Being the 5th applicant

I have been chosen for every sit I have applied for. Until today.

I saw the sit, in an area I have a search set up for, on my email notification. I clicked immediately and saw that there were already 4 applicants, checked my calendar, and applied. I didn’t want to miss out on applying because I was taking too long to write my application and feared that someone else would submit the 5th application before I could submit mine. So I was a bit hurried. And it was just so so. But I was declined today without any interaction with the HO and I can’t help but to think that I did not present myself well because I applied in such a rush.

While HOs are not choosing writers (I’m published, lol), they are choosing caregivers for their pets, how do you manage a situation where there are already 4 applicants and you feel like you have to rush to get your application in quickly before the 5th spot is filled?

I can’t stand the 5 applicant system.


Is that fair?

My first five applications were declined. Now I am happy that I am over a 50 % rate of acceptance, but I can still get declined for sits with the “low applications” tag.

To answer the question: I open the application window, tick the date box, and then I take time to read, to look up transportation etc, and to write.

I have read many similar experienced sitters state the same thing .
The chances are high that at some point there will be a listing where all 5 applications come from experienced sitters with dozens of 5 star reviews all of whom “always get accepted” . However only one can be accepted and the other 4 amazing sitters will be declined.


What prevents another sitter claiming that 5th spot while you are writing and researching? I was rushed and didn’t present myself well.

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There is no fixed number of spots! My application may come in as number 6 or 7.

I thought there was a limit of 5?

After five applications have come in, the listing is paused and the “Apply” button disappears.

So the only rush is to press that button before that. It may also be necessary to click the date box. But after that, there is no rush. Unless your internet is not stable. And don’t let the computer fall asleep.

Just keep that window open. I do that often. And in most cases, I close it again, after considering whether I would apply or not.

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Ah OK. Thanks. I thought I was having a race to get the 5th application in.

Another approach is to click on the dates and “Apply” and write a very brief note that you will be sending a longer message shortly; tell the Owner that you did not want to miss out on being within the first 5.

Then spend some time writing a nice application, and you can send another message when you are ready.


This is what I do

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That is an amazing, probably unique position to be in so I wouldn’t be too upset because of getting your first decline if I were you.

Sitters get declined for all manner of reasons. Age, gender, experience, speed of application, application content, unexpected connection to home hosts, single/couple…it goes on.

There are so many great sitters on THS that, from all the applications a home host receives, there will almost always be one from another sitter as equally suitable as you.

If you don’t already, Start playing the lottery - You must be one of the luckiest people alive!


I don’t think anyone would describe me as lucky. But thanks for the message. I still dislike the 5 applicant system and am irritated at myself for rushing through the application because I thought I had to.

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Trust me, with, until recently, a record like yours, you are extremely lucky.

There are over 100,000 sitters on THS. I will be amazed if there is any other who has never been declined for a sitting opportunity they have applied for. I am super impressed!!


Hi @anon42826925

If you are inclined, make a note when this sit ends. You can then look at the listing the day later to find out who did the sit, then look at the sitter’s profile. That may give you an indication why the HO chose that sitter.


@Colin I don’t sit very often. I’ve got a not so lucky life that ties me to my home area most of the time. I don’t care to do local sits as my responsibilities here are far too complicated.

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I am loath to say this as it might change our luck but we’ve also been accepted for every sit we’ve applied for since we joined in 2022 - including being proactively approached for our very first sit. These have all (bar one in Brighton) been in London. Perhaps my luck will change now! I don’t think we have anything special to offer over and above most other sitters although hosts do seem to like the fact we work remotely from home so are around the house with their pet for most of the time.

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I hope I am not wrong and it’s only us getting declined all the time! :joy::joy:

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That’s my understanding, too.

In such circumstances, i tend to write a short introduction then follow-up with a more comprehensive application.

I have been a bit demoralized lately because although we have not been chosen for every sit we have applied to, in last couple of month of sitting in the southeastern US, we have. Often times, the host hasn’t even looked at anyone else. But now that we are applying for sits in a much more competitive area (Denver) we have been getting lots of rejections! I thought we were golden!

I wonder if people are doing a first come first serve method of chosing and there have just been better candidates that got their application in before us. I have found when we are the first to get our app in, we are most likely to be chosen.

That’s what I do. I don’t trust my wifi/computer/etc not to crash if I take my time.