About Us Employment Opportunities
Employment Opportunities

Pet World normally hires twice a year, in January and August. Please read more about Pet World's hiring process, spend some time in the store, observe the employees, and then decide if a job at Pet World is right for you! Smile

Read the last section below to find out HOW TO GET HIRED!  Also, please "like" Pet World Lawrence and follow us on Facebook for weekly updates about the curent hiring process. Updates are usually made on Mondays or Tuesdays. Applicants must be 16 by the first day of school to apply

 Important Dates for the January 2014 Hiring: 

(Check this section often as dates are subject to change. All new hires must attend the Group Interview followed by Orientation and Customer Service - in that order before they can be placed on the payroll. No exceptions. Missing training seminars is not an option.)

December 1 - January 8   ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS!  
Please give your application to a Pet World manager and be prepared to answer a few questions. It's important to make a great first impression! We can take apps up until Wednesday, Jan. 8, 8pm. Apps turned in after January 8 will not get reviewed. The earlier the better!

If you have a great introductory interview when you turn in your application, you will be emailed a link to complete an online interview. Deadline to complete the online interview is midnight Wednesday, January 8, so watch your email closely up through January 8! If you don't receive an email by January 8 please try again next hiring. 

Online interviews that are timely, well written, and impressive will be invited to talk on the phone with one of the store owners. Please try to be available to accept a 10 minute phone call between 9am-9pm on one of these dates. Sherry will text you first to set up a good time to talk. If you don't receive a text by January 8 lease try again next hiring

Impressive phone interviews will be invited to meet with PW owners & managers in person. If you don't receive a personal interview by January 9 please try again next hiring.

Thursday, January 9, 6-10pm   GROUP INTERVIEW! (Fright Night)
The very best personal interviews will be invited to participate in a group interview.

Friday, January 10, 10am-1pm NEW HIRE ORIENTATION!
Survivors of Fright Night will email Sherry an essay of intention. If accepted, Sherry will invite the applicant to attend Orientation. If a new hire accepts the position after Orientation, their official, paid training seminars will begin later that afternoon.

Friday, January 10, 3-5pm Personality Plus*
Friday, January 10, 6-8pm Small Mammals 1*

Saturday, January 11
9am-11am Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
12-3pm Shadow Shifts Zone 7
7-9pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3

Sunday, January 12
8-10am Reptiles 1*
10am-12pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
1-4pm Shadow Shifts Zone 7
5-7pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
7:30-10pm Customer Service* 

Mon-Sat, January 13-18, Shadow Training Shifts
9-11am Zones 1, 2, 3
12-3pm Zone 7
4-6pm Zone 7
7-9pm Zones 1, 2, 3 

Sunday, January 19
10am-12pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
5-7pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
7:30pm Customer Service*

Mon-Sat, January 20-25, Shadow Training Shifts
9-11am Zones 1, 2, 3
12-3pm Zone 7
4-6pm Zone 7
7-9pm Zones 1, 2, 3 

Sunday, January 26
10am-12pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
5-7pm Shadow Shifts Zones 1, 2, 3
7:30-10pm Birds 1* 

*These dates are mandatory, paid training seminars that cannot be rescheduled. All new hires must be present. Applicants who cannot attend all of these dates need not apply. Shadow shifts are flexible, paid training shifts that can vary as long as minimum hourly requirements are met. 

Paid staff trainings continue for 14 weeks, every Sunday night from 7:30-10pm with dinner provided at 7pm. All paid staff trainings are mandatory. No training seminars during Spring Break.


What are Pet World employees like?
Pet World employees are passionate, dedicated hobbyists who can afford to work cheap.  Most work at Pet World to further their own pet interests and be a part of something special. A few, select teenagers occasionally manage to prove mature enough to handle the job, but many of our best employees are generally college age or above.  The majority of our staff is made up of young adults in their early twenties but we have employees from age 16 to 78.

