Regardless of the job, if someone is setting foot into your home, interacting with your child, or getting their paws into your finances—you should know what type of person they are!
Who else is vouching for them? Can you trust them? Even for a simple maid service or your standard contract attorney, your family’s most intimate possessions and even more intimate moments are on display for all to say. Class dynamics aside, all people have a right to privacy that must be respected regardless of past transgressions.
Use a Referral Service
A referral service can save you the trouble of having to get in touch with that one work contact you met that one time, in a bar…or was it at that networking event?
A service eliminates all the guesswork and unprofessionalism associated with word of mouth referrals. However, you still benefit from all of the legwork the referral service has done vetting your candidates. But they usually go beyond just ensuring users their contractors and service workers are safe: they will often help categorise the contractors and further nail down their specialties on your behalf.
Regardless of whether you are using a general contracting service, attorney referral service, or are using a homeowner’s representative, you should go out of your way to familiarise yourself with each and every person stepping into your home or working on your family’s behalf.
This process can be really basic and short. Just come prepared to the initial meeting with a beverage, a smile, and some follow up questions. This is your opportunity to discern the success of your referral service (not to mention it is your first opportunity to perform a “vibe” check!).
Talk about your project and see if they are quick to offer opinions. If you want more natural light in your home, see how a renovation company would use blinds, shades, colour, and space to allow you to achieve those goals. No matter what your project is—from a full renovation to a landscaping job—you want to see how your prospective service can make your goal a reality.
Vibe checks, gut checks, and just generally giving your intuition its proper credit are all instrumental tools you have in keeping your family safe from potentially malicious forces.
It can be very easy to parse through candidates with a super critical, incredibly discerning eye when you have the barrier of the internet or are otherwise insulated during the interview process. Sure, it is always a bummer to let a contractor that took the time to bid your job down, but ultimately it is a fact of life.
It is much more difficult to lay down the letter of the law when you are face to face with the new hire in question. If they begin to show signs of incompetency or are otherwise seeming unqualified to perform their prescribed duties, you will be responsible for discharging them without the protective barrier of a hiring service or a database.
Plus, by the time you have made it so far in the hiring process as to finally come into contact with a contractor or professional, you will likely be so fatigued by the whole arrangement you will be eager to hire anyone. Their best quality? They will already be in front of you, claiming readiness to get to work!
But do not feel rushed into jumping the gun—EVER in life. Your gut serves a purpose, and upon reflection you may find that it is in fact usually correct. The success of gut checks is a hard metric to measure, but as soon as you feel this slight discomfort, icy fears begin chipping at your gut until you inevitably succumb to word vomit.
When it comes to politeness, women are more susceptible by far to keeping their qualms about another employee under their hat. But with projects as intimate as home renovations, contract drafting projects, and other non-business related miscellanea, for your sake and your family’s safety, you should always follow these gut checks through to the end.
Check a Database
If you want to feel extra secure in your decision to hire a specific service or worker, you should cross reference the reviews a given service received on the major, more public facing platforms with reviews on the less cultivated, more organic experiences tucked away further in the internet.
Unfortunately, this usually involves some digging, but not very much: travel to a niche specific database and you are good to start researching.
While some discrepancies between reviews between reviewing platforms and databases may vary, they should not vary that much. For example, you should be suspicious of a home improvement contractor who seemed to receive glowing 5 star reviews on every major search platform, but is actually yielding very mixed reviews—if any!—on niche specific databases.