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Old 29.04.2012, 19:58
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What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

After several false starts, my husband has left it to me to figure out if we can find a new housekeeper / stable hand. We are at the end of our tether with the current one for many reasons and having got it so wrong in the past Iíd really welcome any tips on where to advertise / what kind of person I should look for. I know I could place an ad on here but I suspect I need to look further afield as this location/job isnít for everyone. I've looked at job sites in the UK for housekeeping staff (waaay too posh for what we are looking for) and animal care staff (mostly for jobs in big stables / kennels so more for professionals).

Our job essentially involves looking after our two horses and two Labradors but other optional tasks include cleaning, ironing, and helping out around our hobby small-holding. We can provide all training necessary Ė we really just want someone with common sense who likes animals. Itís a live-in job with a separate flat in an area that's great for sport / nature lovers but the location(Aargau) isnít for everyone - it takes an hour to get to Zurich and late-night public transport is non-existent so party animals would hate it here. Also, it isnít a very demanding job but does require the person to be home most of the time so could be boring.

I would quite like to get someone from the UK, partly because it would be nice to have some native English company around here, and partly because I am hoping the international experience might make up for some of the "boring" - but also because advertising in Switzerland hasnít worked out for us in the past. ďNormalĒ Swiss people arenít interested in the job because itís too boring or because they want more money than we can offer (we donít want to rip anyone off but the job isnít all that demanding and renovating this place takes all our money so we canít afford to pay over the odds) and a succession of the more quirky Swiss people hasnít worked out for us; our favourite had a brain condition that left her a bit impulsive and she met a man and ran off with him the next day Ė others include the one who already had a job but wanted a free flat and hoped we wouldnít notice she wasnít here when we were at work , the one who found it important to disappear into the forest at certain times because ďthe elves were dancingĒ , and the current incumbents: a couple of barefoot hippies who are very friendly but cannot be persuaded to work and make their flat smell so bad we have to keep our windows closed .

In all honesty, I would have said we weren't all that fussy, particularly as we recognise the job isn't for everyone, but I guess we need to be a bit more fussy than we have been in the past. If anyone has any tips on the kind of person that might work out or where to advertise I would be very grateful. Ideally we want someone for 12-24 months as we arenít sure what weíll be doing in two yearsí time. I was thinking maybe a school leaver who wants to learn German or someone on a gap year before agricultural college / an animal profession but my mum says a young person would be bored and lonely out here (in Aargau) and Iím worried she maybe has a point. Iím quite sporty and happy to take someone swimming / horse-riding / climbing, etc when Iím not working but donít have a wild social life to share and I guess even if I did Iíd be too old for a school-leaver to want to hang out with. Maybe I need to think in another direction? Any ideas gratefully receivedÖ
Sorry for long post and thanks lots for any advice!
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Old 29.04.2012, 20:02
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

What do you mean by 'paying over the odds". What sort of salary are you offering?

The Lady magazine in the UK is a good place to advertise, or any of the 'horsey' magazines.
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Old 29.04.2012, 20:18
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

Thanks for the tip - I'd not heard of "The Lady". I've tried a few horsey websites but people there are really looking for positions in working yards, not just cleaning up after our two.

Salary would depend on experience and on how many of the optional jobs the person choose to do. We would offer the flat (two bedroom with heating / internet, etc) plus maybe around CHF 1,500-2000 for the bare minimum (animal care) but cleaning / ironing / farm work, etc would bump that up. It's not going to make anyone rich but it's also not really a full-time job (the feeding times make it difficult for the person to get a side-job but something like bar work could be possible if they already spoke German). I'd like to be able to offer more but we aren't in a position to do so at the moment .
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Old 29.04.2012, 20:55
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

Just sent you a PM
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Old 29.04.2012, 21:47
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

Hi yes the Lady is a good option I used to advertise when i had horses , i used to advertise as a working holiday got loads of replies ,and some useful and not so useful people from it, dont know how things are now days,The Horse and Hound might be another option, and I also had problems with the younger ones not knowing what to do with them so they didnt get bored.
good luck.
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Old 29.04.2012, 22:06
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

If it's a two bed flat, how about splitting the job in two and maybe you could get two university students to help you. That why one doesn't have to be there all the time and they could keep each other company. Are there any universities near you?

