Pet Boarding & Daycare

5 Reasons You Are Hiring the Wrong People

5 Reasons You Are Hiring the Wrong People

By Amy Castro

At least once a week I get a call from a client asking me to help identify why they’re having such a hard time finding the right employees for their business.

Unfortunately, most of these clients are focused on what’s wrong with the applicants they’re getting rather than focusing on what’s really important and what’s within their control—their own hiring strategy.

Boarding and daycare owners are busy managing the day–to–day aspects of running their businesses. As a result, many of them don’t take the time to assess their hiring processes to identify the mistakes they could be making that cause them to attract and hire the wrong people.

Fixing these common mistakes will not only help you find and hire the right employee, but will save you a lot of time, energy, and frustration in the process.

1 Your Job Advertisement  Is Boring.

Wanted. Kennel Technician. One year of experience minimum. Expected to care for boarded pets by cleaning, feeding, exercising, and bathing.

With ads like this, it’s no wonder you can’t attract the lively, friendly, pet–loving kennel tech you want for your team. If you want your job advertisement to stand out and attract the right candidates, make the description of the job and your requirements fun, lively, humorous, or entertaining. This doesn’t mean you should sugar–coat the difficult parts of the job. You can still be honest! Rather than focusing the whole ad on describing your business and what you’re looking for in an applicant, share WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) for the applicant. What will he or she gain by coming to work for you? Don’t know what to say? Ask your happy, long–term employees why they came to work for you and what makes them stay.

2 Your job description for the position is nonexistent, vague, or inaccurate.

Every position within your business should have a clear and specific job description outlining the main duties the employee in that position would perform. Too many times people are frustrated by a new hire’s inability to perform specific tasks, but when I’m called in to consult on the issue, I find that the tasks that the owner expects to be done aren’t clearly outlined in the job description.

Also, be sure to include the amount of time the employee will be expected to perform each task. This lets potential employees know how they’ll be spending their day. For example, one boarding facility client recently had an employee quit because she didn’t realize how much time she was going to be spending on the phone talking with clients and potential clients. The employee wasn’t a “people person,” and hated talking on the phone. She took the job because she thought she’d only have to deal with dogs. Be sure that your job description paints a realistic picture of how the employee will spend his or her time. Finally, don’t use the phrase, “and all other duties as assigned,” as an excuse for not being specific. It’s unfair and you’re likely to lose your new hires when they’ve taken a position with a job description that outlines specific tasks and it turns out they are expected to do completely different things.

3 You’re asking the wrong interview questions.

Too many people waste time asking questions in job interviews that don’t help them learn anything about the applicant, such as, Where do you see yourself in five years? What’s your greatest weakness? Why do you want to work here? Why should I hire you? The problem with these questions is that anyone can do an internet search and find 100 articles that tell them EXACTLY how to answer these questions. As a result, you’re getting the “right” answer, but not learning anything about the person you’re interviewing by asking these questions.

Instead, ask questions specific to the position you’re trying to fill. Additionally, don’t waste time asking a candidate to “Tell me about yourself.” If you do, you might hear the person’s entire history from birth until today. To create great interview questions, start by identifying the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities a person would need to be successful in the job and then ask questions about these specific things.

4 You’re too focused on skills and not focused enough on attitude.

Too many times we’re swayed by the number of years of experience a person has or the places he or she has worked previously. Although these things can be important, an employee’s lack of technical skills are not usually the reason they fail or we regret hiring them. Things like motivation, emotional intelligence, service orientation, willingness to accept feedback, and other attitude–related factors are the things that cause employees to fail. To hire successfully, you need to add attitude–related questions—preferably behavior-based ones—to your list of interview questions. For inspiration, ask your current, top employees what personal characteristics they think are needed to succeed and thrive in their positions.

5 You’re asking hypothetical questions instead of behavioral questions.

Hypothetical questions ask candidates to tell you what they THINK they’d do in specific situations. For example, you might ask, “What would you do if a customer was unhappy about the service they received?” The problem is, what candidates think they’d do and what they’d really do are often two different things.

Behavioral interview questions ask candidates to share a specific experience they’ve had in the past and their actions in dealing with the situation. The premise is that past behavior is likely to be repeated. I’d much rather know what the candidate has actually done in a real situation with an unhappy customer, wouldn’t you? Therefore, I’d probably ask, “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an unhappy customer. What did you do to handle the situation? What was the result?”

Amy P. Castro is a communication expert, sought-after speaker, and author of several books on communication including Practical Communication. Her passion for helping animals began when she worked at a boarding facility and veterinary practice for more than 8 years. Amy is an active animal foster, having fostered more than 500 animals in recent years. In 2017, she founded Starlight Outreach and Rescue, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to helping Houston-area animal shelters provide medical care and other services to save the lives of animals who might otherwise be euthanized. To learn more about Amy, visit her website at