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Dog walker, pet sitter, blog, business blog, hiring, recruitment, new staff, interviews, business coach

Secret Elements To Having A Kick Ass Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Interview Process

When most people think about marketing, they think about getting new clients. However, 50% of your marketing efforts should also be on getting the right people to work for your company. But finding the right dog walking or pet sitting candidate isn’t just looking for a needle in a haystack. It is the entire pet sitting and dog walking interview process that needs to be shaped to appear attractive to your prospective new employee.

It is all about courting them, attracting them, exciting them, and keeping them engaged.

When you can accomplish this, people will be banging down your door to work for you. They will be excited and eager and your ghosting at face to face interviews will go way down or be eliminated.

We talk a lot about what you should look for in a candidate and in the past we have already walked you through:

 

So that should definitely get you started with the nitty-gritty. But now I actually want to break this down to show you what both sides can experience during the hiring process. It isn’t all about the business and what the business wants. You have to appear “sexy” to the applicant too. You have to make them want the job and the very first impression they have of you is the hiring process.

So let’s make this interesting…

In a volatile job market

it can be difficult and time consuming for businesses to have the perfect hiring process. BUT a standardized hiring system is crucial to fairly screen and interview candidates. Your hiring process says so much about your company before introductions are even thought of.  Applicants are not just applying for your job but many others as well. They are getting responses from different companies and they are all making them feel a certain way.

Stand out in your business! Make them feel connected and excited about their application with you. I am going to break down a few ways you can accomplish this so hopefully, you can take your process from drab to exciting.

FREE TRAINING: Watch what a fast, effective, and impressive hiring process looks likes from beginning to end

? FOR PET BUSINESSES: Ever wonder what it looks like from the employee end of the hiring process? Peek over Bella and Jen's shoulder as they roll play and SHOW YOU the entire hiring process from beginning to end. This is sure to help inspire you in your own process, or… you can copy and paste the entire thing!

Posted by JUMP Consulting – Pet Business Coaching on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Advertising & Creating Interest In Your Dog Walking Interview Process

Once you create an ad, you have all the ability to play with where it shows up and test the different titles and descriptions. How do you know which ad copy performs best if you don’t test it? How do you know if you post a link on Facebook, send it out in an email, or post it on a job board – which actually performs? With this data you can start honing in on what works and stop wasting your time on what doesn’t work.

I always suggest to play around with the tones of your ad. Create an ad like you are talking to your best friend, create a corporate one, and then create one with the fun pet lingo that you use in your daily adventures with your clients. Which will get the most interest? Which will draw out the best applicants?

 

See how many jobs you have “open” and how they are performing

 

The only way you can tell is if you test all of this and track the conversion rates. JazzHR lets you post as many hiring ads as you want

…and posts them on over 20 job boards

…and then tells you how many eyeballs see it

…and then how many actually apply.

This info alone is so super valuable, if used.

You can also import them easily to your website to see if that has any effect as well. How professional does it look when you have a formal job application on your website? The applicant is coming to your virtual house and knows exactly what kind of company you are.

The dashboard will show you all the important info you need in one place. Know what works to get the right people excited.

 

How Sexy Are Your Basic Information & Screening Questions?

The next most important thing when creating the best dog walking interview process is to not get bogged down with all the “unsexy”  typical questions that everyone asks. Here, you actually have the ability to insert your company culture or witty nature through collecting their basic info and screening questions.

How about asking some exciting WHY questions to your applicant? Things that show that you actually care about their opinions and their desire to apply for the job. Tailoring these questions can attract or detract your applicant to the job so think hard and long about what the right questions can be. Don’t be afraid to make it about them. Like, “Describe your dream job?” or “Describe two things about this job that appeals to you” or “Tell me one thing that could be a downside to this job?”

Seeing how much thought they put into this can really save time in the hiring process to weed out applicants who aren’t meeting the basic job requirements or applying just to apply.

In this stage, you can hear their heart – and hopefully, if you word it properly, they can hear yours too.

