A housekeeper can be an asset and help you manage your home so you can focus on other responsibilities. However, trusting your home and valuables to a stranger can be the ultimate security threat. That’s why it’s important to look for a trustworthy housekeeper who meets specific qualifications.
Qualities to Look For
Besides having adequate experience and expertise in this field, there are four main qualities to focus on.
No criminal history – You obviously don’t want to hire someone with an extensive criminal background. Anyone who’s been convicted of a serious crime is too much of a risk to trust with your valuables or your children. When looking at candidates, it’s best to go through an agency that performs background checks or perform a background check yourself, if hiring directly.
Drug free – Dealing with drug users is a recipe for disaster, especially if a housekeeper will be caring for your children. You want someone with a history of being drug free and who can pass a drug screening.
Honesty – A big part of building trust is knowing that a housekeeper is honest and upfront with you at all times. They should have nothing to hide and a positive reputation for being straightforward with past clients.
Reliability – You also need to know that you can count on a housekeeper to show up when they’re supposed to and complete tasks on time.
Look for Reviews and/or References
Although you can get a sense of a housekeeper’s personality during an initial interview, it’s impossible to know every detail and whether or not they’re hiding information. That’s why it’s important to find reviews from previous clients with firsthand knowledge. When you go through an agency, they will often provide reviews and testimonials to give you an added level of security.
For instance, agencies like Care 4 Hire offer housekeeper profiles, online references, and background checks. If you are hiring directly, this is a little trickier. You should ask for at least three professional references. Contact these individuals and try to get an overarching perspective on a candidate’s qualities.
In terms of warning signs, there are three main ones to look out for.
Refuses a background check – Almost anyone with a clean record should have no problem with a background check. It comes with the territory in this line of work, so be cautious of anyone who refuses.
Unable to provide references – If they are good at what they do and have good rapport with previous clients, providing references should be simple. If they can’t come up with at least three references, it may be because of a questionable past.
Has never had a long-term client – When a housekeeper is trustworthy and skilled, most clients will want to keep them around as long as possible. If a housekeeper hasn’t had at least one long-term client of more than a few months, they’re probably not someone you want to hire.
Conversations to Have Before a Housekeeper Begins
Before trusting a stranger to have access to your home and valuables, go over the basics with them and lay down some ground rules. Clearly explain your expectations and go over a typical schedule to ensure all tasks are completed on time. You should discuss their availability and the specifics of the relationship. This might include whether they’ll be working part-time, full-time, live-in, live-out, etc.
If you have a home security alarm, you should explain how it works with your housekeeper, and how to prevent false alarms. Give a housekeeper their own code so you can monitor when they get there, how long they stay, and when they leave. You should also provide instructions for any other security equipment you have installed. If you have surveillance cameras, make it clear to your housekeeper that they will be under surveillance.
If a housekeeper is providing childcare, discuss your children’s needs, behaviors, and safety concerns. You should find out if they are first aid trained and can provide basic medical care if necessary. When it comes to child discipline, you need to set boundaries so a housekeeper can be assertive without overstepping those boundaries.
Addressing Your Valuables
Regardless of how honest and trustworthy a housekeeper may seem, it’s generally a good idea to hide your valuables in a safe place during the initial phases. It’s smart to place them in a safe or concealed area, at least until you develop a base level of trust.
It’s important to make the right choice when searching for a housekeeper. By following a few guidelines, you can find someone who’s a great fit, trustworthy, and dependable.
Written by Nick Mann
Nick has freelanced for over four years and enjoys writing about how technology impacts home security. When not writing, he enjoys playing disc golf, sports, hiking, and traveling. Learn more