I mentioned a couple that I withdrew due to them taking too long. But you just reminded me of another one that I withdrew because she talked down to me and treated the call as an interview. She asked a lot of questions about my work and how I spend my days. I immediately withdrew and just said I didn’t think it was the right fit.
We declined the following sits after video calls;
1- when, during the call, we asked to see the bedroom (not pictured in the listing) and they pointed to a sofabed in the living room behind them! Despite it being a 3 bedroom home! We cancelled the call immediately
2- The hosts kept us on the line for an hour and ‘interrogated’ us on all aspects of our life, our daily routine and other things not related to the care of their home & pets. Despite verbally (sort of…) agreeing the sit during the call (goodness knows why as we felt so uncomfortable!!) But they did not send the Agree to Sit request right after-as agreed. We decided anyway it was not a fit & withdrew our application. We even explained why. Our messages went unread but 2 days later they sent us the Agree to sit!!! We declined.
3- We had a phonecall (not video) with a host for a sit on a tropical island where we were headed anyway- looked like a great sit. But during the call we learned that all 4 dogs were expected to sleep in/on the bed with us (not mentioned in the listing) and that she expected us to use her car (also not previously mentioned & in a place we usually only use a scooter because the roads are awful!) She wanted us to drive the dogs to the beach and take them with us everywhere else too- the cafes etc but if anything happened to the car we’d be liable! We cancelled our application after the call
4- we made the mistake- just once- to confirm a sit before the video call. The hosts were keen to confirm immediately & as they had great feedback, & dates/location were a fit, we went with it- having done that before on occasion. However during the video call the next day we just did not gel. It was an uncomfortable call & though we spoke for a while & clarified some details we felt very uncomfortable by the end. The next day we wrote very politely asking to withdraw as we felt we were not a good fit after all. The hosts did not reply- they just unconfirmed us, relisted & got someone else within days. This was 6 weeks ahead in a very desirable location, so no problem for them, but the big lesson for us was to always have a phonecall or video call before confirming a sit!
We’ve declined once, after a 45 min call: the HO (who are also pet sitters) told us they would get back to us as they had all other applicants to call and review…at the END of the call.
We lost 45 minutes of our time, because if they had told us from the beginning, that they would “Interview” everyone, we would have declined politely and let them pick someone else.
We told them , sure, but, we were applying for the same dates on other sits, and we could potentially be booked soon. On the spot, we didn’t have the instinct to say “we wish you had made it clear we weren’t your selected final sitter, as we wouldn’t have had agreed to that call” and simply hung up on a polite note.
The day after, we just had no more interest in this sit, told them good luck on finding the best sitter and that we were booked. They saw our message and never got back to us, not even “thanks for letting us know” or anything. A few days later, we booked the same dates for a sit, 1 million Time more promising.
If you think/feel you should withdraw your application, withdraw it. “No”, “No thank you”, “I’m not the right sitter for you”, whatever you choose to say, is the end of the discussion.
It requires no explanation, justification, defending, or even a reason. It’s not the beginning of a negotiation. It’s a boundary that’s been clearly set and is to be respected.
If you don’t feel comfortable with something, doesn’t matter what it is, you’re not comfortable with it. Don’t try to get comfortable with it. Just politely decline.
Pushback, pressure, lashing out, etc are all, in my mind, confirmation that declining was the correct decision.
And, a bit of food for thought: It’s easier to say yes after saying no, than it is to say no after saying yes.
As mentioned above, no is a complete sentence! Or, you know, ‘no, it’s not the right fit’.
I do think it is kind to inform PPs if the ‘no’ is due to something that could be fixed - like the examples of the helper coming in, or there being an extra pet or something else not in the listing. This is not just a kindness to the PP, but to other potential sitters - if the PP changes their listing or the way they do the video call, it might not waste other folks’ time.
But THIS? That would just be a very fast NO THANK YOU…
Hmmm…interesting. I have never done calls with only one applicant. The call is how I’ve sorted out who seems like the best fit. I do let all sitters know that I’m talking to others and give a timeline of when I would get back to everyone. Trying to recall if I mention it at the very beginning (I think so?), and will make sure to do so next time. I understand that sitters are looking at other options as well, and I did lose out on one sitter because they got another gig, and that’s okay!
I’ve been ghosted a few times now (never by anyone I’d already had a call with), and honestly, I’m just grateful when sitters let me know their plans have changed.
