How to hire a housekeeper

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For many families, keeping a clean and organized home is a top priority for many individuals – and understandably so. However, it’s not always easy to find the time and energy to maintain a spotless living space. 

Hotels and commercial buildings must also keep each area sparkling clean for their guests and visitors, while also staying mindful of the resources they allocate to this task. 

So, this is where hiring the right housekeeper can make a significant difference.

A great housekeeper can provide all essential housekeeping services, tend to visitors, provide fresh bedding and towels, and prepare rooms for guest arrivals. They can alleviate the burden of household or maintenance chores and ensure a clean and comfortable environment.

If you want to make sure you’re able to get your money’s worth, it’s essential to know how to hire a skilled housekeeper. The right person will be trustworthy and reliable and:

  • Ensure that all rooms and areas are clean

  • Check that everything’s working fine (such as light switches, faucets, and more) – and let you know if any repairs are necessary

  • Provide excellent customer service

Finding the right housekeeper means you need to carefully consider the skills, experience, and personal qualities of candidates.

In this article, we’ll look at the responsibilities of a housekeeper, the skills they need for the job, how to evaluate them, and how much it costs to hire a housekeeper.

What is a housekeeper?

A housekeeper is a professional responsible for maintaining a home or commercial establishment clean and orderly. For this, they typically handle general cleaning tasks, such as: 

  • Cleaning and dusting all surfaces

  • Mopping and vacuuming the floor

  • Doing laundry

  • Washing dishes

  • Making beds

  • Organizing household items

The role of a housekeeper can change depending on the household or the type of hotel or building. 

For instance, a live-in housekeeper may also be responsible for other tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, and taking care of kids, depending on what the family needs. Such additional services will typically cost extra. 

In a hotel, the role of the housekeeping staff is essential in ensuring that the guests have a positive experience. They maintain the cleanliness and aesthetic appeal of the rooms, bathrooms, and common areas. They clean rooms on a tight schedule so that every guest can come back to a fresh and tidy room every day. Housekeepers also work together with the maintenance staff to identify and fix room issues.

Hard skills for a housekeeper

Let’s explore some of the hard skills a housekeeper needs, like cleaning, laundry care, and organization.

Laundry care

Housekeepers are responsible for handling the laundry of clothes, bedding, and towels. 

For this, they need to:

  • Know how to properly wash and iron clothes, towels, blankets, and sheets 

  • Sort different fabrics correctly by textile type and color

  • Be able to read and follow the specific care requirements of each item

  • Be proficient in stain removal techniques

  • Set the correct washing temperature and know how to operate equipment correctly

They also need to be extra careful when handling personal items given by guests, some of which might have their care labels removed.

Cleaning

Cleaning is a must-have skill for any housekeeper. In addition to sweeping and mopping, housekeepers need to know how and when to use advanced cleaning and dusting methods. 

More experienced housekeepers will also have experience with using specialized materials and techniques for cleaning items such as hardwood floors, valuable antics, glassware, or delicate fabrics. 

Housekeepers are also responsible for sorting and disposing of trash responsibly, which means that they must know trash disposal and recycling rules in your area. 

Basic repair and maintenance

Housekeepers often work with different household appliances and tools such as stoves, ovens, mops, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and fridges. 

This means that they should know how to operate them, as well as keep them clean and functional; familiarity with basic maintenance requirements will help ensure they’re working properly and for a long time. 

Ideally, housekeepers would also be able to take care of basic maintenance and repair tasks such as changing light bulbs, unclogging drains, or fixing leaky faucets.

Organization

What makes a housekeeper great is their organizational skills, i.e. how well they can: 

Keep track of the multiple tasks and chores

Arrange belongings, furniture, decor, and accessories in an orderly way

In a hotel, a housekeeper must check in on guests’ rooms regularly to make sure they’re clean and tidy – and also to top up bathroom supplies, check the minibar, and add complementary items as needed. 

Strong organizational skills help a housekeeper streamline their workflow, stay productive and efficient, reduce clutter, and be consistent in cleaning routines.

Time management

Housekeepers juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and must manage them efficiently to ensure they’re able to do everything on time. Their list of duties depends on their position and whether they’re working alone or in a team, but they must complete all tasks in a specified amount of time. 

