9 Common Cleaner Interview Questions and Example Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 17 January 2023
Published 19 July 2021
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.
Working as a cleaner requires knowledge of specific cleaning products and techniques as well as soft skills such as teamwork, time management and approachability. Potential employers for cleaner positions will want to assess these skills in an interview. To prepare for your cleaner interview, it can be useful to review potential interview questions. In this article, we share some common cleaner interview questions and answers, so you can be prepared for your next interview.
Advice for answering cleaner interview questions
Wherever possible, use the STAR interview technique to answer interview questions. This is a method that allows you to showcase your previous experience by giving an answer that includes a short story or anecdote, made up of four parts:
Situation: Briefly describe the background of the situation.
Task: Describe the task that needed to be done.
Action: Describe what you did to achieve your desired outcome.
Results: Describe the results of your actions.
Cleaner interview questions and answers
In preparation for your next cleaning job interview, here are some of the most common interview questions for cleaners, and advice for how to answer them.
1. What kinds of cleaning products are you familiar with?
You will usually be provided with on-the-job training as a cleaner, including training in using the right products and equipment. However, employers will also want to get an idea of the products and equipment you are already familiar with, to gauge how much training you will require. Even if you haven't worked as a professional cleaner before, you can talk about the products you have used in your own home.
Example: 'I regularly use a variety of cleaning products and equipment, both in my job and in my own home. On a day-to-day basis, I use multi-surface cleaner, bleach and detergents to carry out my cleaning jobs. I have experience using wet and dry vacuum systems as well as cleaning equipment such as mops, brushes and cloths.'
2. Our cleaning staff often have to work as a team. Do you have experience with this?
Although a lot of cleaning duties are carried out alone, cleaners will sometimes have to work as a team to get a job done. With this question, the interviewer is trying to find out if you have previous experience working as part of a team and whether you can do this effectively.
Example: 'In my last job, I worked as a school cleaner. In preparation for evening events like parents' evenings, the school had to be cleaned even more thoroughly than usual, which meant working as a team with the rest of the cleaning staff. We would spend a few minutes planning all of the tasks that needed to be done and dividing them between us. If I finished a task more quickly than expected, I would help someone else with their task. This meant that we were able to get everything clean in time for the event.'
3. How flexible are you willing to be concerning your working hours?
Cleaning is not usually a 9-5 job, and often includes working hours such as early mornings, evenings or weekends, as cleaning often has to be done while the business is closed and the building is empty. With this question, the interviewer wants to determine whether you are prepared for this.
Example: 'I've worked as a cleaner for several years, so I'm used to working unsociable hours. I've worked early mornings, late evenings and weekends, and don't mind being flexible with my working hours.'
4. How do you feel about cleaning while customers or other staff are present?
While cleaning is often done while companies are closed, this isn't always possible, and employers will want to know that you are capable of working while customers are present. In particular, they want to know that you will be friendly to anyone you encounter without prohibiting other people from doing their jobs or getting in customers' way.
Example: 'I have experience working with members of the public, both as a cleaner and in other roles. I'm a friendly person and always greet customers or staff with a smile, but I also am sure to keep my interaction to a minimum to avoid disrupting others at work.'
5. Have you ever had to complete a large cleaning task by yourself on a tight deadline? How did you handle this?
Like any job, working as a cleaner requires various skills other than those directly involving cleaning. One of the most important of these is time management. Cleaner interview questions such as this one are designed to test whether you can work independently and to use logic to plan large tasks.
Example: 'When I have a large cleaning task to do by myself, including in my own home, I always take a few minutes to plan out what I'm going to do instead of getting started straight away. This way, I have a clear idea of the tasks that need to be done. I'm also aware of doing things in a logical order to avoid creating extra work. For example, dusting high-up surfaces could make the floors and other surfaces dirty again, so I would always do this first and clean the floors last.'
6. How often do you think cleaning equipment should be cleaned?
This is a very common interview question for cleaners, as it not only tests your knowledge of the best practices in cleaning, but also how committed you are to your job, and how much pride you take in your work. It's a good idea to have an answer prepared in advance.
Example: 'I'm a strong believer that you can't clean properly if your cleaning tools are dirty. For this reason, I always make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitise all of my cleaning equipment including mops, cloths and brushes at the end of my shift, so they are clean for the next day.'
7. What would you do if you ran out of a cleaning product unexpectedly?
With this question, the interviewer is trying to assess whether you have the necessary skills in problem-solving for a cleaning job. There is not necessarily a right answer here. The most important thing is to show that you can think on your feet and use logic to solve problems.
Example: 'In my last job, I unexpectedly ran out of the solution we used to clean the floor at the end of a shift. I didn't want to leave the floor uncleaned but also didn't want to use an unsuitable product. I used my phone to look up whether our multi-surface cleaner could be used on wooden floors.
It turned out it could, but to be sure, I cleaned a small test area that couldn't be seen to make sure it didn't mark the wood. When this turned out fine, I cleaned the rest of the floor, and sent the person in charge of ordering supplies a message to ask them to order more floor cleaner.'
8. Tell us about a time when you made a cleaning mistake. How did you deal with it?
Everyone makes mistakes, and by asking a question like this, the interviewer is trying to establish whether you are capable of owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility for them. In your answer, give an example of a real mistake you made, but focus on how you made up for it and the lessons you learned.
Example: 'When I worked as a house cleaner for a family, I accidentally used the wrong product on a carpet, which left a stain. I admitted my mistake and apologised to my employer. After my shift, I went online and researched ways to get out stains made by that particular product. I offered to come in on Saturday morning to try to fix my mistake. Thankfully, it worked. My employer was relieved, thanked me for my honesty, and ended up paying me for the extra hours I had worked.'
9. Why are you interested in cleaning?
Although this is one of the most obvious cleaner interview questions, it's also one that candidates aren't always prepared for. Employers that ask this question are trying to determine whether you are likely to stay in the job for a long time. Keep your answer honest, but positive, and tell the interviewer the things you really do enjoy about cleaning.
Example: 'Ever since I was young, I've always taken pride in keeping my house clean and tidy. Friends have often commented on how spotless my home is, and it really just gives me pleasure to get things properly clean! It made sense for me to go into cleaning as a job, as it's something that I find very satisfying.'
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