 

Stop Looking At The Duds! You Are Wasting Your Time.

I have been in your sneakers… I know what you are looking for when you are setting up your pet sitting and dog walking interview process.

You want:

  • someone in your service area
  • someone available the hours you need
  • someone who is physically able to complete the job
  • someone who has a smartphone
  • insurance
  • and a car.

Am I right? (I got you boo!)

It is exactly why I included those questions and more on the knockout questions that you get, complimentary when you sign up with JazzHr.

But more so, these questions – are so important because why would you want to waste your time with someone who doesn’t even meet your basic criteria?

And one step further, what are your knockout questions saying to your applicant? How about going one step further and slip in something like, Do you mind ending your shift with slobber and dog/cat hair on your clothes? Give them a win when they are filling out this online application. Make them chuckle, smile, or get to know your brand through what you ask them.

They will see that you are looking for the necessities but also have enough of a personality that you just perked their interest to work for you!

Wowzas! Interested?!?!

and the best part?

You get to determine what is an acceptable or unacceptable answer and can set up this process so you don’t even see the unqualified applicants. Imagine that… less toads you have to kiss before you find the proverbial prince charming!

 

via GIPHY

 

Knockout questions help to detect the red flags and absolute no-gos with no extra work! (Check out our previous episodes with Jen for more info on this.) You even get to control if you still want to view the flagged applications, or if you just want to eliminate them right off the bat. This becomes a next level screening process to find those hidden gems in the bunch with minimal work to you.

All this info is stored inside the applicant’s profile too so you don’t have to sift through email threads and try to piece together all the info. It is all in one place for you to reference. Especially when you are exchanging communication with the applicant.

This brings me to my next exciting perk in this journey to finding amazing staff…

Text Your Applicant!

If you are reading this, I am sure you have hired before and I am sure you have a story of one time when you were ghosted. While I can’t guarantee that won’t ever happen again, I can tell you that being able to chat with them real-time – through text messages can really help get that bond established and make them feel like they know you .

Oh, and you can systematize all of that too. Create your standard text messages that you send to people you are really interested in like:

“Hey (name)! I loved reading your application. I am out right now, but I wanted to let you know to watch your inbox because my tail is wagging fast to forward you onto the next phase of our hiring process! Bella, Bella’s House & Pet Sitting. 

or maybe something like this:

Good morning (name)! Just wanted to let you know I am looking forward to finally meeting you face to face today! I feel like I already know you – and can’t wait to chat some more. By the sounds of it, you sound like you are on your way to be a great addition at our company! See you soon! – (Name) 

I guarantee no other suitors (companies) are getting that excited or personal with applicants. You need to drop some bread crumbs to get them excited about this process. Remember, it isn’t just about you.

texting applicant

It can even be used to send updates during the interview process or a thank you text…. instead of an email.

But why not just do it from your company phone?  That was my first thought. 

With this method, the texts stay in the candidate’s profile, and anyone who is accessing your account can keep up with the convo! You can’t do that if you are doing it all on a physical phone. Not to mention you can systematize the heck out of it! #winning

Acknowledge Your Applicant Goes A Long Way In All Phases

One of the toughest things when applying for a job is wondering if they got your application, when (or if) they will reply, or going back and forth with scheduling. Not only is it nerve-wracking for all involved, but it typically produces a lot of untrusting emotions and stress.

dog walking interview process

Make the dog walking interview process nurturing. Let them know through auto-responses that you got their application and they can expect a reply in X hours/days. This is important because looking for a job is depressing and daunting. The applicant is not feeling the greatest, so it really doesn’t take much to stand out from everyone else and be human.

When you are trying to arrange a time to meet virtually or in person or on the phone, how about setting up a calendar where they can select a time that works for you? This will speed up the process, eliminating the back and forth, and leave your applicant feeling impressed that you have thought ahead and smoothed out the process.

calendly email

 

How Do You Think That Makes Them Feel?

