House sitting and pet sitting are two of the best ways to travel the world on a budget and see destinations you’ve always imagined visiting, cuddle with some adorable animals, and immerse yourself in different cultures.
However, in order to make this dream a reality, you have to go through the house sitting process. To summarize, you’ll have to sign up for a house sitting website, search for the perfect house sitting job, and then send an eye-catching application message to the owners. The next step is to secure the job by nailing the house sitting interview.
The purpose of a house sitting interview is to allow both the homeowners and the house sitters to gain an understanding of each other’s needs and expectations. However, homeowners tend to interview multiple candidates, so it’s also their chance to assess whether you’re the right fit for them or not.
I’ve been house sitting for years now and this way of traveling has allowed me to spend weeks with a cat in a Brussels apartment and enjoy over a month with a Frenchie in a house in Tokyo, but these are just a few examples; I’ve pet sat around the globe.
Needless to say, I’ve had my fair share of house sitting interviews. While I’ve failed to secure a job here and there, I typically get the gig by extensively preparing for the interview.
Within this post, I’m going to share my 10 ultimate steps on how to prepare for a house sitting and pet sitting interview. I’ll also share what to expect during the house sitting interview and the five best house sitting websites that you should check out.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
☞ SEE ALSO: How To Become a Pet Sitter
What to Expect During the House Sitting Interview
Before I go into the steps on how to prepare for your house sitting interview, let’s go over what a house sitting interview looks like. For most international house sits, the interview will occur virtually via Skype or Zoom. While I’ve occasionally met homeowners in person, it’s only been for local house sits or if I was already visiting the homeowner’s city.
From personal experience, the house sitting interview is set up in the following way: first, in my application message, I let the homeowners know that I would love to meet them virtually via Skype or Zoom to discuss the job.
If they’ve decided to proceed with my application and want to interview me, I let them decide which video conferencing tool they’d prefer to use. From exchanging a few messages back and forth, we typically decide on the best day, time, and app to use for our interview. Remember to always clarify the time zones.
As one of the main purposes of the interview is for the owners to confirm you are who you say you are, don’t forget that the video will be on, and make sure you look presentable!
How to Prepare for a House Sitting and Pet Sitting Interview
Now that we’ve gone over what to expect in a pet sitting interview, let’s get into the 10 steps on how to nail the house sitting interview and impress the homeowners.
While this list isn’t inclusive, it’ll provide you with the top strategies that I use to perfect the interview and secure my own house sitting jobs. So, let’s dive right in.
1. Review the House Sitting Job
First things first, before any house sitting and pet sitting interview, it is essential to review the house sitting job.
From my personal experience, when I apply to house sitting jobs, I apply to a whole bunch of them at once. This results in the details of the house sits blending together, including the location, the name of the pets, and their needs, etc. Before any house sitting interview, I always review the job listing.
I also like to take notes on the key details of the job listing, including the names of the homeowners, the names, ages, and breeds of the pets, the location, any specific tasks or duties that the homeowners are requesting, and any behavioral or medical issues that the pets may have.
By knowing all of the key details about the job and the pets, you’ll appear more prepared, professional, and responsible to the homeowners.
2. Consider Your Needs as a House Sitter
Next, when worrying about doing well in a pet sitting interview, it’s easy to forget that house sitting is a two-way street. Yes, you need to impress the homeowners, but you also need to consider your needs too.
For instance, are the homeowners letting you borrow their car? Is their house located close to a train or bus station? How long can you leave the house and the pets alone, and does this align well with your travel plans? Do you feel comfortable caring for their pets (if they have certain medical problems that you’re not experienced with)?
Some of these answers can typically be found in the house sitting job listing. If not, you can add them to your list of questions, which brings us to our next point:
3. Prepare a List of Questions
One of the most crucial steps in preparing for a house sitting interview is assembling your list of questions to ask homeowners.
Not only will this demonstrate to the homeowners that you’re interested in the house sit, but it’ll confirm that you’re a responsible, trustworthy, and reliable candidate that considers all the factors required of a house or pet sitter.
