Finding good Sitters

Hello Everyone!
It’s been a few days since I last wrote anything. It’s been quite the crazy week! Poor Ella on our team fell on her knee last Thursday on the way to a walk a dog and hurt herself pretty bad. She had to Uber herself to the doctor and I had to step in and cover the rest of her walks. I think my pedometer reached 15miles that day.
We tried to get most of her walks covered that Friday but with such late notice many of the sitters on our team were not available so I covered the majority that day too.
Ella has worked this week however we were able to get many of walks covered by other team members to alleviate her knee.
On top of Ella’s injury, our sitter Michelle had a light concussion which has not gone away so she has taken this week to rest it off.

Now these are very unusual circumstances for us. The reason being is that the sitters on our team barely ever have emergency situations of this nature.. I think a big reason for this is due to my hiring process and finding individuals who are organized in such a way that prevents these type of situations to a large degree…. As we all know, most mistakes happen when we are rushed, stressed or disorganized…But I guess it’s how they say: when it rains it pours!

Our procedures in finding great sitters is as follows:
I should start by mentioning that I only post sitter inquiries on Columbia College’s career website so all sitters on our team are Columbia students. This has created a great culture in which they are all in similar life situations and they can support one another.

I’m very attentive to how the perspective employee/ sitter approaches me. How professional are they in their email inquiry? How much time did they take in putting together their resume and letter of interest? If they call me, how do they introduce themselves?
Considering this job is in the customer service realm it’s important to me that they are able to communicate with others in a good way.
Besides asking what their availability is, I’ll often send them some open ended questions to see how they respond. Some of the questions I will send are as follows:

1. What are your current aspirations?
2. How does this job fit within those goals?
3. What are your short term goals?

I’m also very interested in how quickly they respond. I need quick turn around as part of the job outside of caring for the pets is communication. We need excellent communication from staff.

If the potential sitter has come this far and I still like them I’ll set up a time to meet them in person. Interviews are held at Subway (sandwich place) under Marina City (as that’s where I live). Even though I barely buy sandwiches at Subway, I’m there so often, buying a lemonade during the interview that the staff recognizes me now! Lol.

For the interview it’s important to me that they come early. Preferably they are already waiting for me when I arrive. Although we have one or two sitters on the team that were late for the interview it is very unlikely that I would hire anyone who was not on time.
During the interview I’m interested again in their personality. Many aspects of the jobs can be taught BUT NOT your personality. I want someone who has friendly facial features, a good posture and a positive attitude. They should be relatively calm in their demeanor.

A big part of this job as well is writing email updates to clients after the pet visit and taking pictures of the pet. That’s why I will invite the potential sitters whom I like to a second more hands on interview where we walk a dog together. Again, timeliness is a must!
Tracey & Dennis, a client of ours lets us borrow Billy&Shiloh for these interviews. They are great dogs for this because they are big dogs yet friendly. They can pull but will walk nicely next to you if you know how to communicate with them.

Before the interview walk I send out instructions on how to
Write the email updates. I then ask that the potential sitters sends me an email update after the walk as if I were the client. It’s really important that he/ she puts in a real effort and writes a nice email update. If I can tell they did not put an effort into it I will not hire them.


We do the usual security checks and reference calls but normally if they got this far in the interview process everything else checks out. 🤓


Once the sitter is hired and paperwork filled out the training proceeds. I will normally do one cat visit and one dog visit with the sitter to talk them through how C_UP does things, but the training continues via phone/ texts and emails as I monitor their work until I feel that they are well situated.


That’s all from me today!!
Stef

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