This is a tough one for me. I’ve attended many management courses on handling staff recruitment, managing people etc. Things like “Human Performance Engineering”, “Techniques of Managing People Effectively”, Reengineering The Performance Management Process”, blah blah blah but….. none of them prepares me for …….selecting …. a maid.

When selecting a maid, I’m given a list of biodatas, which are on a website, which the agent tells me are mainly reject maids or maids that others do not want for some reason or another, eg. too old, too young, only one year experience (you wonder what happened because their contract is supposed to be for 2 years). I wonder why the agent even bothers to show me those biodatas if she considers them not very useful. “But, you can still pick them, if you see any that you like?” she adds hopefully.

At the end of the day, she gives me just one or two printed ones to pick from. I look at the biodatas and they look no different from those pasted on the website. I am utterly confused.

Then I look at the information on the biodatas. First the face. “You must find someone whose face agrees with you” says the agent. “Afterall, you will be looking at that face everyday”, she says. Thats tough too. Hair too long? Out. Smiling too broadly? Out. Too skiny? Out. Too fat? Out. Too sour faced? Out. Picking someone who will be coming to stay in your house for the next too years based on just a photograph is very very tough!

Once, we’ve selected a face which we think we feel comfortable with, we have to look at the information. “Don’t bother to look at their ages.” The agent informed  us. “They usually lie about their age. Adding years or taking away years.” So when we see someone who states their age as 21, we minus a couple of years and derive that she is probably in her late teens still or those who state their age as 35, may actually be 40.

Right, now that we’ve got that sorted out, we look at the family background. Hmm.. should we pick a married one, a single one, one with many brothers and sisters or a few? I’m told that a single one may come here looking for a men whereas a married one may be miserable always thinking of home etc. Are the brothers and sisters very young or in their 20s too. Maybe the rest of her siblings are here too if their around working age. What about her position in the family. An elder one may be more responsible etc etc.

After that we look at her experience. The inexperienced ones do not even have any experience handling simple household appliances like a kettle or gas cooker. However the agent suggested that picking an inexperienced one may be preferable since they are “easier to control”.

The candidate is also supposed to state their work preferences out of 6 tasks. Things like general housekeeping, cooking, child care etc. I think I would like the maid to handle cooking as a top priority but the maid I selected has ranked this last or No. 6. “Nevermind” says the agent. “They all just  simply rank” she says.

I also look at their level of education. Some primary school education would be good wouldn’t it? I think to myself. And their weight. You may be surprised that a simple thing such as the weight of the person may actually turn out to be a rather important criteria. For example, my sister says that she always picks one that is above a certain weight after having a thin one try out her lingerie and taking photos in them. Too skiny? No stamina and may tire too easily? Too fat, may eat all the foot in your house? These are things that I’ve been told. I hadn’t realise that they are a criteria to worry about.

Sigh. By now, I am so tired. I am willing to just stab my index finger at any biodata and say “This one”. “Yah”, the agent agrees. “Picking a maid is like playing “tikam”. (A game of chance).

And so, that was how I tikam a 50kg, single, aged 22 (on paper), no experience girl who is the 3rd in a family of 8. She has 4 brothers and 3 sisters whose ages range from 8 to 23. I figured that she would hopefully be good with young kids because of this. And then I waited paitiently for 1 1/2 months to 2 months only to be told that she has failed the medical test after arriving in our shores. Sigh. I tikamed the wrong one.

So I tikam again. This time a single, age 22 (on paper) who is the eldest in a family of 3, and a Christian (whom my agent says are less prone to running away and can handle pork willingly), who has had 2 years recent experience. I wonder why the previous employer did not renew her service since she is returning but like I say, I just tikam lah! And then I sit and wait paitiently for another 2 months. My two months is almost up. Wish me luck.

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