The Cleaner Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

In Patrick Lencioni’s acclaimed book, “The Ideal Team Player,” he identifies three key virtues that define ideal team players: humility, hunger, and people smarts. While Lencioni provides examples of questions aimed at discovering these traits in candidates, the focus is often on professional and managerial positions. However, the need for individuals possessing these characteristics extends to roles like janitorial staff. This article aims to offer five specific questions tailored to janitorial candidates to assess their humility, hunger, and people smarts.

First, Remember Our Audience

Understanding the aspirations and expectations of janitorial candidates is crucial. Most individuals seeking janitorial positions are not pursuing a long-term career in the industry. Rather, they are looking for stable work, flexibility, and a reasonable wage. Therefore, questions that resonate with this audience are more likely to yield meaningful insights.

Searching For Humility

  1. Give me an example of a mistake you made, and what did you learn from that mistake?

This question aims to gauge the candidate’s ability to admit and take ownership of mistakes, emphasizing personal growth without blaming others. The candidate should be encouraged to share a mistake from any aspect of their life, not solely work-related.

  1. Who has been your favorite supervisor/teacher, and what have you learned from him/her?

By exploring the candidate’s admiration for a mentor, this question assesses their humility in acknowledging the influence and wisdom gained from another person in their life.

Searching for Grit and Determination (Hungry)

  1. What is the most difficult thing you have ever had to do in your life, why was it difficult, and how did you get through it?

This question delves into the candidate’s resilience and work ethic, seeking examples of challenges faced, both personal and professional. The emphasis is on understanding the candidate’s motivation to persevere through difficulties.

Searching for People Smarts

  1. Describe a situation where you had to work or interact with a difficult person. How was the person difficult, and how did you handle it?

Evaluating interpersonal skills, this question explores how the candidate navigates challenging interactions. It provides insights into their ability to handle difficult situations and collaborate effectively.

  1. Describe the last time you felt like you were treated unfairly, and how did you handle that situation?

Assessing emotional intelligence, this question uncovers the candidate’s response to perceived unfair treatment, offering insights into their ability to handle feedback and work harmoniously with others.

While additional questions like “What do you like to do outside of work?” or “Why did you apply for this position at our company?” can provide supplementary insights, these five questions are designed to efficiently uncover whether a janitorial candidate possesses the qualities of an ideal team player.


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