Imagine how they are now thinking it would be to train with you or learn their new job from you? You are building their confidence in your company making them want the job even more.

It is an opportunity to take these small nuances that often become a put off to applicants and it is where YOU can shine and excite the applicant.

via GIPHY

 

Are You Breaking The Law With Resume Collection?

The last thing we need is another thing to keep track of during the dog walking interview process!

Did you know that the law requires you to keep all of the resumes you have received for 2 YEARS?

That’s a lot of responsibility for anyone to have, but even more so if the hiring process isn’t organized or even located in the same place. Again, this process allows you to electronically store all of this information, and to compound this feature, it will tell you if someone has applied to your job opening in the past and why you rejected them!

jazzhr

Customize your own workflow process in the dog walking interview process.

I know that your secret sauce isn’t the same as your competitor or even someone in another state. That is why I give you the suggested hiring and interview phases but I know that not everyone will be the same. Being able to create your own phases of the interview process, that you feel comfortable with is paramount.

What is even more important is being able to replicate it all with the click of a button. What kind of experience would that potential employee get if every single time you were having to think about it and recreate that moment? That email exchange, that request for a video, that response to the video, that request for an interview or zoom meeting? Not only will your delivery not be consistent, which could affect the love affair you are starting with a potential hire, but it is also emotionally draining.

Because I know you get your hopes up when you see a candidate that you like…

So let’s front load this sucker! Let’s take a moment to create some phrases that are comfortable for YOU and then make it all work with the click of a button.

Sound easy? It really is… so many in the Mastermind are crushing it with this method and able to hire on-demand because of it (If I sound like a proud Mama Bear.. it is because I am!) 

And bonus thought – having this automated allows you to tweak the entire process if you see that people tend to drop out at one point or another.

Share Information With New Hires In The Same Place.

No one gets excited about getting a packet in their email that they need to print, fill out, and hand in. (Heck, even my printer is busted at the time I am writing this!) Let alone getting something in the old fashioned MAIL. The time is here – electronic is the way to go and what better experience for this person you are courting to hire onto your team than an easy onboarding process where they can do it all online and easily?

Not only that – but now you have it all in one place so no more file cabinets of folders stacked around your home office!

Think about how it feels from the applicants stand point.
Think about all the time you can save in your own business. If not your own time – the time you are paying others to do this all.

Want To Go All In With Me?

For over 2 years hundreds of businesses in the pet sitting and dog walking industry have partnered with JazzHR to help them do all this and more with their hiring process. The power of this software has helped them to attract the right applicant, hire confidently, and know that they don’t have to be a hostage in their business because their system to find people to hire – works! (and lets face it, they now have a pool to pick from)

I believe in this company and used them in my business and personal hires. When you sign up through me, you actually get 50% off the middle plan AND a job ad AND knockout questions.

It is time to flip the tables and instead of feeling like you need to convince people to work for you – have them begging to work for you!

hiring

How To Stop Asking The Wrong Interview Questions At A Dog Walking Interview

Picture this…. You are all excited about this new hire you just brought onto your team. They have worked at a dog rescue as a volunteer for over five years. They have three dogs of their own. Their husband makes all the money and has the health insurance and their kids have almost graduated high school, with one in college. This new hire seems like a dream come true.

And then, she becomes demanding her second week on the job. She only wants certain clients and only want to work certain hours. She doesn’t like cats, only dogs, and she always has an opinion on the way you do things.

This new hire, that you were so happy about, is now a thorn in your side. You have no idea how to actually pull out this thorn and you have to constantly watch out that it doesn’t prick you deeper. In reality, you just wish she would quit. Eventually, the resentment grows and you feel like a hostage in your own business. Does this sound familiar?

Ever wonder what actually happened? How did she go from the perfect during the interview to a witch in just 14 days?

