You’re going out of town and have decided to leave your home in the care of a house sitter. The peace of mind you’ll get in knowing that someone is looking after your property while you’re away seems worth the effort; but you haven’t got much experience in job interviewing, so where to begin? As with any other interview, the object is to get acquainted, and ensure that you select the right person for the job, so your questions should be chosen with that in mind. Since this particular job involves turning the house keys over to your new hire, references and reliability are of primary importance. Let’s look at ten top interview questions for a house sitter.
References and Experience
- Have you got any previous experience house sitting? There’s a lot more to house sitting than simply occupying the house while the owner’s out of town. A good sitter should be familiar with the responsibilities that the agreement includes, such as maintenance and bills. Determine whether the applicant has lived/worked under similar arrangements.
- Have you got any rental referrals? A good candidate for house sitting should be a good tenant, which is essentially what you’re hiring. Find out if the person can provide any verifiable recommendations from past homeowners, landlords, property managers or roommates.
- Are you willing to provide, or submit to, a thorough background check? You may have a good “feel” for the person, but that’s no reason to leave anything to chance. A well-qualified and conscientious candidate should have no problem agreeing to this requirement, and you need to make it a condition of employment.
- Tell me about yourself. There’s no better way of getting acquainted, and at the same time getting a sense of whether the person is compatible with your situation. Find out what got him interested in house sitting, his interests, occupation and typical schedule, etc.
- Do you smoke? If yours is a non-smoking home, you’ll want your house sitter to be smoke-free as well. An alternative is to stipulate acceptable smoking areas outside the home, and possibly include a clause in your agreement regarding damages resulting from tobacco use in the home.
- Will you be having any guests over? Since your house sitter will be living in your home for the duration of the agreement, it’s reasonable to expect that, at least on occasion, she will be entertaining a guest or two. However, you’re looking for someone who isn’t apt to throw parties or keep a lot of late nights either.
- Are you willing to care for a pet during your stay? If you’ve got a pet that needs to be cared for during your absence, you’ll want to hire someone who has experience with that kind of responsibility and is well-versed in your requirements.
- Do you have any home repair/maintenance experience? In the case of house sitting jobs that require maintenance or trade skills, make sure the person you hire has the requisite background and experience to do whatever work is peculiar to your needs. Check for licensing and bonding, as applicable, also.
- Are you available for the full time frame for which I need a house sitter? Establish specific dates that you require someone to house sit. Make sure your sitter is aware of the start and end dates, and can accommodate both. She should be available the day you leave, and be ready to leave upon your return.
- Are you willing to provide a security deposit? Whatever other financial arrangements you make, it’s a good idea to secure a deposit from a sitter, showing good faith and providing some insurance against any damages or losses incurred during your absence.