Pet World Lawrence

Employment Opportunities

Category: Company with less than 50 employees
Voted 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, observe the employees, 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.

NOTE: This page is a template that reflects our typical hiring process. Some dates are not current. 

Check this section often as dates are subject to change
. All new hires must complete every step in the process in order, pass the Group Interview followed by Orientation, and complete all paperwork before they can be placed on the payroll. No exceptions. Missing training seminars is rarely an option.

August 1-16, 2016

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!
DEADLINE: We cannot accept applications after 8pm, Tuesday, August 16.
Update: All apps have been processed and links have been emailed.

August 9-18, 2016

If you have an excellent introductory interview when you turn in your application your app will be reviewed by all managers until it is either removed from the process or passed up to the green folder. If we are impressed, 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.
DEADLINE: Online interviews completed after 11:59pm, Thursday, August 18 will not be considered.
Update: All links have been emailed. Online interviews are complete and everyone who passed this step has been contacted.

Sun-Thu, August 14-19, 2016

Online interviews that are timely, well written, and impressive will be invited to speak 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. Then, if that goes well, she will set up a good time to talk. You will be asked to talk openly about yourself so please be prepared to share!
DEADLINE: No phone interviews after 3pm, Friday, August 19.
Update: All phone interviews are complete.

Thu-Fri, August 18-19, 2016

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 8pm, Friday, August 19.

Saturday, August 20, 2016 4-9pm
*GROUP INTERVIEW! (Fright Night)

The very best face to face interviews will be invited back to participate in a group interview. Participants will be observed and evaluated then have the opportunity to walk away or text Sherry afterward regarding their Fright Night experience if they are still interested.
*NOTE: Participation in the group interview is required and, yes, it usually lasts the entire five hours. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Sunday, August 21, 2016 11am-3pm

Fright Night Survivors who accept the invitation will attend as much of a long, grueling, five hour orientation as they can stand. If a new hire accepts the position after Orientation, their official, paid training seminars will begin right away. After Orientation, applicants still seeking employment email Sherry with their letter of intention then, if hired, begin training right away.
*NOTE: Orientation is required and it usually lasts the entire five hours, too. What? Did you think this was going to be easy?


For the most recent hiring, as with most hirings, paid staff training seminars were every weekend except before and after Spring Break. Trainings continued 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 of these dates 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, 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.

New dates will be added soon but this should 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 durng the week as availability allows.

Sat, Aug. 27
11:30am-1pm Personality

Sun, Aug. 28
12:30-3pm Customer Service
3:30-5 Fish 1
7-7:30pm Rookie Dinner
7:30-9pm Reptiles 1

Mon, Sep. 5 Closed LABOR DAY
      Party Bus leaves from PW 9am
      PW 5K Staff/Family Day
           10am-12pm Trail Run
           12-2pm Cookout
      Bus returns to PW 3pm


Have questions? This might help.

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. Most 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 manage to 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. 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, 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’s like a paid internship. 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. Most employees work for Pet World for about four to five years, all the while encouraged to travel and take time off for adventure with no fear of losing their jobs, then we celebrate their “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 (eager, friendly, great first impression when turning in your app) then your application 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.

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, "recommended" folder. 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 can 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 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 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 two weeks are the hardest and, honestly, that's when new hires 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 about four years, progressing much like college 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! 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! 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. 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. E
very 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.


Still reading?! Think you've got what it takes?!
Right on. Here's some detailed info for you.


Step 1
Application Submission
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 a couple hundred apps actually get turned in. Potential new-hires give their application to a manager for pre-screening. They are asked key questions, on the spot, 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. Most 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.
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 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 customers. Applicants who can't handle everything involved in Step 1 expose the fact that they could never be successful at Pet World.

Step 2
App and Essay Review by Management
Applicants who pass the initial management prescreening are sorted into a yellow, “read” 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 email and text. 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.

Step 3
App and Essay Review by Owners
Applications with impressive essays which have passed all the managers’ screening are sorted into a green, "review/contact" 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 exceptions.

Step 4
Online Interview
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. 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. Now imagine handling this amount of critical information every week.

