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finding a helper - advice

  1. #1
    babynumber1 is offline Registered User
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    finding a helper - advice

    We are having our first baby in january and are starting the search for a full-time helper. I'm not working, and hoping to do much of the childcare myself. Just looking for someone who will cook, clean and do the odd hour or two of baby sitting while I run out now and then. We would like to interview several people before making the decision, so we contacted an agency. They told us the only helpers that would be willing to take care of a newborn are fillipinas who are still in the philipines. Apparently the helpers already in HK would be unwilling to take that job because it is too much work (very encouraging!)

    Has anyone else heard this or had this experience? We would really like to have a local recommendation, so we we're hoping to find someone who has been here for a little while.

    Also, can anyone recommend a good, honest agency? We would love to hire someone who could cook well, and have heard that thai helpers are great in that regard, but I imagine difficult to find.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    NewMommie is offline Registered User
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    I've heard the same thing - which is why my helper was hired from the Philippines, too. But, you can actually find a helper in the Philippines that has ample experience - it is just that they relocated for whatever reason and are back in the market but looking for work from home. We found several potential helpers through an agency who had 5-10 years of experience in countries likes Singapore, Dubai, Japan, etc, and some even in Hong Kong.

    The better agencies also let you cancel a contract within a specified number of months and switch to another helper, if it doesn't work out. While you pay the contract termination fee to the helper, you don't have to pay the agency again to find someone else.

    I think no matter what, it's always a toss up to hire someone so having a recommendation is not always a sure-fire thing. The agencies will pre-screen and sometimes you can call the previous employer to discuss, so in a way you get a built in recommendation.

    As for the cooking, I think they all claim to cook well but it always depends on your taste. You can always teach a helper to cook the food you like!

  3. #3
    louisouis is offline Registered User
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    I am not aware of this, my helper is Indonesian and according to her many helpers are happy to take care of babies. Does you agency specialise in fillipina helpers? Or maybe they just don't have any helpers in HK right now, may be worthwhile to shop around.

  4. #4
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Agency Recommendation

    Here is the thread about my agency recommendation:

    Arrow Really Hit The Spot for Us

  5. #5
    fingerscrossed is offline Registered User
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    My friend who is also looking for a maid now has been told that there are no good maids out there!! She's spoken to 5 or 6 agents, interviewed a few and the one she likes actually said she's not interested in the job because of the size of the flat (1800sq ft, which isn't THAT big). The so called 'good ones' have interviews lined up back to back and the final choice is theirs. Have you tried to look on this site or the asiaxpat site? There are a lot of helpers there who've worked in HK and you can actually trial them out but remember to ask for references so that you can contact the last employer for reassurance.

  6. #6
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    It's not true that there are no FDHs already in HK who would are willing to look after a newborn. However, I think in their eyes it does make you a less attractive employer. We tried to make up for that by offering more money, holidays, etc. When we were just a couple (both working and no kids), every helper wanted to work for us. Then it became harder when we wanted when we had a newborn. But that wasn't so bad compared to finding a helper in HK who is willing to look after a newborn and work as a second helper. For every 20 FDHs we called, only one was willing to come for an interview as a second helper!

  7. #7
    HK2008 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portia View Post
    But that wasn't so bad compared to finding a helper in HK who is willing to look after a newborn and work as a second helper. For every 20 FDHs we called, only one was willing to come for an interview as a second helper!
    It's kind of funny to know that some helpers don't like working with another helper...My one told me a few times in a half-jesting, half-serious way that whenever I decide to hire another helper, she'd be quitting...When I asked 'don't you want someone to share the workload with you so you can be more relaxed?' She said no. She'd rather work alone than having to handle the pressure/stress resulted from two people constantly competing/fighting with each other...unless they are already good friends or relatives. But even so, they'd still fight. Perhaps someone with two helpers can give some insight on this?

  8. #8
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
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    Hi

    I agree that the agency are not telling the full story (unless things have changed A LOT since we hired ours 1.5 years ago). We did not use an agency but went through AsiaXpat. Paid a small fee to view the CVs and did the interviews ourselves. We saw 8 - 10 helpers all of which were more than keen to look after a newborn - all from the Philippines but currently working in HK. I would try a different agency or give AsiaXpat a go.

    In some ways, particularly if you are expecting to do most of the childcare yourself which was what we did as well, then it is an easier job than having to shuttle older kids to school and activities etc. We would never have asked our helper to get up in the night to do a 3am feed (but I think some employers do) - I was feeding so was easier for me to do it.

    Good luck.

    SB2

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