“Go shove your job – please hire me!”


I frequently see comments from cleaning contractors claiming that they recruit purely on attitude. Because, of course, if an employee has the right attitude, anything is possible! Usually, such statements are followed up by a line such as “it’s all about the people” or something similar!




I wish one of these contractors would tell me how they make their hire decision for cleaning jobs on attitude. Is this screening process one in which candidates who display a poor attitude in interview are not selected? I’m pretty sure that’s a standard measure for all of us in any interview! So, short of in-depth psychological evaluation techniques (or, of course, reliable references) I suspect that this “I hire on attitude” stance is actually “I hire on my gut feel” – a far less laudable approach to employing personnel.


A significant amount of my work is in the field of employment relations within the cleaning industry, which I undertake in conjunction with the operation of the Grow@ App. Whenever I sit in mediation across the table from a cleaner with a personal grievance, I imagine what would have happened if the demeanour and attitude shown in that meeting were to have matched how they presented themselves at their initial job interview. If it were, I’m pretty certain that they would not have been hired in the first place. Now, aside from those who have been genuinely wronged in their employment, did the rest of these workers simply put on a good show in interview to mask their true colours? Perhaps. 


So, given that it is seldom that work references are available/contactable/reliable in the case of cleaner applicants, what is the contractor to do?


At the moment, given the scarcity we are experiencing amongst cleaning candidates across New Zealand, employers should probably employ applicants who meet their basic criteria, can access the location of the job, and understand the reality of commercial cleaning work. The cold hard reality of our industry is that the contractor has to actively manage every one of their employees throughout their employment –  fairly, flexibly, and with empathy yet, when required, firmly. A great attitude can be developed if it is nurtured by a conscientious operations leader, and considered to be a two way approach to the employment relationship… but beware, as the opposite is also true. 


 – André Reynolds, Founder.