The phone interview is the first chance you will get to gauge your new prospective handler’s attitude and motivation, as well as their qualifications. Start by thanking them for their interest in becoming a Paws-to-Share handler. Ease into the conversation by asking safe and casual questions about them. Information mentioned in the application form would be a safe subject, as well as casual information about their pet and how they interact together. Once you both feel fairly comfortable, proceed to ask more targeted questions.
The Focus on Initial Interview:
Background of Paws-to-Share (history, geography, differences from therapy groups, temperament testing)
Information about their pet, focusing on temperament, behavior, and training
Information about the handler, focusing on their expectations, where they heard of PTS, and information they are willing to share about themselves
Interest in different types of visits and an explanation of each
Background check and documents required to participate
What to expect with PTS
These are basic points that should be looked into and will come up during the phone interview. Below are in depth segments that should be addressed. These topics will help cover the above, but as this is an interview, not a pitch, there will be some conversation and deviation. Consider the following a backbone for what you say, not a script.
NOTE: In the first few minutes, ask them how they heard about us and write down the names of any handlers if they were recommended by one. Knowing who they associate with can help understand them and allows you as a territory manager know who is contributing to your territory outside of going on visits. If they were not referred, it still offers great information on what marketing techniques are yielding results.
First Topic: History
The idea for the company formed when President Jaime Goldfarb noticed that his family was lonely when away at college and missed their pets.
His nephew living in an apartment complex that did not allow dogs left him yearning for the love only a pet can bring.
His mother living in a senior facility could not have a pet of her own and she missed and wanted to have that special connection with a pet.
He founded the company with the idea that these problems could not only be addressed, but bring joy to more than just the recipients.
Paws to Share is a family started company that officially opened in 2017 serving Orange County and Los Angeles.
Express the company’s personal admiration of their pets and how we wanted to be able to share that love with others.
Coined terms you may like adopting; One furry friend at a time, make people happy one paw at a time, furry friend, *add more later/edit*
Our handlers spread that love to people through senior facilities, college campuses, alternative and traditional High Schools, as well as individual home visits and (currently) serve the Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, and now San Francisco Bay areas.
Second Topic: How We Are Different:
Most people are familiar with certified therapy pets. What we do is similar, but we approach it differently and bring something extra to the table. One of the notable differences between PTS and other companies that bring pets to events is the requirements of the pets. We seek out social, well behaved dogs that have met our own guidelines and have gone through our company’s vetting process and procedures. We do not, however, require pets to be therapy verified. This means that the pets will play and run around, which can be very appealing to people that want that energy and excitement from pets. We don't discriminate though, and have plenty of pets on staff that are calm and friendly, and some that are also Therapy Pets.
Third Topic: The Company and You
Highlight that all of our pets and their handlers fall under our insurance policy and that this is a paid position. The visits we do are very similar to therapy pet visits but with more flexibility since we are our own private organization. This means the people we serve have more creative freedom in creating the visits they need. Invitations are sent out to handlers to invite them to attend, which they have the freedom to accept or reject. We have some expectations in that the handler will go on visits with some regularity. We also expect that the handler will attend if they commit to it and will let us know about any problems or cancellations.
Fourth Topic: Visit Types
Each visit type has different requirements for commitment and times in which the visits will happen. Before talking about the different types, you will want to ask about the times they are available and what they are willing to commit to. Knowing this information will allow you to skip some of the following information depending on their answers.
College Visits: Various clubs and organizations book our service which will impact how each individual visit looks. The number of dogs in these visits will usually be from 2-30 and the visits can be indoor or outdoor. Almost all college visits will have at least 2 pets, and will likely have many more, so asocial dogs will have issues with this. College visits involve a lot of handlers in many cases and can be good for the handlers to meet and interact. They do not occur often and are very relaxed, making them a great opportunity for less committed handlers.
Senior Facilities: The visit time(s) range from once a week to once a month, usually on the same day and time. A commitment is required for these visits. The importance of the commitment to senior facilities is a key part of our mission. In order to build a strong bond between our pets and seniors, reliability and commitment are utmost important. It will be important to remind the handler or this commitment if they decide to do senior visits in the future. This kind of visit also requires certain additional requirements of the pet, but mentioning this restriction is not necessary if it already seems that the pet will qualify.
Private Visits: These are rare and infrequent. Some residents at a facility you are already going to may want extra one on one time. These may take place in a common area of the facility or their rooms. Due to the nature of our work, there may be times a home visit is what the client needs. In these occurrences it is up to the handler if they are comfortable. Otherwise, a walk or visit at the park makes for a good visit. Let them know that these are custom catered to the client and handlers who are interested in private will be a part of the planning process. Our aim is for a pleasant yet safe visit for all. The frequency of private visits varies greatly. We are very careful about setting up private visits and interview the person(s) requesting the visit.
Alternative and Traditional High Schools: These require an extra onboarding process and a commitment for attending with high regularity. The additional steps include (but are not limited to) a TB test, Live Scan, a flea and tick verification form, as well as a parasite panel. High school visits happen regularly and handlers who are interested should have weekly availability to commit to the position. Our alternative high schools are indoors and pets are usually on leash but this can be discussed with site lead at each particular campus once their pet acclimates and has had a chance to get familiar with the students and facility. Traditional high schools vary depending on their campus and student body. Each high school's visit will be explained when those details in the planning stage are set. Generally speaking, these visits are usually very stimulating and dogs interested in these visits should be comfortable in large crowds and can handle lots of attention and movement.