Why do so many people want to work at Pet World?
Honestly, most people seek employment with Pet World as the perfect resume job and/or to be compensated for something they would otherwise do for free.  Hobbyists appreciate the opportunity to further their own interests, share their passions with others, and make a positive difference in the community. Also, Pet World is known for being a great resume job because of the vast experiences employees can use to launch new careers when it's time for a "real" job.

I turned in my app weeks ago. Why haven't I been contacted?
Depends. Many applications never get called. Remember, you have to pass the initial prescreening (eager, friendly, first impression when turning in your app) then your application has to pass through several more screenings. Applications most often get discarded for inadequate information, poor essay, limited life experience, or bad first impressions. Other times we simply can't contact you because of illegible handwriting or an error on your contact information. Sometimes, however, applications are simply in one of the review stages and have not yet made it all the way through to the "contact" folder. Please be patient. Check the processing dates. Often applications are turned in weeks before emails even begin. If you are absolutely certain you turned in a great application and positive you should have already been contacted, feel free to come in and talk to a manager in person. (No phonecalls, please!) A PW manager can find your app and let you know where you are in the process. 

Why is turnover at Pet World high the first few weeks and so extremely low later?
Working at Pet World is not for everyone. This job is difficult and it must come at the right time in your life. It's a great job for people who can afford to work for minimal wages and are truly passionate about pets and education. Because we set the standard for all pet stores in Kansas, serving as a training site for new state inspectors, employees have a lot of responsibilities. Expectations are high and the job is never easy. The first two weeks are the hardest and that's when most new hires terminate. For those who succeed beyond that first month, the job usually turns into something very special and rewarding. Most employees complete about four years, progressing much like college students - freshman, sophomore, junior, senior - then spend their last year preparing for their career jobs. They usually don't leave Pet World until they experience a major life change. Average employment at Pet World lasts 4-5 years. A few die hards who start young stay 8-10 years.  

Is getting a job at Pet World in Lawrence as tough as people say?
Yes!  Pet World is unlike any other pet store in the country and a local Lawrence icon. Employees are passionate hobbyists who compete with hundreds of other applicants just to get an interview! Twice a year we try to hire about a dozen new employees from up to 500 applicants. The competition is tough. Only a little over 10% of applicants make it through the hiring process. Once hired, only 60% of new employees successfully make it through the trial period.

Why is it so difficult to get a job at Pet World in Lawrence?
Competition! The process is designed to expose applicants who are not likely to succeed at Pet World.

  • Step 1: Historically, our hiring page gets thousands of hits when we are hiring but after researching the difficulty of getting hired, only a few hundred of the people who review the page actually apply. Applicants should learn about the hiring process before they even bother to download/print off a blank application. Potential new-hires turn in their application to a manager for pre-screening where they are asked key questions relating to their potential employment and given the opportunity to verify their availability. It is important to make a great first impression with a friendly, positive attitude and an impressive application. The majority of applications don't make it past the initial interview and are never seen by remaining managers, let alone ownership, and placed immediately in the red, "discard" folder. To work at Pet World, you must be comfortable using a computer, good at navigating the Web, and able to adjust your personal presentation in order to make a good first impression on customers. Applicants who can't handle Step 1 could never be successful at Pet World.

  • Step 2: Applicants who pass the initial management prescreening are sorted into a yellow, “read” folder. The entire management team will then study the applications more closely and read applicants’ essays. An impressive essay is critical to making it to Step 3 because at this point you are not present to sell yourself so your app has to do the work for you.  FACT: Less than half of all applications are even seen by ownership. Take your application and your initial screening very seriously if you want your application to be considered. Effective communication is a big part of the job at Pet World. Employees must be able to spell (or use spelling tools), must understand basic grammar, and be able to write a creative, impressive essay.

  • Step 3: Applications with impressive essays which have passed all the managers’ screening and reading are sorted into a green, "review" folder for additional screening by ownership. Remember, the store owners don't even look at applications that never made it through the first round of screening so if your app doesn't make the green folder you have no chance of being hired.