They also need to: 

  • Avoid being late

  • Manage their workload effectively

  • Complete tasks on time 

  • Make the most of their shift

That’s why time management is a crucial skill for a housekeeper that you need to assess before you make a hiring decision.

Housekeeper soft skills

Housekeepers need to have several soft skills to succeed in their career, such as:

Communication

Housekeepers frequently interact with family members, clients, guests, and staff members, so they need excellent communication skills. 

They need to grasp every bit of information, such as instructions and requests, and respond to queries politely. In hotels, they must also notify management about any complaints guests raise. 

Clear communication is key for this and promotes a harmonious relationship with clients and guests, so look for housekeepers who are good communicators.

Adaptability

An adaptable housekeeper can easily adjust to changing circumstances and evolving client needs. For example, you might ask your housekeeper to take care of a new task on a given day or do things periodically, such as wash the windows. 

Housekeepers must also be able to adapt to different work environments and requirements: 

  • They wouldn’t have to deep clean a regular flat daily, but it’s a necessity for a hospital

  • They might need to work late (after everyone in the office has left) or come early in the morning

  • Some families hire housekeepers who can take care of their every need, be it cooking, cleaning, taking care of office supplies, or watching the children

Customer service

Providing a stellar experience to all customers is the ultimate goal of any housekeeper; their work revolves around satisfying their clients' needs and providing excellent customer service. 

If you’re using a platform, consider other customers’ reviews given to a candidate before interviewing them; additionally, you might also decide to assess customer service skills.

Trustworthiness and reliability

Trustworthiness is paramount for a housekeeper, especially if you want to hire a live-in housekeeper or for a hotel. 

Their reliability and integrity are extremely important, because they’ll have access to private spaces, belongings, and documents – not to mention that they might overhear sensitive information in conversations. Maintaining confidentiality ensures a secure and trustworthy atmosphere.

Shortlist housekeepers who are punctual, follow instructions diligently and can complete tasks without constant supervision.

Attention to detail

A housekeeper needs to have a keen eye for detail. They need to ensure that they’ve cleaned every corner and surface, put all items in place, and that all spaces feel welcoming and fresh. 

Housekeepers often need to take care of several tasks simultaneously, so it’s essential for them to be very detail-oriented while also staying efficient and organized. 

Look for housekeepers who take initiative and go the extra mile, for example by paying attention to seemingly trivial details like smoothing out wrinkles after making the bed or putting everything back in place after cleaning a room.

housekeeper soft skills to succeed in their career explanation graphic

How to test housekeeper skills

There are more than 770,000 maids and housekeepers in the United States. Nevertheless, it might be difficult to find a candidate that matches your skills, experience, and other requirements.

Even if you decide to go ahead with a housekeeper referred by friends or family, assessing their abilities is quite important. If the housekeeper is taking care of a range of tasks, you need to ensure that they can handle them all – and that you can trust them to do an excellent job.

Evaluating the skills of applicants with the help of an online assessment can help you optimize your housekeeper hiring process and shortlist the best ones quickly. 

With TestGorilla, you can combine up to five skills tests in a single assessment. Some of the tests that we recommend for housekeeper recruitment are:

  • Communication: With this test, you can evaluate the communication skills of your next housekeeper to make sure that they’re able to communicate clearly and efficiently.

  • Time management: Find housekeepers who work diligently and know how to manage their time while working on different tasks.

  • Understanding instructions: Make sure your housekeeper can understand and follow your instructions.

  • Attention to detail: This test enables you to assess whether candidates have a keen eye for detail and can pay close attention to requests.

  • Customer service: Assess candidates’ abilities with this test to see whether they’re able to provide a stellar customer experience.

Where to find housekeepers

You might meet your next housekeeper via local platforms or Facebook groups, or ask the neighbor’s housekeeper to start coming to your house, as well. Here are some ideas on how to find a reliable housekeeper: 

Referrals and recommendations

A personal recommendation is one of the best ways of finding a trustworthy and reliable housekeeper for your home. 