I see this all the time. Even I have been guilty of allowing it to happen on my own team. I can’t stress how important it is to streamline the hiring process in a way that is always being perfected. To create an image in your mind, let’s call it the gauntlet…

Interview

The Hiring Gauntlet

I think it is important to keep in mind that when you start the hiring process it isn’t about you being on your high horse and having people beg to work for you. Just as it doesn’t work that way on a first date, it certainly isn’t that way during an interview. The interest has to be mutual.

Looking for people to work for you is very similar to looking for clients. You have to appear attractive and appeal to your avatar. You have to understand why they are looking for a job, what value you offer, and why they should pick you over, let’s say, Rover, Wag, or any other company.

Is it possible that your own bias got in the way because your interview process is failing you? Are you blaming it on the job market or your area? I got news for you… unemployment is at an all-time low right now – so you can blame it on whatever you want but the truth of the matter is that excuses aside you must figure out how to systematically overcome this hurdle.

The process of interviewing should not be off-putting. The initial communication shouldn’t be an application or a long list of questions. If you do this, you will decrease your chances of getting people interested in the job and therefore your conversion of the people who look at your application to those who actually apply would be under 10%.  You should always be aware of your conversion rate – it will directly tell you how attractive your hiring ad and process really are. You will learn to tweak it this way.

Interview

If You Want To Be Attractive Here Is What I Suggest You Do:

1. Have a hiring ad that talks directly to your avatar in real human language. If you are lost on what I mean by this, I have a free 3-hour training you can watch here.

2. Have under five initial knock-out questions. For example, you can qualify the area they live in, ask them how much they are looking to make or find out their availability. The hundred other questions that I know you want to ask really don’t matter at this stage in the game. How many people do you meet these days who do NOT have a smartphone? This isn’t 2005. 🙂

Once you have qualified the right type of people to be in your hiring gauntlet now the hard work begins. However, if you have software to help you with this, you won’t ever have to think of what to say again and again because it is as easy as pressing a button to move them from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

This stage could be three open-ended questions. Where they have to describe what they would do. Or, you can have it as a multiple choice. But the toughest part for you is to create these questions. Here is what I mean.

Value-based vs Skill-based Questions.

Would you agree that if you don’t like dogs, you wouldn’t be applying for this position? Would you also agree that we can basically teach people how to walk a dog, scoop cat litter, and feed the pets? If we can agree on that, then we really need to focus more on the VALUE-based questions.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say that you value treating others how you would want to be treated. How can we test for this? One way might be an open-ended question like:

You are walking home from going out to dinner. There was too much food so you are carrying a to-go box with you to save for lunch the next day. You stop at a corner and a homeless woman engages with you and asks you if you can spare any change so she can buy something to eat. What do you do?

1. Pretend you don’t hear her and keep walking. There are homeless people everywhere.
2. Tell her you don’t have any cash on you.
3. Give her money from your wallet.
4. Give her your leftovers. If they were good enough to take home, they are certainly good enough for her.

You would have to decide ahead of time which is the right answer for you and which is the TOTALLY wrong answer for you based on your values. Now, of course, one question can’t give you everything you need to know about a person so certainly you will have to ask more questions. Perhaps even testing the same thing, but knowing the RIGHT questions to ask is huge.

How do they take feedback? Are they adaptable?

I want you to watch this short clip of Trivinia Barber of Priority VA. She was our guest expert for the training we had in June about delegation. Listen to what she says about asking questions, role-playing, and feedback. Can you incorporate this into your business?

 

This is a great example, showing how the ability to adapt to situations could help give you insight into your applicant’s ability.

Stop Asking The Wrong Questions:

Ever since pet sitters started interviewing I’ve seen the same questions come up again and again.

“If you walked into a home and there was poop everywhere, what would you do?”
“If you walked into a home and the dog looked like he was in distress, what would you do?”

All these questions are something you would train the employee for. You would tell them your protocol. Typically the first step is “call the office.”

