Interview Questions for the Janitorial Industry

13 minutes read

Hiring an employee to take care of your janitorial needs involves some considerations that might not immediately come to mind. On the surface, interviewing for this position does not seem to require the same attention to detail that you would give to a technical or executive hire. In some respects that could be true, but there are several points that are important to consider.

Working Alone

There’s a good chance that this person will be working when most or all  other employees are gone. Even if they work during hours when others are in the building, there’s a good chance that few will pay attention to what they are doing. While this job is part of the overall “machine,” the activities of a janitor are not integrated with the main activities of an organization.

Temperament is especially important in this case. You don’t want to hire a person who is likely to do just enough to “appear” to have done a good job. Your goal is to have someone who truly cares and might even perform tasks beyond what you expect – as that is what true professionalism requires.

Even though they may work alone most of the time, someone who is reactive or difficult to work with is not a good choice either. It’s a virtual certainty that at some point an employee may need help to resolve a problem of some sort. There’s comfort in being certain that any such an interaction would go smoothly.

Organizational Image

You’ve probably entered an office that is not just clean, but spotless and sparkling, enough to change your impression of the company. Wouldn’t it be ideal if you had a cleaning professional who performed top level service? That extra degree of attention conveys professionalism, high standards, and attention to detail.

Employee Health

Janitorial duties are just as much about reducing the prevalence of harmful bacteria as they are about keeping working areas clean. It’s important to feel that the person you are about to hire understands this aspect of the job and takes it seriously. It’s not silly to think that incomplete work in certain key areas of your building could contribute to increases in employee illness and lost production. These are problems – and expenses – that your company doesn’t need, not to mention a risk factor to your employees.

Formulating Interview Questions for Janitorial Work

Before you start working on your list of questions, it’s useful to consider the things that matter to you the most – not just the qualifications that the candidate brings to the interview but also the personal qualities that you hope to see in an employee.

What’s the purpose of your questions? What are you hoping to find out? If you start with that, you’ll be more likely to ask things that give you what you really need. This checklist could vary  depending on your specific industry, company culture, and the responsibilities of the exact job for which you are interviewing.

What Do You Want to Know?

Here are some points that you may want to ask when creating a list of janitor interview questions:

  • What experience does the candidate have that relates to the job?
  • This job involves significant manual labor. Is the candidate in good enough health to do what is required?
  • Can the candidate give detailed descriptions of the best way to handle a common task or tasks?
  • Is the candidate likely to be able to do what is needed without requiring someone else to supervise them on an ongoing basis?
  • The job is not necessarily a glamorous one, and it may not be reasonable to expect the same enthusiasm you’d see in an interview for an executive position. But does the candidate consider the work that the job involves to be interesting or worthwhile to any extent?
  • Does the candidate know anything about your company and have any enthusiasm or interest in what you are doing?

Again, this may not encompass everything you want to know. Work sites may include spaces where confidential work is done, where hazardous or especially valuable materials are stored, or other security issues that require specialized questions.

Janitor Interview Questions

Now it’s time to consider some examples of specific questions that you might want to ask. These questions relate specifically to interviews for janitorial work and do not include questions you generally ask an interviewee about matters such as the terms of leaving their last job, salary expectations, long-term career goals, etc.

  • What is your understanding of the things a janitor would be expected to do?
  • Do you enjoy working alone? If so, what do you like about it?
  • What kinds of janitorial duties have you been responsible for at past jobs?
  • Could you confidently answer questions about the safety and safe handling of the chemicals that you use on the job?
  • Can a janitor have an impact on the health of the workers in a building?
  • If you were cleaning a bathroom, what would you do? How would you know that the job was fully done?
  • Would you be comfortable dealing with other employees or members of the public if that was needed?
  • If someone complained loudly, or even unfairly, about a mess or a situation that needed immediate attention, would you be able to focus on taking care of it?
  • Is there any reason that you might have difficulty lifting things that were heavy, or staying on your feet for extended periods of time?
  • How do you see your work as a janitor fitting into the overall work of this company?
  • This job involves activities that are fairly repetitive. How would you keep yourself interested and alert on a day to day basis?
  • What type of cleaning machinery have you worked with in the past?
  • Do you have any interest in learning more than you already know about the janitorial profession?

Judging Responses to Interview Questions for a Janitorial Job

Communication skills vary widely among candidates for every kind of job. No matter who you’re talking to, they may or may not be able to give you the clear and exact response yout hoped to hear.

 A lack of eloquence should not automatically disqualify a candidate. You should be able to tell whether your basic question was answered, and how the answer matched your expectations.

But a degree of eloquence is still important. Unless the person you are hiring for a janitorial position is never going to be around other humans, it’s important that you get the sense that this person is relatively easy to talk to and willing and able to enjoy interchanges with others.

Obviously, a job interview can be a bit more tense than other kinds of conversations, but even so, it’s not a good sign if you are unable to sense any degree of enthusiasm for the job or to establish some degree of rapport during the interview.

Managing Human Capital

You can’t expect your business to grow without the right facilities, the right equipment, the funding you need, and a strong business plan. Still, there’s nothing more important than the people you choose to help you achieve your goals, the “human capital” that has value that can be overlooked or under-utilized. EPAY Systems provides a range of customizable features to make employee management, from C-suite level to janitorial services. Take a two-minute tour now to see how EPAY Systems can help maximize your human capital.

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