How to Source, Hire & Retain your ideal domestic staff (With Oreoluwa Sonola)

Oreoluwa Sonola, Founder, MAIDforME Services would be talking to us about How to Source, Hire & Retain your ideal domestic staff.

Oreoluwa Sonola is a gifted Administrator with over ten years experience combined, serving homes personally and as the head of MAIDforME Services; a household management and administration business she founded in 2017.

As a household administrator, Oreoluwa Sonola specializes in designing and creating resources that help busy career professionals, entrepreneurs and visionaries set up structures in their homes, so that their homes can function and run efficiently when they have to be away.
She has worked with hundreds of families across four continents

Here is her session on How to Source, Hire & Retain your ideal domestic staff:

Before we start training proper, I want to ask 2 questions:

  • How many domestic staff have you had so far since you started hiring?
  • What’s your major issue with domestic staffing? Laziness, Stealing, lying etc.

Let me add a Jara question:

  • Have you ever sat down to really analyze why it’s been hard to get a really good domestic staff? Or you’ve only just complained about it?

I’m not here to ignore the fact that these things are REAL. There are very evil people, lazy people, ignorant people etc

But the other side is that there are GOOD people too. So my job here is to tell you how to find them. So this evening, let’s talk about

  • Sourcing :Looking for
  • Hiring : Selecting one
  • Retaining: Keeping & Working with the person

your ideal domestic staff… In that order


Contrary to what’s popular. Sourcing starts from you. It doesn’t start from you asking an agency questions about their candidates.

Sourcing is the process of you determining who is the most ideal candidate for your home based on what you have accessed as your need to the littlest detail.

So for example, what’s your need based on your personality? What’s your need based on the scope of work in your home? What’s your need based on the age of your children? What’s your need based on the educational needs of your children? What’s your kitchen need? What’s the need based in the size of your home? What’s the need based on level of interaction? What’s your need based on level of exposure?

The need question, if you sit with it will expose so many things you didn’t even know you needed.

So you may discover that even though you want someone who is young and wouldn’t disrespect you, you discover that based on the scope of work need, she isn’t mature enough to handle the responsibility of managing your home in your absence.

If you hire them, when she resumes, even though she’s a good person, she’ll discover that the work is too much and then quit as soon as she can.

So when you do a needs assessment, it gives you a full picture into the kind of person who is ideal for your home.

Bear in mind that the person you end up with from your assessment will seem almost perfect and it is impossible to find a perfect human being. So the goal is not to be hunting for a perfect person but to have a picture in mind that you are working with.

So that when you come across someone with maybe 60% of the qualities you are looking for, you are able to identify and assess if the lacking qualities are things that could be worked on with time.

Let’s say you have done a full needs assessment and your ideal staff is

  • Yoruba
  • 30 to 35 years
  • Can read and write and solve at least Primary 2 work.
  • Can cook yoruba traditional meals
  • Experienced with kids between ages 2 to 6
  • Exposed to working with a middle class family before.
  • Shows interest in working for at least 2 to 3 years. Etc.

Whose domestic staff needs looks like this list I have created?


So one trick is to not to disclose every thing you aren’t looking for in a candidate to the agency. E. G my last domestic staff was rude and very lazy… The agency already knows what to prepare the candidate for.

So reveal who you need and hide information on who you don’t need mostly based on character from the agency, so that you can prove by yourself during the interview.

When it comes to interviewing, don’t limit yourself to a certain number of questions. Ask and ask and ask until you are fully satisfied with the candidates responses.

If you are stuck on the kind of questions you should be asking, I have created a domestic staff interview questionnaire with 55 questions each, for different specializations of domestic staffing… Househelps (cleaning only) , nannies (Childcare) , domestic helps (taking care of both kids and cleaning) Caregivers etc.

I always advise you interview at least 3 candidates with the same questionnaire in the same order. It enables you assess them by the same metric. So you can really say which candidate did better than the other.

Not asking different candidates totally different questions. You may not be able to say who really did better.


2nd thing is training…. Train train train. Your home is evolving. The domestic staff you hired when your baby was 6 months, if she works for 1 year, your baby will be 18 months with different needs… She needs to be equipped and trained to handle a child at that age. if not, her skills will be become obsolete for your home that has evolved. And you will be saying she’s lazy or has changed. No she didn’t change. You just didn’t pay attention to her training when you should have.

Last point on retention is to reward good behavior but use it as an incentive to be paid when certain criteria is being met. E. G if you do an excellent job with 80 score rating and above, you will get a 10000 bonus at the end of the quarter.

That’s creating a win win situation. You are buying yourself time, she is working to consistently do an excellent job in your home and she is being rewarded for it at the end of the day. Everybody is winning.

Some of us give bribes instead of incentives. A bribe is when you give 10000 hoping she does a good job because you treat her well. Instead of using that same 10000 as an incentive to push her to do well so she can earn it

MAIDforME is passionate about training and equipping other Household Administrators, Managers and Domestic Staff so that they are developed personally and professionally to deliver the kind of homes their employers dream of. Oreoluwa has authored over 15 resources, the most popular being the MAIDforME Chore schedule and domestic staff interview questionnaire.

She is also the author of the book: How to Source, Hire & Retain your ideal domestic staff.

You can Connect with her via this link:

or her IG page: @maidformee

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