Episode 368: How to Perfect Your Interview Questions When Hiring Dog Walkers

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Have you ever fumbled your way through an interview with an undesirable pet sitter or dog walker? Have you ever wondered how to hire the perfect pet sitter or dog walker? Where do you even start with crafting the right interview questions? In my latest podcast episode, I spill all my secrets on crafting the perfect interview questions to find the most qualified candidates.

I emphasize nailing down a candidate's schedule and lifestyle early on. As small business owners, we can't afford unreliable employees, especially when it comes to caring for precious pets! My top tip? Get straight to the point with direct questions.

Delve more deeply into problem-solving abilities by sharing realistic scenarios. Their responses reveal crucial glimpses into their expertise, judgment, and compassion under pressure.

As we stride into 2024, now is the perfect chance for pet owners to level up their interview skills and set higher standards. By investing in a selective hiring process, we propel our businesses into a more profitable and harmonious new year!

Reach out anytime for a free 20 minute call with me to help guide you in the right direction.

Topics & Key Points

  • Interview questions for pet sitters and dog walkers.
  • Using behavioral questions in job interviews.
  • assess candidate knowledge and resourcefulness. 
  • Improving interviewing skills and business success.


  • [1:35]Using behavioral questions in job interviews.
  • [6:46] Interview questions to assess candidate knowledge and resourcefulness. 
  • [8:30] Interview questions for pet sitters.
  • [11:32]Improving interviewing skills and business success. 

Notable Quotes

[04:39] ” So when we talk about behavioral questions, it’s much better to talk about a previous time that they had, and then for them to reflect on it. ”

[06:04] “Now, the interesting thing here is that, you’re gonna find a pattern, you’re gonna understand, they like working alone, they don’t like working alone, they like being micromanaged.”

[10:30] “There’s not really a right or wrong answer here, right. But the real thing that you’re testing for, is their problem solving skills and ability and how they explain to you how they reach their conclusion.”


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Welcome to another episode of Bella in Your Business. My name is Bella Vasta. And today I’m gonna give you some tips on how to perfect your interview questions. When interviewing pet sitters and dog walkers. I think this is a really important topic. And I could never talk about hiring enough. Because I see so many people just kind of lost on how to interview people, they get in front of somebody, they either do all the talking, or they go off of their gut feeling. Or they feel like okay, yeah, I like this person. And then they say that hiring doesn’t work. And then they give hiring a bad name, then they say that there’s no one to hire in their area, no one wants to work for this certain amount of money, or no one wants to have a good work ethic. And that’s just simply not true. So today, I’m going to try to reframe our brains or give you something different to look at maybe a new strategy to try. And we’re going to kind of take it from there. Things to consider, if you will.

So the first one is all about asking about availability. Now, that sounds pretty easy, right? Like, Bella, why are you including that? Duh. Um, because here’s the thing. It’s not up for them to tell you what their availability is for you to like, kind of be a detective and understand, is this going to work for us long term? What I mean by that is, let’s say it is now March, and you’re hiring someone, and maybe they are a school teacher, or they go to school when you sit there and you hire them for a certain timeframe. And you know, that the school schedule is going to change, it’s up to you to say, you know, is your schedule going to change? Is it are you going to be more available or less available in the summer? Alternatively, maybe you hired them in June, and you know, that their school teacher or they’re in college, or they’re going to be going back to school? What does your schedule look like in September, or October, right? Those kinds of things are, you have to think about how or what is going to affect their life and ask them about it because they might not be thinking as far ahead as you are. And if that happens, you’re gonna come back, and you’re just gonna be like, Oh, my gosh, they said that they could, you know, have this schedule for a long time. Well, like, let’s cast it in and explore. What does that look like, in September? What does that look like in July? Maybe they’re hightailing it out. And they’re going to be on a month-long vacation because they don’t get to do too many vacations during the school year. You just never know. There could be other situations too. Like, maybe you live in a place where they’re snowbirds, which means, where it snows in their primary residence, they move for months at a time to another part of the country, where it’s there’s no snow and where it’s nice and sunny and bright. We have a lot of them in Arizona. So if you have a snowbird that you you know, hire maybe in January, what does it look like in May and June, are they going to go back to Michigan, or wherever they came from, you know, so to really, truly get to understand where people are, their availability, and and predicting if it’s going to change is going to be something that is going to be pretty important. Those are just two different life examples.

