Over in the Pet Boss Nation Facebook community, we hear from members all the time about how it’s hard to find (and keep!) good help in the pet industry. So we enlisted the help of Head Pet Boss Candace D’Agnolo to share her top tips for recruiting and hiring all-star employees for your store or pet care facility. Whether you’re trying to find seasonal help or looking to attract a team who’s in it for the long haul, Candace’s tips will help you make promising connections, ditch applicants who aren’t a good fit, and avoid the dreaded “ghosting” from people who aren’t interested.
9 Tips for Building a Dream Team in the Pet Industry
- Keep your eyes and ears open when you’re in retail stores or out and about in your community. Say something along the lines of “You’re great at your job! I wish I had someone like you on my team.” This gives the opportunity to let you know that they love their job or might be interested in working for you. You never know who might be interested in the pet industry or looking for extra work.
- When posting an opportunity at your store, go above and beyond the job requirements. Share what you can do for your employees, why you got started in the pet industry, or what makes your business stand out. If you have interesting or niche perks, don’t be afraid to brag about them a little bit (especially if your employees can bring their pets to work!).
- Take off the blinders when reviewing initial applications. Reevaluate your deal breakers and determine if any of them can be fixed with some training. You might discover an applicant with incredible people skills and a thirst for knowledge in your “reject” pile who can easily learn how to use your point of sale system.
- Give an applicant a call out of the blue. You’ll learn more than you might think! You’ll get a feel for how they handle off-the-cuff conversations and learn a bit about them if they send you straight to voicemail. If you’re doing all the heavy lifting in the conversation or if they don’t call you back, toss the application.
- Invite them to participate in the first step of the interview process for the position at your store. Ask them to record a short video with their phone where they state their name, share the best quality they would bring to your business, and how they can make an impact in the pet industry with that skill if you hired them. Give them a quick deadline to text or email it over to you. This gives them an opportunity to show their level of interest, and you get a glimpse at how they work under the pressure of a deadline.
- Create a few easy projects for them to complete if you’re serious about them. Hiring for a sales position? Ask them to spend an hour working the sample table at your store. Give them a few basic guidelines, then take note of how they interact with your customers and how well they listened to your instructions. If they’re not on board for an experiential interview, they may not be a good fit for your team.
- If you’re hiring multiple people at once, host an Open Interview Day. This works great for narrowing down temporary hires for busy seasons. Pick a day that works for you (we recommend a slower day). Invite applicants to come in at a set time for a quick one-on-one conversation with you to get to know the pet industry and a project to complete based on the role you’re looking to fill. If you’re hiring groomers, ask them to set up their station with the supplies you have on hand. If you’re hiring a salesperson, ask them to pick an item in the store and sell it to you.
- Offer a trial period if you find a promising candidate. This lets them meet members of your team and interact with your customers and their pets while giving you an opportunity to see if they really are as perfect as they were in the initial interview. Give the candidate a few core things to do and invite them to ask questions, so both parties can be confident it’s a good fit.
- Make an offer but include your vision. Show your new hire that you want them on the team and how you see their strengths applying to your store. Reiterate why your company is unique in the pet industry and share with them the opportunities they have to really make a difference with their work.
Is finding a dedicated team just one issue on your laundry list of pet industry woes? Maybe you need one-on-one coaching with a Pet Boss Mentor. Our highly-qualified industry experts are ready to help you face your toughest challenges and come out like a Boss in areas like retail, marketing, leadership, finance, social media, and more.