VOTED BEST PLACE TO WORK
in Lawrence, Kansas!
Category: Company with less than 50 employees
Please refresh this page often to get the most current info!
Pet World hires a few times a year, usually at the beginning of the college semester (in January/February and July/August), and sometimes an extra summer hiring in May. Please read more about the hiring process, spend some time in Pet World, absorb the atmosphere, observe the staff, and then decide if a job at Pet World is right for you! High school applicants must be 16 years old by the first day of classes to apply for paid employment and must adjust to a college level workplace environment that revolves around the university's calendar. Turnover is low so positions are limted but we generally have enough employees launching every summer to bring in at least a few new interns who can train all year to fill the vacated positions.
Want to know more about working at PW? Find the hiring process too overwhelming? Come to a PW Job Fair! You can turn in your application anytime but attending a Job Fair will definitely give you an advantage. During our job fair you can visit different areas to learn all about the Pet World staff experience. Meet with real employees, managers, and owners to get the inside track. Attend 15 minute open forum Q & A sessions (when available) and get assistance with your application to increase your chances!
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. Full Disclosure: As a highly sought after resume job in a college town, most applicants are high school and college students, however, ANYONE is welcome to apply!
Positions available include youth volunteering (ages 11-15), internships, paid apprenticeships, special needs cooperative employment (when available), full and part time employment (when available). Our turnover rate is very low so the position you seek may not be available when you apply but you can always try again next hiring.
NOTE: This page is a template that reflects our typical hiring process. Some dates or details may not be current.
SUMMER/FALL '19 HIRING
Check this section often as dates are subject to change. UPDATES are in RED.
All new hires must complete every step in the process 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.
Aug 1 - Sep 1, 2019
STEP 1: APPLICATIONS and PRESCREEN
Please only turn in your application when you have at least two hours to spare for prescreening. Give your application to any Pet World employee to begin the prescreening process. You'll be guided through hands on experiences with live animals to rule out unmanageable allergic reactions or phobias. PLEASE UNDERSTAND that customers must 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 (or use that time to just hang out, watch, and learn).
Evenings and weekends are crazy busy and the worst times for prescreening. We can help you during busy times, but it will take a lot longer. If you seem too impatient and appear rude while waiting, you can be sure that will refelct poorly on your first impression and we'll probably question your ability to be patient with animals, children, and customers, so keep that in mind. After initial prescreening, a manager will let you test your ability to perform basic tasks that we complete many times a day if you want (like carrying out five gallon water jugs and 50 pound bags of dog food), and then they'll ask you a few questions. Don't freak out if you can't handle something. Just do your best. Inability to perform every task or interact with every living thing does not automatically disqualify you from the job if accommodations can be made. BE YOURSELF. Relax, dress casually, show your piercings and tattoos, and remember the importance of making a great first impression!
STEP 2: MANAGEMENT REVIEW
RED! YELLOW! GREEN! If you have an excellent introductory interview and fly through your prescreen 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. Typical, boring apps tend to stall out in the yellow folder for a long time. Get creative.
STEP 3: A few times a week Pet World owners will review the applications from the green folder and each will either be advanced to owner Sherry's hiring folder or discarded and filed in the red folder. Apps in the red folder will not be considered.
TIP: Remember your app has to sell itself after your prescreen. Make your app unusual and impressive so you don't get stuck in the yellow folder where "average" apps get repeatedly moved to the bottom of the stack (not bad enough for the red folder, but not good enough for green). It's like a black hole.
Aug 19 - Sep 4, 2019
STEP 4: ONLINE INTERVIEWS! UPDATE! Due to an overwhelming number of applications we are skipping Step 4 for apps processed after Aug 31 (including apps turned in weeks ago that we just haven't processed yet). If you never got the link, don't worry! You might be in the last 20 apps we're still processing.
If owners are impressed with your green folder app, 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. If you get the link, submit your online interview promptly to increase your chances!
Aug 21 - Sep 5, 2019 UPDATE! Stop checking your email after Aug 31 and just watch for a text message. We are skipping Step 4 with the last 20 apps.
STEP 5: TEXT and TALK PHONE INTERVIEWS!
