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Looking for a helper - what do I need to ask?

  1. #1
    baguette is offline Registered User
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    Dubai
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    Looking for a helper - what do I need to ask?

    Hi everyone!
    We'll be moving to HK in the next few months.
    I will be working parttime there and we will need a helper to take care of the house and look after my daughter.
    My girl is 2 y.o., she goes to the nursery since she was 14 months and never had a problem with that but in the afternoon she's always been exclusively with me, no baby sitters no granparents, so I am a little worried for her reaction to another person.
    (and I am worried about MY reaction..I am SOOOO afraid of something happening to the child while and because I am not there...)

    Moreover, we've never hired a house maid so I don't really know where to start with the questions during the interview..can you help me??

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    southside852 is offline Registered User
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    These are all natural concerns when hiring your first DH. It will undoubtedly by an adjustment for you and the entire family. When we moved to Asia, my son had never been with anyone else either but me and my husband. We transitioned our DH by first teaching her all the housework. Once she mastered that and I saw it was to my standard, I let her watch me take care of my son. I had her watch me bath him, change his diaper and feed him. I had her come with me to classes so she could not only observe me, but also learn the types of games that are helpful to a child his age. She watched me take my son in taxis, how I got on the blding's shuttle and how I took care of him in the stroller. My DH has 2 children of her own who are older which helps, but each person parents differently so I wanted to make sure she echoed what we were doing so our son would not get mixed messages. To build the trust factor, I started with just small trips - go to the market by herself etc...then she would take our son down to our blding's playground which required no taxis and I would always come down 20 mins to later to see how things were going. Eventually, she could take my son to classes and could take him in taxis by herself.

    When interviewing, it's important that you and your husband/partner talk about what's most important to you and make sure you're both on the same page. We had a list of questions, personal (family, background, time in HK, what were her previous duties etc...) we asked her situational questions (if our son has 103 fever, what would she do? etc..), how to questons (cooking questions, household questions...)and of course always get a reference. For us, her proficiency in the English was extremely important to us and the fact that she had two children of her own and was married was paramount.

    Hope this helps!
    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    StareBear is offline Registered User
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    The best advice I got was to make sure you always speak to the previous employer - do not just trust written references. I told potential candidates that I would not even consider hiring them if I was unable to speak to their old employers. This helped save a lot of time as I didn't proceed with interviews where this wasn't going to be possible. I was amazed at how many helper's claimed to have lost or misplaced references etc. If you can't take care of the single most important thing that will help you to secure employment, then how can I trust you to take care of my child?

  4. #4
    Frenchy is offline Registered User
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    There is a new book on the market, called" Hiring & Managing Domestic Help", written by Andreas Bosboch (seen in SCMP of yesterday). Don't know yet where to find it but I guess in every big library in HK, or should be easy to order it. Maybe it can give some good advices for beginners...

  5. #5
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    There's also Helper's Helper by Julie Jacobson which a lot of us have used.

    Helper's Helper :: Hong Kong Online Shopping

    Here's an article that Julie wrote for us.

    Hiring a Helper

  6. #6
    baguette is offline Registered User
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    Thank you girls!

    I'm taking notes.

  7. #7
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    I agree with StareBear that it's really important to talk to the employer, but you also have to ask the right questions.

    It's not enough to ask if the helper is good generally as most employers will simply say yes. In addition to general questions about the helper's responsibilities, I like to ask the employer what two or three things the helper could improve on, how she reacts when given instructions or criticised, what her energy level is like, whether she talks much on her mobile phone during work hours, how she treats grandparents when they visit (eg, will she follow their directions), whether the employer would renew her contract and if not, why.

    Also, it helps to read the written reference critically. If the reference says she cooks, but doesn't say she cooks well, you should follow up and ask.

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