Find your preferred helper

Preparing your questions for the interviews is very helpful. Here are a few pieces of advice:

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1. BEFORE the interview: you should check that any candidate you interview meets these criterias:

a. Her work permit (WP) has at least 30 days of validity before expiry date;

b. Her passport has 7 months validity minimum;

c. Her last compulsory medical exam was less than 5 months ago (“6-monthly medical”)

d. She has a written consent form her present employer to transfer (consent for release letter)

If only one of these criteria isn’t met, the WP application will be rejected by MOM.

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2. Prepare a job description:

a. List your needs

b. Define your top priority (Housecleaning? Child care? Laundry? Cooking?): no helper is a wonderwoman!

c. Which technical skills are you expecting from her? What are you ready to train her for? (Attention: some helpers have yet never used any washing machine, or dishwasher, or cooking robot, or vacuum cleaner, or baby bottle heater. Don’t assume that “experienced” means that she has all technical capabilities: Do remember that there are different ways of managing a household depending on culture and families, and you may have differences between 2 families with the same cultural background)

d. Which moral qualities are you expecting her to show? (make a short list of 2 to 3 that are essential to you)

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3. Define the salary and benefits:

a. Hiring salary

b. Evaluate the cost of mandatory fringe benefits (food, toiletries, transport, phone, medical exam, her lodging with you, etc)

c. Rewards / Increments for good performance at work (highly recommended by MOM)

d. Amount of extra money for extra work (babysitting, party at home)

e. Yearly increments (most helpers are expecting yearly increments; so make sure that your budget can offer yearly increments)

f. Payment of return tickets to her home country (every 2 year is recommended but not compulsory)

g. Paid leave (not compulsory; it’s up to the employer)

h. The monthly levy (MOM); 265 SGD/month as at July 2016

i. Compute the total cost of having a domestic helper

Good to know: the benefits listed here are those in use in Singapore. Do note that the Embassy of the Philippines has other recommended benefits some of which they try to make it compulsory though the Philippines can’t take any action against anyone in Singapore

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4. Prepare your interview LAYOUT (write a script):

a. Her personal history

b. Her experience before arriving in Singapore

c. Her experiences as a domestic helper in SIngapore or out of Singapore

d. Prepare a few real life scenarios to assess her attitude, skills, initiative, etc/ Here is one example: ”It is 6PM, time to prepare dinner. Your employer is not at home. You are alone with three kids ages 1, 4 and 8. Before she left, your employer gave you the menu for tonight. The main dish requires eggs. You start preparing dinner when you realize that there are no more eggs at home. What do you do?”. Or also : « “It’s 4PM. You are waiting for the school bus bringing the two kids ages 6 and 10 back home. The bus arrives. The 6 year old alights but the 10 year old is not on the bus. The bus auntie says she has not seen him today. What do you do?

e. Her family in her country (how many people she remits money to)

f. Her financial situation (a candidate who has financial worries because of debts won’t concentrate efficiently on her work; she may also ask you for salary advances)

g. Her medical history (history of surgery, of hospitalization, of any prolonged treatment, her present treatment)

h. Her hobbies and leisure time

i. Her expectations

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5. Last details:

a. Give her a warm welcome (very important in the countries where they come from)

b. Be aware of her shyness…and yours!

c. Consider her stress level

d. Don’t ask closed questions (those starting with a verb and leading to a Yes or No answer: she will always say “Yes”!)

e. Let her speak at least 80% of the time

f. Keep your expectations for the end (any detail could lead or influence her future answers)

g. Take notes