I don’t understand this behavior from those HOs. I remember being a little apprehensive about having a stranger in my home when I was new, but it’s always been an equal exchange of service in my eyes. They clearly don’t see it that way.
Yes, twice that I can recall (7 years, 50+ sits):
4-month sit. HO expected that we would move out of the main house into a guest house when hubby came home periodically. We still had to be “on call” since he could get called out anytime for work so couldn’t just leave the premises altogether during those periods. When living in the guest house, we were to pay for utilities. “No, thank you. This arrangement doesn’t work for us. Good luck.”
During the call we confirmed that the house was non-smoking. Yees, weelll, vaping isn’t smoking, right? “No thank you, we’re not a good fit for your requirements.”
Just curious, was it the length of the call that was the issue? When I post my home I do chat (for about 10 minutes) with at least 2-3 sitters, I consider it part of the decision making process. I know it’s important to mention that I’m speaking with other applicants, but it does usually come up at the end of the call…
@Gabs, best hygiene is to let sitters know ahead of a call if you’re interviewing more than one. That’s because some HOs will interview the leading candidate and offer the sit if they hit it off — they’re using the video for confirmation, not as a bake-off. Some sitters will consider it a waste of time to participate in a bake-off scenario, especially if the HO interviews a number of sitters.
Transparency early is always best. If you wait till the end of the video chat to mention that you’re interviewing other candidates, many sitters probably won’t appreciate that and think you wasted their time.
I’m also a sitter, I’ve never assumed that I was the only person being interviewed and wouldn’t consider it a waste of time either way, but I will keep that in mind.
We’re sitters too @Gabs and always assume there’s 2 or 3 in the pot so to speak unless they say “please, we want you!” (Which does happen ) I guess it’s all about clear comms
Yup, clear comms for the win. Personally, I don’t assume I’m necessarily the only sitter that a HO will chat with. Like with my current sit, the HO talked with other sitters. But she was transparent about that ahead of the call. To me, there’s no reason to be secretive about that.
FWIW, I do a lot of hiring career wise. I strive to be transparent about what the screening process will be with candidates. That way, they can opt out if they prefer. It’s better that way for us and them.
In our experience most video calls are just a friendly get to know and tie up loose ends before confirming the sit.
So if a host plans to ‘interview’ several sitter ‘candidates’ it would be very helpful if they mention that before the call. We prefer not to be ‘interviewed’ in competition with others in this way so would withdraw.
We’ve had a couple of experiences of having our time completely wasted by the host announcing at the very end of a call, or, in one case, after an hour long visit to them (incurring a 150km round trip) that they have calls/meetings scheduled with others. In each case there was an immediate feeling of deflation and loss of interest in the sit. Every indication of their attitude towards us up to that point had been that we were the chosen ones. In the case of the actual visit we were shown ‘our’ room etc so it came as a shock to know that someone else would be arriving straight after us to be ‘interviewed’.
Once when we withdrew after such a call the hosts were shocked because they’d liked us very much but felt obligated to go ahead with the next scheduled call. Our attitude was-they could have cancelled the next call and not wasted the other sitters time (and then confirmed us as they wanted to) or, better still, they could have avoided the discomfort completely by setting up just one call at a time.
So if we know in advance that we are in competition in this way we withdraw our application and let them choose someone else.
Everyone has the right to choose sitters in their own way but I very much prefer if the host does a good analysis of the applications, profiles & reviews etc and chooses their number one sitter to speak with…first…then if does not work out scedule a call with no.2.
I prefer the feeling that the video call is more a getting to know you/clarifying details type of formality prior to confirming.
It might be different if applicants are new and have very few reviews but if a host is not reassured by our 75 reviews…
I am not applying for a paid job and so I object to being treated like a candidate for such.
not at all! 45 minutes is amazing, if we are the selected sitters, and we are discussing things such as
how far is the vet from the house
is there a welcome guide and if so, what will we find in it
is there a friend or relative we can call in case the PP (HO) are unreachable, in the case of an emergency
at what time will their flight take off, so we can make arrangements
are the dogs comfortable with strangers, or should we keep them on the lead until they know us better (how is their recall)
what didn’t work in that case, is that 45 minutes after discussing all details (last step was to confirm the sit as we seemed to agree and be comfortable with each other’s interactions and all details were given - hence our surprise, I guess), they then told us they still had multiple people to chat to, and it would take about 2 weeks for them to get back to us.
