People like clean and net spaces. If one finds dirty toilets in a shopping mall, or no toilet paper roll once they need it badly, they may not come to the place again. Employee satisfaction also suffers when the corporate kitchenette isn’t stuffed with coffee, sugar, tea, and whatever. People who run these places and organizations understand that someone should be around during the day, to empty the trash bins, swipe the floor if it’s dirty, and restock the common spaces with necessary items. You will be responsible for these things as a day porter.

As you can likely guess, they won’t ask you any super sophisticated questions in your interview. They sole aim is to understand your motivation (why this job), understanding for the role, whether you are responsible, and have the right attitude to this kind of work. In this article we will look at 7 questions you may realistically face in your day porter job interview. Let’s start!


Why do you want to work as a day porter?

You would probably apply for a better job, if your life situation, education, or experience allowed you to do so. All hiring managers are aware of this. Still, you should try to find something positive about the job.

Maybe you excel in cleaning duties. Or you love to work in a shopping mall, position non-withstanding. You simply enjoy to stay in this type of environment. Or you had a similar job in the past, so you know how to get around, and what a great day porter should do on a daily basis. You prefer continue in the field, instead of learning something new.

Summarized and underlined, in your current situation and with your education and experience, the job seems like a good choice for you.


How do you imagine a typical day in a work of a day porter?

You will be constantly on the move–that’s what you should say. Patrolling the common areas, looking for items to restock or dispose of, looking for places that need to be cleaned or taken care of in some other way, you will walk (or drive) around your area with your tools, and ensure that everything is in place, that customers (or employees) are happy with the communal areas.

This will be your daily bread from morning to evening. You may have an exact schedule from the employer–for example to check the toilets each hour, or something similar, and if not you will create your own system, to ensure that you work efficiently and do not waste time. Try to not sound too negative or resigned while narrating your idea of a typical day. They should get an impression that you are at least somehow looking forward to do the work.


This is a repetitive job. What would motivate you to try hard day after day?

In my opinion, honesty works the best in this case, with this particular type of work. Sure, it may be boring, and it will be sometimes, or most of the time. But you have to earn money like everyone else. You have goals you try to attain, or bills you have to pay. And that’s the primary reason why you go to work, and want to retain a job once you have it.

And since you are a responsible person and want to take care of your life and the people you love, you will try your best to do a good job, in order to not end up unemployed in one month time.

Of course if you have some better answer–and it is a realistic one, you can go for it. But remember that they will hardly believe you if you say that you enjoy cleaning duties immensely, and won’t ever find the job boring. It’s just not realistic… If you need more inspiration, you can check 7 sample answers to the interview question about handling repetitive duties.


How do you feel about working on weekends, holidays?

The show must go on, at least in the capitalism. Malls are always open, and a day porter needs to be present. On Saturday, Sunday, holiday, whatever.

Ensure them that you are flexible enough with your schedule. Surely you won’t work all weekends–there will be other porters. As long as the shifts are distributed evenly, however, you are okay with working on weekends. What’s more, you know that you will earn a bit more during the weekend, which is an extra motivation for you.


Imagine that you walk to the toilets, ready to do your job. A female visitor starts yelling at you, that the place is dirty, and she didn’t even find a toilet paper in her cubicle. What will you do?

Ensure the interviewers that you won’t get involved into any arguments with the customers. You will simply apologize to them, say that you are just doing your job, coming there every hour, but could not impact everything.

For example if someone steals the paper from the cubicle ten minutes after you restocked it (which can happen), you won’t replace it in next 50 minutes. You have also other commitments in the store… But you won’t say this to the customer. You will simply apologize and move on with your job. The key is to ensure the hiring managers that you can get over bad words quickly, and they won’t affect your in a long run.

Do you have any experience with this type of cleaning/maintenance work?

For sure you have, unless you still live with your mama who cooks for you, washes your clothes, and cleans the house every Friday… What I try to convey here is that you do not necessarily need a professional day porter experience to know how to handle these duties.

Of course, if you worked as a maid, porter, janitor, kitchen helper, or any similar job, you should mention the experience. But if you have not, you can still ensure the hiring managers that you know how to swipe the floor, clean the windows, or change the toilet paper roll.

It is important to show confidence in your ability to handle the job. As long as you are confident, they won’t find it hard to trust you. At least when it comes to your ability of handling the job.


Do you have any questions?

Most people say that you should always ask something, but I do not agree. If they explained everything clearly–the shift patterns, the wages, employee benefits, the list of your duties and responsibilities, and so on, there’s no need to force a question. In such a case you can simply thank them for the interview and ask about the next steps.

On the other hand, if they only asked questions but did not tell you anything about the job offer, you should make sure you understand the important things before signing a job contract with them. Ask about the shift patterns, whether you’ll be the only porter for the entire building or have some colleagues, whether they will provide training or throw you directly to the water, how much they will pay you, etc.

Show them that while you apply for a simple job you aren’t simple, and they have to treat you fairly, and present a bullet-proof job contract. If they are a serious employer (and you should look for a job only with a serious company), they shouldn’t have a problem presenting such a contract…


Conclusion, next steps

Position of a day porter does not belong to fancy job titles, and you won’t compete with dozens of people for the job. You may actually be the only candidate on any given day, which makes your situation easier.

However, you still have to answer their questions in a sensible way. If you just silently sit, not knowing what to say, they won’t hire you. Read the questions and my hints once again, and try to think what you will say while talking to the hiring manager. Luck favors the prepared, and this interview is no exception to the rule…

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Matthew Chulaw
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