Online interviews that are timely, well written, and impressive will be invited to chat with store owner, Sherry, and/or Outreach Director, Ande. Please try to be available to text/chat/talk sometime between 9am-9pm. We will always initiate a chat conversation via SMS text or iMessage first to confirm a good time to chat. Please reply to our first message within 24 hours so you don't get passed by. You'll text for maybe an hour or maybe ongoing for two days. If the texting goes well, we 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 - in fact, silence on the phone will usually get you removed from the hiring process and placed in the red folder.
When our employees answer the business phone, their goal is to get the customer into Pet World. An applicant's goal is to make us want to meet you in person.
Aug 26 - Sep 6, 2019
STEP 6: FACE TO FACE INTERVIEWS!
Impressive phone interviews will be invited to meet with PW owners &/or managers in person for some serious conversation.
STEP 7: OBSERVATION INTERNSHIP
After you rock the face to face interview, you'll be invited to begin online Orientation and to start your observation hours. All employees are first accepted as unpaid interns for their initial 5-10 observation hours, during which time applicants quietly observe paid employees for one to three hours in each of our 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 five hours observing on their own time before beginning their paid apprenticeships (no more than 15 hours, please). This can be completed any time during the hiring process, preferably before Orientation, but any time at your convenience.
If applicants change their minds during observation they are free to drop out of the process at any time with no notice and no hard feelings. That's exactly what observation hours are for! All observation hours must be formally logged, signed off by an employee, and scheduled in advance during available times at the applicant's convenience. Most observations are watching Opening or Closing procedures before and after store hours. Some are during store hours.
Procedural Observation hours are only available:
Monday-Friday, 9-10:15am and 7:45-9pm
Saturday, 9-10:15am and 6:45-8pm
Sunday, 10-11:15am and 5:45-7pm
Outreach and Dog/Cat observation hours vary. See the Manager On Duty for guidance.
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.)
STEP 8: ORIENTATION!
The very best face to face interviews will be offered observation opportunities and invited to complete online orientation on your own time then attend a group orientation at PW. Participants will be observed and evaluated while attending a long, arduous, four to five hour orientation to review everything you learned online. Applicants may be able to attend technical training seminars before Orientation depending on trainer scheduling needs. Your official, paid apprenticeship will usually 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 start observation hours before Orientation to get ahead of the group. You'll have plenty of time to finish. We give applicants about two weeks to finish online Orientation and about a month (from hire date) to complete observations. You'll have a few, lower level training seminars right away and then more advanced seminars later.
*NOTE: Orientation is required and the group orientation usually does last several hours.
What? Did you think this was going to be easy?
But, guess what...Sherry usually buys lunch so there's that.
Evaluation, Message of Intention
After Orientation, applicants still interested in the job are asked to email or text Sherry to discuss their intentions. Depending on how Orientation went, you may or may not still want the job and you may or may not be offered a paid position.
Completing the Trial Period as a Paid Apprentice (at minimum wage)
Be prepared. Pet World pays very fair wages to trained employees but newly hired apprentices only make minimum wage while still in training. After about 100-150 training hours on the job (usually around 60-90 days), paid apprentices may begin the transition to permanent, paid employees zone by zone and will receive signifcant hourly raises as they become able to work independently without a trainer in each department/zone. Our wages vary by department and skill level. Expect to be up to $9 or $10 an hour very quickly in most zones and work at the $11 an hour range as you really develop your skills. Dog Wash bathers and Outreach team members start at $11-13 an hour and earn commission after training.
Bilingual employees always make at least an extra dollar per hour than English only speakers.
ALL employees earn Paid Time Off and get great discounts.
TRAINING SEMINARS (dates TBA)
All apprentices must complete each basic training course. They are almost always on Sundays. The first round of seminars are listed below. Each seminar has a test afterward. Low scores will require a retrain.
