Category: Company with less than 50 employees
BEST PLACE TO WORK
in Lawrence, Kansas!
Pet World hires once or twice a year, usually in January and August. Please read more about the hiring process, spend some time in the store, absorb the atmosphere, observe the staff, and then decide if a job at Pet World is right for you! Student applicants must be 16 years old by the first day of classes to apply for paid employment.
Pet World is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a dedicated SAFE SPACE for minority and marginalized groups. We stand in solidarity with all people. Employees are expected to provide a safe environment for children, families, elderly, mentally or physically disabled, and people of all races, gender identities, orientation, religions, and creeds. As a highly sought after resume job in a college town, most applicants are young adults, however, ANYONE is welcome to apply.
Positions available include youth volunteering (ages 11-15), internships, paid apprenticeships, special needs cooperative employment, full and part time employment.
NOTE: This page is a template that reflects our typical hiring process. Some dates or details may not be current.
Check this section often as dates are subject to change. UPDATES are in RED.
All new hires must complete every step in the process in order and complete all paperwork before they can be placed on the payroll. No exceptions. Missing paid training seminars is rarely an option so plan ahead.
All employees are first accepted as unpaid interns for their initial 5-15 shadowing and observation hours, during which time applicants quietly observe paid employees for one to three hours in each of the five zones (1 - small mammals and birds, 2 - aquatic life, 3 - reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids, 4 - dog and cat adoptions and supplies, and 5 - education/outreach). To be fully informed before starting the process, incoming interns must log at least four hours (no more than 15 hours, please) observing on their own time before beginning their paid apprenticeships. This can be completed any time during the hiring process, preferably before Orientation. Applicants are free to drop out of the process at any time. Observation hours must be formally logged and scheduled in advance during available times at the applicant's convenience.
Typical observation hours are:
Monday-Friday, 9-10:30am and 7:30-9pm
Saturday, 9-10:30am and 6:30-8pm
Sunday, 10-11:30am and 5:30-7pm
Unpaid internships and short term paid apprenticeships are also available, in addition to long term, part time and full time employment. You might decide that short term unpaid internships (3-6 months, animal husbandry specific) are better suited for your resume building needs. Please come in and speak with a member of the PW team for more info. (No phonecalls, please. We need to keep that line available to customers.)
December 17, 2016 - January 17, 2017
Please only turn in your application when you have at least an hour to spare. Give your application to any Pet World employee to begin the prescreening process. You will be guided through hands on experiences with live animals to rule out unmanageable allergic reactions or phobias. Customers will always take priority over applicants so be prepared to politely wait while we take care of customers first. Try to choose non-peak times to reduce the risk of extended waiting. After initial prescreening, a manager will let you test your ability to carry out five gallon water jugs and 50 pound bags of dog food (tasks we must complete many times a day) then ask you a few questions. Relax, be yourself, dress casually, don't hide piercings or tattoos, and remember the importance of making a great first impression!
DEADLINE: We cannot accept applications after 7pm, Tuesday, January 17.
UPDATE! All online interview links have been sent. Five applications had somewhat illegible email addresses but appeared to go through. One email correspondence has been returned. We are trying to reach this applicant via text. If you think you should have received a link, please contact us for verification. You can call or come in to PW and say you wish to verify if you were sent a link. All employees have access to the list of names. If you are on the list we will resend the link but you'll have to hurry to make the deadlines!
January 12-20, 2017
If you have an excellent introductory interview when you turn in your application your app will be placed in a yellow, "to be reviewed" folder and reviewed by all managers until it is either removed from the process and moved down to the red, "discard" folder or passed up to the green, "go" folder. If we are impressed with an app that reaches the green folder, you will be emailed a link to complete an online interview. Print your email address LEGIBLY and watch your email closely during this date range.
Extended DEADLINE: Online interviews must be completed by 10am Friday, January 20. (But the sooner the better!)
January 19-20, 2017
TEXT and TALK PHONE INTERVIEWS!
Online interviews that are timely, well written, and impressive will be invited to chat with store owner, Sherry. Please try to be available to text/chat/talk sometime between 9am-9pm. Sherry will always initiate a chat conversation via SMS text first. You'll text for maybe an hour or maybe ongoing for two days. If the texting goes well, she will set up a good time to talk on the phone. You will be asked to speak openly about yourself so please be prepared to share! Silence is not golden during a phone interview.
Extended DEADLINE: No phone interviews after 5pm, Friday, January 20.