  • Step 4: Store owners reread essays, narrow the applications down even further, and a link is emailed to prospective applicants to complete an online interview. Electronic communication is an important part of working at Pet World. Management communicates with employees via email at least once a week and more than half of employees' training occurs via email memo. Only applicants who read their email and complete the online interview in time will move on to the next step. 
  • Step 5: Impressive online interviews will be sent text messages offering them a chance to set up a phone interview. Applicants who fail to reply within 24 hours and confirm a time are removed from the green folder and their applications are not seen again. Make sure to provide a phone number that can receive text messages and check regularly! During the phone interview, applicants are expected to share basic information about themselves and what they are looking for with regard to employment. We expect applicants to speak freely. Too much silence during the call (merely answering questions and offering nothing more) will not get you to Step 5. All Pet World employees must expertly handle phone calls at work all day long. They must also have access to reliable smart phones. Instead of paper, we use picture mail and text messages for staff communication on a daily basis. Phones are a required part of the Pet World uniform, actually included in the dress code. People who don't use phones for calls, texts, picture mail, and even email won't last long at Pet World because there is no way they can stay current on the ever changing information or connected to their coworkers.

  • Step 6: After the phone interview, applicants who handled themselves well are given the opportunity to interview face to face with the store owners.  At this point, applicants have been narrowed down by about 85-90%; meaning only 10-15% of applicants receive a face to face interview.  The hardest part in the entire hiring process is getting to Step 6. If you get a personal interview with Tim or Sherry you are only two steps away from getting the job and ahead of at least 85% of the other applicants so take it very seriously. During the face to face interview, applicants are expected to do more than simply answer questions. Sharp, intuitive applicants should anticipate what to say and when to say it, freely sharing relevant information. We expect a warm, friendly attitude, superior communication skills, with exceptionally good manners. Dress casually, wearing whatever makes you feel great. Do not feel a need to hide piercings, tattoos, etc. Just relax and be yourself. At Pet World, we teach transparency and authenticity. We need to see that you are comfortable being yourself and confident enough to open up and share. 

  • Step 7: Applicants who did an outstanding job with their face-to-face interview are called back and invited to participate in a group interview. This is usually about 3 out of 4 face-to-face interviews. If you are invited back, your chances are now very good - if you can handle Step 7.  During the Group Interview, applicants participate in four straight hours of touring the store complete with hands on experiences with live animals (rodents, birds, snakes, arachnids, insects, and aquatic life) and learn what is expected of them as Pet World employees. Applicants are carefully observed by PW trainers with regard to their interpersonal skills, attitude, interest level, attention span, and ability to handle the job. Applicants are put on the spot to see how they handle awkward situations and how well they can think and act under pressure (since every day working with animals and humans is a day under pressure). Full disclosure? We make this group interview as uncomfortable as possible in an attempt to weed out the weakest applicants. You'll handle and carry heavy merchandise, view live feedings, and hear all the behind-the-scenes-dirty-jobs-horror-stories we can muster. Applicants have cried, become ill, and even fainted during this group interview. Seriously. Sometimes one person leaves during the break and doesn't return. No kidding!  PW employees have affectionately nicknamed the group interview "Fright Night" with good reason. We want no misunderstanding that working at Pet World is easy. It's not! We'll do whatever we can to prepare applicants for the demands of this job - all the while making sure they can handle themselves in a group while under pressure and in the spotlight. It's all part of the job. We work together as a team and are constantly under pressure dealing with people and their pets. Employees who can't make it through Fright Night could never handle a busy weekend at Pet World.
  • Step 8: After the Group Interview, applicants still interested in the job email Sherry expressing their thoughts and intentions. Step 8 is the last chance to get the job. After a long, intense experience, interested applicants must email a sincere, short essay regarding why they should be hired. The trainers stay late and evaluate the applicants after Fright Night. If the trainers agree the applicants handled themselves well during the group interview they are then offered a 7 to 30 day trial position. Remember, traditionally at least one person does not even complete Fright Night. Generally, not all participants are offered a job. Working at Pet World is simply not for everyone and success depends more on timing and a good match than ability or experience. In fact, previous experience is not necessary. We can train the right people. Most of the necessary qualities, however, can't be taught. The last thing we want is to set someone up to fail by hiring a person who isn't likely to find success at Pet World.

