Employers always cite integrity as their Number 1 criterion when hiring a maid. They have little tolerance for dishonesty. Extreme acts of dishonesty such as stealing get the maid fired almost immediately and a police report may be made. Some employers are more tolerant and maids are let off with a warning, with dire consequences later on. So here are 5 warning signs to look out for.
1) Maids are consistently evasive or vague when answering questions about their actions or whereabouts. To mitigate this, you can ask specific and direct questions, and pay attention to their body language and tone of voice.
2) Maids have a history of dishonesty or theft, either in their previous employment or in their personal life. To mitigate this, you can conduct a thorough background check before hiring them, and ask for references from previous employers (although this is really rare in Singapore’s context. Most employers are reticent when it comes to giving character reference.)
3) Maids are overly interested in the personal details of your life or the lives of your family members. To mitigate this, you can be cautious about sharing personal information with them and limit their access to sensitive information. Do not leave money lying around, or make PIN numbers accessible to her. Some old folks may ask the maids to help them withdraw money from ATMS and that is a recipe for disaster.
4) Maids blame others or make excuses for their mistakes. To mitigate this, you can establish clear rules and expectations, and hold them accountable for their actions.
5) Maids are secretive about their personal life, such as refusing to provide information on their family members or previous employers. To mitigate this, you can talk to her and probe for some background, and be wary of hiring someone who is not willing to provide this information.
It is also important to establish trust and maintain open communication with your maid. Regularly check in with them and address any concerns or issues that arise. Also, establish clear boundaries and protocols for handling money and valuables in the household.