There are more, but you have to understand that, you know, sometimes people aren’t intending to elude you or misrepresent themselves. It’s just simply something that they, you know, didn’t know to think about. So another one is asked behavioral questions, okay. Now, the difference between this and you guys is, there’s a lot of people that try to get the same outcome, but they’re like, you arrive at home. And I don’t know why everyone asked this, if you ask this, please do not ask this question. You arrive at a home and a dog is lying on the floor, panting obviously, in distress. What do you do? Don’t do done? Well, if they’re the kind of employee that I want to hire, they’re gonna say, I’ll call you and ask that question is a great question for independent contractors, people who you cannot tell what to do, people who have to take it on as if it were their own. But employees know it’s not good. So when you say like, you know, you give them a situation and find out what would they do? The real answer should be, I’m going to look at the handbook or manual, or I’m going to do whatever it is that you taught me to do, right? And so when you do it that way, it’s when or when you think of it that way, it’s gonna change your whole perspective. So when we talk about behavioral questions, it’s much better to talk about a previous time that they had, and then for them to reflect on it. So maybe something like tell me about a time you had to handle an aggressive dog on a walk. What did you do? Or tell me about a time when you had a co-worker you didn’t like What did you do? Tell me about a time when you had a tight deadline, and a lot of personal obligations. What did you do? Those are questions like situational, behavioral, how did your behavior act, and it’s going to help you understand a lot better. who they are.

In addition, if you want to get crazy, one of my favorite ones, and this is more again, it’s behavioral and situational. It’s Tell me about your last job. And the answer is it? What did you love about your last job? And they answer it? What did you not like? Or wish you could change about your last job? Then you did it for the job two times ago? Okay, so tell me about the job before that. What was it? Okay, what did you like about it? Okay, what are some things you would change about it? Okay. What about the job before that? Because you have the resume? Tell me about that job. What did you like about that job? What do you wish you could change? Now, the interesting thing here is that you’re gonna find a pattern, you’re gonna understand, they like working alone, they don’t like working alone, they like being micromanaged. They had a problem with all their previous bosses, or they, you know, or they, they, they couldn’t find anything wrong, which also kind of could be a problem. Um, you’re gonna find a pattern, you guys. And so when you ask behavioral questions, and they are something about the past, like, what did you do? It’s so much better than if you arrived someplace, what would you do? Because it’s really easy to manipulate that answer into what they think they want you to hear.

Okay. So when you’re relying on previous experiences, it changes the perspective a little bit and therefore will change the answer as well. Okay, another one is to ask questions that test the knowledge. So you want to make sure your potential candidate knows about the dogs are walking, or the pets that need to be sat? And so when you do it, you, I would say like questions like attention to detail, or like, how much of a not researcher but like, how much do they understand things. In that respect, what I mean is, when they go into people’s homes, they’re gonna have to be knowledgeable about what the run of the house is, like, what the pets are, like, what their, what their routine needs to be like. And so you’re gonna want to see that they’re resourceful that they’re cognitive thinking, or what a lot of people think is, or a lot of people say is common sense, right? And so you want to create some great questions that test that. And maybe that even becomes one of your phases, I’d be remiss to say that a lot of this, the stuff that we’re seeing right now is conceptual. And everyone builds out their phases very differently. When I say phases, I mean, like, first round of interview questions, second round of interview questions, third round of interview questions, maybe a video, then maybe a 10-minute zoom call, then maybe a 30-minute zoom call. And when you lay it out like that, and you have phases, not only does the person who is interviewing for you have extreme respect for your ability to pick people, but they’re now rising to try to impress you. It’s not just easy to get a job there, you know, in a lot of you make it easy to get a job. But what’s also happening is you’re able to take your time, too slowly, not necessarily time, because you should get through all of this within seven days. But you can go through this and you can, you can, you can examine certain parts that are important to your company culture, and zero it out and hone in on those individual things. Rather than have just a long drawn-out interview with 20 questions. That’s just all over the board. And when you do this, you can easily do it through Jazz HR. So Jazz HR is a company I’ve been working with since 2018, personally and professionally, and hundreds of pet sitters have also done it as well. They have done so well with us that they offer us 50% off their middle-tier plan, and they offer us a huge discount on texting, which if you guys haven’t heard about texting, it’s a huge, huge, huge, huge way to keep people engaged in the interview process.

