Hiring is something we talk about A LOT in the pet sitting industry, because it can be one of the most difficult parts of running a business. When hiring pet sitters, there are a number of problems that usually arise that make it difficult to make sure that you and the applicant are on the same page. Today, let’s break those problems down and discuss real life solutions to make sure that you are making the best choice for your pet sitting company.
The Problems With Hiring Pet Sitters For Your Pet Sitting Company
The Basic Criteria
Finding quality pet sitting applicants starts with YOU. Yep, I’m talking about your hiring process. It’s important that you are properly screening applicants to make sure that they fit the vision of your company. A big problem when hiring pet sitters is that business owners are forgetting to ask instrumental questions that are extremely important to the business. You want to ensure applicants meet basic criteria such as:
- How far away do they live from your service area?
- Did they follow the instructions in your job posting? (i.e. send a resume AND cover letter)
- What does their availability look like, and does it coincide with your company’s pet sitting schedule?
- Do they have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and own their own car?
Testing The Applicant
Once you get past the basic criteria, it’s then up to you to “test” the applicant to see just how badly they want your job. This is another problem business owners have when hiring pet sitters, because sometimes they are so desperate for new staff, they let applicants off easy! This is why I recommend conducting multiple interviews and requiring the applicant to jump through a series of hoops. Not only does it demonstrate to you how serious they are about being a pet sitter, but it tests their ability to follow directions (an important quality to have in the pet sitting world!).
That being said, you do have to make sure your job posting is appealing and not overly-technical. This is the only way to weed out applicants that aren’t serious. You have to be selective!
So how can you do this? Here’s a few tips:
- Conduct multiple interviews. The first interview should have nothing to do with pet sitting at all. It is simply an opportunity for you to learn more about the applicant, and to gauge their personality and professionalism. If you decide to move forward, interview #2 is where you’ll discuss everything else. This can include asking the applicant about relevant experience and discussing some of the finer details of the job such as pay, scheduling, a typical pet sitting visit, etc.
- Make the applicant jump through hoops. Your job posting should have specific instructions like “Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org saying who you are, what your major cross-streets are, and how much money you’re looking to make per month. Attach your resume and cover letter.” Then before the first interview, you can create another hoop by having them take the Orion Hiring Assessment. See where I’m going with this? 🙂
- Follow these tips when you receive unqualified pet sitting applicants.
Last but not least, are you looking for applicants in the right places? Check out this video where I tell you how to get more pet sitting applicants!
Getting To Know The Applicant – Interview #1
Another problem that comes up when hiring pet sitters is figuring out how to trust what they’re saying to you in an interview. People are usually really good about talking themselves up, so it’s up to you to find out if they’re the real deal. For example, is the person just telling you what you want to hear? Here’s a couple ways you can break down that barrier:
- Use the Orion Hiring Assessment. If you don’t know what that is, Google it immediately! Essentially it is an assessment you can give to all potential applicants. The results will tell you more about the person’s personality like if they are a risk for theft or if they are likely to not be long-term, etc. It is scary accurate!
- Call the applicant’s references. Not enough people do this, but it is a great way to glean some more information on the person.
- Make sure you ask the right questions.
- Don’t do all the talking! You don’t want to come out of the interview feeling you still have no idea who the applicant is. Have a drink ready to go before the interview, and make it your goal to finish it by the time it’s over. It works!
Retaining Your New Employee
Okay so you’ve made it through the interview phase, and your applicant is now officially an employee! Hooray! But now comes the hardest part of all when hiring pet sitters: Ensuring your new employee stays with you long term. During or before training, have your employee agree to these basic guidelines.
While you want to keep your new employee happy, at the same time you have to make sure that they are following the rules set in place. You want to figure out how to keep your new employee happy to do their job, as well as empowering them. Your employees should feel like they have an important role in your company.
I hate to say it, but some pet sitting business owners don’t know how to manage. They are either too strict, like a dictator, or are a push-over, where the staff runs the show. Don’t be either of these extremes – find your balance and run with it!