Fish 1 2-3:30pm
Fish 2 4-5:30pm
Reptiles 1 7:30-9pm
Outreach & Kids Programs 7:15-8:15pm
GROUP ORIENTATION 11:30am-4 or 5pm (lunch included)
Personality Plus 4-5pm if Orientation ends early, 7:30-9pm if not
Small Mammals 7:30-9pm
Customer Service 7:30-10pm
Fish 3 2-3:30pm
Fish 4 4-5:30pm
Reptiles 2 7:30-9pm
Canine 101 7:30-9pm
Can you take each course with NO CONFLICTS?
Favorite Reasons to Work at PW!
(according to our employees)
ANIMALS! With exotic animal rescue, adoptions, breeding, selling, and rehoming so many animals, employees get hands on experiences with animals every single day, behind the scenes as well as on the sales floor with customers.
HUMANS! Not only will you get to work with the coolest customers around, you'll also have the privilege to offer memorable experiences to their amazing children! Denied access to his local pet store as a child, Tim, (one of the store owners), requires all employees to make sure children can see, touch, or safely hold live animals any time they want! Fostering a child's natural affinity for nature and all living things is a critcal part of development so we always provide opportunities to experience live human-animal interactions to every child who enters Pet World.
In additon to our customer family, you will meet like minded people and form lifelong friendships with amazing coworkers from all walks of life. You'll learn about loyalty, trust, encouragement, and what it really means to be a vital part of a team. All PW employees know it is never about any one person and always about the collective experience a high functioning team can provide.
COMMUNITY! Unlike predictable, corporate chain stores, PW is unique and has been a vital, dynamic part of the Lawrence community since 1988. PW employees provide educational opportunities on the sales floor during work, parties, and presentations away from work, in our local schools, daycares, events, and often get recognized away from work and thanked for making a positive difference in the local community.
CHALLENGE! Pet World employees are always moving forward, pushing their limits, and challenging themselves to improve every day. You can never get bored or complacent at PW because with every new skill mastered you'll discover a possibility opens up for yet another higher level of learning and accomplishment.
OPPORTUNITY! Most employees shift from teenagers into young adults during an average four year experience at PW then launch into their careers. During their tenure they earn the opportunity to wear many different hats and try varying roles to maximize their on the job learning potential. Not all employees are students and some students work full time at PW while on hiatus from school. Most return to higher education eventually while others use their PW work experience as a building block for careers that don't require degrees. With strict standards and high expectations, employees learn to be responsible and self sufficient. Most employees leave on great terms and build successful careers. Several have gone on to be medical professionals, teachers, lawyers, veterinarians, and run their own successful businesses - including pet stores!
LEARNING! At Pet World, you will learn something new every single day. Employees always say they didn't realize how much there is to learn about animals and nature until they worked at PW.
TEACHING! One of the most satisfying employee experiences is educating customers about pets and connecting them to the best pet for them. Teaching passionate pet owners everything they need to know to take great care of a pet that suits their commitment level and lifestyle is the most rewarding aspect of our jobs.
RESUME BUILDING! Your work experience is customized to help build the resume you need. Empoyers work with you in advance to prepare you for when it's time to "launch" and move on to your career job.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING! Employees "enroll" in set schedules every semester according to their current lifesyle, whether they are students or not. Shifts are selected much like classes and claimed for a semester at a time. Unless you trade shifts with a coworker, your schedule is exactly the same every week. During Winter and Summer breaks, employees enjoy variable schedules built around requested time off.
EVENTS! Every month of the year PW has something fun going on! We celebrate holidays, participate in community events, have fun sales promotions and activities, and enjoy holding memorable teambuilding events for the staff. There is never a dull moment at PW!
TRAVEL! Employees are encouraged to travel and study abroad, and all permanent employees earn Paid Time Off (vacation pay) with every hour worked, regardless of title or position. Employees are allowed to go inactive for extended periods then reactivate later with no concern of losing their jobs. Upper level employees enjoy all expense paid, company sponsored trips on a regular basis and any employees can request to participate when a special, company trip comes along. To encourage world travel, Pet World will reimburse U.S. Passport expenses for employees.
NATURE! Employees have exclusive access to the private, 80 acre PW Nature Preserve, complete with its miles of hiking trails, camp sites, creeks, ponds, and home to the PW Tortoise Farm. Employees are encouraged to spend time outdoors every day.
EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS! We believe that the better our staff takes care of their own pets, the better they can serve our customers so they are allowed to purchase their pets and supplies just above our cost.
"Pet World matters to me because it is a constant challenge to improve yourself, it encourages your interests and talents beyond the job itself, and because every staff member has a voice. Thank you for giving me a job I truly love and enjoy."
STILL INTERESTED? Here's some more info:
During the August and January/February hirings, paid staff training seminars are virtually every Sunday except before and after breaks, such as Spring Break or Fall Break. Employees hired in the summer only attend a few, basic trainings then take the rest of their seminars in the fall. Observation hours and shadow shifts are available repeatedly throughout the week.
Training seminars are like classes and attendance is required in order to progress. After employees complete their first year on the job, they are paid for every hour they attended training seminars in the form of a bonus. After the first year, seminar attendance for retraining is paid the next payday like any other shift. Seminar dates are posted in advance and very difficult to reschedule. Dinner is provided at 7pm for most Sunday night seminars. If you have conflicts, please mention them to Sherry right away (during your interview) or consider applying during the next hiring, instead. Remember, all hours physically worked are paid every payday; accumulated classroom time, however, is not paid until after the one year mark.
This example is designed to give you an idea of how intense our training schedules can get for new, paid apprentices. Sundays are always committed to training during training season. We also have occasional training seminars on Saturday and during the week as availability allows. All of this training plus shadow shifts and ongoing observation makes for really full weekends when you're in training.
A typical SATURDAY in the life of a new-hire:
9-10:15am Shadow Opening Zone 2
10:30am-12pm Personality Training Seminar
2-4pm Birthday Party Observation
6:45-8pm Closing Procedure Training
A typical SUNDAY in the life of a new-hire:
10-11:15am Observation Opening Zone 3
12-3:30pm Customer Service Seminar
4-5:30 Fish 2 Seminar
5:45-7 Shadow Closing Procedures Zone 1
7:30-9pm Reptiles 1 Seminar
Shadow shifts are not the same as training seminars. Shadow shifts are flexible, paid training shifts that can vary according to your availability as long as minimum hourly requirements are met by the one month deadline. After initial observation hours, paid apprentices will clock in for short shifts working closely with a trainer. Shadow training shifts are paid every payday along with other hours worked and you sign up for those at your convenience.
Have questions? This might help.
Which position is right for me?
PW offers five types of working relationships. If you're not sure which is right for you, you might want to speak to a PW employee for advice.
1. Junior Volunteer - Master Volunteer
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.
2. Unpaid Intern Ages 15 and up
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.
Unpaid internships are for people of any age who simply need animal husbandry experience on their resume. Unlike paid staff, interns are not required to carry a smart phone or participate in electronic staff communication. Like most internships, we provide the on the job training experience and references in exchange for the free labor. Interns do not sell or interact with customers because the program is designed specifically for experience working in live animal husbandry. Unpaid internships are offered year round as available. Interns commit to specific days in specific live animal areas (what we call primary zones) until they reach approximately 40 hours in that zone. After 40 successful hours in a primary zone, the interns will receive a certificate of that zone's completion and letter of recommendation. Their hours in that zone will then become available for another intern. They can intern in different zones throughout the week but their day/zone won't change until completion. For example, if they commit to Monday mornings in Zone 1 Small Mammals and Birds, they will always intern in Z1 on Mondays until completion of the Z1 program. They may or may not also commit to other days in other zones, like Zone 3 Reptiles on Thursdays, but the two are not interchangeable. Interns are welcome to attend PW training seminars on their own time and will have an advantage over other applicants if they decide to seek future employment at PW.
3. Paid Apprentice ages 16 and up
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 60 days) until they can work independently. As soon as an apprentice can work independently in a particular area, their wages for hours in that area increase. 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 (if they weren't training). This nearly triples labor expenses so we can only afford to pay minimum wage during training periods when trainees can't yet work alone.
4. Limited Paid Employment (less than 3 years) ages 16 and up
Apprentices with an intended exit date of less than three or 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.
5. Indefinite Paid Employment ages 16 and up
Paid employees who don't have a predetermined exit date (what we call an intended launch date) within three or 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 (where 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 applicant 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 so employees don't give up their jobs until they have to. 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 and "launch" into their next life phase. 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 difficult as people say? Why?
