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Janitor Interview Questions

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  1. Cleaning can probably start to feel a bit repetitive after some time. Can you tell me how you stay motivated while you’re on the job? See answer
  2. You might need to use some specialized cleaning machines when you do custodial work for us. What kinds of cleaning tools are familiar to you? See answer
  3. While cleaning, if you notice a problem that requires some major repair work, how would you handle this situation? See answer
  4. Cleaning equipment needs to be maintained on a regular basis to ensure its effectiveness on the job. What is your process for keeping tools clean? See answer
  5. We may need you to clean in public areas depending on your schedule. How do you handle cleaning with other people around? See answer
  6. What specific large cleaning equipment are you comfortable using? See answer
  7. Are you comfortable lifting up to 50 pounds?
  8. Do you prefer to work on your own or with a team?
  9. Can you manage your time effectively on your own without supervision or oversight?
  10. Describe your past experiences as a janitor.
  11. Are you able to solve problems on your own without the assistance of a manager or coworker?
  12. Have you cleaned and maintained an office of this size before?
  13. Are you comfortable performing your work duties while the general public is present?
  14. Can you clean and maintain your janitorial tools effectively?
  15. Are you available to work nights or weekends?
  16. You have one hour to clean a conference room between meetings. How would you approach the project?
  17. What would you do if you finished your cleaning responsibilities before the end of your shift?
  18. Imagine your vacuum cleaner broke and you couldn’t repair it. What would you do?
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6 Janitor Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Cleaning can probably start to feel a bit repetitive after some time. Can you tell me how you stay motivated while you’re on the job?

A:

Janitors are often responsible for cleaning the same areas or buildings on a regular basis. They can get used to the environment very quickly. In some cases, cleaning might start to feel monotonous to a janitor. It’s important that your prospective hire is used to this repetition and has strategies for dealing with it. Answers here can tell you how they maintain their motivation to perform quality work.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Specific strategies to keep motivation high
  • Responses that indicate quality will be consistent
  • Personality traits that can handle this environment

Example:

“I actually don’t mind the repetition because it motivates me to improve my quality of work and speed it up each time.”

Q:

You might need to use some specialized cleaning machines when you do custodial work for us. What kinds of cleaning tools are familiar to you?

A:

Most janitors are familiar with various types of cleaning products and machinery as part of the job. In some cases, you may need a candidate who knows how to operate special equipment designed with specific cleaning purposes in mind. This question gives you a chance to test the skill or experience level of the potential hire for fitness.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of basic cleaning products or machinery
  • Understanding of how more complex machines work
  • Willingness to train with different equipment

Example:

“I have experience working with both small and large floor polishers as well as carpet cleaning machines. However, I am open to learning about new equipment.”

Q:

While cleaning, if you notice a problem that requires some major repair work, how would you handle this situation?

A:

Although janitors are not maintenance workers, they often notice issues that require maintenance while they are going about their custodial duties. Your applicant may not know how to resolve these issues personally, but they should know what protocol to follow if they discover a problem. This question might help you gauge the janitor’s general knowledge of company guidelines.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of company protocols regarding maintenance issues
  • Clear, concise communication skills
  • Willingness to bring maintenance issues to your attention

Example:

“Once I get to know an area, I can spot something that’s out of place easily. If I discover a potential issue, I would follow company protocols and act accordingly.”

Q:

Cleaning equipment needs to be maintained on a regular basis to ensure its effectiveness on the job. What is your process for keeping tools clean?

A:

Janitors use their equipment to clean buildings, surfaces or objects inside various rooms. To make sure this equipment is in working order, it must receive regular cleaning as well. Your janitor should know how all the pieces of equipment in their kit work.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of common custodial equipment
  • Clear processes for cleaning tools
  • Has a plan to repair or replace equipment

Example:

“I regularly clean my equipment to maintain safety. If something goes wrong, I have backups in place to make sure I can continue.”

Q:

We may need you to clean in public areas depending on your schedule. How do you handle cleaning with other people around?

A:

Many janitors work solitary shifts on their own. However, your custodial hire may need to clean around people depending on the time of their shift. You can use this question to see what strategies they use to do their job effectively when people might be working in the area.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Indicators that they can work around people in the area
  • Strategies for cleaning between foot traffic
  • Good disposition and communication

Example:

“I don’t mind cleaning when other people are using the space. I have ways to clean the area and make sure they are undisturbed.”

Q:

What specific large cleaning equipment are you comfortable using?

A:

Depending on the work environment, janitors often have to use large cleaning machinery like floor waxers, upholstery cleaners and dry vacuums in the course of their work. Knowing how to properly use and maintain these machines is vital as a janitor. Asking the candidate's comfort level with these machines can help you select the best possible employee for the position.

Look for these elements in a good answer:

  • Awareness of relevant cleaning machinery
  • Knowledge of how to use the machinery
  • Comfort with maintaining the equipment

A strong candidate answer might resemble this example:

Example:

"In past janitorial positions, I regularly had to wax the floors and use the dry vac to clean up large spills. I'm well-acquainted with not just using those specific machines but also with maintaining them. My floor waxer broke down a couple times, and I was able to repair it without much trouble. I know the waiting room has some upholstered furniture. I feel confident I could learn to use and maintain an upholstery cleaner pretty easily."

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