UPDATE! All text and phone interviews are complete.
January 20-21, 2017
FACE TO FACE INTERVIEWS!
Impressive phone interviews will be invited to meet with PW owners &/or managers in person.
DEADLINE: Last chance for a face to face interview is 6pm, Saturday, January 21.
Sunday, January 22, 2017 10-3pm Note time change!
The very best face to face interviews will be offered observation opportunities and invited back to participate in a group orientation on your own time. Participants will be observed and evaluated while attending as much of a long, arduous, five hour orientation as you can stand. Applicants seeking paid employment must send Sherry a note of intention after Orientation. Should you accept a paid position after Orientation, your official, paid apprenticeship will begin right after you complete your observation hours. If you pass the face to face interview several days before Orientation, it's good to go ahead and have observation hours completed before Orientation, but you'll have until the end of January to finish. Paid training seminars begin in February.
*NOTE: Orientation is required and it usually lasts the entire five hours, too.
What? Did you think this was going to be easy?
DID YOU DOUBLE CHECK THOSE DATES? NO CONFLICTS?
STILL INTERESTED? Here's some more info that might change your mind:
Paid staff training seminars are virtually every weekend except before and after Spring Break. Trainings are generally as listed below.
Dinner is provided Sunday nights at 7pm. All paid staff training seminars are mandatory. Paid seminars are nearly impossible to reschedule so clear your weekends and plan accordingly. All new hires must be present at every meeting and training seminar. Exceptions are extremely rare and solely dependent on the seminar, most of which cannot be made up. Applicants who cannot attend virtually ALL seminars need not apply.
Shadow shifts, however, are flexible, paid training shifts that can vary according to your availability as long as minimum hourly requirements are met by the deadlines. All trainings are paid as long as applicants successfully complete their first year. It takes two years to complete training. If you are not available to work at least one year, preferably two, this job is simply not a good idea.
Attendance is MANDATORY so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. If you have conflicts, please mention them to Sherry right away or consider applying during the next hiring, instead.
This list is designed to give you an idea of our intense training schedule. When we say every weekend, we mean every weekend, and your Sundays are always committed to training. We also have some training seminars on Saturday and during the week as availability allows.
9-11am Opening Procedure Training
6:30-8pm Closing Procedure Training
10am-12pm Opening Procedures
12:30-3pm Customer Service
3:30-5 Fish 1
5:30-7 Closing Procedures
7-7:30pm Rookie Dinner
7:30-9pm Reptiles 1
Have questions? This might help.
Which position is right for me?
Applicants who are too young for paid employment may "work" at PW as a volunteer up to one hour per week. If they have completed a full week of Animal Camp, kids may begin the program at age 10. Otherwise, they can start at age 11 and continue volunteering through age 15. Volunteers are issued a name badge and work through several levels. Those who work their way up to Master Volunteer receive an official volunteer shirt and official staff I.D. badge and could use their existing relationship as a hiring advantage over other applicants not familiar with PW.
For those seeking short term resume building in animal husbandry, we offer unpaid internship positions. Unpaid interns do not work with customers. Instead, they only work with animals during non-business hours and off the sales floor. Morning intern hours are available 8:30-10am, M-Sat, and 9:30-11am on Sundays. Evening intern hours are 8-8:30pm M-F, 7-7:30pm Saturdays, 6-6:30pm Sundays. Internships last 3-6 months.
Paid Apprenticeships are the standard for all new hires seeking definite or indefinite paid employment. New hires are brought on as paid apprentices and given only minimum wage during their first 100-150 hours (around 90 days) until they can work independently. During on the job training, we are paying the trainer, the trainee, and often an extra employee to cover what one trained employee could handle alone. This nearly triples labor expenses so we can only afford to pay minimum wage during this training period.
Apprentices with an intended exit date of less than four years, who complete their apprenticeships, may qualify to become paid employees. To promote from apprenticeship to standard, paid employment, an apprentice must be able to work independently and should become a trainer in at least one zone. Paid employees work anywhere from one to five shifts per week, make more per hour than apprentices, may go inactive for extended periods (to study abroad, go home for the summer, etc.) knowing their jobs will be waiting for them when they return, and will qualify for limited employee discounts and benefits including healthcare assistance and paid time off.
Paid employees who don't have a predetermined exit date (what we call an intended launch date) within four years may want to seek mid or upper level management while working at PW. These employees have the highest earning potential, qualify for all company benefits including health insurance, expense allowances, paid time off, paid travel, paid continuing education, and will leave PW with the most valuable work experience to further their future careers.