We haven't scared you away yet? Okay, then, keep reading.

Step 5
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 WiFi. 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.

Step 6
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.

While waiting for your interview, applicants will handle various animals and bugs to make sure they have no limitations, allergies, or phobias. Report 15 minutes early, pick up the blue info sheet, and follow the intructions. 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 by 10pm that night (via text), or invited to Fright Night 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 intern to serve the needs of our community. Besides, we'll see right through it. Ask anyone. Thousands of interviews in the past 25 years has taught us a lot. At Pet World, we teach transparency and authenticity. Be real. 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 to do what we do every day. 

Step 7
Fright Night Group Interview
Applicants who did an outstanding job with their face-to-face interview are called back and invited to participate in a group interview. Because all the prescreening is so effective, 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 to five straight hours of listening to job requirements, 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). Honestly? We make this group interview about 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.
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 - 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. Even though PW employees love their jobs and most days are awesome, applicants need to be prepared for the days that are difficult. We work together as a team and are constantly under pressure dealing with thousands of people and their pets every day. We need to see that an applicant won’t crumble under pressure. Employees who can't make it through Fright Night could never, ever handle a busy weekend at Pet World.

Step 8
Evaluation, Message of Intention
After the Group Interview, applicants still interested in the job are asked to sleep on it then text Sherry to discuss first thing the next morning. 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 invited to return for Orientation when they text Sherry the next day. At that point we fully intend to offer a trial position. Generally, not all participants are invited back.
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, after Fright Night, an employee is not 100% committed, they’ll never last at PW so it’s not even worth trying.

Step 9
Orientation, Commitment Letter, and Training
After an intense group interview and a long, boring, four to five hour orientation, applicants accepting the position email Sherry expressing their thoughts and commitment. Step 9 is the last chance to secure the job. Applicants must email a sincere, short essay regarding their thoughts about what they learned, why they should be hired, and their commitment to Pet World and the community. If accepted, rookies 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 morning and “cuts” are made on Friday afternoons. During the first few weeks, it is not uncommon for about 30% of new hires to either quit or be let go. True story. The sooner the better for everyone so things move very quickly. Every Saturday, 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! For procedural training, rookies are given one shadow shift to observe and practice, 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 allotted 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 until they’ve completed basic training. Instead, new hires schedule themselves the first month, taking as many open training shifts as they can handle to beat out the competition.
Full disclosure: It's overwhelming, intimidating, and requires strategy, organization, and expert planning. But it's very rewarding when you succeed!
Why must this process be so difficult?! Because nothing worth having comes easy, and a Pet World job is worth having.
We weren't voted Best Place to Work in Lawrence, Kansas for no reason. If you are strong, competitive, well organized, and passionate about pets, this job is for you. If not, you will never be happy at PW. We only want working relationships that are mutually beneficial. If learning about this process has turned you off, please walk away - no hard feelings. But if you are feeling called to the challenge and even a little fired up, this job is probably right for you.

Step 10
Completing the Trial Period
Near the end of the trial period, 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. All rookies must work at least one shift in each area for their first semester before opting to specialize later. 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! Cuts continue to be made as needed for the next 60 days as unforseen issues are exposed but after 90 days, all remaining new hires 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. But the ones who make it through their first few months stay for years and leave with a fantastic resumes, excellent letters of recommendation, and are fully prepared for their first careers. This 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's 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 businesses 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 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. 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 a phone interview.
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 phonecall is your only chance to prove your superior phone conversation skills.

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 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.
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 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, lead or follow as necessary, and not crumble under pressure.

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

Good luck!

Download the Application Here


recycleWhenever possible please print on both sides of recycled paper.

Employment Opportunities

Voted BEST PLACE TO WORK in Lawrence, Pet World has long been known as an atypical work experience for most. We offer highly sought after paid internships that turn into flexible paid positions. After your time at PW, which is usually about 4-5 years for most, we will help you complete an expert resume to launch a great career! If you are interested in joining the Pet World team please check out our Employment Opportunities page to view job openings.

Location & Hours

Pet World
711 W 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046

Phone: 785-841-7476

Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Please see Contact Us page for exceptions to these store hours.

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