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Cat Resources Department: Best interview techniques?

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  • Cat Resources Department: Best interview techniques?

    Say you wanted a cat guaranteed to sleep on your head.

    Or perhaps the job description required a dedicated killer who hunted at least 6 nights a week.

    And then there is the kitten/recent college grad problem: How do you know if that laser pointer-chasing, blinds-wrecking, "midnight toker" kind of young'n will settle down and do a job worthy of his stock options with some "training"?

    How did you interview the cat in order to discern these qualities?

    If you watched your cat blossom into a great employee over time, really self-actualize and do good for the company, what to you remember about the hiring process?
    Last edited by mvp; Mar. 3, 2013, 03:15 PM. Reason: Snazzier title
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    My Siamese spends most of his waking hours making noise, killing things, and zooming around the house. While making noise. Lots of noise. I think he'd die a horrible death as a stray because he meows as he's hunting toys.

    He's perfectly at home sleeping on my lap or on my pillow the entire night.

    I picked him up from a high kill shelter. I heard a bunch of people complaining that Siamese are noisy and unfriendly and when I took pity on him and asked for him to be let around his cage he ran around exploring things while meowing non stop.

    He turned out to be very friendly, he loves when people knock on the door because they might pet him but very noisy.
    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
      My Siamese spends most of his waking hours making noise, killing things, and zooming around the house. While making noise. Lots of noise. I think he'd die a horrible death as a stray because he meows as he's hunting toys.

      He's perfectly at home sleeping on my lap or on my pillow the entire night.

      I picked him up from a high kill shelter. I heard a bunch of people complaining that Siamese are noisy and unfriendly and when I took pity on him and asked for him to be let around his cage he ran around exploring things while meowing non stop.

      He turned out to be very friendly, he loves when people knock on the door because they might pet him but very noisy.
      Yes, but what did you hire him to do? I take it "making noise" was in the first line of the job description? If not, how did you know that he would do the job you wanted if all he made noise in the interview about was his "ability to make noise"?
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm about to pick up a new hire today to fill a barn-cat position. The former employer says the cat is lethal and mean. I was deliberately trying to hire an unfriendly employee because the friendly ones end up wanting to live with me instead of the housing that is part of the benefits package. My hope is this cat doesn't have a personality disorder that makes her sweet when she starts on my payroll.

        StG

        Comment


        • #5
          ALL of mine, either gifted to me or born here are great hires. Best indoor hire, aside from my best buddy, Louie, is The Spotted Wonder, an orphan. I brought her in when it turned winter (late litter that was abandoned at 3ish weeks) and after she started to grpw properly, she set about by killing rodents that sneaked in to hide from winter - her first kill was at 4ish months, still had baby teeth and that was her interview. She showed me that damned mouse for a whole afternoon and when she finally left it alone, I disposed of it and she was hired as a house cat. Da Lip quit hunting stray mice that very day. I was actually surprised that such a young kitten would make a kill and, yep, she is doing the job that was going to open as Louie aged.
          Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

          Member: Incredible Invisbles

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I wasn't real interested in the "make noise" area of the interview and I should have known that it wouldn't go away. I hired him to be a companion. I have another cat but she lives in the closet so I wanted something more entertaining.
            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              I adopted two kittens almost 5 years ago to be my companions. I was in college and moving off-campus alone, so I wanted some company. I like friendly cats and wanted two so they could grow up as friends. I picked out my female based on looks. She is very much a female and isn't in your face or super cuddly unless its on her own terms. I picked out my male because he was sleeping at the bottom of the cage with the other kittens and all the other kittens kept running back and forth OVER him (literally running on top of him) and he was still asleep. I figured that was a pretty good indicator of how chill he was, so I got him too. He is more like a dog in a cat suit. He's VERY chill to the point of hilariousness sometimes. When I got my puppy a year later, they were playmates and would roll and tumble around together like dogs.
              "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Ha! good idea but no strategies. Some have been strays that ran up to me (one in a park at 2am, the other at my barn) or had been hanging around the house (my 19 yo guy I had to put down a few years ago), one was donated by a guy working on a gas line (that sweet, sweet kitty was killed by a car),another kitty at the pound just reached his paws out and locked them around my neck, one little girl was a tiny kitten covered with shit and goop in her eyes - the folks ahead of me in line at the pound were dropping her off (I was there to pick up another cat), another cat came out of his cage at the pound and curled up on my lap (adore him but he is a biter), my husband wanted a big orange cat and that is what we got (he is also an enthusiastic sprayer and pee'er on things).

                No real job descriptons other then being part of the family.

