Interviewing and selecting a housekeeper is a delicate, nontrivial process. The person that you recruit will have access to your home and family, and ultimately influence your peace of mind. The most effective way to screen candidates is to meet them in person and ask them a set of interview questions that shed light on their characters, capabilities and compensation expectations.
One of the most important questions to ask a prospective housekeeper is whether she can provide you with a list of references. References are employers who have hired the individual in the past and can speak about his performance. Since past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour, prior employers can offer an invaluable window into the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. Beware of candidates who do not have any references, unless you are their first potential employer.
Ask the candidate to discuss her skills in areas like cooking, cleaning and babysitting. After she volunteers this information, compare it against your requirements and identify any gaps. Follow up with additional questions relating to specific needs, and assess the candidate's experience and willingness to perform the work. For example, if you live in a house with a swimming pool, you might want to ask whether she has experience with outdoor equipment.
If you are interested in the candidate, discuss your proposed compensation in terms of hourly wage and other benefits. Ask the candidate whether this is in line with his expectations and, if appropriate, discuss his compensation at prior employers. To avoid future misunderstandings, inquire about additional fees and costs, such as transportation, overtime and seasonal activities such as spring cleaning. If the candidate's compensation history appears inflated, contact references to verify its authenticity.
Remember to ask the candidate whether she can provide evidence of her right to work in the United States. This can be in the form of a driver's license, Social Security card or passport. If you decide to hire the individual, you will have to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and keep complete and accurate records for the government. Make it clear that without such proof, you are not legally allowed to hire her.