Hiring woes?

by Nancy Hassel, American Pet Professionals

Are you having hiring woes?


We know as a business owner in the pet industry just how hard it is to find reliable employees or outside contractors when it comes to your service based pet business.


Over the years in the pet industry I have heard many stories from our pet service members like, “We have interviews scheduled, but the potential employee or outside contractor just doesn’t show up.” Or they show up for a few days or weeks, get trained and then leave after they have been trained.  Or finally finding a reliable great employee, and after a year life changes force them to leave the business – and now you’re scrambling to find a replacement.  Or worse having an employee steal products or clients from their businesses.


Recently after speaking with a member of American Pet Professionals, who has been having a hard time finding good employees for months, expressed that she just didn’t know where to look anymore.  This business owner has one incredible full time employee, and has been trying to fill a few other positions for months - causing the workload to fall on her and having to let some clients go because they just don’t have enough people to cover. 


Upon speaking with her, I asked a lot of questions like, “Are you advertising for new help and if so where?”  A well known online hiring platform was mentioned. It was the only place that was being utilized and more expensive than she wanted to pay to keep advertising for subpar employees or even to get anyone to show up for an interview. 


My questions continued:


  • Are you part of your local chamber of commerce? Ask if they have a hiring board, or where you can post that you’re hiring.


  • Do you have a local veterinarian college, dog training or grooming schools near you?Reach out to them and develop a genuine relationship with the schools so that you can let them know when you have openings at your business.   This will give you the opportunity to hire people who are already interested in the pet service fields and give you a better pool of potential candidates.  And you will develop great relationships for years to come working with these schools.


  • Ask within your network of business owners you already know. Do they know anyone reliable people looking for work interested in the pet services field?


  • In local town/city Facebook groups, ask the admins of the groups if it is ok to post that you’re hiring, there may even be specific groups in your area that are just for posting help wanted information.


  • Reach out to your local connections on LinkedIn – it’s more professional and they may know a handful of people looking for work. Many people on LinkedIn even have a badge on their profile picture that says #Readyforwork.


If when you are hiring, if there is an extensive training program, i.e. you are giving a lot of information on how to run the business, be sure you are protected with a contract and/or do not compete document.  If you’re not sure how to create documents like this, you can ask your attorney if you have one, or use legal sites like Rocket Lawyer or Legal Zoom.  This is to protect your business and to be transparent when hiring an outside contractor.


Finding the right employees for you business can seem very daunting, but also having a clear cut definition of the work they will be doing will help weed out the people you don’t want. As a new employee there is nothing worse than getting hired for a job that you’re excited about, and then after you start working it is not at all what was discussed during the interview – or in the job description. 


One company I spoke with that has a mobile grooming service with many vans in their fleet and their groomers become partial business owners.  Of course after vetting them, a lot of training, but the potential for being a partial business owner could make your business more alluring to candidates. And of course that business model may not be for everyone, but could really help to find those stellar team members for your business.


While it may seem difficult to find great employees, they are out there.  It’s not all doom and gloom, even if it seems like it at the time. 


Think about how you are approaching your outreach looking for employees, and if you’re missing anything, how your can make your search more clear, transparent and alluring to potential new employees. 


What is the job role? Have you written that out at all?  Not just the help wanted blurb – but the clear definition of what the role entails. Have you asked for feedback from fellow business owners about your job description?  (Or from your network?)

It may seem clear to you, but you will probably be surprised from some feedback about your job description.


  • Is there potential for growth? Is that clearly explained during the interview process if there is?


  • Are there employee perks (aside from working with pets)?


  • If your new employees or OC’s are driving around (pet sitting, dog walking, training), how with the higher gas prices be covered, if at all?


  • What is your training process? Hands on, manuals, videos, follow another employee around?


  • How do you even know if the training is sinking in?


  • Are you expecting too much from your employees? e. adding on jobs or responsibilities to them when they are either not ready for it, nor it was not discussed with them. You just expect them to do it all? 


There is so much that goes into finding the right employee, but often the onus is on us as the employers and leaders of our team and businesses.  How you can be clearer on what is needed for your business to succeed, how to find those amazing people to be on your team, not just your employees, and how you handle things like a leader could just help those hiring woes moving forward.


Comment and let us know where your struggles have been or where you have had success in finding incredible employees.

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