If you can ask the right questions before you hire people… how much better hires will you make? Would you have to let people go after two weeks? There is always room for improvement and this task is never 100% perfected. Maybe what I said here helps ignite something in your system that you can test. Perhaps you want to know more of what Trivinia said or wish you had software to help you with all of this?

Well in true Bella fashion I will never give you more problems to solve, so you can:
1. Join the Mastermind to watch the entire 1 hour training with Trivinia and 15 other high-level experts we have had over the past year.
2. Grab your trial of JazzHr, 50% off, my hiring ads, and knockout questions here.

Just ask yourself… Am I asking the right questions to understand this person’s values? You need to hire for attitude and train for skill.

Jump Mastermind - Interview

orion survey

Episode 80: How The Orion Survey Can Make Hiring EASY With Bill Gelderman

Bella welcomes guest, Bill Gelderman, the President of the Steering Group. He not only founded The Steering Group in 1995, he is also a Certified Professional Behavioral and Values Analyst, a Certified Attribute Index Analyst. He also has certifications in the renowned TriMetrix and DNA Systems. Find out more about Bill on his website www.thesteeringgroup.com

Show Highlights

hiring process

  • What is the ORION Survey and why should all pet sitters use it for hiring? [3:30]
  • How ACCURATE is the Orion survey about potential hires? [6:00]
  • What is the best way for pet sitters to use the Orion tool? [11:00]
  • What does the REPORT look like from an applicant’s survey and how can business owners interpret it? [12:45]
  • How can pet sitters use the Orion survey as a MARKETING TOOL? [18:45]

Tweetables

Special Offer

As a gift to our audience, Bill will offer $50 OFF the Orion enrollment fee for anyone signing up before April 30th if they mention Bella. Don’t delay!

Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
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  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’
hiring staff switching from IC's

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

One of the scariest things to do as a pet sitting business owner is hiring staff or switching from IC’s to staff. I mean think about it – you’re literally changing the structure of your business. You’re going from hiring people who have their own company, who know how to do a job to someone who doesn’t have their own company, who wants to be trained, who you get to control & check up on. Those personalities are two totally different things.

Today I bring you 6 steps to successfully make the jump from IC’s to staff, designed personally by myself and Kate McQuillan from Pawsome Media. If you don’t know Kate, she helps pet business owners around the world with their social media and marketing in their business. Be sure to check her out here.

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

hiring staff switching from IC's

Step 1: The IRS Blessing

Little known fact: There’s this awesome government program called the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) that can serve as a HUGE help when making the switch from IC’s to employees.

To simplify it down from the legal mumbo-jumbo, your business pays a small fee and in return you NEVER have to worry about being audited for employment tax again. Consider this as a safety net and an investment for your business. Read more about it on the IRS website, or check out this detailed article I wrote breaking it down for you. 🙂

Step 2: Pricing

You HAVE to figure out your margins.  You deserve to make money – you’re dedicating so much time and energy to your business, that you deserve a handsome paycheck 🙂 If you’re not, let me help you get on track.

People fear when switching from IC’s to staff that there’s going to be all these extra costs, but the reality is you can RAISE your prices and see an increase in business. Seriously! I have NEVER seen a person say “OMG I raised my prices and my business crashed. Never.”

Not everyone has to raise their rates, but that’s when the numbers don’t lie. You have to pay yourself, pay the business, and pay for the labor.

If you’re still unsure how to price your services/figure out your margins to get ready for hiring staff or switching from IC’s, I have an entire guide dedicated to this. Take a look at my Pricing Guide Structure & Strategy, and never be confused again!

Step 3: Building A Team

Gather people you can trust to advise you on payroll, laws, operations, websites, hiring, and cash flow. Without a team in place, you will not be able to efficiently and professionally accomplish everything you need to. The art of delegation will be learned during this step!

You have to evaluate your business and find what your needs are. Picture the perfect demographic of what you’re looking for, and then FIND THEM! You don’t want to compromise – you have to stick to what you need and what you’re looking for. If you do this, finding the right people is as easy as checking off boxes.

