Queen’s hopeful employees face ‘dead fly test’ to detect ‘special’ prospect


PROSPECTIVE employees of Buckingham Palace have to undergo unique tests – particularly in the case of cleaners

Tracey Waterman, head of recruitment at the Palace, has revealed that one simple test is used in order to find the “special” cleaners to employ. Speaking on the Channel 5 documentary ‘Sandringham: The Royals at Christmas’, Ms Waterman 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.”

As part of the test, Ms Waterman reveals there is an expectation of candidates to spot the minute detail.

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Cleaners must pass a fly test to be employed at Buckingham Palace (Image: Getty)

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace from above (Image: Getty)

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

But the problem does not lie with not being able to see the fly – but more the candidate not actually picking the fly up from the floor.

Ms Waterman continued: “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.

Royal Family

Royal Family in Buckingham Palace (Image: Getty)

Inside palace

Inside Buckingham Palace (Image: PA)

But positions for the role of a cleaner seem to be few and far between.

The last time a cleaner role was offered was way back in October of last year.

The role was offered as an apprenticeship and had an annual salary of £19,500.

There are a number of added benefits for the successful candidate.

These include living in the palace and having all meals provided by the palace, as well as any travel expenses covered.

It is an apprenticeship so the successful candidate would earn a qualification in housekeeping.

The fly revelation comes after a new job became available.

Buckingham Palace is looking for a ‘Demi Chef de Partie’ to prepare dishes for big events.


Palace flag

Buckingham Palace flag (Image: Express)

The job listing says: “You’ll work hands-on to deliver food to the highest standards.

“You’ll prepare diverse menus for a wide range of events, developing new skills that will help you to take the next step in your career.

“As you’d expect, standards and attention to detail are exceptionally high here, and every day is busy, so you’ll need to be an ambitious and qualified pastry chef with at least a year or two’s experience.”


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