Hiring cleaning staff is a complex process that starts with writing an inviting job ad. Learn what to look for in new cleaning employees and what you need to know to navigate the hiring process.

Table of contents
  1. Traits You Should Look for When Hiring Cleaning Staff
  2. How to Hire Cleaning Employees
  3. 3 Tips for Retaining Your Cleaning Staff
  4. Sweep Away Operational Efficiencies With Connecteam

For your cleaning business to be the best, you have to hire the best.

Recruiting and hiring cleaning employees takes time, but it’s absolutely crucial for making sure your business operates effectively and with the right people.

Let’s break down exactly what to look for in potential new hires and how to manage the hiring process.

Traits You Should Look for When Hiring Cleaning Staff

The first step in hiring cleaning employees is figuring out what traits to look for in potential staff. If you already have an established cleaning crew, start by identifying the strengths of your top performers and keep those in mind when hiring new team members.

Here’s a list of traits and qualities that you may want to keep an eye out for:

  • Previous cleaning experience: Ideally, you want to hire employees who already have previous experience in other cleaning companies. Everyone needs to start somewhere, but hiring newbies requires more training. You might be more inclined to recruit employees who already have the skills and knowledge to perform your required jobs.
  • Approachable: Your cleaning staff should always be friendly to your clients and make them feel accommodated and safe.
  • Trustworthy: When a client starts bringing cleaning staff into their homes or facilities, they are bringing in strangers. Allowing others to clean or maintain their premises comes with a high level of trust. You may want to consider conducting criminal background checks.
  • Dedicated: Ideally, you’ll be able to count on all of your staff. This means they always arrive to their jobs on time and don’t regularly decline their shifts last minute.
  • Attention to detail: Cleaning requires paying attention to small areas that may be easily overlooked. Staff with a strong attention to detail will ensure that all parts of a space are thoroughly cleaned and maintained. One way to find out if a potential candidate has this quality is by having them do a trial shift with a current employee.
  • Physical stamina and fitness: Cleaning can be physically demanding, involving hours of standing, bending, and lifting. Physical stamina ensures that workers can handle the job without undue fatigue.
  • Good communication skills: Effective communication is important for reporting issues while on the go, understanding client expectations, and working as part of a team.

How to Hire Cleaning Employees

Now, let’s break down the important steps of hiring cleaners:

Step 1 – Create & share your cleaning job ad

For many potential applicants, it’s the first time they’ll be introduced to your company, so you want to give the best first impression. Don’t just include what the job entails; detail why someone should work for your company, including a bit about your company culture or the benefits you offer. You need to sell your company to new hires just as much as they need to impress you during the interview process. 

Typical job ad details include:

  • Job title
  • Job description
  • Key responsibilities
  • Salary range
  • Employee benefits
  • Company information
  • How to apply

Make sure to provide contact details so applicants can reach out to you, whether that be an e-mail address or phone number. 

Upload the job ad to your website and other relevant job boards, such as Indeed and Monster, and consider using social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. 

Also, don’t underestimate the effectiveness of referrals from your current employees. They may know other professional cleaners or be able to spread the word about a job opening in their social circles.

Step 2 – Review all applications

You can either wait to collect several applications and review them at once, or review them as you get them.

Either way, here’s a breakdown of how to thoroughly evaluate applications:

  • Establish a rating system: Develop a scoring system to assess each candidate against pre-defined criteria and make sure everyone reviewing applications is familiar with it. This can be a simple point system or a more detailed rubric.
  • Start with a screening: Do an initial screening to eliminate candidates who clearly do not meet the minimum requirements. This could involve looking for keywords in resumes or checking for essential qualifications.
  • Focus on the relevant: Focus on the information that is most relevant to the job. Look for specific examples of skills and experience that demonstrate the candidate’s ability to perform the required cleaning tasks.
  • Resumes: Look for clear and concise resumes that are easy to read, and check for inconsistencies and typos. These factors may not necessarily qualify or disqualify someone from getting the job, but a polished resume says a lot about a potential employee.

Step 3 – Schedule & conduct job interviews

A quick phone interview can give you an initial idea of whether an applicant is a good fit or not. 

After that, schedule an in-person interview to get a more in-depth overview of the applicant, covering their background, strengths, past experiences, and previous jobs.

