What sort of dog grooming interview questions might you get asked when looking for employment? QC Pet Studies graduate, April Costigan, is here to reveal commonly asked questions… and how to answer them! To learn more about April, check out her Graduate Feature here.

From Graduate to Professional Groomer

Congratulations! You’ve completed the QC Pet Studies Dog Grooming Course and are now ready to begin your new, exciting career as a dog groomer. Your next challenge will be to look for employment. Thus, you’re likely preparing yourself for all the possible dog grooming questions you’ll be asked during your interview.

This article is intended to help you understand what to expect during the interview process. I’ll let you in on the common questions employers will ask – and what’s more, how you should answer them! After all, it’s important to make a good impression during your interview. So, allow me to help you!

Here are 10 dog grooming interview questions that you may encounter. Have a friend ask you the questions, and do your best to answer them thoughtfully and completely.

Dog grooming interview questions article in-post image 1, groomer clipping hair around dog's ear

10 Dog Grooming Interview Questions to Anticipate

Question 1: “What are your qualifications working with and/or grooming dogs?”

This interview question gives you the PERFECT opportunity to tell the interviewer that you’ve completed the comprehensive Dog Grooming Course offered by QC Pet Studies. Feel free to share your experiences with the dogs you worked on while completing your assignments!

Just remember to keep your answer brief but thorough. You may be inclined to answer this question with, “I’ve had dogs all my life and I just love them.” However, try to avoid saying this in your interview. There are millions of dog owners who have had dogs their whole life, but that doesn’t make them qualified to groom them.

Question 2: “Are you comfortable grooming cats?”

I’ll admit, this is a tricky question to be included in a set of dog grooming interview questions. As you know, QC Pet Studies’ curriculum does not include cat grooming lessons. However, many dog grooming establishments DO include grooming for cats. As such, it’s a viable business segment.

Personally, I do not groom cats. Don’t get me wrong – I like them and I have one. But for my own business, I do not offer grooming services for cats. So for an interview question like this, my answer would be “no”. This doesn’t mean this has to be the answer for you, though!

Ask yourself if you want to be able to say yes to this question. Just be careful committing to something you’ve never done before. Grooming cats is very different from grooming dogs, and you must know what you’re doing in order to do a good job.

Importantly, don’t make it seem like you have prior experience if you actually don’t. Because if you say yes to this question during an interview and then get the job, you could find yourself suddenly asked to groom a cat when you don’t know what you’re doing. Moreover, you could wind up solely grooming cats – and not dogs, like you were hoping.

So, think about this carefully and prepare your answer so it aligns with your career goals. If you do want to groom cats, ask the interviewer if there would be a training opportunity for you within the organization. Just because you don’t know how to do it now, doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Expressing your interest in learning will help you to make a good impression!

Cat getting groomed at salon

Question 3: “Have you taken a First Aid Course for dogs?”

Well, aren’t you in luck? This is a dog grooming interview question you can answer with a heartfelt, “YES!”

QC Pet Studies offers an excellent First Aid program that you get 100% FREE once you’ve enrolled in the Dog Grooming Course. Thanks to this training, you’ll be able to answer a wide variety of questions related to this topic with confidence! The interviewer might ask you to give specific examples of the kind of aid you can provide during an emergency. So, be sure to review your First Aid for Groomers lesson guide to refresh your skills prior to your interview!

Question 4: “Do you have a favorite type of dog you’d like to work with?”

In terms of dog grooming interview questions, this is one that may come up as part of the pre-interview chit chat. The employer could be asking this because they’re interested in learning more about you personally. Kind of like how they might ask what you like to do in your spare time, etc.

Personally, I love grooming small dogs (e.g. Poodles, Maltese, Yorkies, Terriers, etc.). The trimming and shaping details when working with smaller breeds are like an artform to me. I love it! However, there are some days when I also enjoy deshedding a really large, hairy dog. I find it peaceful and Zen-like.

When I see I have a big dog on my schedule, I am almost giddy at the thought of just being one with the dog. Large dogs tend to love being brushed. Furthermore, if they’re a natural breed that doesn’t require a lot of trimming, the groom will mostly consist of standard prep work, followed by brushing, bathing, and drying. This doesn’t require a lot of brain power, so I can just focus my attention on making the grooming session fun for the dog. It also helps that I get lots of sloppy dog kisses during these sessions!

So, how should YOU answer this dog grooming interview question? Just be honest! Tell them what you really enjoy. They might respond by telling you their own favorite breed. Before you know it, you’ll have established a rapport with your interviewer. Sharing a common interest is key to a good interview!