You can ask your friends, family, or neighbors for a referral – especially those who are currently employing a housekeeper and have a positive experience working with them. Personal referrals are great for finding reliable housekeepers to whom you can leave your home – or, occasionally, even your kids. 

This way, you’ll have an idea of the fees they charge and the time they need to clean your home.

Agencies or professional associations

If you’re looking for a housekeeper to take care of guests or employees in an office, you should explore agencies or professional associations. 

Agencies usually have a vast pool of pre-screened housekeepers who are experienced in several types of work and will be able to match you with the right person easily, based on your needs. Agencies will take care of vetting applicants and performing background checks, so that you don’t need to. 

Online platforms

Apart from agencies, you can also post job ads on online platforms like Indeed and Craigslist to connect with qualified candidates. 

Additionally, you can use specialized platforms and apps that connect homeowners with different service providers, such as Care.com or TaskRabbit. There, you can discuss the requirements, shifts or working hours, wages, and all other details and hire a housekeeper directly. 

If you use online platforms, we strongly recommend you use screening tests to vet applicants before hiring your next housekeeper.

Local ads and groups

Join local community groups on Facebook and other social media platforms to connect with housekeepers in the area. These groups are excellent for finding trusted housekeepers, because other community members can vouch for the quality of their services. 

You can also keep an eye on local newspapers or community-center bulletin boards to look for professionals offering housekeeping services in your area. Given that they’re seeking employment, they’ll probably be available immediately as well.

Housekeeper job description template

Here’s a sample job description you can post online or share with friends and family if you want to hire a housekeeper. Adjust the responsibilities based on your actual needs.

Title: Housekeeper

Responsibilities:

  • Clean all rooms and common areas of a [X square feet flat/house], including dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and sanitizing floors and surfaces

  • Handle laundry duties, including washing, drying, folding, and ironing clothes

  • Ensure a well-organized and clutter-free living space

  • Restock supplies and toiletries as needed

  • Manage grocery shopping and prepare meals if required

  • Maintain confidentiality and respect our family’s privacy

Qualifications:

  • Proven experience as a housekeeper or in a similar role

  • Knowledge of proper use of cleaning equipment, supplies, and cleaning techniques

  • Strong organizational and time management skills

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal abilities

  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision

  • High level of integrity and trustworthiness

How much does a housekeeper cost?

Housekeepers work in residential homes, offices, hotels, and other areas. Their responsibilities can differ according to where they work; hence, their base salary also varies. 

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for a housekeeper in the United States is $32,908 annually, ranging from $30k to $40k.

This salary depends on several factors, including the experience of the housekeeper, their responsibilities, the total number of hours, place of work, and more. Housekeepers with little to no experience working for a family tend to earn less than their counterparts working in hotels or homestays.

As they gain experience, housekeepers’ salaries increase as well. Some housekeepers also earn additional pay through bonuses, tips, and overtime.

Sample housekeeper interview questions

Here are some questions you can ask when interviewing candidates: 

  1. What motivated you to become a housekeeper? 

  2. How does your previous experience align with the role we’re offering?

  3. How do you clean different surfaces and materials to ensure optimal results?

  4. Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a challenging task? How did you handle it?

  5. How do you prioritize tasks and manage your time efficiently?

  6. How would you handle a situation where the homeowner has specific preferences for cleaning techniques or products?

You might also decide to add some behavioral interview questions to assess applicants more thoroughly. 

Hire a skilled housekeeper without bias and stress

The housekeeper hiring process can be a time-consuming endeavor if you don’t plan it properly.

If you post an ad, you might get dozens of applications from housekeepers or cleaners in your area, each with different experiences and skills, making it difficult to compare candidates.

Instead of interviewing every applicant, you can streamline the hiring process and shortlist the best candidates with the help of pre-employment skills testing from TestGorilla.

You can choose from our large test library of pre-made tests or build your own. Combine up to five tests to create an assessment and invite candidates to take it in order to evaluate their skills, abilities, and shortcomings. This will help you to hire the best housekeeper for your needs.

With our comprehensive skills assessments, you can identify the best talent quickly and without bias. Start a free trial with TestGorilla today to find a skilled and trustworthy housekeeper. 

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