Follow these 5 steps to nail the interview process:

  1. Develop a list of interview questions. This should include both situational and behavioral questions about their experience with various cleaning products, methods they use for specific cleaning tasks, and how they handle situations like difficult customers and stubborn stains.
  2. Assess their physical capabilities. Cleaning is physically demanding. It’s important to discuss the physical aspects of the job to ensure candidates are capable of performing the required tasks, like lifting heavy items, bending, and standing for long periods.
  3. Evaluate communication skills. Effective communication is key, especially if the cleaner needs to interact with clients or work as part of a team. During the interview, pay attention to how clearly they express themselves and understand instructions.
  4. Discuss availability and flexibility. Cleaning jobs often require flexibility in terms of hours and days. Confirm that their availability matches the needs of your business, including willingness to work evenings, weekends, or holidays if necessary.
  5. Provide a realistic job preview. Be transparent about the job challenges and demands. This honesty helps set the right expectations and reduces turnover. Sometimes, providing a brief practical test can be a good way to see their skills in action.

Step 4 – Conduct background checks

Because your cleaners will be entering private property to perform their jobs, it makes sense to perform background checks. This will protect your clients and protect yourself from liabilities.

Here’s what you need to know about conducting background checks for your cleaning company:

  • There are no federal laws: There’s no federal mandate for background checks in the US, but some states might have regulations. Check your state’s laws to ensure compliance.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): If you use a background check company, the Fair Credit Reporting Act applies. You’ll need to get written consent from the applicant before initiating a background check and follow disclosure procedures.
  • Tailor the checks: The specific checks you conduct may vary depending on the type of cleaning service you offer (residential vs commercial) and the level of access employees have to client property.
  • Use a reputable company: Background check companies handle the legalities of the process and ensure accurate information.
  • Candidate disclosure and adverse action: Inform applicants about the process and obtain written consent before conducting background checks. If you decide not to hire someone based on the results, you must provide the applicant with written notice. You must inform them of the disclosed information and give them a chance to explain it within a specific timeframe (usually a few days).

After considering the applicant’s explanation (if any), issue a written adverse action notice stating your decision not to hire them and the reason (mentioning the criminal record but without disclosing specific details).

💡 Pro Tip:

If you discover a potential candidate has a criminal background, don’t disqualify them right away. Assess the nature of the crime and how it relates to the job duties. For example, a theft conviction might disqualify someone from cleaning houses, but a traffic violation might not.

Step 5 – Ask for references

Professional references are a great way to get first-hand knowledge of an applicant’s abilities.  

Encourage candidates to pick former employers who can speak directly to their skills and experience as they relate to the job they’re applying for.

When contacting references:

  • Keep it professional: Maintain a professional tone and don’t ask personal questions about the applicant.
  • Focus on verifying details: Inquire about employment dates, job titles, and responsibilities. You can also ask about the applicant’s work ethic, reliability, cleaning skills, and attention to detail.
  • Have respect for references’ time: Keep your conversation concise and thank them for their time.

Here are some sample questions to consider:

  • “How long did [applicant name] work for you?”
  • “Would you rehire [applicant name]?”
  • “Can you describe [applicant name]’s strengths and weaknesses as a cleaner?”
  • “Were there any specific examples of [applicant name]’s cleaning skills that impressed you?”

Step 6 – Offer the job

Once you know who you want to hire, provide a job offer outlining the terms of employment.

Make sure to include:

  • Salary and wages: You may provide all new cleaners with the same starting salary, but it’s important to keep up with the average pay in your city and state. Be sure to research average cleaning employee salaries in your area and offer a competitive wage. 
  • Benefits: While some cleaning companies might not offer extensive benefits packages, consider health insurance options, paid time off (sick leave, vacation), or a referral bonus program to attract and retain good employees.
  • Schedule: Clearly outline the expected work schedule, including regular hours, weekends (if applicable), and overtime pay policy. Be transparent about scheduling flexibility, if offered.

Keep in mind that candidates might want to negotiate salary or benefits. Be prepared to discuss your offer and have some wiggle room within your budget.

💡 Pro Tip

Develop a strong employee onboarding program for your new hires. Not only does this demonstrate an investment in your employees, but companies with formal onboarding see 50% better retention and 62% greater productivity among new employees. 

3 Tips for Retaining Your Cleaning Staff

The hiring process is one thing, but retaining top talent is another. It can cost 1.5-2x more than a worker’s annual salary to replace them, so it’s worth doing everything you can to hold on to your employees.

Here are 3 tips for doing so:

Invest in employee training

Cleaning staff training equips your staff with the skills they need to do their jobs properly, keeps them motivated, and helps create a unified and positive company culture.

But it’s not enough to print some paperwork and throw it at your new hires to teach themselves.

The best way to train new employees, especially for staff who won’t all be working in the same location, is with microlearning via an employee training app.

A graphic showing the manager's view of Connecteam's employee training app.

What is microlearning? All it means is that instead of long, drawn-out training sessions, you present employees with short chunks of new information to keep them engaged and help them retain information better.

The easiest way to implement this type of training is with an employee training app, like Connecteam. You can create customized courses with multiple mediums, such as videos, quizzes, and slideshows, and centralize all learning materials into one digital space. Then, employees can complete all their training from their mobile devices, while on the go.