Groomer hugging dog

Question 5: “Can you read dog body language? Can you identify anxiety, agitation, or calming behaviors?”

Being able to read a dog’s body language is a significant skill that all groomers must develop. This is not something that you can learn in a day, but it is something that can be acquired over time. QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course offers two powerful lessons on this topic: Dog Temperaments and Dog Behavior.

These are two areas that should definitely be reviewed and practiced regularly. If you’re new to grooming and handling dogs, be sure to talk openly to your interviewer about your current skill-set. Mention that you’ve studied dog behavior and practice your ability to read body language. The employer will appreciate your candid response.

Question 6: “What would you do if you were grooming a dog that moves around a lot, doesn’t want their paws held, or hates being dried?”

This is one of those dog grooming interview questions that’s meant to test you. The employer wants to know if you are PATIENT. Thanks to your professional training, you’ve had a chance to work with a few dogs during your practicum exercises. As such, you know that not all dogs hold still while you groom them.

Some are very fidgety; moving the entire time you’re trimming them. This can complicate certain haircuts (such as the Teddy Bear Cut, for example) if the dog resists you trimming around their eyes or mouth. Similarly, some dogs hate the drying process. They bark, snap at the dryer, or try to get away from the noise that’s scaring them. Other dogs absolutely hate having their nails trimmed. They will not allow you to hold their paws. In some cases, they may even become mouthy in an attempt to get you to let them go.

Talk about your techniques to manage these types of dogs. All groomers develop their own way of managing these tricky canines. Just be sure to include patience in your response. Patience is essential when it comes to successful dog grooming.

Groomer drying big dog at salon after bath

Question 7: “How would you handle a demanding – or in some cases, lazy – pet parent?”

My friend (and fellow groomer) gave me this question – and it’s a perfect one to anticipate during any grooming interview process. Throughout your career, you’ll encounter a wide variety of dogs and dog temperaments. But this is also true for people, too.

There are just as many peculiar people out there as there are peculiar dogs. Some people have high expectations of the groom, but do not respect your time or effort in order to achieve their expectations. Others are lazy, won’t brush their dog at home, and will only bring them in once their fur has become a matted mess. Shockingly, they’ll expect you to brush out every single mat and magically save the desired, long coat – even though they do nothing at home to maintain it.

This can be a challenge when running a dog grooming business (or working for one). I recommend being very clear with the client on what you can accomplish during the allotted time. If needed, explain politely why something may not be possible. I find that if you handle the situation this way, the client will be more likely to accept a realistic result.

Moreover, you can educate clients on proper at-home care. Encourage them to work with you to care for their dog! This can help reduce the number of mats in the coat. If you do this consistently and kindly, your client just might start participating in maintaining the desired coat length/health.

Question 8: “What are your career goals as a dog groomer?”

Have you thought about this already? Do you have plans to open your own shop some day? Or do you want to groom in a large retail space where there are already lots of people and activity?

Have some fun with this dog grooming interview question! Let your imagination run free. This question is not meant to pin you down to one job forever. Rather, it’s meant to give the employer a feel for how dedicated you are to this field of work.

Up-close of dog grooming scissors

Question 9: “Do you own your own dog grooming equipment?”

It is my understanding that most shops will require you to own and maintain your own equipment. However, this might not be the case everywhere, as I imagine it can vary from place to place. Some salons may offer some temporary tools for you to use until you can obtain your own.

Luckily, the starter kit that you received with your QC Pet Studies course materials should be adequate to allow you to answer “yes” to this question.  Once you get hired, you can build on your tool kit as you discover additional equipment that you’d like to have.

Question 10: “Do you have a proper dog grooming license?”

The state of Colorado (where I live) requires that all groomers possess a PACFA License. This license allows a groomer to work at three separate grooming shops per license. For me, I need a PACFA License to own and operate my own business.

Keep in mind that the qualifications vary from city to city. Some places requires groomers to have a license, a license and a certification, or simply a reputable certification. Take the time to research the licensing requirements in your state, country, and municipality.

If you have one already, you are ready to be hired! If you need to obtain one, it could take a few weeks for the application to be processed – which may cause to miss out on a job opportunity.

Want to learn more about the differences between a dog grooming license vs. certification? Click here!

Pug getting shaved down by groomer at salon

I hope you’ve found this information helpful! Now you’ll be ready to rock any and all dog grooming interview questions that come your way!

Just remember to relax and believe in yourself. You have the proper training, you have the desire, and you have the will to be successful. I wish you good luck in your future interviews and hope that you find the perfect position for you!

Prepare for your dog grooming interview questions by first getting professionally trained and certified with QC Pet Studies! Click here to enroll today, and graduate in less than one year!

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