In these modern times where we have old people living alone or as a couple, with their families outstation, or even abroad, having hired help is almost unavoidable. The different kinds of hired help you may employ are housekeepers or maids for cleaning and dusting, cooks, drivers, gardeners, etc. Many times, people pick up these help from around the neighbourhood, through known contacts, like from another known household. This gives a sort of comfort factor and safety in doing so since the person is already known to them.
However, this may not be such a good practice after all, as there have been instances, wherein the house help has committed or aided in criminal activities like stealing, kidnapping and ransom, or even murders. So, a better way may be to depend on hiring through certain agencies that provide hired help. These agencies are expected to do the necessary checks before providing you with the hired help. However, here too, if you depend on some fly by night kind of person, you may end up in soup, as many do not follow necessary stringent methods as dictated by the local police.
How to stay safe?
How then can one be sure about the people whom we hire and allow into our homes and lives? This can be done by ensuring that we follow certain checks without fail. If hiring through a particular agency, then it is better to discuss with the agency about how they source their staff. It is important that they do the necessary background check on the person as dictated by the police. This can to a great extent confirm that the person is a genuine person, with a proper address, and can be traced in case of any issues.
Secondly, a background check can also establish if the person has been involved in any kind of criminal activity in the past and of what nature, etc. If the agency is maintaining records, you may even talk to the previous employers to understand and take feedback on the person’s way of working etc. It is important to ensure that the agency is making a serious and responsible job in providing you with the required help.
Things to watch out
In case you are not hiring through an agency and have taken on someone through other known channels, kindly get the details from the hired help. You can use private agencies that run background checks at a nominal rate to make sure that the person is right, without any unwanted issues in the past. Since these people will become part of your everyday life and household, it is important to take this step. It is always better to be safe than be sorry later. This is not to say that people who have clean record may not do anything unwanted.
Hence, if the person is from the same city, vicinity, you may get the details of the person and try and pay a surprise visit yourself to check if the details provided as correct. Ask them for their contact numbers, address, and contact of one other person from their family at least. Unless you get comfortable and find the person to fully trust worthy across a period, don’t let down your guard with the person. Watch out for money and costly items in the house; keep an eye on if the person is cooking to see if they mix something in your food, etc. Do not leave the house alone with the person, and be careful about when you leave your vehicle keys with the driver. The driver should not misuse the vehicle behind your back. Also, do not divulge any personal information about yourself, your affairs, your money matters or travels to these people, unless necessary and safe. With a little care, it is possible to stay safe and lead a good life with good hired help.