                When looking for a companion for my mom's cat, I picked one at the shelter who was friendly but not aggressively affectionate, a little submissive, as she had been a little bullied by my kitty and we wanted her new friend to be very sweet and not challenge her. He does not (and he is plenty affectionate).

                If I could find a grumpy, bitchy female kitty who is not easily intimidated (one like my old girl, the kitten with the goop in her eyes who was always a bit of wench, who could totally hold her own) to be my bitey kitty's new friend, I would sure love it. But I am not willing to traumatize some poor cat to see what happens. Read all the pound descriptions though!

                Comment


                • #9
                  When hiring a companion for the existing Senior Executive cat, I was particularly attracted by one applicant's enclosed photo. Her references regarding previous cat companion experience checked out, so we took a chance on her. Turned out to be a good fit. She has risen through the ranks to household CEO, mostly due to her good work ethic, effective dog discipline methods, and vermin killing prowess.

                  Our second hire started as a young intern. She was recruited from a grocery store parking lot. After a rough patch in her training (regarding the wisdom of ascending 40-foot tall trees without supervision), she's shaping up to be a valued junior employee in the household.

                  If you are hiring into a multi-cat corporation, it helps to be sure that you have a good mentoring program in place. Our CEO takes her training responsibilities very seriously.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Always check reference letter and read 'em!

                    I had placed an order with a head hunter friend of mine who worked at our local shelter to find me a Big Slacker. She did, but there was some note in his file about his enjoying roaming the neighborhood. I ignored it, wanting a Big Head Sleeper Cat. And it took a long time before that one-horse shelter got any cat of a decent size in. He was Slacker enough. I also ignored his disproportionately small purr-- a drawback in my book.

                    Sure enough, he came home slacked off (which helped him fill the lie/job description of keeping my other cat company). But this cat did like to use my place as a mere crash pad in good weather. He'd scam food and heat and attention from other people when he could.

                    He was a drifter and an opportunist at heart. When we moved to the country, this cat took up hunting for the first time. He used his skills to woo a catless next door neighbor because my house included a roomie with a very nice but St. Bernard St. Bernard.

                    The cat "asked to be let go" and found a new employer. I even gave him a severance package in the form of a starter bag of MeowMix given to the neighbor he had chosen.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My most loyal friendly sweet little cat spent her first 8 years being a barn cat, born feral and wild in our hay stack, missing for weeks on end, I caught her in a live trap to spay her and worm her and vaccinate her and kept her in a room in the house to spoil and try to tame her but she nearly knocked herself out on the window trying to get out...then she disappeared for nearly a year when she did. I never knew when I would be out feeding the horses and hear a little "mew" from the barley field and there she would be and over time she grew to let me pet her and give her lovies. We moved just over a year ago and I refused to just leave her b/c I was afraid she would be too scared to talk to strangers... so she got caught and brought. And left locked in the house with the other 5 cats for fear they would get lost... gradually left to go out... and she never went out. LOL She stayed in the house, next to me. She's like a little dog, she's under my chair, she's waiting for me in the kitchen, she braves all the other cats and 5 dogs and scary big husband and loud teenage son and all she wants is to be with me forever, thanx bye. I adore her-so many nights I wondered if the coyotes had killed her, I saved her from my housecats attacking her, I rehabbed her through her spay, I tried to find her an inside home, and all those 8 years she just lived on her own and looked for me when she needed help. She was the model of a spooky flighty OMG wild cat but really, she was missing luvins. If anyone had taken her for a house pet she would have rewarded them in spades; finally, I was able to do that. Every time she grabs my hand in her two front paws to no, don't stop the pettins... I remember all her lonely scary times and I tell the kids she has a lot of time to make up. So then they will sit and do the pettinz too.
                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We recently 'interviewed' candidates to be my b*tch cat's companion. Let's call her BC. BC cat isn't nasty, but she's bratty, high energy, a ridiculous pest, and LOVES to play. We play chase and wrestle, but I'm at school and she was lonely. So, we looked for the right cat for the job. The ideal candidate is brave and not intimidated by her in-your-face attitude. If a cat runs, she chases and tackles them. If they hold their ground and go after her, she just follows them and pesters them, but gets very frustrated and takes it out on her minions (ie, people). So, we didn't want something that would get annoyed by her. Kitty also would be living with dogs, but our dogs couldn't care less about cats. We're cat people and can deal with quirks, so people-relations isn't important.

                        The cat we selected had lived with cats before, including at the shelter, where he put up with a particularly nasty female. He was laid back, but had a playful side when we brought out a feather. He was confident (no problem being brought to a strange room). He was old enough to know his personality won't change, but not old (5). As a bonus, he was a huge love. Very, very quirky and picky about HOW you pat him, but great if you follow his rules. He was turned in for aggression (bit a kid) and will bite if you get him too riled, but again... we're cat people and know how to read body language. At 20lbs, we figured if BC was too much for him, he could just sit on her.