Have you tried listing on WOOFING? You'll probably get more hippies. But you might be able to get them 3 months at a time so that they don't really stay long enough to bother anyone.

Good luck.
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Old 29.04.2012, 23:58
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

Were it me, I would concentrate on advertising with animal-care related folks. You need someone who takes the job seriously - even if the work isn't that demanding on a day to day basis, the responsibility for the well-being of your animals is.

Look for a student currently pursuing the BFA Tierbetreuung course. The job is tailor-made for someone who is working towards an animal care certificate - OTJ experience and a salary would tempt a lot of young folks currently pursuing, or who have recently completed, their Ausbildung.

You might ask these folks (who run the Tierpfleger and FBA courses) where jobs such as yours would best be advertised:
http://www.tierpfleger.ch/
(There is a jobs listing on this site, but most are more professional than what you offer, hence my suggestion of asking for advice first.)

You should also advertise on the notice board of all area veterinary practices. Folks who have animals are quite likely to want to work with animals. (Would you consider someone who had his/her own pet?)

Drop by all the dog training grounds in the area, ask the leader if you could post an advertisement. Ditto all the stables. Again, folks who work with their own animals might be interested in doing so as a job.

You might also try the Landfrauen/ Bauerinnenverein type organizations. In Aargau: http://www.landfrauen-ag.ch/ but there are similar groups in just about every canton.

Here you would find farming families - perhaps a youngster might want to spread his/her wings a bit, work away from the family farm for a while? With these types of organizations are more likely to find folks serious about animal care and appreciative of rural life.

One thing you might consider... if caring for the animals is the main focus of the job, perhaps you might want to define the job as just that - leave the housework for someone else. The thing is - these two skill sets/motivations don't always go together. Perhaps that is one reason you are having trouble finding someone.

That you are running into the 'hippy' types says that you are looking at this from the wrong side. Look for folks wanting to break into animal care as a career.

Hope you find someone suitable, and wishing you all the best.



---
Oh, and when you do find someone - he/she will need to do the SKN with your two dogs if he/she takes care of them for more than three months.
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Old 30.04.2012, 00:30
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

We have a lot of horse farms in our village (14) and the neighbouring villages do as well, might be ideal to place an ad locally. Have you tried the Rundschau newspaper? I would also consider contacting the veterinarians who look after large animals.

You may also want to consider a couple, maybe even with a child, rather than a single person. If one partner has the skills and experience you need to care for the horses and dogs, and the other already has a job outside the home, this could be a good solution.
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Old 30.04.2012, 01:46
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

Wow - thanks for all the tips - some really interesting ones in there. You are probably right that we need to focus on the animal care side of the job. We've done that in the past but the problem is that we can't really afford a full-time salary for just the animal stuff (and it isn't a full-time job) but of course people struggle on just a part-time salary and feeding times makes it difficult for them to get a 2nd job so we thought maybe we could bump it up a bit if we combined it with the housekeeper. You are right about the skillsets / motivations though so maybe we'll go back to the original approach and maybe we'll have to get a couple / sharer in.

Thanks for all the links and newspaper titles - I'll check them all out. Didn't know about the SKN - I guess that pretty much rules out non-Swiss speakers .

Thanks again for all the info - looking forward to following it all up.
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Old 30.04.2012, 12:52
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Re: What kind of person / where to advertise animal care job

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Didn't know about the SKN - I guess that pretty much rules out non-Swiss speakers .
Not at all - there are trainers willing to do the SKN in English, you just need to ask around. Try searching in the Pet forum, I believe a couple fo EFers have taken the course in English.
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