The Housemate Interview

This is a good opportunity not only for the person interviewing you but also for you to be sure that you’ve made the right decision.

Unlike a job interview, being interviewed as a potential housemate follows no specific pattern. It can seem a very nerve-racking experience to go through – not knowing what questions to expect or how you should respond, and not having any information about the other person whom you’re meeting.

However, you can be prepared in some ways to secure a better chance of being selected from the list of potential house shares.

First – Create a Good Impression

Quite obvious but sometimes neglected. Approach it like a job interview. Your appearance gives people a first impression of you, even before you’ve had a chance to talk to them. Make a good lasting impression on your first meeting. It’d probably give you better chances over other potential housemates.

Some of the things you should take care of:
1. Dress: Dress appropriately. Leave your party wear at the club. Usually a casual business outfit should be good enough.
2. Be on time: When you’re on time, it gives both of you more time to get to know more about your needs and expectations. Moreover, the interviewer may have multiple interviews scheduled and you being late may not only leaves a bad impression but can also lead to lead to cancellation. If for some unavoidable reason you’re going to be late, let the person know and if possible reschedule.
3. Manners and Etiquette: Smile! Be pleasant. Offer a handshake and greet. Make eye contact and listen well. We take most of these things for granted but can influence the way a person perceives you.

Second – Be Natural

As much as we advocate good manners, being polite, and observing your etiquette, take care that it does not appear superficial. People can be very perceptive. If you go all out to try and please, it may ring warning bells.

Be natural in your approach. It is not a job interview and it may not be very formal conversation, but let your personality come through. The interview is a process to evaluate you as a potential housemate where you’d be in close proximity with each other. If the interview does not serve this purpose, your chances of getting selected will be less.

Third – Interview Your Interviewer

Take this opportunity to learn more about your interviewer and the house or flat on offer. You would also need to evaluate for yourself if the arrangement is going to work for you. Clear all your doubts. Discuss basic issues like rental agreement, living quarters, house rules, schedules, sharing space, and amenities, etc.

Some of the questions you could ask are:
– How much rent deposit do I have to pay and how is it protected?
– How much cleaning or household chores would I be required to do?
– Will you allow overnight guests?
– Will the kitchen and bathroom be shared or are they a separate?

Remember to ask details of what you considered to be important to you!

Fourth – Be Clear in Your Communication

Whether it’s communicating your needs, doubts or expectations, be very clear in your communication. Try not to leave things open to assumptions. If you ensure that you have clear and transparent communication right from the start, it sets ground for the way you communicate in the future.

Avoid using ambiguous sounding words and phrases as it leaves communication open to interpretation. For example, if you are asked, “Do you entertain guests often?” answering just a quick “yes” may lead the interviewer to assume that you bring in guests every other day. A more specific answer like – I might have guests about once a month, mostly for a day or two – would give a clearer picture. Again, if you need to ask questions to the interviewer, be clear on your expectations as well.

Follow these four guidelines and be prepared to face house share interviews better. Don’t feel disheartened if you have not been selected. It was probably just a case of your needs and expectations not matching theirs; not a reflection on your personality. Continue your search, refine your approach, and you’ll surely find the “perfect” housemates.

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