And you also get a hiring ad and you get job questions for me and you get a free one-hour tech session with them to help where they normally charge you for it. So if you are interested in it or you want to get back into it, you just go to jump consulting dotnet forward slash jazz HR. Alright, let’s get back to it. So the very first thing that I talked about is to ask about their availability, ask behavioral questions, and then ask questions that test knowledge The fourth one I’m going to talk about is problem-solving. And the fifth one is reliability. So, problem-solving is like, you know, what would you do if, or, you know, one of my favorite questions I’ve come up with a couple of my clients is, you know, we’re talking about time management, but we’re also talking about reliability. So let’s say you are driving out of your neighborhood, and you see a loose dog, and you are on your way to a doctor’s appointment that you have been waiting for two months to get into, what do you do? Now? There’s not a right or wrong answer here, right? But the real thing that you’re testing for, is their problem-solving skills and ability and how they explain to you how they reach their conclusion. And what was what were the factors that they were going through? So to do a lot of problem-solving, which does not contradict like the first one, because, and let me just address that quickly. Because when we asked like the behavioral questions, and I was saying, you know, don’t ask like, what do you do if you come in, and a dog is panting on the floor, that kind of requires, like, specific knowledge for the job. Okay, this one is like a situational thing that you can easily run into during your day. And you’re wondering how they’re going to process through solving that problem. So there’s a lot of different differences there. And that question, too, just to kind of like parlay it into the next one reliability, ask a question that determines reliability. And figure that out, you know, like, how often? How many sick days did you have at your last job? How many of them did you use? How often did you use your vacation days? How often did you fill in for other people? How often were you taking up extra shifts? Who else relies on you in your life, you know, things like that are gonna help you determine how reliable they are. And if they’re just kind of doing it just to get by, or if they’re doing it, with enthusiasm in their heart. We want enthusiasm in their heart, right? So, you know, I want you to kind of, I hope this has helped shine some light and change just a little bit about how we can interview better in 2024. Because if it’s not working for you, I assure you, it’s not people that aren’t working, it’s you that aren’t working. And I’m sorry if I just offended you. But I’m not sorry. Also, because I’m your coach. And I’m here to give you that stark advice. If it’s not working, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work, it means that it’s not working this way. And there are so many ways that you can help turn this around, I have endless amounts of free resources. On my website, go to jump consulting.net top right corner, click on that magnifying glass, and click on hiring, or type in hiring type in interviewing, I have blogs, I have podcasts, I have downloads, and then I have some paid stuff as well. But there’s a lot of stuff out there for free right now, just like this podcast, you can get so many ideas on how to uplevel your interviewing process guys, it works, it is the only thing that is going to help you get out of the weeds and get your life back in 2024. And if you’re not trying to figure out how to do it differently than what you are if what you are is not working, then you’re going to be in the same spot in 2025 and that would be a shame.

So for any of you who have been you know hiding in behind the curtains or you know, hiding in the shadows and you know, really been listening to this podcast a lot and I have not met you, please let’s talk I would love nothing more than to learn more about your business where you’re at, and how I might be able to give you some resources either free or paid to help you it is not a sales call. And I have told many people directly to their faces. No, do not join the mastermind do not join better marketing with Bella for whatever reasons. I only want people in my programs, my paid programs, the ones that are going that are ready to succeed. And that’s okay, we’re all in different spots of our business and our life. And maybe it’s for you maybe it’s not for you. And if it’s not for you, I still have a bunch of free stuff to give you. So please jump on over to jumpconslting.net/20. That’s two zero to get on my calendar for a complimentary 20-minute comp coaching call. Until then, I hope that you guys are keeping your head above water. And you know balancing the holidays and yourself pretty well. We had a great response a great response from last week’s episode. So I know I touched on some heartstrings there and just just know that I’m always here for you. There is always hope there are always solutions. It’s just a matter of getting out of our mindset to get there and once we can get past our mind anything else is possible. The show is not the biggest secret it is your brain is what’s between your two ears and I’m here to help encourage you every single Thursday thank you so much for listening to the podcast this has been another episode of Bella in your business remember when life gets you down always keep jumping by now

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