How to make sure your new housemate isn’t a dunce

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How to make sure your new housemate isn’t a dunce


The endless sharehouse cycle never seems to end –- one roommate moves out and another green-faced fledgling moves in. At the beginning, they’re always very excited to be a part of the family, friendly and obedient, but just when they’ve acquired enough of your trust, they swing the axe of peril.

Suddenly, dirty dishes litter the kitchen, gluts of hair clog the shower drain and slices of bread start to go missing, it’s all part and parcel of haphazard housemate recruitment. To avoid the dirty scoundrels, lazy slobs and grating pests, here’s a guide to making sure you’ve got your shit sorted before the prospects arrive.

Enquire to people you know first

There’s likely to be a hotbed of suitors right under your nose so before you publicly advertise the vacancy, post a status on Facebook or get in contact with people you know. You know them and they know you so this will simplify the process.    

Choose the right ad-platform

If no one from your inner ring of acquaintances fits the bill, you’ll have to advertise publicly. Figure out whether you’d like to do this through a Facebook group, i.e. Fairy Floss, or let it fly on the world wide web. There’s plenty of options, with and Easy Roommate just two of them. Gumtree is also a medium for housemate recruitment, if that’s your thing. They all have their pros and cons.

Beef up the application

Often room advertisements can be met with a flood of applications — the market is very competitive and quality housing opportunities are few and far between. Depending on how disciplined and generous you are with the recruitment process, you’ll look to study each application with keen oversight. This can take hours so sift through the pack by throwing a curveball. It can be as creative as asking them what their favourite meme is or as boring as their understanding of a cleaning schedule.

Make sure you ask enough questions to be able to rule someone in or out — you don’t want to be sitting on the fence.

Clean your house

For the best candidates to be interested they need to know they’ll be stepping into an organised system — that starts with making sure the house is clean before the prospective housemates arrive for their interview. Clean like you’ve got an inspection tomorrow, it’ll help you in the long run and prized recruits won’t back out.

Take the interview seriously but not too seriously

The best interviews are not interviews at all — they’re conversations. You’ll get the best grasp of what a prospective housemate can provide to the residence by getting to know them on a social level. Obviously, there are a few formalities you’ll need to iron out but once you’ve figured out the boring stuff, let the banter fly. I can assure you, you’d rather be sitting on the couch brainlessly watching The Bachelor or My Kitchen Rules with someone who has a sense of humour.

Ask the right questions

The interview process is the most crucial step of housemate recruitment. There are a number of things you need to be sure of once the potential incumbent has been interviewed: that they’re not crazy, that they’re disciplined, that they’re fun and so forth. These boxes need to be ticked, otherwise your admired crib could be on a fast track to hell.

Set the ground rules right from the start

Once you’ve selected your new housemate, the first few weeks are the most crucial in setting the ground rules. Before the incumbent finds their licence to frolic, they need to understand their constraints. This shows that you’re not here to muck around and that the housemate must operate under your guise until they’ve gained your trust. You’ll scare them a little bit but once they’ve developed the good habits, you can loosen up a bit.