Finding Your “Future Groomers”

These simple recruiting guidelines can help any grooming businesses effectively identify and attract candidates who can be developed into highly skilled pet stylists.




A new way to look at the hiring process for grooming salons is to turn your attention to hiring “future groomers.” We have all searched high and low for good dog groomers, and that search typically ends in results that are less than desirable, or none at all. That is not to say there are no good groomers out there, but if they are good, they are probably already employed and not looking for a new job.

So, why not consider changing your approach? Seek out individuals who have the right personality and work ethic potential, and invest in their skills. Oftentimes, these are the employees who stay with a grooming business longer, are more manageable and are happier doing what they do.

Future groomer selection can be based on four criteria—interpersonal skills (attitude and culture fit), problem-solving ability, a love and desire to work with animals and technical proficiency potential. These are the attributes you should be looking for in a potential employee’s past experiences and lifestyle. Here is a breakdown of the essential elements of each criteria:

Interpersonal Skills
•  Works well in a team or group.
•  Communicates effectively and positively.
•  Contributes and volunteers often.

Problem-Solving Ability
• Capable of identifying and defining problems.
•  Able to explore alternative solutions.
•  Has shown an interest in involvement toward finding “better ways to do things.”

A Love and Desire to Work With Animals
•   Knows the difference between “loving animals” and “loving what animals do.”
•   Shows an interest in improving the well being of animals and providing care.
•  Understands the not-so-pretty side of animals, including feces, urine, hair, etc.
•  Has a genuine compassion for animals and understands the bonds between animals and people.

Technical Proficiency Potential
•  Has handled different types of equipment or tools.
•  Can provide examples of project accomplishments.
•  Isn’t afraid to get dirty or sweaty, and understands what “clean” means.

Where to Look
Once you understand what to look for in a future groomer, the next consideration should be where to look for them. With this in mind, it is important that educational institutions, clubs, associations and other community service providers know who you feel would make a great future groomer and that you are always looking for this type of person. Here are five potential sources for your next future groomer:

School Guidance Counselors
Not every graduating senior is interested in pursuing a collegiate path. Remember, dog grooming is a skilled trade and you’re competing for this type of graduate with other trade schools and the immediate job market. Remind guidance counselors that you are not just a business looking to hire someone, but you are investing in their future by offering training and a career path. Stay familiar with guidance counselors so you are top of mind when they have a student with these qualities. Ask to be involved in college or job fairs at the school.

4H and Horsemanship Associations
These individuals possess unique qualifications that equip them for success in a dog grooming profession. Working outdoors—especially with horses—is a sign of compassionate but hard working individuals who understand various aspects of animal care.

Scouting Organizations
Long term scouting involvement shows dedication, discipline, preparedness and adaptability—all signs of a good hire in this business.

Veterinary Hospitals and Schools
Some employees or students in these situations may be looking to supplement their income or education. Some may even consider a different path once exposed to the grooming profession.

Job Fairs, Community Events & Beyond
Be seen. This may mean setting up a table and creating inexpensive flyers that allow you to be known and that you are not only employing, but investing in your employees.

Be heard. Network with as many people (mostly outside of grooming) as you can, so everyone knows about you. A friend of a friend of a friend is a remarkable but credible path to finding individuals that may be perfect in your business. Even consider emailing your database of clients.  PB

Joe Zuccarello is the vice president of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming. For more information on any of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming Corporate Partner Discount Packages, education programs, educational resources, and more, visit


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