Pet World hires once or twice a year, usually 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!
Read the last section below to find out HOW TO GET HIRED! Applicants must be 16 years old by the first day of the semester to apply.
for the January 2016 Hiring
Updated Nov. 26, 2015
Check this section often as dates are subject to change. All new hires must complete every step in the process in order, attend the Group Interview followed by Orientation, and complete all paperwork before they can be placed on the payroll. No exceptions. Missing training seminars is not an option.
Accepting Applications Nov. 27-Dec. 21, 2015 Next hiring will be August 2016.
Nov. 27-Dec.21 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 impression! We can take apps up until Monday, Dec 21, 8pm.
Dec. 7 – Dec. 21 ONLINE INTERVIEWS!
If you have a great 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 Sherry's green folder. If she and Tim are impressed, you will be emailed a link to complete an online interview. Print your email address LEGIBLY and watch your email closely.
Dec. 7 – Dec. 21 PHONE INTERVIEWS!
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 5-15 minute phone call between 9am-9pm. Sherry will always text you first to chat then set up a good time to talk.
Dec. 7 – Jan. 10 FACE TO FACE INTERVIEWS!
Impressive phone interviews will be invited to meet with PW owners & managers in person.
Mon, Dec. 7
Online, phone, & face to face interviews will begin as early as Dec. 7 and continue as needed, hopefully wrapping up by Dec. 23. If we haven’t filled all positions by Christmas Eve, since many student applicants will be away for winter break, we’ll keep interviewing up until Jan. 10 if needed.
Thu, Dec. 24
In keeping with a longstanding PW tradition, the entire management team will work with Tim and Sherry on Christmas Eve while non-managers enjoy the time off.
Fri, Dec. 25
PW will be closed on Christmas Day.
GROUP INTERVIEW! (Fright Night) Note, since we are hiring before the rebuilt store is open, we will not have our traditional Fright Night this hiring. Instead, we’ll have more in depth Orientation, interviewing and training.
The very best personal interviews will be invited to participate in a group interview. Participants will be observed and evaluated then have the opportunity to walk away or email Sherry the next day regarding their Fright Night experience with their “letter of intention.” Sherry will either explain her reasoning for not offering them a job or invite them to Orientation.
Jan. 14, 4-9pm NEW HIRE ORIENTATION!
Fright Night Survivors who accept the invitation will attend a long, grueling, 4-5 hour orientation. If a new hire accepts the position after Orientation, their official, paid training seminars will begin right away. No Fright Night this time.
New hires need to attend Orientation on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 4-9pm. After that, rookies will attend paid training seminars all day Jan 15-16-17 then shadow train with PW trainers starting Jan. 18. All new employees must have a reasonably clear schedule Jan. 14-24 for what will be a very intense, competitive 10 days and the grand reopening of PW. With all the relocation and transition due to the fire, new hires will have the fastest, most intense training period in PW history.
Fri, Jan. 22
Pet World Express will close at 1pm on Friday, Jan. 22 to move all remaining inventory over to Pet World and will not reopen. All employees report to PWX Friday at 1pm to help. Employees and PW Rebuilding Team members (people with fundraiser Rebuilding Team shirts) are invited to a Private Unveiling Party on Friday, Jan. 22, from 6-8pm.
We’ll begin with a special 27 minute lighting ceremony out front at 5:33pm. PW will be closed to the public that night but anyone wearing a Rebuilding Team shirt will be let in at 6pm (or as soon as there is room if we go over occupancy capacity). At 8pm we will wrap up the party to decorate for the Grand Reopening the next morning. Employees will stay after the party to decorate.
Sat, Jan. 23
Our public Grand Reopening will be Saturday, Jan 23! (Easy to remember as 1/23.) Current and former employees will join us to welcome customers to the new Pet World Experience. We’ll open at 10am with specials all weekend! It's possible not all of the new exhibits will be complete but we'll be at least 95% ready to go. All employees will work both days this weekend.
Mon, Jan. 25
Normal business will resume at Pet World starting Mon, Jan. 25, exactly eight months after the terrible fire.
Paid staff trainings resume Jan. 30 and continue until March 6, virtually every Saturday morning 7-9am, Sunday morning 8-10am, and Sunday night from 7:30-10pm with dinner provided at 7pm. All paid staff trainings are mandatory. Paid trainings cannot be rescheduled so clear your weekends and plan accordingly. All new hires must be present at every meeting and training seminar. Applicants who cannot attend 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.
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 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 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 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. 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 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. 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, "review/contact" 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 high the first few weeks and so extremely low later?
Working at Pet World is not for everyone. This job is very 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 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 that's when nearly half our 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 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! Once or twice a year we try to hire about a dozen new employees from hundreds of 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. Every step of the process is purposely designed to expose applicants who are not likely to succeed 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.
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 few hundred downloads only around a couple hundred apps actually get turned in. Potential new-hires turn in their application to a manager for pre-screening where 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.
Disclosure: 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.
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. Take your application and your initial screening very seriously if you want your application to be considered.
Disclosure: Effective communication is a big part of the job at Pet World – 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.
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 Tim and Sherry. 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.
Disclosure: Employees report directly to management so even if Tim and Sherry know and like them, if they don’t impress the managers, they’ll never make it at PW. Same goes for applicants. 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.
Store owners reread essays, narrow the applications down even further, and a link is emailed to prospective applicants to complete an online interview.
Disclosure: 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 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. Seriously. Look at this hiring page. Now imagine handling this amount of critical information every week.
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. Make sure to provide a phone number that can receive text messages and check regularly during the appropriate dates! 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.
Disclosure: 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, 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.
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 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.
Applicants will handle animals to make sure they have no limitations, allergies, or phobias. 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.
Disclosure: 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.
Step 7 Note: Due to winter break, no Fright Night this hiring.
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. 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). Honestly? 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.
Disclosure: 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 people and their pets. 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.
Letter of Intention
After the Group Interview, applicants still interested in the job email Sherry expressing their thoughts and intentions. Note: For this hiring, Step 8 will be after Orientation. Step 8 is the last chance to get the job. After a long, intense experience, interested applicants must email a sincere, short essay regarding their thoughts about what they learned and 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.
Disclosure: 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.
Orientation and Training
After a long, boring, four to five hour orientation, 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 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. 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! 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. It's overwhelming, intimidating, and requires strategy, organization, and expert planning, but very rewarding when you succeed!
Disclosure: 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 and we only want working relationships that are mutually beneficial.
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 issues are exposed but 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. But the ones who get the job, and 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 successful, productive lives!
How can I increase my 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 most businesses. If you pass the initial screening, your app 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.
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 carefully follow directions as to when to call back if we miss you.
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.
KEEP IT REAL.
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, competitive, hardworking people who are passionate about animals and not afraid to get dirty, sweaty, scratched, and bitten! 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. 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!
Whenever possible please print on both sides of recycled paper.