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Custodian Interview Questions

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  1. How might your previous custodial work responsibilities set you apart from other candidates? See answer
  2. Would you be comfortable doing your custodial work in front of the general public? See answer
  3. Do you have any specific certifications or training that would make you a good fit for this custodial position? See answer
  4. Provide an example of a challenge you faced involving either the cleaning equipment or the security of the building. See answer
  5. Describe the steps that you would take if you found a mechanical problem that you were unable to fix on your own. See answer
  6. What would you do if you were working after-hours and someone who you didn’t recognize knocked on the door claiming to be a building employee who forgot something?
  7. Describe the checklist you follow when closing down a building for the night after finishing your final cleaning responsibilities.
  8. Custodians are often the first people to arrive at our facility in the morning. What would you do if you arrived and the locks had been tampered with?
  9. What’s your system for making sure that all of the trash receptacles in the building are emptied, including those in private offices or secluded areas?
  10. Do you have experience treating a building for pests without disrupting operations?
  11. When changing light fixtures, cleaning the rafters or completing other maintenance tasks that require you to climb certain heights, how do you stay safe and keep others around you safe?
  12. What is the appropriate procedure for checking out and locking up cleaning materials?
  13. How do you keep cleaning supplies, replacement parts and other inventory well-organized and in-stock at all times?
  14. How do you make sure that people avoid touching surfaces that have just been polished, waxed or painted and require setting time?
  15. How often do you clean and sanitize your cleaning tools like mops, brooms, buckets, trash cans and scrubbers?
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6 Custodian Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How might your previous custodial work responsibilities set you apart from other candidates?

A:

Custodians can be responsible for any number of tasks, from basic cleaning to routine equipment maintenance. Others might be more focused on the security of the building that they are being paid to maintain. If the candidate formerly worked in a team environment, it’s important to get a feel for his or her specific skill set. What to look for in an answer:

  • A positive attitude
  • Experience with a company similar to your own
  • Specific examples of previous custodial responsibilities

Example:

“In addition to cleaning the floors and windows, I was responsible for making sure all doors and windows were kept locked.”

Q:

Would you be comfortable doing your custodial work in front of the general public?

A:

Some applicants might be used to carrying out their tasks in a private or otherwise secured building and may feel apprehensive about cleaning in front of an audience. If their proposed schedule requires them to do their work while the building is open for business, the interview is the time to get a feel for their comfort level. What to look for in an answer:

  • Assurance that the applicant is up to the job
  • Information about other jobs they’ve had
  • Flexibility with work conditions

Example:

“As long as there’s no direct interference, I’m capable of working under a variety of conditions.”

Q:

Do you have any specific certifications or training that would make you a good fit for this custodial position?

A:

Depending on the duties involved, it can be a major benefit to the company if the applicant has been trained in a specific area, such as the disposal of hazardous waste materials. If the candidate does not have any relevant certification, ask if he or she would be interested in acquiring any and what the individual would hope to gain from the training. This will provide you with valuable insight into the applicant’s long-term goals as well as his or her devotion to the job. What to look for in an answer:

  • Unique or unusual skill sets
  • Level of commitment to the job
  • Long-term goals within the company

Example:

“I received certification through the Cleaning Management Institute as well as Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) as per OSHA standards.”

Q:

Provide an example of a challenge you faced involving either the cleaning equipment or the security of the building.

A:

As with any job, custodial work has its challenges. Anyone with relevant experience in the field will have their share of stories. The key lies in their handling of the situation and what they managed to learn from the experience. This will also give you solid information regarding a candidate’s level of performance in their last job as well as insight into how they might respond to similar difficulties in this new position. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to face challenges
  • Ability to respond calmly while under pressure
  • Level of initiative

Example:

“When I found all the locks had been changed without notice, I calmly contacted my supervisor for a set of new keys.”

Q:

Describe the steps that you would take if you found a mechanical problem that you were unable to fix on your own.

A:

It’s important for a custodian to be able to handle a multitude of tasks, but everyone runs into difficulty now and then. If the candidate is going to be working as a member of a team, they should have a degree of humility and be willing to ask questions when they feel out of their depth. Solo workers and supervisors, meanwhile, will need to find more creative solutions. What to look for in an answer:

  • Level of humility
  • Willingness to seek help when encountering challenges
  • Degree of problem-solving skills

Example:

“I would immediately stop and find someone with the relevant mechanical knowledge so that I wouldn’t run the risk of making the problem worse.”

Q:

What would you do if you were working after-hours and someone who you didn't recognize knocked on the door claiming to be a building employee who forgot something?

A:

Because it's easier to clean a building when it's empty compared to when it's actively in use, custodians often work long after the building closes. This means that custodians play a part in keeping the facility safe and secure from people who aren't allowed inside. The interviewer can ask this question to identify candidates that possess the instinct and creative problem-solving skills to balance supporting their colleagues with following policy, maintaining the security of the building and preventing break-ins.

A good answer might include:

  • Identity verification
  • Collaboration
  • Setting boundaries

An example answer might look like this:

Example:

"I'd start by asking them if they had any identification that showed they were an employee, such as a photo ID badge. Without identification, I'd be unable to help them retrieve their item and have them wait until the next day or call a supervisor. If they could confirm their identity, I would go retrieve the item for them and make note of the interaction."

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