Pet sitters (part #1) - the interview, for the pet sitters
So you want to be a pet sitter? Perhaps you are a new pet sitter or a long time pet sitter? Having just interviewed several pet sitters in the past weeks; I thought that I'd write a bit about what you should and should not, as a pet sitter be doing at your interview.
When a new client calls, you are often asked to come and meet the prospective client. This is different from many other interviews as it is all about you. The canine owner needs to feel comfortable enough with you to have you take care of their one and only.
The interview - must love dogs, if you don't, do something else.
Show up on time, if you aren't on time for your interview then the dog owner will not think you will be on time for their dog.
Wear appropriate attire. Jeans, casual clothing, dog walking attire. Do not show up looking like you just crawled out of bed, just came back from the gym or are going to a club. People want to see you in your dog attire.
Listen, the owner will be telling you a lot, listen. The owner will be asking you questions, listen.
Ask questions about the dog and their daily routine. All clients, dogs and homes are different, ask.
Connect with the dog. If you aren't a dog lover, do something else.
Connecting with the dog is never a waste of time. Even if you don't get the job, who doesn't want to connect with a dog?
You are there for an interview. You have to prove that you should be the one to care for this persons dog, why?
Bring any required certification, insurance, associations, extra training like cpr, etc.
Interact with the dog owner. You must create a rapport, a comfortable feeling for the owner.
DO NOT be a know it all. Believe it or not, you don't know everything about dogs; even if you've been doing this a long time. Each is an individual and should be treated as such.
Be flexible, not all owners are the same and what one requires another may not. If you are caring for dogs, it is all about the care of the dogs. Listen and be able to bend.
Share your experience, offer your specialties; what sets you apart from the rest of the pet sitters?
Clearly explain any restrictions you have as far as pet sitting. Outline your business protocols, pricing and cancellation policies, this is extremely important. No one wants to find these out after the fact.
If you have time restrictions for an interview, say so up front. Do not cut the interview short midway.
Be professional, warm and fuzzy professional.
Do not act like you are doing the dog owner a big favor by being there for the interview.
Do not roll your eyes when you hear all the needs of an over anxious pet owner. It is your job to make them feel comfortable enough to go away.
The above list could most definitely be longer but these are the important things that stood out for me. I have interviewed a lot of sitters and it amazes me just how many don't pass the interview stage. Gut feel is important when choosing a sitter; if a prospective client doesn't get a good feel from the interview, you won't get any further.
If you aren't a dog lover, and I mean DOG LOVER, then do something else. Dog owners do not want or need someone who doesn't love dogs pretending to.
Taking care of dogs while people go away is a serious business. Canine guardians put the lives of their dogs in your hands, NEVER TAKE THAT LIGHTLY.