What are Pet World employees like?
Pet World employees are passionate, dedicated hobbyists who are currently in a place in their lives where they can afford to work cheap for the first year or two. Most people work at Pet World to build an impressive resume, further their own pet interests, and be a part of something special that can launch a great career. A few, select high school students occasionally prove mature enough to handle the job, but most of our employees are college age or older. The majority of our staff is made up of young adults in their early twenties but we have employees from age 16 to 80, students and non-students, with varying levels of mental and physical abilities. They work very flexible schedules according to their availability which is updated three times a year. Some work 10 hours a week, some 50 hours a week, some go inactive every summer and return every fall, and some stay and work straight through for many years. All of them are the most amazing people you'll ever have the privilege to know.
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. It begins as a paid apprenticeship and turns into a valuable job. 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. Tim and Sherry take great pride in coaching young adults during their transition from kid to grown up and preparing them for career jobs. Parents enjoy knowing their young adults are working in a safe, supportive, family environment at a job that will help advance their children's careers. Most employees work for Pet World for about four to five years, while encouraged to travel and take time off for adventure with no fear of losing their jobs, then celebrate a “launch” as they move on to very impressive careers.
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 (smooth animal interactions, eager, friendly, great first impression when turning in your app) then your application itself must pass through several more screenings. While it is possible to make such a great first impression that a manager moves your app directly to the green folder (very rare), it's more likely in the yellow folder being reviewed by the rest of the management team. It could, however, be in the red/discard folder for one of many reasons.
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 green, "go" folder (were managers put their recommended applications). Please be patient. Check the processing dates carefully. Often applications are turned in weeks before the review process even begins. If you are absolutely certain you turned in a great application, have double checked the dates, and are positive you should have already been contacted, feel free to come in and talk to a manager in person. (No phone calls, please! We can’t share private app info over the phone.) A PW manager will check your i.d. then find your app based on when you turned it in and let you know where you are in the process. You can also check back here for updates (usually added in red).
Why is turnover at Pet World so low?
The PW experience is just as amazing for employees as it is for the public. The opportunities for resume building and career preparation are endless. But working at Pet World is not for everyone. This job is very difficult and it must come at the right time in your life. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. It's a great job for people who can afford to work for low wages during the apprenticeship phase and are truly passionate about retail, pets, nature, and education. Because we do rescue work, adoption, rehoming, and set the standard for all pet stores in Kansas, serving as a training site for new state inspectors, employees have a lot of responsibilities and pressure. Expectations are high and the job is never easy. The first couple of weeks are the hardest and, honestly, that's when the new hires who don't make it tend to terminate. Technically, our turnover rate is high the first month, but, for those who succeed beyond that first month, the job usually turns into something very special and rewarding that lasts and lasts. Most employees complete several years, progressing much like students, 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 four to five years, although some start young and stay much longer.
Is getting a job at Pet World in Lawrence as tough as people say? Why?
Yes! The Pet World Experience is unlike any other pet store in the country and has been a local Lawrence icon since 1988. Employees are passionate hobbyists who compete with hundreds of other applicants just to get an interview! After they get the job, they don't leave for a long time, so even with a large staff, openings for new hires are few in comparison to the number of applicants. Once or twice a year we try to hire up to a dozen new employees from hundreds of applicants in anticipation of employees who will be launching later that year. The competition is tough. Only a little over 10% of applicants make it through the entire hiring process. Once hired, not all new employees successfully make it through the trial period but most do because every step of the process is purposely designed to expose applicants who are not likely to succeed long term at Pet World. Applicants who fail a step in the process basically get "fired" before they get hired – to save us and the applicant the unnecessary stress of a job that wouldn’t have worked out anyway.
Think you've got what it takes?!
Here's even more detailed info for you.
Historically, our hiring page gets thousands of hits when we are hiring but after researching the difficulty of getting the job, only a few hundred of the people who review the page actually download the application. Applicants should learn about the hiring process before they even bother to download/print off a blank app. Of the hundreds of downloads only around 100 apps actually get turned in. Potential new-hires must apply in person and immediately go through a pre-screening. (See above for details.) It is important to make a great first impression with a friendly, positive attitude and an impressive application. Full disclosure: More than half of all applications don't make it past the initial prescreening interview and are never seen by remaining managers (let alone ownership), and placed immediately in the red, "discard" folder.
