35 Cleaning Job Interview Questions and Sample Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 3 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
It's important to prepare for a cleaning job interview by researching the typical cleaning job interview questions interviewers ask to improve your chances of receiving a job offer. For cleaners, employers often look for soft skills, like good communication and organisation, and knowledge of cleaning techniques and products. Knowing what kinds of questions to expect and formulating some effective responses beforehand can help you demonstrate your suitability for the position. In this article, we explore a list of questions that recruiters often ask when interviewing for cleaner positions and offer some example responses that you can take inspiration from.
10 general cleaning job interview questions
Interviewers often ask general job interview questions to determine whether your personality and working style suit the company, its culture and existing employees. These questions usually focus on you and your work ethic. Here are some typical general questions you may hear when interviewing for a cleaning position:
How would you describe your personality?
Are you good at cooperating with others?
How do your friends describe you?
How would your previous employers describe you?
How do you stay motivated at work?
Do you respond well to feedback?
Do you actively develop your own skills?
Why did you decide to pursue a career in this field?
What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
How does getting this position fit in with your career goals?
10 questions about experience and background
After learning about you as a person, interviewers typically ask questions about your background and experience as a cleaner. It is important to answer these questions in a way that conveys your knowledge of cleanliness and sanitation. Here is a list of questions you can expect to receive at this stage in the interview:
Which cleaning products and equipment do you normally use?
Can you briefly describe your cleaning process?
Can you describe your experience with outdoor cleaning?
What kinds of buildings have you cleaned?
Are you familiar with health and safety protocols surrounding cleaning?
Are you aware of any environmentally friendly cleaning products?
How do you apply your customer service skills when cleaning?
Have you cleaned IT equipment before?
Are you able to use power washing equipment?
Do you have experience working around children and pets?
10 in-depth questions
Interviewers also look for how you meet other criteria in terms of hard skills and subject-specific knowledge. You can expect to receive some of the following questions to this effect:
Do you have experience cleaning large areas within strict time frames?
How do you maintain your equipment?
What do you do when you're cleaning and customers are within the cleaning space?
Can you explain how to clean a kitchen?
What would you do if you found something valuable while cleaning?
How do you know when you've finished cleaning?
How do you deal with unhappy clients?
Do you have good organisational skills?
How do you handle rubbish?
Do you have a record-keeping system that you use when working?
5 interview questions with sample answers
One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to formulate and rehearse some answers to typical questions, as this helps boost your confidence and allows you to answer questions more easily. When considering your answers, be sure to link your experience to work-related scenarios if you can, as this shows the recruiter how you apply your skills. Here are some questions and sample answers to help you prepare for your cleaning job interview:
1. Are you open to working weekend, late night and early morning shifts?
Employers may ask a question such as this to determine your availability. Showing that you're willing to adjust your working pattern to suit the needs of the business is an effective way to impress the recruiter. While you can answer yes or no, it may be better to justify your response and explain why you prefer a particular shift pattern or why you don't mind either way.
Example: 'I'm open to working all shifts, and I sometimes enjoy working unconventional hours. I enjoy cleaning in an empty building so I can really focus on work and move around efficiently without intruding on meetings or distracting anybody. I don't mind working the day shift either because I enjoy interacting with others.'
2. Tell me about your approach to cleaning wood, metal and granite. How is each material different?
This question gives you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of cleaning. Try to be specific and discuss which cleaning products and equipment you use on each surface material. You can also offer an example of when you've done this in a previous role.
Example: 'Because different materials react differently to cleaning products, it's important to treat each material with the proper care. This means using a soft, damp cloth with a solution of warm water and distilled vinegar to clean wood, for example. To polish wood, olive oil and white vinegar is very effective.
Granite requires gentle chemicals, as harsh chemicals can damage it. I use dish soap and warm water when cleaning this material. The way I clean metal depends on the type of metal. For example, I clean stainless steel by soaking a towel in hot water and wiping along the grain.'
3. If a colleague continually spills products that are hard to clean, how would you approach the situation?
This is a behavioural question, meaning it tests your response to common situations that might occur while completing tasks. A successful answer to this question might outline a time when you handled a similar situation with ease.
Example: 'It's important to clean spills quickly and effectively, so I'd use the first spillage incident as a learning opportunity to figure out how best to clean it. This would enable me to deal with the recurring problem before I can devise a solution. If the problem started impacting my productivity, I'd speak to a manager to see how to solve it.
I used to clean a school, and the students often spilled glue on the carpet. I discovered that warm water and dish soap loosened the dried glue, but we couldn't shampoo the carpets until we'd removed all the glue, slowing our process significantly. My colleague and I told our manager and together we decided that teachers would line the floors with plastic tarps before the students used glue.'
4. Have you ever used too much of a cleaning product unexpectedly? What did you do?
Problem-solving is a fundamental skill for cleaners, and your response to this question can highlight your ability to respond to unforeseen circumstances. When answering this question, try to showcase your ability to remain calm and productive, even during stressful situations.
Example: 'Yes, I've exhausted a product unexpectedly. Once, I was working off-site at an event my company was hosting. When I gathered my cleaning products for the day, I packed double the amount I expected to use because I always aim to be prepared. When we arrived at the venue, the group before us had left the room messy. There was food on the countertops, dishes in the sink and spills on the floor.
I worked efficiently to clean the area before our guests arrived, but I used all of my antibacterial solution before the event began. I then privately collected my thoughts and considered the alternatives. My next thought was that I had vinegar, mint essential oil and access to a sink for warm water. I cleaned my empty spray bottle and combined these three ingredients to make my own disinfectant solution. I used it after our event, and my manager even got an email from the venue complimenting us on how well we cleaned.'
5. What do you do if you can't remove a stain from an item?
Questions such as this help employers see how well you approach problems and how you use your communication skills. Try to answer in a way that conveys your problem-solving abilities. Also, explain how you would relay this information to a client and what solution you might suggest. Answering this question effectively can display your work ethic and how you use your skills at work.
Example: 'I enjoy learning about new cleaning tools and mixing new solutions to treat stubborn stains. I once worked for a family who accidentally spilled strawberry juice on an antique table cloth. They thought they'd tried everything, but they were washing it in warm water. I used boiling hot water and vinegar, and the stain lifted so significantly that it was barely visible.
If I use every tool and solution I know and a stain still remains, I always identify a solution before I tell the client to minimise their stress. For example, I might say that there's a hint of oil on a satin blanket, but if you flip it over, you can't see it. I may also ask my supervisor if we can replace the item. Maintaining client relationships is important to me, so my top priority is ensuring that each client is happy with the solutions I provide.'
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