Some questions that I like to ask include:
- How often would you like me to update you on your pets’ well-being?
- What are your pets’ daily routines like?
- How far is the closest emergency vet clinic from your house?
- Are there any areas of the property that the pets are not allowed to enter?
- Are the pets friendly with other animals?
- How long can I leave the pets on their own?
4. Predict the Homeowner’s Questions
After compiling a list of house sitting questions that you’d like to ask the homeowners, it’s time to predict the questions that the homeowners will ask you.
This will vary depending on each homeowner, but some frequent questions that I’ve received are:
- Why are you interested in pet sitting for us?
- What are you planning to do during the house sit?
- Do you have any experience with my pet breed? (Or any similar breeds?)
- Do you have any experience administering medications to pets?
I also recommend reviewing the house sitting job listing one more time, and figuring out what the homeowner’s chief concerns may be. For instance, if their dogs are reactive, they might ask you about your experience with sensitive pets. Or, if their cat has a slew of medical issues, they might ask you about your comfort levels and experience with pets with medical problems.
5. Prepare your Answers to the Homeowner’s Questions
Now that you’ve compiled a list of potential questions that the homeowners may ask, it’s time to prepare your answers.
I like to do this out loud, as it helps me practice the wording and demeanor of my answers. However, you can also write down your answers or type them on your phone or laptop; whatever works for you.
Doing this will help you appear more confident, prepared, and responsible to the homeowners, thus increasing your odds of passing a house sitting interview.
6. Recall your Relevant Experience
The next step to prepare for a house sitting interview is to remember your previous relevant experience and make sure you’re ready to answer questions on your examples.
While this often includes recalling your previous house and pet sitting experience, it can also involve any applicable work or volunteer experience. For instance, if you’ve ever worked or volunteered at a veterinary clinic, wildlife rehabilitation center, or doggy daycare, this can boost your credibility as a pet sitter.
It’s also useful to boast about your home care knowledge and experience, such as any skills in home maintenance, plumbing, or cleaning. Homeowners love these qualities in their house sitters, as it provides them with the comfort and security of knowing that their homes will be in safe and capable hands.
7. Dress Professionally
Next, first impressions are essential, so make sure that you’re dressed well. While it’s not necessary to dress in a suit and tie, make sure you appear presentable and avoid wearing any tattered or inappropriate clothing.
Dressing professionally helps project an image of competence, responsibility, and tidiness to homeowners, which increases their confidence in your skills and qualifications as a house sitter. It also conveys that you respect the homeowners and their house sit enough to dress for the part.
I typically like to wear a button-down shirt or sweater for my house sitting interviews. But, as these interviews are typically done virtually, it doesn’t really matter what kind of pants you wear; anything from sweats to jeans works.
8. Double-Check the Time Zones
When setting up and getting ready for a house sitting interview, it’s important to check the homeowner’s time zones to ensure that you show up at the agreed time.
I like to include the time differences in my messages to the homeowners to avoid any misunderstanding. For instance, if a homeowner in Spain asks me to virtually meet up with them at 6 pm, I confirm by saying “I would love to video chat at 6 pm (9 am PST).”
This is vital around daylight savings time, as not every country follows it. If you ever feel uncertain about the scheduled time of your house sitting interview, it doesn’t hurt to double-check with the homeowners.
9. Ensure that your Camera and Microphone are Working
It’s almost time to join your house sitting interview. But, if you’re still wondering what to prepare for a house sitting interview, there’s one more thing that you have to do before you join the Zoom or Skype call, and that’s to double-check that your camera and microphone are working.
This is an essential step; whether you’re using your cellphone, tablet, or laptop. While the homeowners won’t deny your application solely based on technical issues, it doesn’t look professional on your end.
Furthermore, if your camera or microphone doesn’t work during the agreed-upon date and time of your virtual house sitting interview, the homeowners may not be able to reschedule your interview.