Why make it so difficult just to turn in an application? To save us both time and effort.
To work at Pet World, you must be organized, prepared, and quick on your feet. You need to be good with your smart phone, comfortable using a computer, downloading, printing, experienced at navigating the Web, and able to quickly adjust your personal presentation in order to make a good first impression on ever changing customers from all walks of life. Applicants who can't handle everything involved in Step 1 expose the fact that they could never be successful at Pet World.
App and Essay Review by Management
Applicants who pass the initial management prescreening are sorted into a yellow, “to be reviewed” folder. The entire management team will then study these applications more closely and read 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 must do the work for you. FACT: Less than half of all applications are even seen by ownership. Our employees all worked hard to get this job and expect you to do the same. Take your application and your initial screening very seriously if you want your application to be considered.
What does essay writing have to do with working at a pet store? Communication.
This is no ordinary pet store. In fact, selling pets is the least of what we do. Effective communication is a big part of the job – especially via email, text, and group chat. Employees must be able to spell (or use spelling tools), must understand basic English grammar, and be able to write a creative, impressive essay with universal appeal to prove they can not only communicate in person, but in print, as well.
App and Essay Review by Owners
Applications with impressive essays which have passed all the managers’ screening are sorted into a green, "go" folder for additional screening by ownership. Remember, the store owners don't even look at applications that never made it through the first rounds of screening so if your app doesn't make it to the green folder you have zero chance of being hired.
Why no shortcuts? Employees report directly to management so even if Tim and Sherry know and like a person, if they don’t impress the managers, they’ll never make it at PW. You may be someone Tim and Sherry know personally but your app won’t even be seen by them unless managers pass it up to the green folder. Everyone at PW starts the exact same way at the exact same entry level and works their way up. No pulling strings. No shortcuts. No exceptions.
Store owners reread essays, narrow the applications down even further, and a link is emailed to prospective applicants to answer some challenging online interview questions.
Why not skip the online step? Electronic communication is a critical 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 and group chat. The vast majority of Sherry’s staff communications are electronic. Only applicants who read their email and complete the online interview in time will move on to the next step because if they can’t handle this step, they’ll never last at PW.
Look at this hiring page. There are like 5 or 6000 words here! Right? Now imagine handling this amount of critical information every week. Yeah. We're being serious. There's a lot to learn.
We haven't scared you away yet?!
Okay, then, keep reading.
Text and Phone Interview
Impressive online interviews will be sent text messages to initiate a text chat with Sherry. Her intention will be to offer applicants a chance to set up a phone interview. Applicants who fail to reply within 24 hours of the text are removed from the green folder and their applications are not seen again. This step is trickier than it seems. Make sure to provide a phone number that can receive text messages and check regularly during the appropriate dates! If you get a call, applicants are expected to share basic information about themselves and what they are looking for with regard to employment. We want applicants to speak freely. Too much silence during the call (merely answering questions and offering nothing more) will not get you to Step 5.
Texting makes sense, right? But why is talking on the phone so important? All Pet World employees must expertly handle phone calls at work all day long. Really. All. Day. Long. The phone never stops ringing. And, yes, employees must also have consistent access to reliable smart phones with unlimited data or consistent access to Wi-Fi. Instead of paper, we use picture mail, text messages, and group messaging for staff communication on a daily - sometimes hourly - basis. Smart phones are a required part of the Pet World uniform, actually included in the dress code. For real. People who don't use phones for calls, texts, picture mail, and email won't make it at Pet World because there is no way they can stay current on the ever changing information or stay adequately connected to their coworkers. All that said, most applicants have smart phones and breeze through the text part but completely blow the talking on the phone part. Practice with your parents. No, seriously. Inability to effectively talk on the phone disqualifies many applicants - more and more each year.
Face to Face Interview
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, face to face interview 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. We want a meaningful conversation. 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 the end of the interview you will either be thanked and dismissed, invited back via text by 10pm that night, or invited to begin observation hours and attend Orientation right there on the spot.
Why not put on the good show for the interview? Because we're not hiring the 15 minute interview performance; we're hiring a long term paid employee to serve the needs of our community. Besides, we'll see right through it. Ask anyone. Conducting thousands of interviews in the past 25 years has taught us a lot. At Pet World, we teach transparency and authenticity. Be real. We repeat: BE REAL. Even if faking your way through an interview gets you the job, it won't keep you the job so don't bother. We need to see that you are comfortable just being yourself and confident enough to open up and share. We deal with living things, people, and their beloved pets. You must be comfortable being compassionate in order to do what we do every day.
