Conducting Successful Video Interviews

Recruiting private household staff now often involves conducting initial interviews over a video call. The pandemic has made most of us reasonably proficient and familiar with various video calling applications such as Zoom, Teams and FaceTime.

The benefits to this in recruitment are clear. It saves both the client and candidate a great deal of time as well as potentially unnecessary costs. This is particularly relevant if the candidate and client reside in different countries.

That being said, interviewing is a skill in of itself and doing this over video adds another layer to this perishable skill set. Some people are more comfortable than others when it comes to attending a video interview. We have put together some tips and helpful information to help you navigate this process successfully.

The first thing that we recommend is to practice. You may want to try recording yourself a few times to assess how you appear on camera. Are you coming across clearly? This can really help with refining your delivery and may even benefit your face to face interview technique.

The next thing that is vitally important is to prepare ahead of time. Things to consider will relate mostly to the device you intend to use. Make sure to think about the following:

Internet connection. Is it stable and fast enough to conduct an effective call? Is anyone else in the house using the internet in a way that could affect your call or slow down the connection?

Which software will you be using? There are many platforms available but once you know which one is being used for the interview, make sure you are familiar with it. Conduct a test call with a friend of family member ahead or time and become familiar with the process of joining and ending the meeting.

Think about location. This will affect both the way you sound and look. When making a test call, check things like the sound levels of the microphone, the camera angle and the lighting. These things are all very important in a video interview. Can the interviewer ckearly see and hear you?

Avoid conducing the interview in a noisy or busy environment which will affect sound quality of the call.

Have a neutral background to avoid any unnecessary distractions.

Consider what to wear. This is just as important as attending a face to face interview and a video call should not be an invitation to let these standards fall by the wayside. Look smart and well presented as if you were attending in person. Avoid wearing overly bright or dark colours as these can affect the camera exposure. Toned down colours work best.

Think about the camera angle and position. Adjust your seating so that you are not too high or low in the camera frame.

When interviewing over video there are other benefits that may not have been possible in a face to face interview. Have a copy of your CV in front of you so that you can easily recall information about your work history. You can also have a list of the key points or questions you would like to remember to address or discuss. Have these off camera where they are easily viewable to you.

The same fundamentals for face to face meetings still apply. Be engaged and make eye contact. Come prepared with questions about the role to illustrate your interest in the position you are applying for. Keep your answers to the point and think about what you want to say ahead of time.

We hope that this information will help you in successfully conducting a stress free interview and wish you all the best with your next one!

If you are interested in viewing some of the domestic household staff vacancies we have available, be sure to visit our Job Board here.

Published inNews
Finding a Housekeeper

The Housekeeper is at the centre of all staffed houses. Whether it be part of a domestic couple, or part of a team in a formal household. Perhaps they operate in a combined role of Housekeeper/Nanny or Housekeeper/Cook. In any private household employing domestic staff, this particular category of staff is integral.

Finding the right housekeeper for the right job can be a challenge. A housekeeper needs a lot of skills and qualities in order to really succeed in the role. Whether you have an informal family home and only someone for a couple of days a week, or you have a larger more formal setup and you want a dedicated staff member on hand at all times, using an agency that specialises in household staff will significantly ease the process.

Choosing the right housekeeper can take some time, and you need a recruitment agency that can provide you with the best possible candidates. A housekeeper can perform a wide range of duties, from laundry and cooking to running errands, organising the home and supervising other staff if required.
Our consultants have a good understanding of how difficult it can be to find the right person for the role. Whether you’d like to hire a housekeeper, a chauffeur, an estate manager, chef or a cleaner, the team at Marshall Harber will be happy to assist you finding the right candidate for your needs and your environment.

If you are looking for your next Housekeeping job, please visit our Job Board to view all currently available vacancies.

Published inNews
Payroll and Taxes - Household Staff

Income tax can be complex at the best of times but there are a few simple elements that both employers and employees need to be aware of when it comes to the matter of ‘employed’ versus ‘self employed’ status.

This article is written In a bid to try and clear up some of the confusion surrounding the difference between PAYE earnings and being self employed in the private staff setting. It is not uncommon for domestic staff, particularly cleaners and housekeepers, to be registered as self employed. This can make sense particularly for part time cleaners with more than one place of work. They essentially manage their own time and hours and can therefore be considered self employed. It’s also appealing for people employing the services of these individuals as this means they can avoid the need of setting up formally as an employer with HMRC, managing a payroll and issuing payslips etc. This is particularly useful if you only require a part time cleaner for a few hours a week or on an ad hoc basis.

There are however considerations of which you need to be aware. Generally speaking, as an Employment Agency and due to the fact that we recruit permanent members of staff to be employed directly by clients, it is unlikely that any of Marshall Harber’s candidates would be able to operate on a self employed basis, even candidates seeking part time positions. We regularly receive requests from client’s and candidates to source or recruit for roles that would suit a self employed person. But the primary issue is that our clients provide us with a job spec to recruit. Part of this job spec is to establish the working days and hours for the role and as soon as the employer is dictating days and hours for a permanent member of staff, the candidate must be considered as employed and there is actually a legal obligation on the employer to operate PAYE in these circumstances regardless of how many hours it is for. There is a test available on the UK Gov website (at the time of writing this article) where you can establish whether someone should genuinely be self employed or not. The online questionnaire can be used by both employers and employees and it can be found here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-employment-status-for-tax/disclaimer (Link correct at time of posting)

Of course there are many employers of domestic staff that are not using an agency to recruit and they are completely flexible on the time the candidate works for them and may even book the hours week by week on an ad hoc basis directly with the candidate. Alternatively using cleaning companies is another way to engage self employed candidates. They must also be content for the candidate to send someone in to work on their behalf on any days that they are not available. These fundamental traits would all result in the candidate being considered self employed, however these are not generally the conditions and requirements that are presented or acceptable by clients using a Domestic Employment Agency and therefore any candidates (even if they have worked self employed previously) that we represent will need to be happy with working on a PAYE basis and to have their hours dictated by a permanent contract.

There are other elements to self employment to be aware of but we have touched on one of the most common things that employers of domestic staff can misunderstand, particularly when sourcing the staff via an agency.

For employers that find the prospect of setting up as an employer and managing payroll daunting (and we totally understand why), there is no longer any need to fear this aspect of employing staff. Marshall Harber are affiliated with a company called Stafftax. Not only do they make payroll easy, but they actually specialise in payroll for domestic household staff and nannies. The packages they offer are very reasonably priced and depending on what level of service you require, they can not only setup your employer account with HMRC and prepare monthly payslips, but they can even process all the payments to your employee and HMRC on your behalf and manage your workplace pension scheme. So there is really nothing you need to be concerned about other than enjoying the benefits of employing a permanent member of domestic household staff. Clients of Stafftax will also enjoy an added benefit of having access to their HR & Legal helpline as well as access to their employment contracts and advice on drafting these.

If you would like any more information about this service or you would like to discuss your requirements with one our consultants, please call us on 0207 938 2200. You can also view further information about Stafftax and their services on their website: https://www.stafftax.co.uk/

Published inNews

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