Butlers are an integral part of the household staff especially in big houses. These professionals are very popular at private households and hospitality settings and the job market for these professionals is expanding significantly. Butlers are required to perform many tasks such as answering the front door, seating visitors and providing them with welcome drinks. In the golden times, butlers were not allowed to display emotion; however, in modern times butlers are expected to display a friendly and welcoming attitude towards guests and co-workers.
Butlers are generally expected to look after household affairs that the owner may not have time to see to. This may include supervising domestic staff and at times is an essential decision maker when hiring staff. In some instances, butlers are expected to perform personal secretarial work which may include handling mail and overseeing accounts as well.
Butlers are expected to be professional in housekeeping activities which another one of their tasks. There are a number of other skills that a butler is expected to possess and these skills are judged strictly when interviewing candidates for this position. The following are some interview questions and answers that an employer may ask.
Tell me about yourself.
I have been working as a butler for one decade. I started out in 2003 when I was in my early 20’s and have never thought of any other vocation except working in a household environment. I come from a family of 5 and I am the eldest.
What are your salary expectations?
It will be my pleasure to get any salary per your policies
How did you like your last job and why did you leave?
I loved every job that I have worked at especially the last one as I was more of a household member than anything else. I would never have left had it not been for the fact that the family was moving to the East and I do not have any roots there. Hence, I remained.
What is the most recent skill you have learned?
Cooking! Ten years ago when I started working, butlers were not required to cook but as times changed, more and more employers are looking for butlers who can. This is the reason I took cooking classes between my last two jobs.
What have you learned from the jobs you have held?
I have learnt that nothing is more important than work ethics especially when you are working in someone’s house. Keeping confidential information intact is very important as you are in a position of trust.
What do you know about our family?
From what I have researched before applying for this position, your family is one of the strongest as far as reputation is concerned. I have been told that you treat your house staff with absolute professionalism but are very kind which is why most domestic staff stays with you for many years.
What trends do you see taking place today?
As far as the job of a butler is concerned, I see that the role is dramatically changing. In olden times, butlers were people who opened the door for guests – people who had no emotion and were not expected to show emotion. Butler training now requires people to be more friendly and welcoming. I also see butlers rapidly replacing secretaries and right hand men because that is what the world economy dictates.
How far do you see yourself advancing with our family?
Very far to be honest. I have never been asked to leave a family and every time I have switched jobs, it was because either I had to move to a different state or the family I was working with was moving.
Describe a situation from your last job that proves you are a persistent person?
Some years ago, I was working with a family who had some family trouble. There was a far off cousin they had a property dispute with. The cousin wasn’t a very savory character. One day while most of the family was away except their 7 year old daughter who was studying for an exam, the cousin came and asked me to let him in because he said the parents had asked him to pick up their daughter. I promptly refused as I knew the history. He kept insisting and even shoved me. After about 20 minutes of arguing, he finally left. Later I found out that my persistence in not letting him in was a choice that I had made correctly.
How do you interact with different types of management levels?
I do not have much of an ego problem which is why I never have any issues with dealing with different management levels. Whatever orders I am given, I follow by keeping work ethics and positive judgment in check.
Describe a situation where you needed to get another employee’s viewpoint before you could get the job done?
There was a time when I was asked to perform some housekeeping jobs at the position of a butler. Now I was trained as a butler only and did not know anything about housekeeping. I was asked to clean the silver! I asked one of the domestic staff on how to go about it. I am an expert silver polisher now!
Why do you feel that the position of a butler is appropriate for you?
I like working in an organized environment. Being a butler provides me with an opportunity to work in such an environment in a non-commercial setting.
What do you find rewarding in this position?
I believe that any work that someone do passionately and appropriately is rewarding. However, organizing an entire household for the owner and even one work of appreciation is reward of a lifetime!
What do you deem the most important skills of a butler?
In order to be a successful butler, one needs to be very keen about his work. Supervisory skills need to be well honed and the ability to remain calm in adverse situations is also very important.
How would you vouch for your reliability?
Reliability is something I cannot vouch for myself as it may be unbelievable. However, you may check my references and talk to my previous employers who will vouch for my work ethics.