💡 Did You Know?

When employees complete online learning from their phones, it results in four times higher engagement rates and 50% better knowledge retention than other types of e-learning! 

Connecteam lets you create engaging quizzes to test your employee’s knowledge after a training session and to easily discover knowledge gaps and retrain staff where needed.

Learn more about Connecteam’s employee training feature!

Offer competitive compensation and benefits

According to Randstad, salaries and benefits remain the top motivators for workers to change jobs. That being said, offering competitive compensation and benefits is a great way to hang on to your staff and let them know that you value their work. Benefits can include health insurance, parental leave, meal stipends, and paid time off.

When employees feel they are compensated fairly, it increases their sense of security and job satisfaction. As a result, employees will have a better attitude, greater motivation, and a stronger commitment to the company’s goals, increasing the likelihood of them sticking around.

Promote employee engagement

Employee engagement is a blanket term referring to how enthusiastic and dedicated employees feel toward their workplace.

This is definitely not something to underestimate; high levels of employee engagement mean your employees are more likely to remain motivated, work hard, and ultimately, stay at your company longer. 

An illustration showing Connecteam’s recognition and rewards interface

There are many ways to promote employee engagement in your company. Here are a few to consider:

  • Make sure to show employee appreciation. A few ways to do this is by publicly recognizing someone’s hard work on your company newsfeed, giving employees gifts or gift cards, or even offering extra paid time. And because 80% of employees say they’d work harder if they felt more appreciated, this is definitely not something to overlook.
  • Empower your staff. To foster a sense of meaning and achievement, give employees ownership over their tasks and help them see how their work contributes to the bigger picture.

    Consider creating short videos from your CEO and delivering them via your employee management app, sharing positive customer reviews with the team, or encouraging staff to identify cleaning challenges and suggest their own solutions.
  • Facilitate open communication. Doing so builds trust and shows that you value employee input. You can encourage two-way communication between employees and managers through online team chat or by having regular check-ins with your staff. You can also hold in-person open forums to create safe spaces for feedback. 
  • Teambuilding activities: Your cleaners may not get to spend much (or any) time with each other since they may all work in different locations. If your team lives in the same area, holding teambuilding activities is a great way to promote engagement and boost morale. You could take everyone out to lunch, do a workshop, or do some sort of outdoor activity together.

Sweep Away Operational Efficiencies With Connecteam

Between hiring, training, scheduling, and paying your cleaning employees, there’s a lot to stay on top of. Investing in technology to streamline your management duties is well worth it when you have so much on your plate.

Whether you’re just starting a cleaning business or have been running one for some time, an all-in-one cleaning business software solution, like Connecteam, can drastically simplify your day-to-day. 

Here’s how:

Efficient employee scheduling tools

Connecteam’s scheduling app is one of the best on the market for cleaning companies. You can view time-off requests and scheduling preferences directly in the software and use the drag-and-drop scheduler to create efficient team schedules. Or, use the auto-scheduling feature to create schedules for you in seconds.

You can also assign job sites and include important notes, checklists, tasks, and documents with each shift, so your cleaners have all the relevant information they need to do their jobs, no matter where they are.

An illustration showing Connecteam’s scheduling interface

Time clock with GPS-tracking ability

With Connecteam’s employee time clock app, your cleaning crew can clock in and out right from their phones. The time clock is also GPS-enabled, so you can see exactly where your cleaners are while they are on the clock. 

The real time GPS tracker sets a perimeter around job sites so staff can only clock in and out when on-premises, so you can prevent time theft. Of course, workers’ locations are kept completely private when they’re off the clock.

Keep all important documents in one accessible place

Easily store and send team documents to your cleaning crew from the Connecteam app. Cleaners can view these documents, check off checklists, and even sign them right from their phones, eliminating the need for paper forms. 

This feature also helps your company remain compliant with labor laws and OSHA and EPA regulations. With easy document storage, you can ensure that everyone is up to date on specific cleaning licenses for your city or state. 

Streamline employee communication

Team communication is easy with online team chat, a social-media style newsfeed for company updates and announcements, and a company employee directory

Instantly communicate with your cleaners and share updates right away with one-on-one or group chats. You can also post announcements for everyone to see, and your employees can like and respond with messages or emojis. 

Store all important procedural information and training documents in the employee knowledge base so your team can automatically get this information no matter where they are. 

A image of a worker next to a mobile phone with the Connecteam app - chat interface

With Connecteam, you can also create customized training materials, stay on top of task managements, simplify payroll, and much more.

Connecteam’s paid plan starts at just $29 per month for up to 30 users, and small businesses with fewer than 10 users can access the app completely free.

Try out Connecteam for free today!

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