How to Hire Household Staff:



1. Domestic Staff Agencies  

Agencies probably place more staff into private households and commercial venues than all the other means of finding domestic staff put together!

When done well, an agency will not compromise standards, they will listen carefully to both the employee and employer’s requirements, build up a strong personal relationship based on understanding, which results in them being able to put forward eminently suitable candidates, who have been pre-interviewed, well-briefed and properly vetted.

Agencies charge the employer a fee when domestic staff have been employed, the fee is calculated as a percentage of the annual salary, and can range from 10% to 25% (which may not include value added tax - so read the contract carefully)

As with all companies, in all areas of business, some agencies operate to higher standards than others; so talk to trusted friends and colleagues before you take the plunge. NB. It’s worth noting that some agencies offer a reduced rate if you give them sole agency rights, pick wisely, and if in doubt, follow your gut instinct…

2. Word of Mouth

Staff recommended by trusted friends or family members can be ‘the ultimate find’. However, if it goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong, resulting in you losing more than a member of staff!

3. Poaching or Headhunting

One of my ex-employers would never hire domestic staff from the household of anyone she knows personally. Most of us will probably agree this to be an admirable quality, one that is followed by far too few people in today’s cut-throat world.

However, if you do decide to poach domestic staff, do so at your peril, and don’t copy this true story: Many years ago, I was cooking and overseeing a dinner for 12. As I busied myself in the vast kitchen and pantry, the hostess came in and sat down at a kitchen counter, from where she could watch the dessert being ‘assembled’. Just then a guest appeared in the kitchen, and not noticing my employer, she told me that dinner was superb, and  she hoped, with the aid of a generous salary, she could persuade me to work for her – she walked in and placed a tip and a business card into my hand, it was only as she turned to leave that she noticed my employer.......!

4. Classified advertisements

A favorite method for some: Job advertisements are placed on the plethora of online platforms available, or in local weeklies, national newspapers and catering magazines, weekly magazines which are aimed at the counties. Candidates then apply in writing, by telephone or email, whereupon the employer must assess their suitability so they can shortlist domestic staff candidates for interview.

Prices for finding staff using classifieds are less than those charged by agencies, with the cost of placing advertisements ranging from ‘nothing’ in certain weeklies, to thousands of pounds in National newspapers, while online platforms charge anywhere between £100 to £350 to run an advertisement.

Classified Adverts – General Advice

Write an advertisement that will attract the right employee. Domestic staff employee wants to be inspired to work for you and your household, so tell them about the position and the location of the house and the aspirations and requirements of the patron…

Information to include in your advertisement for domestic staff:

  • The title of the position,
  • List the qualifications or skills required by the candidate,
  • The geographic location of the household / position,
  • The responsibilities of the role,
  • Mention something about the style of the household,
  • List if there are other members of domestic staff in the household, 
  • Take a moment to explain if there are children in the house, and if so detail the duties which may be involved,
  • Be aware that some people have allergies or a fear of certain animals, so advise whether your home includes pets!
  • If there is accommodation, define it precisely, and if you pay all the bills on the accommodation you should make that clear - it’s a major selling point,
  • Indicate the salary range that you will  pay,
  • List other perks: use of car; medical insurance; pension contributions etc,
  • Lastly, define your goals and show that you are human, perhaps by stating that you are: “looking for someone who will fit into a happy and relaxed working environment, where hard work and high standards are expected and rewarded”, and
  • Ensure that you are totally honest about all the information you provide.

Once the advert is live, make sure you are ready to process and shortlist applications quickly. The biggest mistake employers make at this stage, is to presume that good candidates are waiting patiently to be called for interview! 



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