Candidate journey

The Donkey Sanctuary has established recruitment processes that are designed to help managers ensure they are equipped to attract and recruit amazing people through a fair and transparent selection process. All our roles have a job profile which will give you details on the role, and a Person Specification which will detail the essential skills and knowledge we are looking for. This is used as a basis for selecting applicants for interview and appointing the successful candidate.

If you are looking for Volunteer opportunities, please click here.

  • Application
  • How to do a cracking interview
  • The selection process
  • Assessment methods
  • References
  • Our commitment to equality and diversity
  • Benefits
  • FAQs
  • Application

    To ensure that we conduct a fair and transparent process we ask all applicants to complete an application form. When applying for a role, take your time, try to prepare your application a few days before the closing date and review your application thoroughly before submitting your interest.
    Our application form is broken into the following sections:

    • Personal Details, Criminal Record and Right to Work.
    • Employment Record – please list your employment in reverse chronological order
    • Education and Training.
    • Your Qualifications – in this section you can list any professional qualifications, training, driving licence, etc., that are relevant to the role you are applying for.
    • References – please supply two references that we can approach should you be offered the position.
    • Referral – if you have been referred to us by an employee at The Donkey Sanctuary please let us know it’s great to know you are recommended.
    • Equality and Diversity Monitoring.
    • Supporting Information – this is where you can tell us:
      • Why you would like to work at The Donkey Sanctuary.
      • How you meet the essential criteria. This can be through your personal and work experience (including any voluntary work), education and training. This is where you can stand out by giving us as much relevant information as possible, and is a great opportunity to self yourself and convince the Recruiting Manager that you would be a valuable asset to the team and The Donkey Sanctuary.
    • Declaration and Submission – this is just to confirm that you have complete all the sections correctly and on completion will submit your application to the recruiter.
  • How to do a cracking interview

    So you have secured an interview - Congratulations!

    A good interview involves more than just how you answer the interview questions. First impressions matter and it is important that you’re able to present yourself appropriately, so:

    Do your research

    You’ll almost certainly be asked specific questions about The Donkey Sanctuary, so make sure you’ve done your homework by browsing our website for more information.

    Practice your answers

    There are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up at interview. You should prepare answers about your personal strengths, qualities and skills, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job. Take time to review the job description and your application.

    Be in control

    Plan your route, and allow extra time for any unexpected delays, ensure you have everything you need to take with you ready the night before, and bring evidence of your right to work in the UK.

    Be positive

    Understandably you may be nervous, however first impressions count. Focus on the positives to help you relax, you have been invited to the interview for a reason, we believe from your application you have the required skills. Let your personality shine through and demonstrate you are genuinely interested in the role by being attentive and listening to the interviewer. This will also help you compose your answers, and remember to breathe!

    Be clear

    Answer all questions clearly and concisely, evidencing your most relevant qualifications, skills, experiences and achievements. It is perfectly acceptable to pause before answering a question to give yourself thinking time, or to seek clarification if, at first, you are unsure what the question means. When answering, don’t speak too quickly.

    Ask questions

    At the end of your interview, you will be invited to ask any questions you may have. You should prepare some questions for your interviewer that will demonstrate your interest in the position and your understanding of the role.

  • The selection process

    The way in which we conduct interviews may vary depending on the level of the role, and where you might be based. Usually interviews are conducted face-to-face, but potentially could be held via Skype. dependant on location. The interviewing panel will be looking to measure each candidate against the criteria set out in the job profile.

  • Assessment methods

    As part of the recruitment process you may also be asked to undertake a practical exercise, or deliver a presentation. You will always be told in advance if you are asked to complete any form of assessment. These assessments are designed to give you the best opportunity to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and experiences in relation to the position.

  • References

    As part of the application process we normally ask you to identify two referees of which one should be your current or most recent line manager. For each reference, a contact name, telephone and email are mandatory. You should also indicate whether your referees can be contacted before interview. All offers of employment will be subject to satisfactory references.

  • Our commitment to equality and diversity

    The Donkey Sanctuary commitment to equality and diversity applies to everything we do.

