I applied for a month-long local sit. The hosts were friendly in their message and suggested that we meet. I reluctantly agreed, but felt slightly put out by the request to meet, especially prior to a phone call. It felt unbalanced for me to spend on transit and take time to come to them without a sit commitment.
Doing an in-person meeting feels like a job interview rather than an exchange and slows down the application process, possibly making sitters miss other sit opportunities. An in-person meeting seems better suited after a sitter has been selected.
The majority of my sits have taken place during the pandemic and I wonder if that experience has coloured my perspective.
What is your perspective? Is my read on this situation too critical?
Have other sitters experienced in-person interviews? What prompts a homeowner to suggest an in-person meeting instead of a phone call or video?
I’m a home-owner. My perspective - if the sitter is local, why wouldnt you meet? I would definitely have a phone call to establish basic feasibility (ie, we each think the other seems like a good fit) and then invite the sitter over to meet the pets and see the house/neighbourhood. I’m in the process of doing exactly this with someone (not from THS).
Obviously if I thought the prospective sitter was a very bad fit, I wouldnt invite them at all. If I thought they werent a great fit, but they were keen I’d probably agree if they asked if they could visit.
I’ve only ever done one local sit, it was my first sit and I was happy to go meet the owner beforehand. It was her first experience with a sitter as well so it was great for us to meet up, walk around the property and chat about any questions we both had.
From the HO perspective, I have someone local coming to sit for me for a week in May. They came over last week to meet the dog, see the house and have a chat. They didn’t seem put out by the visit at all, in fact they suggested it.
If I were to apply for another local sit in the future I’d be happy to go meet the owner beforehand. In fact I would prefer it!
We’ve occasionally met owners prior to sits, but only if in the area where it’s been practical. Until recently our sits were always international and so in person meetups were really impractical, and if anyone stipulated that in a listing, we’d pass it by. I do agree, it slows down the process but some members have very good reasons for wanting a meet and greet, sometimes simply for reassurance as new members, or because they want to see how their pets react with new people, especially if they have any anxiety issues (the dogs not the owners )
It’s one of those areas where it really is down to the owner / sitters and whether they feel it’s right and works for you all. All the best, Vanessa
Hi @Nomadexec I notice your choice of the word ‘interview’, whereas I don’t see it as such. If it’s convenient for me to meet with someone beforehand, I have offered to do that. Thinking back now, I realize that each time the homeowner was selecting a sitter for the first time. However, I would make the same offer to any homeowner. I would only do this if I realized they were considering me as their choice, but our meet would be so that we could each decide whether it was a good fit; I see it as a balanced meet, rather than an interview being held by a homeowner.
Meeting in person can often resolve whether some feature of the home or the needs of the pet may not be a fit for the sitter, which was the case for the sit I’m currently on. Generally, we can just discuss things and get a better feel for whether it’s a good match. For me, the conversations have gone beyond the essentials of the sit and have ended up as interesting chats that I’ve enjoyed. I also haven’t found that it slows down the process.
As for the pandemic, for this most recent one I arrived at the door with face mask visibly in hand and asked their preference. I also know in advance whether my homeowners are vaccinated - again through emails or by the initial listing. I respect their choice about masking, but would also do what’s comfortable for me. I adhere to strict protocols for the pandemic, and many are still in place in Canada, more so than other countries.
Even as experienced HO, I would rather have an in person meeting than a video call. I would certainly not ask for it if the sitter wasn’t a local, but if he lived around the corner, why not?
How better to find out if you’re a good fit than meeting in person?
Actually, even if the term is used for jobs, yes, it’s an interview during which both sides check out if they are a good match.
We have only done it a few times for “free” sits when the sit was basically in the same location as our previous sit. It was clearly stated in the listing that this was a requirement and it didn’t take us long to get there. For paid sits (not through THS) we almost always meet in person (and a lot of our payment goes into train tickets).
If I had a sitter who was very local to us I would probably suggest meeting up beforehand however I would no doubt do a Zoom meeting initially if possible. If we did meet I would prob suggest meeting somewhere to walk the dogs together.
We’ve never done in-person “interview” but then we’ve never done a sit that close, 95% have been a flight or two away. That being said, I’d be totally fine meeting them in person ahead of time. It would give me an opportunity to meet their pet and see their house in person so I’d have a better idea if I even want to do the sit. Don’t forget, you’re interviewing them as well.
I guess if there is a great deal of inconvenience and/or expense involved in getting together, you might have reason to ask for a video meeting instead?
We are a family of sitters and have done a number of local sits. I always offer to meet in person if the homeowner would like to. I’ve never thought of it as an interview, but then again, I have always been the one to suggest it!
