I have heard many interviews in which the FDW only says “Yes maam/Ok maam”. Did the FDW understand the Employer? Was the interview fruitful?
Let’s define “Interview”: “a meeting in which someone asks you questions to see if you are suitable for a job or course” [https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/interview]
The interviews conducted for FDWs (Foreign Domestic Workers) by Employers is way different from our corporate interviews. Most employers are employees themselves and have gone through interview sessions or are the ones conducting interviews for their companies. Therefore the interview sessions seems to be more of a corporate nature.
However a FDW might have never been through a proper interview in her lifetime. Yes, definitely the training centres of the FDWs do prepare them for the interviews but is that what we are looking for?
The interviews for a FDW should be in a more relaxed setting and tone. The purpose of the interview should be for the Employer to find out more about the helper as she will be living with the employer for the next 2 years. Only when a FDW starts opening up herself, the Employer can assess if she is suitable for their household.
There should be opportunities for a two-way conversation for the helper to understand more about the Employer’s family and their needs. It also allows an employer to know the helper better. The helpers always seem reserved to ask or reveal much as most of the time they are judged.
The training centres also train the FDW to answer the Employers which leads to mismatch.
The background information of a FDW allows an Employer to know about the FDW’s lifestyle, financial situation, prior experience & capabilities. The FDW’s need to work in Singapore is crucial as it allows Employers to be convinced in order to employ her.
Expectations on off days, hand phone usage, religious practices, remittance arrangements, food restrictions & etc should be communicated and agreed upon by both parties during interviews. However I have noticed it is more of Employers informing of their preferences/expectations. The FDWs blindly answer “Yes maam/Ok maam” for every question and it ends up with many disagreements here in Singapore.
The FDWs are waiting for an Employer so that they can start their career in Singapore. However each FDW is different and so is the Employer. To have a win-win situation both parties need to understand their requirements & expectations of each other and the ability of fulfilment.