10. Decide if the House Sit is Right for You
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that the interview isn’t one-sided; you also have to decide if the house sit resonates with you. After the pet sitting interview is over and done with, it’s time for you to decide if you want to accept the house sitting job (if they offer it to you).
Ask yourself if you felt comfortable with the owner and the house. Do you feel prepared for all the duties they outlined? Do you feel comfortable caring for their pets?
If you decide that the house sit isn’t right for you, I recommend reaching out to the homeowners before they come to a decision. Thank them for their time and interest, but let them know that you, unfortunately, won’t be able to go ahead with your application. By letting them know in advance, you can make their decision-making process a lot easier.
How to Find House Sitting and Pet Sitting Jobs
Now that we’ve covered how to pass a house sitting interview, you may be wondering how to get to this stage in the first place. Well first, you’ll need to sign up for one of the amazing house sitting websites out there.
These are my five favorite house and pet sitting websites:
1. Trusted Housesitters: As the largest house sitting website available, Trusted Housesitters is filled with an abundance of fantastic long-term and short-term international house sitting jobs. While the cheapest membership fee costs $129 USD per year, you can get 20% off using our promo code GOATS20. To learn more, click here.
2. Nomador: If you’re looking for an awesome, global house sitting website with an updated and easy-to-use interface, then you have to check out Nomador. While the cheapest membership fee costs $99 USD per year, you can also opt for the quarterly membership for $39 USD per three months. To learn more, click here.
3. MindMyHouse: If you’re hoping to find a more budget-friendly international house and pet sitting website, I recommend MindMyHouse. With a membership fee of just $29 USD per year, MindMyHouse is filled with amazing house sitting opportunities perfect for both beginner and experienced house sitters. Click here to learn more.
4: House Sitters America: If you’re primarily interested in house sitting in the US, then House Sitters America is the way to go. With an easy-to-use website filled to the brim with American house sitting opportunities, House Sitters America is definitely worth checking out, especially since it only costs $49 USD per year. Click here to learn more.
5. Aussie House Sitters: If you’ve been dying to visit Australia but are concerned about the costs of accommodation, then I wholeheartedly recommend trying Aussie House Sitters. With amazing house and pet sitting opportunities scattered all around Australia, there’s no better way to travel the country. It also only costs $84 AUD per year. To learn more, click here.
How to Nail a House Sitting and Pet Sitting Interview: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions on house sitting and pet sitting interviews:
While you don’t need to bring any professional references or resumes to a house sitting interview, it’s always great to have a list of questions prepared to ask at the end of the call. Other than that, come prepared to answer any questions about your background and skill set, and make sure to dress professionally.
Thank the homeowner for their offer, their interest, and their time, but let them know that sadly, you have to decline the job. You can include your reasons why if you wish to (for example; you booked another house sitting job, you’ve decided that you don’t want to travel to their location, or you’ve determined that the sit isn’t right for you). Remember to remain positive and friendly.
Some things that you have to know before starting a house sitting job are how to lock and unlock the doors, the alarm code, the WiFi password, the emergency phone numbers (including the nearest vet clinic’s information), and importantly, how to care for the pets, plants, and house.
To pass your house sitting interview, you should review the house sitting job listing, anticipate the homeowner’s questions and prepare corresponding answers, write down a list of questions to ask the homeowners, be friendly, positive, and open, and dress professionally.
In most cases, homeowners do not pay their house sitters and pet sitters. However, some websites like Rover, House Sitters America, and Aussie House Sitters allow pet and house sitters to charge fees for their services. Nevertheless, the fees should be discussed and confirmed in advance of any final agreement.
I hope this article on how to prepare for a pet sitting interview has helped you feel more comfortable and ready for the numerous house and pet sitting interviews ahead.
Remember that interviews will vary from homeowner to homeowner, but by following this guide, you’ll be prepared and ready to wow the clients and nail the house sitting interview. Very soon, you’ll be spending quality time with adorable animals around the world, saving money on accommodations and utilities.
Best of luck, and happy house sitting.