Yes! And no. Because we are also a rehoming shelter and an education center, 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 apprentices 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! Every step of the hiring process is purposely designed to eliminate 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. But, for those who are well matched to the job, the hiring process is usually not difficult at all.
OUR COMPANY POLICY ON SUCCESS is that all employees should be happy with their jobs and the working relationship should only continue as long as it is mutually beneficial to both employee and employer. Honesty, transparency, and commitment are critical components for the success and happiness of a high functioning team.
Think you've got what it takes?!
Here's even more detailed info for you.
Historically, our hiring page gets around 20,000 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 about 150 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, are never seen by remaining managers (let alone ownership), and are 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. Otherwise it will never make it to the green folder.
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 trainers' and managers’ prescreening 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 trainers and 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 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 7000 words here! Right?! Now imagine handling this amount of critical information every week. Yeah. We're being serious. There's a lot to learn.
Okay, bye bye now.
Wait -- are you still here?
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 first 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. Your grandparents were right! (Kids these days.) But, seriously, your goal during the phone interview is to make us want to meet you in person. If you are too quiet, sound negative or rude, or not proactive about leading the conversation, you won't advance to the next round.
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 dress a certain way or hide piercings, tattoos, etc. Have you seen our staff? Nobody cares if you're a jock, into body art, have a purple mohawk, or dress like a total nerd. 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 right there on the spot to begin observation hours and attend Orientation.
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 who has been interviewed by us. Conducting thousands of interviews in the past 30 years has taught us a lot. We're kinda like Profilers by now. (Just kidding, mostly.) 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 honestly. It's not unusual for applicants to laugh and even cry during the face to face interview and THAT'S OKAY. 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. It's not all fluffy bunnies. Homing and rehoming animals is serious business.
If your observation hours go well you'll be invited to a long, boring online orientation then an even longer, more boring, group 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 email or text Sherry to discuss their intentions. Depending on how Orientation went, you may or may not still want the job and you may or may not be offered a paid position.
Why wait for this step? It's a pretty big decision. Like, a really, really 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 and happiness at Pet World. We want you to make an informed decision. 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), paid apprentices may begin the transition to permanent, paid employees one zone at a time. New hires are added to the set schedule one shift at a time based on performance and completed training hours. Most rookies work at least one shift in each area for their first semester before opting to specialize later but there are some exceptions and a few employees only apprentice in one or two areas. 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.
Attend a PW Job Fair!
If possible, take full advantage of our job fairs so we can set you up for success.
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. And be nice. If you're not a really, really nice person, you're not a good fit for PW.
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 and group messaging are important, daily parts of the PW routine. Like, seriously, edit your voice to text before sending <insert eye roll emoji here> and check your autocorrect. You must be good at messaging to work here!
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, better yet, schedule a time when you're sure you can answer when we call. You'll know ahead of time because we’ll confirm the time via text so we expect you to 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. Sorry. We have no choice. 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. Leading a meaningful phone conversation is harder than it seems! Your goal is to make us want to meet you in person. Call your mom, your uncle, your high school speech teacher, and your grandma for advice. Seriously. Practice, practice, practice! The phone interview is where many good applicants get hung up. (Pun intended.)
KEEP IT REAL.
If you get called back for a face-to-face interview, dress comfortably and casually and be prepared to talk in depth about yourself. Don't be shy! For this part, maybe don't listen to your parent's advice. We wear tee shirts to work, after all. Don't hide piercings, tattoos, unconventional hair, or try to put on a show for us. We can't stand that and we really, truly, want you to just relax and BE YOURSELF. You are enough just the way you are. If you being yourself prevents you from getting a job that means it's not the right job for you. 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 30 minutes to convince us you are the right person for the job so relax and open up. Our face to face interviews are more of a conversation than an actual interview. We share, laugh, and sometimes even cry. Really. It's okay. This is a SAFE SPACE to be yourself. We look for nice, 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.
During group activities, use every opportunity to show your superior communication skills, especially during the group Orientation review. 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.