                        He has worked out wonderfully, better than we'd ever hoped. The two cats run through the house like a herd of elephants, wrestle, cuddle, and groom. The only problem is he's almost as much of a pest and trouble maker as she is!

                        Here's our 20 lb addition (now a trim 15 lbs)
                        http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&l=9224ddad08
                        http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...5&l=89e720adff

                        First official meeting, holding his own against BC
                        http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...5&l=7cff813c85

                        And here she is stalking him from under the bed
                        http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...0&l=d7bdd1ee5c

                        Tag teaming my tuna
                        http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...9&l=b02fbf7b55
                        .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I want a kitty. I have the job description all ready to post on linkedin.cat when the job actually opens.

                          Wanted: Large (very large,) furry (very furry,) weird (very weird) cat to be best friend. Must be proficient in lounging, chasing dust bunnies, eating spiders, and feats of acrobatics. Should possess a purr that can rock the foundation of the house. Should not have many dietary restrictions as will be asked on occasion to sample bits of cooking, such as scrambled eggs and chicken. Ideal candidate will talk to walls, open doors, steal my things and hide them under the bed, and assist in household chores by sitting on the exact thing I want and not getting up. Small, normal cats need not apply. Package includes metabolically-appropriate diet as suggested by vet, table scraps, lots and lots of kitty brush, feather chase, laser tag, and catnip, and the sunny spot on the pillow for the rest of the new hire's life.
                          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The nicest kitty I have (don't tell the other cats I've said that) is one that had no interview at all. I had gone to the shelter with a friend and made the mistake of walking into the cat room. All the cages were full, at a kill shelter, and we all know what that means.

                            So I asked one of the volunteers which kitty needed a home the most and took that one home. She was older--about 7--and has a ton of light fluffy coat that looks like it will be a matting magnet (it's not, though) and I think that's why she hadn't found a home. But she is so sweet, with a great big purr and a very cute little meow who is happy to be a lap cat but not pushy about it.

                            Sometimes what you needs finds you

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by StGermain View Post
                              I'm about to pick up a new hire today to fill a barn-cat position. The former employer says the cat is lethal and mean. I was deliberately trying to hire an unfriendly employee because the friendly ones end up wanting to live with me instead of the housing that is part of the benefits package. My hope is this cat doesn't have a personality disorder that makes her sweet when she starts on my payroll.

                              StG
                              "Lethal and mean!" It's great to get honest, detailed references. I hope your benefits package doesn't make the hired gun soft. But a cat wants opportunities for personal growth on the job. After all, everyone from big-boobed sales reps to engineers eventually want to move up into middle management.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
                                The cat we selected had lived with cats before, including at the shelter, where he put up with a particularly nasty female. He was laid back, but had a playful side when we brought out a feather. He was confident (no problem being brought to a strange room). He was old enough to know his personality won't change, but not old (5). As a bonus, he was a huge love. Very, very quirky and picky about HOW you pat him, but great if you follow his rules. He was turned in for aggression (bit a kid) and will bite if you get him too riled, but again... we're cat people and know how to read body language. At 20lbs, we figured if BC was too much for him, he could just sit on her.
                                Kudos for your accurate job description and a long interview process that put New Cat through his paces.

                                The "first meeting" picture is also excellent.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  So what do I do about interviewing my potential new hire? Was NOT looking for an extra employee. I don't know if he is good with other cats. He's scared. Has been in a crate for the past TWO YEARS. Any interviewing tactics will be greatly appreciated. I may end up having to "interview" him after he has, in fact, been hired.
                                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My latest acquisition interviewed me, not the other way around. I clearly fit the bill of "sucker for a loud purr and giant ears." He figured I was suitable so turned on the charm while demanding vet treatments to get healthy again. I get a reasonably well-behaved cuddle buddy cat in return. So far it's been a pretty good feline master, human slave relationship.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My trainer wanted a barn cat that would be friendly, catch mice, and walk on a leash. I got her two out of three. The cat appeared out of nowhere at a friend's house one night and eventually ended up living in their garage while they looked for a home. We didn't conduct an interview because he came with an excellent reference letter regarding his hunting abilities and friendliness. The leash thing didn't go so well.
                                      The Evil Chem Prof

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My hiring process runs as follows:
                                        -Draw up a list of desired traits.
                                        -Make it known through my personal network what kind of opening we have.
                                        -Have my personal network present me with a hard luck case before I've scheduled formal interviews.
                                        -Hire a cat with the opposite of all originally specified traits.

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