GUIDELINES WHEN INTERVIEWING PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES
- Give the interviewee a detailed account of the duties you require & if possible how long you envisage the different areas of responsibility will take.
- Explain how many members your household is made up of, their ages, characters etc.
- Explain what hours the interviewee will be required to work & if possible the household routine, for example what time the family have breakfast & dinner etc.
- If you require the interviewee to cook, explain the type of cooking your require, whether it is just for the family or to dinner party standard & any special dietary requirements that a household member might have.
- Explain what time off the interviewee will be given for lunch etc.
- If babysitting is required tell the interviewee how many nights babysitting are required. For live in positions a maximum of 2 nights a week is normally considered fair. Any extra nights required usually incur extra payment.
- Give the interviewee an insight into what sort of household you are, formal, informal, how you wish to be addressed & what you wish them to wear whilst at work.
- Tell the interviewee what other staff you employ, where the duty boundaries lie & if there is any order of seniority amongst the team of staff who the interviewee would report to or be responsible for.
- Explain any specific house rules you have, for example whether the interviewee would be allowed visitors (with your prior consent) on their time off.
- Explain what days off you propose to give the interviewee. The minimum is usually 1 ½ days a week but 2 days off & consecutive days make the job more appealing to prospective employees.
- Discuss the salary you are offering for the job, whether it will be paid weekly or monthly, by cheque, cash or directly into the employee’s bank account. Tell the interviewee if you pay for overtime & if so at what rate. It is typically the employer’s responsibility to ensure employee’s NI & tax.
- Tell the interviewee how many days paid holiday they will get & any particular times in the year you do or do not wish them to take their holiday allowance. By law any employee is entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday which may include Bank Holidays if the employer wishes.
- If separate accommodation is provided you need to explain whether you propose to pay for the utility bills. Many employers pay for all bills except the telephone.
- Discuss whether you propose to provide food or a food allowance each week.
- Tell them how far the local shops are & about the local transport as this is important to some employees & you don’t want them to start a job in a location they will not be happy to stay in long-term!
- Show the interviewee around the house, their accommodation & what facilities you will provide for them such as television, telephone, internet access & also whether they have to share a bathroom with anyone else.
- Explain whether the interviewee will be required to work on bank holidays & if so whether you pay extra for doing so, give a day off in lieu or if you treat it as a normal days work. Due to the fact many employers give compensation for working on bank holidays it is advisable to do so if you have a good employee & want to keep them.
GUIDE TO EMPLOYING HOUSEKEEPER/NANNIES:
It is important to realise that a Housekeeper/Nanny shouldn’t as a rule be in sole charge of babies and children for any length of time. They are not the same as a pure Nanny who’s sole responsibility is the care and welfare of children. It is helpful for clients to prioritise which is more important the housekeeping or nanny duties as both can’t be done from a safety point of view at the same time.
It is usually sensible to assume that a Housekeeper/Nanny is an extra pair of hands with the children but not to be assumed that they have the qualifications of a pure Nanny. A Cleaner is also often employed to help the Housekeeper/Nanny with the heavy cleaning duties. The extra help required depends on both the size of the residence; the age of the children & the amount of help required with the children on a daily basis plus the size of the family.
Live-in staff work between 8-12 hours maximum per day including hours spent babysitting with a break during the day of 1-2 hours. By law staff are entitled to a minimum of 11 hours break before starting work again.
It is considered fair to expect a maximum of 2 nights babysitting a week but a reasonable break must be given during the day to compensate for the long day when babysitting is required.
When a new member of staff is employed it is important to remember that however experienced the employee is each household is unique & has different priorities. Therefore it will take a little time for the new member of staff to settle in & familiarise themselves with the employer’s specific requirements. It might be helpful if when the employee commences employment the employer can provide a copy of the family’s daily itinerary such as meal times, what time the children get up & go to bed, need to leave/return from school etc & any of the family’s specific likes & dislikes.
For some staff it is also a good idea to work out a weekly cleaning itinerary detailing duties to be carried out on a daily/weekly basis to ensure that nothing is forgotten & the employee’s time is used productively.