Queen’s cleaners must pass secret ‘fly test’ before they’re offered job

Working for the Queen isn’t like working for a normal boss, and you won’t be surprised to learn that her standards are very, very high.

Anyone who hopes to call Buckingham Palace, Sandringham or Windsor Castle their office faces a tough job interview process so the royal family family can ensure their staff are discreet and excellent at what they do.

When it comes to hiring a new cleaner, the recruitment team have a strange test to spot the “special” cleaners amid the good ones.

According to Tracey Waterman, the head of recruitment, the team put the secret challenge to all interviewees to see how they react.

She explains that she will place a dead fly on the fireplace or carpet of the room to see if they notice it – and what they do if they spot it.

Speaking during Channel 5’s documentary Sandringham: The Royals at Christmas, she said: “The difference between housekeeper in a five-star hotel and in a royal Palace would be attention to detail.

“One of the tests I like to do, to see if a candidate has potential eye for detail, is to place a dead fly, either in the fireplace or on the carpet.

“Once the dead fly is placed, I then bring the candidate into the room.

“I lead them into the room quite slowly, just giving them a chance to glance at the room, have a little look at what we’ve got inside the room.

“Bringing them to the fireplace, maybe highlighting that we’ve got a beautiful fireplace.”

“At this point I’d expect them to see the dead fly, and hopefully pick it up.”

But it’s not just about spotting the fly, it’s what they do if they do notice it.

She adds: “It’s a great test, maybe out of 10 people half the candidates will notice the fly. One out of ten will actually bend down and pick it up, that’s the special housekeeper.”

So there you have it – how to impress at a royal job interview.

The Queen last hired a new apprentice cleaner in October, offering a salary of £19,100.

And the ‘housekeeping assistant’ role came with another very exciting benefit – the chance to live at the palace.

The job came with live-in accommodation and all meals provided, as well as expenses for travel.

The job description read: “It’s working as a team to achieve exceptional results.

“It’s being supported to gain new skills. And it’s delivering extraordinary service in incredible surroundings. This is what makes an apprenticeship with The Royal Household so different.

“Our Level 2 Housekeeping Apprenticeship opportunities will help set you on course for a successful career in the hospitality sector.

“You’ll join our team of Housekeeping professionals; learning on-the-job while you work alongside them to upkeep, clean and care for interiors and items, ensuring they’re presented to their very best.”