    We view Diversity as a description of the visible and invisible differences that exist between people, such as, gender, race, ethnic origin, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, age, economic class, language, religion, nationality, education, and family/marital status. We recognise that these visible and non-visible differences between people can also lead to differences in experiences, values, attitudes, ways of thinking, behaving, communicating and working.

    In order to implement and monitor our commitment to Equal Opportunities and Diversity, we kindly ask applicants to fill in our Equal Opportunities Form. Note that some questions are mandatory, and others are voluntary. All (except date of birth) contain the option 'I do not wish to disclose'.
    If you have any further questions, please email

    Good luck with your application.

  • Benefits

    We value our employees, and firmly believe that our people should work in an environment where their hard work and dedication is recognised and rewarded. As an employee of The Donkey Sanctuary in the UK, you will enjoy:

    • 31 days holiday per year, inclusive of the eight statutory public holidays. This increases by one day each year until a maximum of 34 days (pro rata for part-time employees) is reached.
    • A pension scheme which exceeds the Government’s recommended rate.
    • The benefits of a Healthshield plan, helping you look after your health and wellbeing. You can claim cashback on dentistry, optical appointments, glasses, contact lenses, and physiotherapy costs, to name but a few.
    • Enhanced maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave.
    • Life Assurance Scheme — All employees are covered for a death-in-service benefit equal to twice their annual salary at the date of their death, unless they have a higher entitlement as part of their conditions of employment.
    • Free staff parking.
    • For some roles, full uniform, PPE and footwear will be provided.
    • Staff discount in The Kitchen Restaurant*, Gift Shop* and mini gift shops within Donkey Assisted Therapy Centres.

    * Located at The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth.

  • FAQs

    Can I apply for more than one job at a time?

    Yes you can!

    Can I apply for a job if I am under 18 years of age?

    Note to applicants under 18 years of age

    Section 2 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 places a requirement on young persons in England between 16 and 18 to be in one of:

    Full-time education or training
    Training under an apprenticeship*
    Full-time occupation that has a prescribed level of relevant training or education (as defined in the ESA 2008).

    The Donkey Sanctuary does not currently offer any full-time training or occupations which meet the prescribed level of relevant training or education for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

    We are required to ensure that applicants between 16 and 18 have made appropriate arrangements for training or education prior to entering into relevant contracts of employment. Relevant contracts of employment include those requiring at least 20 hours work per week.

    Please ensure you are legally able to carry out the advertised role before applying.

    For further information, please click on the following link. 

    *Apprenticeship opportunities are advertised on our jobs page.

    When will The Donkey Sanctuary contact me regarding the outcome of my application?

    Shortlisting of applications can take up to 10 working days following the role closing date, but we will always notify you about the outcome of your application.

    The Donkey Sanctuary will correspond with applicants via email wherever possible. Please check your emails regularly, including your junk box. If you do not have an email address, it is important that you provide us with alternative contact details.

    Can I get email alerts about job opportunities at The Donkey Sanctuary?

    Yes, please sign up for Job Alerts on our careers page.

    How can I unsubscribe from email job alerts?

    Click on Job Alerts and if you have already signed up you will have two options to either Unsubscribe or Modify Criteria.

    Can I apply for a role with The Donkey Sanctuary if I have a criminal record?

    Yes, if the post is not exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. We only ask applicants to disclose convictions which are not yet spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. If you are not sure whether your convictions are spent, please contact Nacro (Niacro in Northern Ireland)  for further advice.

    Why do I have to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

    The DBS check enables us to make safer recruitment decisions by confirming that appointed candidates are suitable for certain work, particularly that involving children or vulnerable adults. Roles that require DBS clearance (Access NI in Northern Ireland) will be advertised as such. 

    Who can I contact if I require help with my application?

    Please contact a member of the Recruitment Team on 01395 204061 or email

    Do you offer apprenticeships, work experience and volunteering opportunities?

    We do offer these types of opportunities.

    For work experience please see our work experience page for additional details.

    We also offer apprenticeships and these will be advertised under our current opportunities page

    Please see our Volunteer pages for details on how to become a volunteer.

    Do you reimburse travel expenses for interviews?

    Unfortunately, we do not reimburse interview expenses.

