How Can I Find a Reliable Helper in Hong Kong?
The List’s very own mom-in-the-know shares her Hong Kong tips and tricks with readers.
My helper is leaving and we’re devastated. How do I go about finding someone new and reliable?
– Utterly Helpless
This issue of The List has been put together for someone just like you, Utterly Helpless, so I hope it’s given you some useful insights.
The best advice I can give for finding a new helper—and this is advice that I have also received myself—is to rely on word of mouth. This way you can be sure of good references and can quiz the previous employers to your heart’s content. You’ll find that at this time of year in particular, lots of expats are moving away, so their domestic workers will be looking for new employment. Pay attention to Facebook groups (Hong Kong Moms, Discovery Bay Mums, Hong Kong Expatriates)—there will almost certainly be a group pertaining to your locality which will be more useful for hiring someone who’s already settled in your neighborhood.
However if this isn’t working, there is reliable support out there to help you find someone. Helper Choice (www.helperchoice.com) is a database that helps match helpers to employers—both parties can upload their profiles to the site and make use of the service’s messaging system to whittle down the choices for an interview.
Essentially, finding someone who’s the right fit all comes down to your interview technique. Make sure that you are 100 percent clear on what you would like your helper to do: how many children you have to look after; if you expect cleaning and cooking to be part of the duties; and what benefits you are willing to offer. You must be realistic and upfront at this stage, or risk running into problems later.
If you need help interviewing, then Annerley midwifery clinic (2983-1558, www.annerley.com.hk) offers an interesting range of services: there’s a free workshop on hiring a helper, private consultation sessions with a psychotherapist to help you in hiring and training ($1,500), or even a screening and assessment test for your candidates ($1,500) so you can have an expert opinion.
Once you’ve made your choice, the visa process is complicated so be sure to read up on the legalese. There are numerous employment agencies that can fill out all the necessary paperwork for you, and the Immigration Department (www.immd.gov.hk) provides a lot of information if you want to go at it alone.
Hope that helps!