had back problems)--instead we hired a local woman who came during the day (10 am to 5:30 pm). That worked so much better for our lifestyle.

    If you are interested in hiring a local person there are several non-profit organizations that run training schools for displaced homemakers in the city. Our helper was from Mainland China and married to a local HK man--in a lower income bracket and looking for a job. She was certified through the Lutheran Ministry that we contacted and she ended up being a total dream to have work for us. She was very savvy--and always lecturing me about "not being wasteful"--meaning that she would go out of her way to get a bargain for our family--she has a young boy who was in school so she was familiar with babies and my son totally adored her--she would sing Chinese lullabies and songs to him and he loved it--she could get him to nap when I couldn't. I learned a lot from her--just practical mommy things because I am a first-time mom. If she didn't know how to do something (get a stain out of something or clean something) she would call other ladies who also took the course with her and ask for tips. Even though she doesn't work for us now, I still meet up with her fairly often--now she has a newborn. Anyway, that is also an option.

  5. #13
    pixelelf is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2008

    wow, mlbw, i din know there were such organizations! may i ask what's the paying rates like? and can they work flexi hours?

    i do second what mlbw says. this is my experience. i have been approached by a helper ard my block and it starts with how cute and healthy my child is vs how malnutrition her employer's daughter is. and then it worms into some sad story abt her current employer and then asking if i need a helper and she'd love to work for me. i felt very uncomfortable, thanked her and walked away. a few days later, i was chatting with another mum downstairs, and she came along totally ignored me, and did the exact same thing to the other mum!

    please be careful. and check all the references carefully.

  6. #14
    MLBW Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by pixelelf View Post
    wow, mlbw, i din know there were such organizations! may i ask what's the paying rates like? and can they work flexi hours?
    I will look for the business card of the organization we worked with. My husband, who is from Hong Kong, did the research to find the organization. The fee varies but it is more expensive usually than having a foreign helper--If the person only works for you a few hours a week (say, Mon, Wed, Fri, 2-3 hours/day--or light cleaning etc.) then the going rate is 50 HKD/hour. In our case, our helper worked Mon-Fri 10 am-5:30 pm and sometimes would come earlier or stay later depending on what our specific need was and we paid her a monthly salary of about $5000 HKD--we actually agreed on a lower price but because she was so excellent, gave her a small raise after about 2 months of work.

    Basically, they train women in the same sort of course that domestic helpers from Indonesia or the Philippines receive--basic cleaning techniques, how to bathe, change, dress and feed a baby...things like that. I think it's something like 10-12-week course that the women have to take. Then they are certified through that organization. When you contact the organization they give you the contact number of the people that are available that fit your criteria (number of hours a week you need, language ability--most only speak Cantonese and Mandarin but a few speak Indonesian etc.). Then you contact that person and broker the deal yourself. The organization charges no fee to you or that person. You set up their work schedule the way that works for you and them--after you meet and interview them--you can ask them to come for a "trial run" in your house etc. There are a few things that you may need to do additionally--it's a good idea to have some sort of insurance option for them in your plan--so if they get injured while working for you things are covered. Because they generally do not work full-time there is no insurance or wage benefits of the job for them. They don't require a visa or work permit or any of the other rigamarole that you have to go through with a foreign helper. That was the most attractive thing for us actually because I felt by hiring a foreign helper that it was almost like adopting another child into the family--you really have to take on a lot of responsibility for that person and open your home to them--and that didn't fit our lifestyle at all.

    I'll see if I can find the number.

  7. #15
    fingerscrossed is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Tin Hau

    My experience...

    Were almost stooged when we were looking for a helper earlier this year. We went to an agency and interviewed a Filipino. She came over to do some house cleaning and cooking as a trial run and she seemed very good. She could speak some cantonese and bargain with the market women, could choose a fresh fish to steam, handled the dinner well, and could feed my baby. Then I asked for her ex-employers number, which she happily gave. At this point, I thought she was the one. I rang but the employer refused to go into detail and was a little rude too. The next day I asked the agency to start processing papers for her coz we were pretty happy with her. Then the ex-employer rang me on the same day and told be that the maid came home and said she'd found a new employer and then the cat had been let out of the bag. Apparently she was very rude and half hearted about her job. This was enough for me to tell the agent to stop processing the papers (luckily I'd forgotten to give them some info so the papers had not gone through yet!)

    Anyway, what I'm saying is that a lot of these helpers are sweet talkers and being an expat, we sometimes take things for face value. Just remember, they're a lot more informed and experienced at the 'game' than we are so as employers, do shop around. You shop around for everything else! BTW, we eventually found our present maid, who we're very happy with so far, on asiaxpat. We interviewed a few and asked them over for a trial. Like everyone else here says, it's your gut feeling and talk to the ex-employer!

    Good luck!

  8. #16
    sherwes is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Like many of the other posters I would recommend you speak to her previus employers. It might be that this maid is not being treated well by her current employer or it might be that she is lazy and gets upset when her employers calls her on this fact. You need to speak to previous employers to determine what the truth is.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that if she breaks her contract you need to factor in 6-8 weeks to send her home, do the paperwork and get her back in HK.

    I would recommend you look on and interview at least 4 helpers before making a decision.

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