How To Approach Your Interview For Corporate Cleaning Jobs

A few months ago, I finished “The Power Broker” by Rober Carro – one of the most famous and influential political biographies ever written. I found it illuminating and impressively researched, abundant of countless little gems of knowledge. One of them that stayed with me was the fact that when he was at the pinnacle of his power, Robert Moses had a special desk made for him. It was huge and perched atop a little platform, sitting higher than the rest of the room. When a visitor came to see him, Moses was towering over his guests, underlining his dominating position.

Whenever I visit one of the large corporate buildings of London that I come to clean with my crew, I always think of this episode. Have you ever asked yourself why are the corporate or bank lobbies so enormous and imposing? The idea behind their interior design is to project power and the immense resources at their disposal. Corporations understand all too well the simple rule that perception may become a reality if conveyed most convincingly.

The very same thing applies to the communication tricks that corporate managers use in their interactions with contractors or customers. I readily admit that my most nerve-wracking and anxious appointments are with large-scale corporate clients. I have never been a great fan of that type of culture and way of doing things, and throughout the years I learned a valuable lesson – do not try to be something or someone you are not. Most corporate managers pass through elaborate training in psychology and communication skills, and will instantly recognise if you are acting. The best chance you have to gain your trust is to be yourself, be honest about your skills, experience, and business background.

Let me give you a couple of examples – a negative and a positive one. A few years after starting my cleaning business, I decided that I was ready to make the next step and go into large-scale office cleaning. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I finally got my big breakthrough interview (or so I thought). It was for a regular maintenance job of the two-floor corporate headquarters of one of the leading marketing agencies in South West London. It was a tremendous job, bigger than anything I had ever attempted so far – and the prospective profit would have tripled my monthly earnings.

Looking back at it, I never had a chance – not because I couldn’t do it, but because of my approach to the interview. I put on the best available suit I could find (a rental, for the record), I had read everything I got my hands on about the company, and when the conversation started, I made the concerted effort to sound as “corporate” as possible. It was a forced, pathetic attempt at presenting something my company or I was not. I had made the common mistake that probably thousands of people repeat when they first get into contact with a corporation – I tried to tell them what I thought they wanted to hear, not the truth.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I found myself in another corporate cleaning appointment. I will not share the name of the company (an international tech giant) but trust me – you all know it. By that time, I had had my fair share or small and mid-scale office cleaning jobs. I considered this to be the icing on the cake, something of a crown achievement of my illustrious career (I got you laughing there for a moment, didn’t I?).

I walked into the conference room knowing what I was, and what I wasn’t. I had put a pair of jeans, comfortable walking sneakers, and a plain everyday shirt. I answered every question with confidence, breaking down the numbers of my offer, talking about my experience and the full capabilities of my team.

At the very end of the interview, the maintenance manager of the company, a middle-aged woman with incredibly intelligent eyes and polite manners, asked me the million dollars question: “Why do you think your company would be the best choice?” I sat back in the chair and answered without skipping a beat: “Because we can do the job without causing you any trouble, completely covering your requirements. And I know our price is either the best or second best you will ever get. I am willing to bet on it.”
She allowed herself a half-smile and nodded – three days later, I got the confirmation call that my company got the job.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that this kind of attitude will work for every corporate customer. Some managers are very conservative and expect you to comply with their code of conduct and operational policies. You have to decide whether you want to adjust to such requirements or draw the line at a certain point. I always remember one of my former bosses’ motto: “Demand respect if you want to be respected. Then justify it with hard work and efficiency.” I have learned to live by this maxim.

Posted by Elizabeth Smith

After-party Cleaning – The General Outlines

People often ask me with a naughty twinkle in their eyes which parties are likely to produce the bigger mess – the corporate or the home ones. You may be surprised by the answer, but the big social events at home often go on the wild side, leaving wine, beer or any other type of alcohol stains, not to mention the chips or popcorn crumbs, the ketchup or mustard spots and so on.

If I had to point out the one big difference between the two types of jobs, it is the temporal point of emphasis. Corporate customers concentrate almost single-mindedly on what their premises look like BEFORE the occasion – they know the first impression is the most lasting one, and therefore our job as carpet cleaners is to pamper their floor coverings to the best shape possible.

Homeowners, on the contrary, exclusively worry about the condition of their carpets AFTER the party – often for a good reason. I cannot remember a single time when a residential customer has called us to clean their carpets before a birthday party – it doesn’t even make sense.

Whatever the party aftermath you have to deal with, UKE Carpet Cleaners is always a great choice to do the ugly sanitary tasks for you!

Posted by Elizabeth Smith