Step 4: Creating A Manual

First you need to decide if you’re going to have one big fat employee manual, or are you going to have an employee manual AND a training manual? What’s even the difference between the two? Are you going to have a training manual for each position (i.e. pet sitter, dog walker, office manager etc.)

Ensure that your new staff will understand the rules and regulations of your company. Outline your exact operations and the philosophy of your business so each member can work harmoniously as a team with consistent service time and time again

These are all important questions you have to figure out before you even pick up that pen & paper. When hiring staff or switching from IC’s, you want to have all of your processes and procedures in place beforehand. This will create a successful work environment for everybody.

Hire for attitude, train for skill.[ctt template=”8″ link=”iK3nf” via=”no” ]Hire for attitude, train for skill.[/ctt]

Step 5: Interviewing

You need to learn how to ask the same question in many different ways to see if their answer changes. But most importantly, if you get it wrong: correct and continue.

Learn how to determine the right type of person for your business to grow with. Determine what interview questions, screening, and hiring processes will bring you the best candidates. This is the toughest part of the 6 steps!

Don’t use the all too common excuses of “I can’t hire” or “Nobody can do it as good as me” Hiring staff  or switching from IC’s to staff is an ON-GOING problem. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You always need to be hiring!

Step 6: Operations

Basically, you have to figure out how to make everything run smoothly. Nobody will want to work for you if they have to ask you questions for every single client they go and see. Communication has to flow through you, the clients, the pet sitter, and even other pet sitters.

You’ll want to have your client feel like you’re at the home and you know exactly what’s going on. That they’re hiring a COMPANY and not just the pet sitter. That nothing’s going to slip through the cracks.

Bottom Line: Operations can make or break you.

Now, I want you to take a deep breath. Is this a lot of information? YES. Does it mean that you can’t do it? NO. I believe in you – which is why I have SO many resources to help you achieve your goals and fit different learning styles.

Download My 6 Steps To Switching To Employees Infographic – FREE!

Employee QuickStart 1:1 With Bella

 

What Questions Can’t I Ask At A Pet Sitting Interview?

Did you know there are certain questions that you can’t ask during a pet sitting interview? If you do, and a person wants to report you, they can report you and your business to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC)?

Questions about Race, Color, Sex, Religion, National origin, birthplace, and age are all off limits. This might seem easy and straight forward enough, but if you have ever asked the following pet sitting interview questions, you might have opened yourself up to a lawsuit:

 

  1. Describe to me who you live with (to see if they were a Mom or will be trying to bring their children on jobs)
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Asking where or how they learned their foreign language.
  4. If they have a spouse, if their spouse is employed, how much their spouse earns (I could see pet sitting interviews going down this road to see if the applicant needs supplemental income and has another source of a provider at home)
  5. Can not ask if they have children or about child care arrangements.
  6. Can not tell them they have to work certain holidays or ask them about their customs around holidays.

Two Women Shaking Hands In An Office

There Is A Fine Line When Asking Pet Sitting Interview Questions:

It is a very fine line because on one hand, you are not allowed to ask these questions, yet if they are worded another way, you can. Tricky, huh? I am offering you this blog pot as a guide and a way to start the conversation with yourself, office manager, hiring manager, etc. These are fundamental things that you need to be aware of if you are interviewing in your pet sitting company for staff. I know a lot of us can be chatty cathy’s and naturally (as if we are having a regular conversation) we could say something like, Oh I love accents! Where is your’s from?  or What types of things do your family do to celebrate Christmas?  or What would you do with your newborn/child if you had to run out and do petsits?

 

A Great Resource I Recommend You Check Out!

You know me…. I don’t like to just talk about things, but I like to point you in the right direction to have the resources at your fingertips. Michigan Tech has put together a really great document that breaks down the differences between Legal and Illegal Interview Questions. Go ahead and check it out.

If you don’t take it seriously, this story that CBS could be you and could cost your company. (and a mear 1 Million Dollars!)

 

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