    Is a driving licence mandatory and why?

    Many of our roles require driving as part of the core duties. Some of our departments are located at remote sites, and may not be serviced by public transport. If a driving licence is mandatory for a role it will be listed among the essential criteria contained within the Job Description.

    How do I update my personal details or login details?

    Once you have logged in, please click on My Profile and then My Details. Here you will be able to manage your username and email, change your password, manage connected accounts and delete your profile.

    How can I work for The Donkey Sanctuary?

    There are various routes into working at The Donkey Sanctuary. We advertise all our live roles on our opportunities page, and you can come and join us as a Volunteer. If there are no suitable opportunities, please sign up for job alerts.

    What should I include in my application?

    When completing your application, it is crucial that you cover the essential criteria, which will be found within the personal specification section of the Job Description. You should state here what you believe makes you suitable for this position, providing supporting evidence of your skills, experience and relevant qualifications.  This may be based on your personal and work experience (including any voluntary work), education and training. It is these criteria that applicants are scored against at the shortlisting for interview stage.

    We pride ourselves on providing a fair and robust recruitment process for all applicants, and we anonymise all applications before sending to the Hiring Manager to review. To assist us with this can you please ensure you put no identifying information in the “Why do you want to work for The Donkey Sanctuary” and “How do you meet the essential criteria” sections of your application.

    Do you accept CVs?

    We are committed to recruiting the best people to fill our roles in a fair and equitable way. Our application format allows us to compare individuals on a like for like basis, and for that reason we do not accept CVs for the majority of our roles, and will not be able to process applications that are not completed fully.

    Do I need a work permit to work for The Donkey Sanctuary?

    You need to possess the necessary right to work in the country that you are applying for.

    Do you accept speculative applications?

    No. Applications should be made for specific roles only, as advertised on our website.

    However, you can sign up for Job Alerts if there are no suitable vacancies at the time.

    How will I know that The Donkey Sanctuary has received my application?

    You will receive an automated email confirming receipt of your application.

    I missed the deadline. Can I still submit an application?

    No. Each vacancy has a specific advertised closing date. After this, the advertisement is automatically deleted from our jobs page, and will not be accessible to prospective candidates.

    Does The Donkey Sanctuary have a graduate scheme?

    Currently we don’t have a graduate scheme, however we do offer internships with our Veterinary and Internal Audit departments. These opportunities will be advertised on our vacancy page when available.

    I am having technical problems applying. What do I do/who can I contact for help?

    Please contact a member of the Recruitment Team on 01395 204061 or email

    What is the latest time I can submit an application?

    By 11.59 pm on the advertised closing date.

    What is The Donkey Sanctuary’s policy on disability?

    We are committed to equality of opportunity, and actively encourage diversity and inclusion, while opposing all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.  The Donkey Sanctuary is proud to have been awarded the ‘Disability Confident Employer’ symbol, awarded by Department for Work and Pensions because it demonstrates the positive approach we have to providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities and providing them with access to training, support and career development when they are employed here.

    We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the ‘minimum criteria’ for the post (the minimum criteria means the essential criteria as set out in the job description for the post) and provides a completed the ‘Guaranteed Interview Scheme’ form.

    You must provide us with evidence in your application form which demonstrates that you generally meet the level of competence required for each essential criteria, as well as meeting any of the qualifications, skills or experience defined as essential.

    Applications will be assessed on a level playing field and candidates that have applied under the scheme will need to score a minimum of 50% against the essential criteria at shortlisting to obtain an interview.

    Please see our “Guaranteed Interview Scheme” form for further details.

    Does The Donkey Sanctuary ever ask for bank details or payment as part of the application process?

    We would never ask for this information at this stage. We would only gather this information once you have joined The Donkey Sanctuary.

    How long do you keep my information?

    We will store your application for 12 months. Just before this anniversary you will receive an email asking if you wish to keep your details on file.
    At any time, you can go into your account and remove your details if you wish to do so.

Any questions? Ask the Recruitment Team

Email us at

Office hours: Monday - Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Adrian Brown

Recruitment Adviser

Simon Cake

Recruitment Adviser

Tricia Dunham

People Team Operations Manager