RECAP: College visits are great for flexibility, senior facilities and high schools are a consistent commitment, and that private visits vary greatly.
Ask the handler to give you a range of how many miles they would be willing to travel for a visit. Explain that we will do our best to find visits and events closest to them but may reach out for special events or our lengthier visits. This is also a good time to bring up any details they included in their application about themselves as it can help segway into inquiring about themselves and their pet. An excellent and valuable question to ask is if they have done similar work or have worked in a pet related field.
Fifth Topic: Handler and Pet Temperament
After getting to know more about them you will inquire more about their pet. You should ask various questions regarding their temperament, such as how do they get along with children, other dogs, other animals, or if they favor a particular sex. Ask if there have been any occurrences of aggression and for a funny story about the pet. We want to get as much honest information as possible, so its important to make sure it doesn't feel like you are grilling them or looking for faults. Remind them that all dogs have their own unique personalities and the more we know about their personalities and triggers the more accurately we can place them on visits that not only our clients will enjoy, but they will as well. This is the phone portion, so keep things lighthearted - this should not be a long segment of the conversation. Your main goal is to determine if the pet is likely to be able to pass vetting so as to not waste either of your time. You will be able to observe a lot of behavior first hand and talk in greater depth when you meet in person.
The handler temperament is something you will have to feel out using casual conversation. It is important to seem warm and welcoming. It is more likely that the pet will not meet the standards than the handler. Their motivation, their relationship with their pet, and how friendly they are would be things to look for.
During this segment, give your applicant the opportunity to ask any questions they still may have. The next step is discussing the forms and following steps, so this is the best time to let the handler take control of the conversation.
Final Topic: Next Steps and Forms
For the last part, consider looking at "Scheduling Vetting" for additional and detailed information. As you talk about the next steps, you may want to be informed, and planning the next steps while on the phone is a faster way to schedule. They may need time to gather things together or decide on what times and days they are available and that is fine.
Explain what the next step "Vetting" entails in some short words. A quick summary of what the pet needs to do and what the expectations from it will be sufficient as you'll be able to also add information in your formal invitation.
Give a rundown of the documents that they will need, as they can bring them to the vetting and letting the handler know at this point should allow them to prepare and provide them promptly.
Notes to be sorted and added:
Other in person questions and actions that need to be taken during the vetting *from in person vetting section*
*My outlined part ( reference below) didn’t have much so just went based on the outlinet*
Other in person questions and actions that need to be taken during the vetting (Lina)
Advise on next steps including background Check, and if there seems to be
any concern from the handler about Background Check
During an interview with a handler review the next steps
in the onboarding process with them. Advise them that they
will be receiving a link via email to run a background check.
Ask them if there is anything they would like to mention that could show up.
May need to create criteria on dealing with cases where
a person would fail (to discuss another time)
After your thorough tests and assessments you should review the next steps in the onboarding process with your potential handler. Let them know that we will be conducting a background check. Explain that they will be emailed a link and are required to fill it out and submit it. Once we get the records, they will be contacted. This is a good chance to ask them if there is anything we may encounter on their background check in which they would like the chance to explain. *this is where we would start talking about criteria but we put that on pause*
Tips (misc ideas and suggestions about how to perform the in person vetting and ideas on what to add or improve)
Every dog is unique so it is important to get a sense of their personalities as best you can in such a short time. Here are some methods you can try. An observational survey of a pets behavior with limited engagement can offer some beneficial evidence of a good candidate. Start off by greeting your handler. Formally introduce yourself as well as giving their pup a brief hello. It is very important to take notes on how their pet acted during introductions. Explain to them that you would like to request 5-10 minutes of uninterrupted observations. If this is taking place at a dog park it is a great time to allow them off leash to burn some energy and note how they interact with other dogs. Whether they avoid dogs and visit all the people or play with the other dogs. Their actions off leash showcase their personalities and what they enjoy most and can be very informative. In addition, this gives us a chance to either chat with their owner and talk about their pet, or watch how they participate in the responsibilities of pet ownership. Are they on alert? Are they being tentative? Are they picking up poop? Maybe lending a hand and refilling water? These actions are all noteworthy. If the interview is not taking place at a dog park, encourage them to take their dog to sniff around and get acclimated. Not only does this give their pet a chance to let out some excitement but we can evaluate leash manners. When it comes to treats, please discourage bringing any treats or personal toys inside for safety reasons. If they would like to use treats when doing tricks or commands please do so outside of the gates.
Steps Post Passage of Handler Engagement Quiz (Jaime & Lina)
( Just this segment) ->Inquire about pet social media accounts
Ask your new handler if they have an instagram or facebook for their pet. If they do, record that information and provide it to the marketing department and add it to your territory’s social media roster. Ask their permission to tag and or post about their pets and encourage to tag us in any related posts.
Notes to myself
*Make sure you talk enough about the importance of the same pet
* social media organization, new steps, and where do we put rules
*go over history details and make sure mine are accurate