Applicants who did an outstanding job with their face-to-face interview are offered the opportunity to begin observation hours. Because all of the prescreening is so effective, this is usually about 3 out of 4 face-to-face interviews. If you are offered observation hours, your chances are now very good! Applicants are invited to carefully observe employees in action in different areas of Pet World. The employees you're observing will in turn be observing you with regard to your interpersonal skills, attitude, interest level, attention span, and willingness to handle the job.
Why? 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. Observation will help you decide if a paid position is right for you. Even though PW employees love their jobs and most days are awesome, applicants need this behind the scenes perspective to be prepared for the parts of the job that are not exactly glamorous.
If your observation hours go well you'll be invited to a long, boring, four to five hour orientation. During Orientation you'll learn about all the rules, policies, employee agreements, confidentiality and non-compete contracts, etc. Hard to believe what is involved that makes this experience so incredible but during Orientation you'll get a good idea.
Evaluation, Message of Intention
After Orientation, applicants still interested in the job are asked to sleep on it then text Sherry to discuss first thing the next morning. Depending on how Orientation went, you may or may not still want the job and you may or may not be offered a position.
Why sleep on it? It's a pretty big decision.
Working at Pet World is simply not for everyone and success depends more on timing, passion, and a good match than ability or experience. In fact, previous experience is not necessary and sometimes a detriment. We can train the right people. Most of the necessary human 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. If an employee is not 100% committed to our mission, they’ll never last at PW so it’s not even worth trying.
Completing the Trial Period as a Paid Apprentice
After about 100-150 training hours on the job (usually around 90 days), apprentices may begin the transition to paid employees. New hires are added to the set schedule one shift at a time based on performance and completed training hours. All rookies must work at least one shift in each area for their first semester before opting to specialize later. It's not easy, but most people who make it through their first few months stay for years and leave with fantastic resumes, excellent letters of recommendation, and are more prepared for their first careers than most of their peers. This intense process is why Pet World employees are so good and go on to lead very successful, productive lives!
You still here?! Wow, you are really serious about this job, huh.
Okay, here are a few tips to increase your chances of getting hired at Pet World.
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 a corporate owned PetSmart. We are local, independent, and different than any business you've ever seen. If you pass the initial screening, your application still must clear all the other managers and both owners so make it good!
Make a great first impression!
When you turn in your application, dress casually and be friendly, smiling a lot, genuinely expressing your interest in the job. You have one shot to make this first impression so don't blow it.
Know the hiring process and keep track of important dates.
Watch your email and quickly complete your online interview. Next, watch for a text message and reply promptly using a good text voice. Text conversations are an important, daily part of the PW routine. You must be good at texting.
Be available for your phone call.
Consider your outgoing voicemail message (how it might sound to us, if it states your name so we know we've dialed correctly, etc.) and answer when we call. You'll know ahead of time so be ready.
Rock your phone interview!
During your phone interview, speak clearly with enthusiasm! If you are too quiet we will quickly lose interest and move on. In our business, it is never enough to simply answer customer questions over the phone. We offer solutions after discerning the issues. We must know that you can lead a phone conversation. This phone call is your only chance to prove your superior phone conversation skills. Practice, practice, practice!
KEEP IT REAL.
If you get called back for a face-to-face interview, dress comfortably and casually and be prepared to talk even more about yourself. Don't be shy! Don't hide piercings or tattoos or try to put on a show for us. We can't stand that and want you to relax and just BE YOURSELF. Remember we hire all types of animal loving people, from all walks of life. We want real people, so don't try to fake your way through the interview. We hope to learn enough about you in 15-30 minutes to convince us you are the right person for the job so relax and open up. We look for outgoing, enthusiastic, confident, competitive, hardworking people who are passionate about animals and not afraid to get dirty, sweaty, scratched, and bitten! If that is you, impress us!
Exhibit master interpersonal skills.
Use every opportunity to show your superior communication skills, especially during Orientation. Speak up when appropriate and listen respectfully when others speak. Be quick to volunteer to go first but mindful of others having turns. We want to see that you can handle yourself in a group, function as part of a team, keep your finger on the pulse of a situation, pay attention for extended periods, lead or follow as necessary, and not crumble under pressure. Communication is everything with this job.
Most importantly, remember you are competing with hundreds of people for this job so take it seriously and give it your best effort!
Whenever possible please print on both sides of recycled paper.