Often the meet takes place after we have been confirmed for the sit, but once it did happen before. This was for a first time HO and I’m glad we did as the dog appeared anxious and protective of his house and owner, growling and barking as she showed us round the house. I was able to suggest that we take the dog out for a walk and this changed everything. The dog was quite happy and the owner was reassured that we understood dogs and that her dog would be happy in our care. When we arrived at the start of the sit, the dog was completely relaxed and didn’t react at all to my husband who hadn’t been to the meeting.
It also provides the opportunity to see round the house and cover a lot of the “handover” in advance.
Please don’t make pre sit interviews too structured etc like a job interview. Job interviews are stressful & I spend hours searching for info on x or y company to craft questions etc. This is my life atm…
Can we look at pre sit chats just as a great opportunity to get to know a sitter/owner, have a laugh etc & not super formal. Please.
If you are local, I don’t see what’s the problem…By saying it’s an interview, I think you are being too formal and you have a pretty negative/critical outlook about it. I say it’s all about seeing if it’s a good fit for both the owner and sitter.
I do all my pre-sit meets by video chat. But if a sitter was local, I would prefer that. If a sitter was local and they didn’t want to meet me for without a understandable reason, that would make me raise an eyebrow. I would pass on the sitter’s application.
I suggested myself to meet the owner who lived close (30km).it’s nicer than a call or a video.
I showed my id, my Covid pass, even my husband and own pet (to be sure both would be accepted during my sit)
We always try to meet in person when it is possible.
We even suggested to meet once while we were in Portugal and wanted to come back, longer : the listing already had 30-50 + applicants (before pandemic times), we were new to THS (only 3 or 4 reviews), the listing was fantastic (a villa in the woods with pool close to the seaside) : and because we were there and could meet the lady and the dogs in person, we got the job : on month in paradise !
Hi @Françoise-et-Youn … just curious now living in rural France, do you think this happens more in here (and possibly other countries in Europe)? I ask because 2 owners (as referrals from other locals) have both wanted to meet before committing to house sitting. But both were completely new to the value exchange concept, so obviously needed more reassurance. Our own local experience (as we spread the word in our department) is that more people are aware of paid pet care than the value exchange, and so are used to and expect a meet and greet. Then apologize when they discover we really won’t be charging them We have mentioned this in our pre-meet emails but I suspect they have the “too good to be true” perception and don’t believe it won’t really cost anything!!
When you are new sitters this can be a great way to get established quickly, as you’ve proven!
We have also done a handful of sits in rural France through THS, but not all the HOs were French. They actually didn’t request to meet beforehand, but it’s possible that we skipped a few listings where this was a requirement (we traveled large distances from sit to sit back then). We can think only of a Greek couple in Berlin and an American family in Munich who wanted to meet us beforehand (both times we were already in town), a few times we also suggested that we could come over (which we think is best for everyone involved, if it’s convenient). For paid sits (not through THS) this is standard, of course.
We have met prospective pet owners before but only local. It just so happened we were in the area.
Next month we are going to meet a confirmed pet owner. The reason - the time we arrive and they depart is very short so both parties agreed it would be better for us to come for lunch and they can show us round and talk about the dogs routine. Then it doesn’t really matter if we are slightly late for any reason. It’s a good hour away from where we will be but we are looking forward to our lunch and meeting the pets.
I’m doing my first pre-sit meet for a sit in August in Putney. I happen to be in London for another sit not too far away and since it will be a long sit am fine meeting in advance. The sit is already confirmed.
On the other hand, I never met the HOs on my second sit. They were leaving before I arrived and returning after I left. And I’ve done a number of other never-met sits.
I was in Philly on a sit and while there, received an invitation from another HO there. I was not available for her dates but suggested getting together to meet with an eye on future dates. I went over to their house on a Sunday afternoon and had a fantastic visit. They served me ice tea and a piece of homemade cake and we talked and talked. Since I could not be there for their dates, I offered to watch their adorable! dog in my home. The logistics would be a little complicated, we tried to work them out, but in the end, it didn’t happen. The husband’s sister was able to watch the dog.
At another sit, I was invited over to a neighbor’s home – they were friends of the HO, to meet them and their two golden retrievers. My HO was trying to persuade them to join THS and they were hesitant but said they’d consider joining if I could watch their boys. Our dates didn’t coincide but I so enjoyed the visit!
On two other occasions, I have had in person meetings before accepting sits. The first was when I was first starting out. I hoped this would help me secure my first sit and it did. Another time, I went to meet the HO because she was nervous about leaving her dogs. I drove 1.5 hours and had to pay to park my car in a lot. This worked out great, we were a match, the sit went perfectly and we have stayed in touch.