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How to Find Staff for Your Pet-Sitting or Dog-Walking Business

Smart recruiting requires an ongoing effort.

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RECRUITING CAN BE one of the most challenging aspects of running any small business, including a pet-care business. Don’t wait until you are desperate for help to begin your search for employees. Smart recruiting must be part of your ongoing plans!

Always Be Looking

Everywhere you go, there are possible candidates. Stay aware of people who impress you with service. These can be servers, retail workers, home-healthcare providers — even your doctor’s receptionist. Workers in similar salary ranges are always possibilities, and those in other service-industry sectors often have skills that translate well to pet-care positions. When someone impresses you, give them your business card and say, “I appreciate the great service you delivered today. Here’s my card. If you love animals and ever decide to change careers, I’d like to talk with you.”

Advertise for Staff Sitters

Some pet-care business owners are hesitant about employment advertising, but you aren’t always able to tap people you know personally for your open positions. This is where publicly advertising your job openings comes in.

Some of our advertising options include:

Online job boards/search sites — Most are free for candidates to search, but vary widely in employer posting rates. Although players like CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com still lead the pack overall, many more specific sites, some with free posting opportunities, are popping up. Sites specific to hourly and/or entry-level workers might work well for pet-care business owners, as well as sites that focus more on local jobs. Other job boards, such as jobs.diversityinc.com, serve as online career centers for diverse and LGBTQ job candidates and can help your business attract a more diverse pool of candidates.

Free online job postings — Most free job posting sites offer little in the way of employer resources, but they can be very effective for getting your ad in front of the most people. One of the most popular of these is still craigslist.org; however, there are cities of exception to the free part. In certain major metro areas, paid ads are required for job postings, but the rates are very reasonable and reach is impressive. Advantages include localization, ease of use, blind email and the popularity of the site. Although craigslist has been the subject of some security controversy, all advertising has risks.

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Social media recruiting — Every business interested in growing these days should have a social media presence. Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn all offer recruiting opportunities through social networking. If you have a Facebook page or Twitter or LinkedIn account, you can post your job openings to an audience that already has expressed an interest in your business. If they are not interested, they may share your post with friends they know who have some commonality. It’s a great way to cast a broad net. A word of warning here: Exercise caution in your communications and searches via social media to avoid making any kind of impression that could be misconstrued as discriminatory.

Targeted recruitment — Organizations and individuals interested in pets are excellent groups to target in your recruiting efforts. This may include humane societies, kennel clubs and rescue groups, among others. Email these types of groups about your job openings, and join and participate in their Facebook and/or LinkedIn pages and/or follow them on Twitter, where you can share your recruiting posts.

Remember to cast a wide net when you are recruiting. Spreading your recruitment efforts over several venues helps avoid the perception of discriminatory recruiting practices. Plus, this will enable you to attract a more diverse applicant pool and, ultimately, have a more diverse team.

Beth Stultz-Hairston is the president of Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters and dog walkers. PSI offers members resources and support at every stage of their business.

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