  • Step 9: Applicants are hired on a temporary basis and generally given a few weeks to complete a minimum number of training hours in a variety of areas. Managers evaluate new hires every Friday and “cuts” are made weekly. During the first few weeks, it is not uncommon for about 30% of new hires to either quit or be let go. Seriously. The sooner the better for everyone. Every Monday, the rookie list is posted in the form of an ever changing batting order based on training completion, attitude, and performance. The competition is tough!  Rookies are given one shadow shift to observe, one to demonstrate with assistance as needed, and one to fly solo. Many new hires need only observe once then fly solo on their first attempt. But, if at any point a rookie can't learn an aspect of the job within the alloted training time, that rookie either drops to the bottom of the list or is let go. New hires always want to see their names in the green zone at the top of the order. Cuts are made so quickly we don't even add rookies to our staff schedule during the first month. Instead, new hires schedule themselves the first month, taking as many open training shifts as they can handle to beat out the competition. It's intimidating but very rewarding when you succeed. If you are strong, competitive, well organized, and passionate about pets this job is for you.

  • Step 10: At the end of the trial period, remaining new hires are added to the schedule one at a time based on performance and completed training hours. Some complete training in two weeks, some take four. Seeing your name on the permanent schedule is a huge relief and your first, major rite of passage. Working at Pet World is a big accomplishment. However, cuts continue to be made as needed for the next 60 days. After 90 days, all remaining new hires (about 60% of the original group) become permanent members of the Pet World staff!  Generally less than 1 in 50 applicants actually get and keep the job. No kidding, it is that difficult. This is why our employees are so good!

How can I increase my chances of getting hired at Pet World?

First, make your application really stand out. Get creative. Use color, drawings, photographs, etc. and write an impressive essay making us want to meet you! This is not PetSmart. We are local, independent, and different than most businesses. If you pass the initial screening, your app still must clear 4 other managers and both owners so make it good. Make a great impression on the manager when you turn in your application. Dress casually and be friendly, smiling a lot, genuinely expressing your interest in the job. Second, know the hiring process and keep track of important dates. Watch your email and quickly complete your online interview. Next, reply to our text promptly and be available for a phone interview. Consider your outgoing voice mail message (how it might sound to us, if it states your name so we know we've dialed correctly, etc.) and carefully follow directions as to when to call back if we miss you. Watch for a text message before your call and be ready. We have many calls to make and little time so prompt replies to text messages are important.

During your phone interview, speak clearly with enthusiasm! If you get called back for a face-to-face interview, dress comfortably and casually and be prepared to talk about yourself. Don't be shy! Don't hide piercings or tattoos or try to put on a show for us. We want you to relax and just be yourself. Remember we hire all types of animal loving people, from all walks of life. We hope to learn enough about you in 15 minutes to convince us you are the right person for the job so relax and open up. We look for outgoing, enthusiastic, confident, hard working people who are passionate about animals and not afraid to get dirty, sweaty, scratched, and bitten!  Impress us!  Finally, if you are asked back to the group interview, use every opportunity to show your superior communication skills. Speak up when appropriate and listen respectfully when others speak. Be quick to volunteer to go first but mindful of others. We want to see that you can handle yourself in a group, function as part of team, and lead when necessary. 

Most importantly, remember you are competing with hundreds of people for this job so take it seriously and give it your best effort!


Download Pet World Application here.


Whenever possible please print on recycled paper.