We would never do a video call if we knew we weren’t the pet sitters they wanted to select (on paper anyways). So if they had started by telling us they were going to interview multiple people (even during our text interactions) we would have withdrawn then. It was the first time it happened to us, hence why we never expected it to happen.
For us, the video chat is the last step before being confirmed (on both ends! both PP and sitters need to make sure they have a good feeling when they chat live together: if we confirm a video call, it’s because we already like the PP on paper and want to know more about their puppies, kitties and them!).
I think for sitters who use the system once or twice a year, doing multiple 45-1h video chat that might not lead to being selected, might be manageable. But we just simply don’t have the time to “chat” for so long, to be told someone else go the sit, especially after 2 weeks, as we know we’ll be booked sooner than that, so we made THEM waste their time as well. We much prefer pass this sit and go to the next more straightforward listing, leave it to another sitter who is totally fine with this.
This was the only time we withdrew after our video call, and also the first time we were sure we were selected, but ended up surprised at the end of the call.
The reason we were even more surprise is that sit was not in a desired location and there was maybe 2-3 applications after a few days of being up, so it never fully reached the 5 max applicants. Not that we believed to be the best choice, among the other 2-3 (maybe 4 later on), but we certainly didn’t think it’d be as complex as securing a sit in NYC, Paris or Singapore, …or like a job. At the end of the day, that “interview” felt like a job interview, because that’s what HR tells you at the end. “we’ll get back to you within 2 weeks, as we have multiple candidates to interview”
I certainly don’t want the video call system to feel like a job application. We love THS and the system and up until now, it always worked very well for us. We have developed a strong instinct and gut feeling and we go by that, more than anything.
They have found the perfect sitter for their gorgeous kitties and we are very happy for them and their sitters!
I hadn’t read your answer before replying to @Gabs and now I feel like I plagiarised!!! But you reflect everything I just wrote, and I feel the same. Yes Yes and Yes to all you mention
I like number 1. Slobber that wasn’t mentioned in the conditions lol.
I am HO not a pet sitter, but I have declined people who really want the sit if my gut says something is off. I never think I’m the only one they’re considering nor do I hope to only consider one at a time. I think everyone is equally looking for the best fit. I had a verbal agreement with one couple that within minutes sent me a message they had accepted another! I consider that a near miss, but it still was jarring. Only once was a petsitter’s care seriously disappointing to the point my sister picked up my dog.
I withdrew one because the feeding instructions were very complicated and involved cooking fresh meat daily for the pet. I didn’t think I would do a great job, so I withdrew my application. Another time I withdrew it because the interview was so intensive and one sided that it made me feel the family would never be happy. I’ve had easier interviews for director level jobs.
I’ve had people withdraw application an after the video call and I am perfectly ok with that. My dog needs a more confident handler and the LAST thing I want is someone who says yes because they like our place but can’t actually take proper care of our dog.
Also just to note, there are several people that feel uncomfortable getting asked about their hobbies and work life…I definitely ask how you’ll be spending your time and what your routine looks like. That is incredibly useful information if my pet is used to life looking a certain way and someone new is in and things change. For instance, if you are in meetings 6 hours a day, you will have a hard time if you shut our dog out of the room as a single sitter for long durations (3-4 hours plus) as opposed to just keeping a line of site open to him so he can check in with, I.e. see you.
We’ve had bad experiences with sits where the sitter came in and would basically be unreachable for 8-24 hours at a time because he was on “work calls” and once the sit arrived, it was very clear that our dog was not the top priority. He seldom interacted with our dog but he did keep him alive and sent what I would refer to as bare minimum proof of life images after you requested them about 5 times. I WISH we had vetted better and asked more questions on the video call and I have learned from that experience.
I also ask questions about hobbies, etc. just in case there’s info I may be able to share to help you get plugged in faster to your stay and also because if something novel is going to be introduced to my dog, we can intro it together (for instance you like to play bass guitar…he’s never experienced that)
But back to the other direction, I want you to ask me questions about my dog and his behaviour, ask for a full tour of the house and any quirks you have dealt with and disliked in the past, do your best to disqualify us if for any reason you feel uncomfortable or unsure because I legit only want people who are excited and comfortable to be with my dog and in my home.
Telling me no it’s not a fit is perfectly fine. If you have more specific feedback that you think may help in future or feel I should be more transparent about, it’s welcome and I will potentially update our documentation based on what but that’s not mandatory.