by Strategic Outsourcing Limited August 12, 2020, 9:54 am


Employing domestic workers in Nigeria is a common practice among middle and upper-class Nigerians who require competent and skilled people to assist with routine but time-consuming tasks such as the general upkeep of the home, cooking, driving, childcare, etc. 

However, domestic work lacks professional status in Nigerian society. Thus, finding quality candidates with the right skills, experience, and attitude to work to engage in long-term professional employment can be problematic.

This challenge leaves many Nigerians with the only option of sourcing for domestic workers via word of mouth. At that, most of the people seeking to engage domestic workers often resort to asking friends and family for referrals. In some rare cases, domestic workers approach prospective employers to ‘sell themselves’ and offer their services. 

This, however, comes with many potential dangers, hence the need to follow due process to ensure you are not only getting someone competent and reliable but also someone you can trust. You also want to ensure that the person you are hiring is who they claim to be. 

So, what is the right way to reliably recruit domestic staff? This article highlights best practices that will ensure you employ the right people. 


Don’t Be In A Mad Hurry

It is important not to rush the recruitment process. It may take several months for an employer or an agency to find the right candidate, perform background checks, evaluate qualifications, and assess compatibility with household members.

When It Comes To The Personal Interview, Err on the Side of Caution

Always make arrangements for at least two interviews. 

This will give you a clear feel of the candidate and grant you the opportunity to see them on different occasions. 

With domestic staff recruitment, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Err on the side of caution.

It may help to have a friend or family member attend such interviews as multiple people whom you trust can help interpret the candidate’s background. These interview sessions provide an opportunity to verify information about the candidate in person, to determine whether he or she is fit, and to gather references you can call for verification.

Carry Out Skill and Personality Tests

At SOL, we always recommend conducting a trial or a probationary period before committing to hiring a domestic staff. This will give a clear insight into the way the candidate behaves, which may differ from his/her conduct at the interview stage.  

It is vital for the candidate to be supervised during the trial. For example, if you are filling a nanny position, allow the candidate to spend some time interacting with the kids and getting to know them, but do this in a safe, controlled environment. Hiring a domestic staff opens your home to what is essentially a ‘stranger’ and places your family in a vulnerable position, which is why employers need to protect themselves. Nevertheless, candidates need to demonstrate their skills. You must determine the middle ground for such test runs.

Personality compatibility is often overlooked by employers but plays an important role in domestic staff recruitment. Regardless of skillset or competency, a candidate may not be a good fit for an employer. A formal personality test can help provide insight into a candidate’s suitability for a position in your home.

Be Wary Of Candidates Who Say They Can’t Get References

One of the most important steps in domestic staff recruitment is verifying the candidate’s references. The fact remains that the candidate is still a stranger, so you need to defer to people that have worked with the person for a considerable amount of time. The quality of references your candidates present is as important as the quality of the candidates you have under review. 

Call them, verify the dates the candidate worked for the referee, and get a general outline of the duties carried out by the candidate. Ask for both personality reference and work reference. When you are speaking with the referee, ask to understand why the candidate left, and if such a candidate can be recommended for employment. In domestic staff recruitment, be wary of candidates who say they cannot get references. That is a red flag.

Be Thorough With The Background Check

A background check will help an employer see evidence of things like criminal history (or the lack thereof). Prospective domestic workers must be open to having their background checked by prospective employers. 

It is recommended that all clients who consider hiring staff look to get a background check done on the candidate by enlisting the help of an agent or a company. This is especially necessary because Nigeria lacks a unified identity database. Almost 100 million Nigerians do not have formal identity documents and thus are unable to verify their identity. 

Hiring a professional company like Strategic Outsourcing Limited to oversee the background check of prospective domestic workers ensures the research is thorough and allows any red flags or problematic candidates to be detected. 

At SOL we do not discriminate against candidates. However, when the candidate will be working with children or the elderly, we recommend that employers commission background checks to ensure adequate protection of their family.  

Trust your Instinct!

Even after following all the steps above, the most important thing is for you to trust your gut during the recruitment process.

If something feels out of place, it is important not to ignore it. Even if all the right boxes are ticked, if your gut tells you something is off with a candidate, take it seriously. 

Employers may go through all the steps listed above and still not feel okay with a candidate. Our advice: trust your instincts!

Training And Performance Reviews

Even the most qualified employee will need time to learn and understand the requirements of a new role. It is therefore important to give room for questions and a short acclimatization period. Be clear in your communication and ensure peculiar requirements are written down and explained explicitly to avoid errors. 

Employers are increasingly looking for workers who have a mix of transversal and occupational or technical skills. For example, an employer may look for a domestic worker who can manage the home, use household appliances, manage budgets, and care for the elderly, children, invalids, and persons with disabilities, while requiring little or no supervision. The specialized skills needed to perform such specific tasks are known as vocational skills, which require training. Therefore, employers may want to consider additional formal training depending on the situation. CPR and first-aid classes are great examples of such training.

It is always important to keep the lines of communication open. At the same time, performance reviews should be dialogues, not lectures. Just as in the formal business setting, a well-run household should enhance the talents of its employees.

Recruit With Sol Domestic Staff Service

After all, said and done, the journey to hiring the right domestic worker for your home does not have to be tumultuous. With our expert input and guidance, it can be an exciting and satisfying experience. SOL works with clients in finding the perfect match for their domestic staff needs, and we look forward to hearing from you to embark on this opportunity together.

Contact Us today on 09029542801 or 08163801364.