You've heard it on the radio. You've seen it in the evening news. You've read on the newspaper. Maids stealing money, pieces of jewelry, gadgets, and other valuable things from their employers. Yayas hurting the children of their bosses with CTTV videos to prove the accusations. Housekeepers being involved in inside job robberies. Indeed, letting strangers inside your house is downright frightening. Not just your possessions, but also your loved ones who will be traumatized in the event of these unfortunate circumstances (i.e., theft, child abuse, kidnapping). 

Regrettably, your family cannot do without house help. The next best thing to do is to find the most reputable maid agency that can provide you with a housemaid who is trustworthy and can render the quality of service expected from her or him. Here's how to choose the best maid and maid agency there is that fit your needs. 

Choosing the right maid agency

Some would-be employers are tempted to outsource their house helpneeds through their relatives, friends, officemates, neighbors. There is nothing wrong with this process. However, if you are urgently needing a maid, then hiring through a maid agency is the best route to take. In knowing that you are dealing with the maid agency among the pool of hundreds of maid service providers, here are some important factors to look at.

1) Permits and licenses

Make sure that the maid agency where you are planning to source a maid from has a license to operate. Primarily, the agency must have a license issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It should be registered to SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). These are the proofs that the agency is legitimate and has the capacity in hiring, training and deploying maids. 

Another important thing is that since it is operating under various applicable laws, the agency is able to inform you about your rights and responsibilities as an employer. The same goes with the helper. Yes, this includes the Kasambahay Law. In this way, both you and the maid are guided and protected.

2) Affiliations

Any maid agency's legitimacy is solidified by its affiliations. If the agency is a member of federal associations, much better. It would be also good if it is operating under the guidance of a law firm. Another important thing, the agency should be working with a certifying body so you can make sure that the maids it supplies are well-trained and certified. Just make sure that there is no connivance between the maid agency and the certifying unit.   

3) Online presence

In this digital world, it would be much better if you can check the website of the maid agency. How the agency treats its site, for instance, can also tell a lot about how it operates. At times, you only need to browse the website's homepage to weigh in the credibility of the agency itself. A professional-looking website means that the maid agency is serious and prudent in operating its business. 

In most cases, anything you need to know about the agency such as its physical address, contact numbers, business hours. etc. are on the homepage. If you will browse the site deeper, you will learn about its hiring processes including the fees and payment terms. Some website even features reviews and testimonials of previous clients that can help you in judging whether the agency is reliable or not. 

Yet another way to determine the trustworthiness of a particular agency is through its activities on the social media. Agencies understand that their next leads could be on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Interestingly, they won't be in any of these networks if they don't want to keep their target audience updated, and that includes you. 

4) Variations

Understandably, our housekeeping needs are very diverse. It is best to find a maid provider that houses variety of maids to choose from. Options should not be contained to maids, yayas and cooks alone. If possible, the agency must also offer choices of maids and housekeepers who can also provide tutoring, babysitting, pet sitting and senior caregiving services, among others. Of course, at higher salaries. The bottom-line is, finding a housekeeper that can provide as many types of services at reasonable rates.

In lieu with the third factor to consider, some maid agencies feature the names of the maids and housekeepers available on their respective websites. This goes to show that the agency itself had probably exhausted all efforts in sourcing the maids and conducting research (background checks) on them to ensure the credibility of each helper. In brief, the profile provides information about the origin of the housekeeper, for instance, and his or her availability (full-time or part-time and live-in or live-out). Aside from the personal details, the full profile also outlines the qualifications and certifications of the housekeeper. 

Choosing the right maid

Once you find the perfect maid agency, the necessary next step is finding the maid that matches your needs. Your main goal is to find the maid that is worthy of the job and the salary that you are going to pay for. Even if you are hiring a maid through an agency, you still need to be diligent in picking the one for you. 

After contacting your preferred agency and informing it of your needs, basically, the agency will provide you a shortlist of the right candidates. The shortlist will be based on your requirements. For instance, you want a maid who knows how to take care of toddlers, who knows how to cook, between 20 to 30 years old and a Bicolana because you are from Albay, too. Make sure that there are at least three candidates on the list.

Additionally, the agency will offer you choices of methods to interview the candidates like Skype, phone, office and home interview. Regardless of your preferred interview method, the agency will provide you a copy of a printed profile (or resume) of each candidate where you can based your interview. If this is not possible, ask the agency to send you a copy of each resume on your email and have them printed out. These will come handy during the interview. Better be prepared with your questions as well. Some questions to consider are as follows.

  • How long have you been working as a maid/yaya/cook?
  • What sets you apart from other maids/yayas/cooks?
  • What do you like most about your job? What do you hate the most?
  • Have you worked in the same environment (apartment, condo, etc.) as mine?
  • Have you worked in my location before?
  • Are you willing to adjust your availability in case of schedule changes?
  • How do you define a good employer?
  • How is your relationship with your previous employer like? 
  • Why did you leave your previous employer?
  • How much do you previously earn?
  • What do you usually do on your day off? 
  • Are your parents still alive? or Do you have kids? Where are they?
  • How often do you need to call your parents or kids?
  • Are you sending them money on a regular basis?
  • Do you have someone who may want to visit you?
  • Can you follow a recipe?
  • What religion do you practice?
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • What time do you usually wake up?
  • What are your hobbies?

Evidently, the questions should be mostly about what is not written on the resume. Be as diverse and random as you possibly can when interviewing a prospect so you'd get to know the person. This is how you gauge her disposition, motivation, expertise, and experience. Take note of how the interviewee is reacting to your every question. If she frowns, looks bored or gives flippant answers, you may finish the interview and proceed with other interviewees. Continue interviewing other potential hires if you are not 100% happy with the interview and, of course, with the interviewee.

Part of your responsibility is to ensure that only the most trustworthy people will enter your house. After all, it is your house, your kids,and your possessions that you need to protect from deceitful house helpers. Good luck with your journey to find the right maid for you and your family!