Tips for finding a groom
So you’re looking for a groom? Here are some handy tips to help you find someone right for your yard:
- Before you begin your search for a new job it is important to make a list of the things that are important to you. What skills do they NEED to have and what skills would you LIKE someone to already have. Once you have your list you can use this as a start point for any applications that you receive.
- Be sure of the terms of employment you would like to offer before you advertise. For example check the accommodation allowance, will this include bills? What other benefits / deductions would you like to offer, such as training or livery for a horse?
- Who will pay for shoes and wormers etc. If this is set out from the start it ensures that there are no muddy waters further down the line. You need to make sure you can deliver on any deductions so make sure that this is realistic.
- Salaries should be based on at least National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage before deductions and it is good practice to have bands based on experience levels / responsibilities.
It is also important to look at what other people are offering to make the package as attractive as you can. Many grooms now don’t want to work 6 day weeks so be realistic in your expectations.
- Be open to ideas and think outside the box as you might be happily surprised. This might mean considering a groom from another discipline, or a less experienced but super keen person wanting to develop their skills. Keep options open.
- Advertise on reputable websites, such as the EEA Job Board and avoid unregulated Facebook sites which may attract a lot of interest – but maybe the wrong kind of interest. Many employers now also look at enlisting the help of a recruitment agency to find their ideal candidate.
- When advertising ask for grooms to reply with a CV and a covering letter. This will outline their experience levels and skill set and will also give you an insight into other important attributes which will help narrow down the applicants when it comes to the interview stage.
Invite a handful of applicants for an interview so that you can get a better feel of them as a person.
Have some structured questions ready and be prepared. Be as professional as you expect your grooms to be, which means turning your mobile to silent, be punctual, engaging and listen.
Once you have conducted your interviews try narrowing it down to two or three and invite them back to do a few hours work on the yard to see how they interact with other team members / clients and of course the horses.
- Don’t view this as an extra pair of hands on the yard, instead run it as a structured competency based interview so that you can see some of the practical skills that the candidate has. Does this tally with the original skill set list you made?
Get them to engage with other team members as well as listen to their options as the likelihood is they will spend the most time with them.
- Ask for references and use them! A five minute phone call with a previous employer will tell you a lot.
- If you offer a candidate a job make sure that you follow up a verbal offer with a written offer outlining terms and conditions and start date.
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