Just Because They’re a Candidate Does NOT Mean They’re Job Hunting

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

Some things that I see happen puzzle me in my job as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter. Sometimes, these things are surprising, but sometimes they are not. And the reason they’re not surprising is that I see them occur on a consistent basis.

One of those things is the making of assumptions. That’s because assumptions are mistaken beliefs, and mistaken beliefs lead to mistaken actions. If you believe the wrong thing, then you’re going to do the wrong thing. Makes sense, right?

And no one corners the market in terms of assumptions. If you’re a human being, then you’re at risk for making them. The key is to identify an assumption as such and then make the proper adjustments, both in terms of thought and deed. The assumption that I want to tackle in this blog post involves how hiring managers think about candidates (especially top candidates) for their organization’s open positions.

I’d like to illustrate this assumption with a story, a case study, in other words. This is more of an amalgamation, which means it’s something that’s happened numerous times during my career. I’m just combining the instances into one story that represents them all. This story is as follows . . .

I present a candidate for one of my client’s job openings. The hiring manager is impressed by the credentials and experience of the candidate. In fact, they’re so impressed that they express their excitement about the fact the candidate is “job hunting.” There is one big problem, though:

The candidate is NOT “job hunting.”

Although I’m glad the hiring manager is excited about the candidate, what actually happened is that I contacted a high impact professional who was not actively looking for a new job. In fact, they weren’t looking for a job at all. However, I presented my client’s opportunity to them, an opportunity that could potentially be better than the job they currently have. Since the opportunity may be better, that helped to convince the candidate to consider it and at least be open to having a conversation with my client about it.

But because they’re open to considering the opportunity does NOT mean they’re job hunting.

The problem is the hiring manager was under the assumption that the candidate is actively job hunting just because I sent the candidate’s resume for consideration. That mistaken assumption can lead the hiring manager to believe that the candidate already desires to work for their organization. This is simply not the case. There’s a big difference between being open to the possibility of working for an organization and actually desiring to work there.

If you treat a candidate who is only open to the possibility of working for your animal health company or veterinary practice as though they already desire to work for you, then you’ve just dramatically reduced the chances that you’ll be able to hire them.

So at this point, you might be asking, “Why is that? What’s the big deal?”

The big deal is that when you believe a candidate already desires to work for your organization, you subconsciously stop trying to recruit that person. And if you stop recruiting a candidate who is not yet convinced your job opening is the next best step in their career, then you’re not going to convince them that is the case.

Once again, just because the person is a candidate for your open position and open to the idea of working for you, does NOT mean they’re job hunting.

In fact, it is your job to continue recruiting the candidate for the position. Yes, your recruiter is also recruiting the candidate. After all, that’s what you have hired them to do. However, the candidate has a need to feel wanted by their potential new employer. At the end of the day, the candidate won’t be working for the recruiter. They’ll be working for your organization, and they want you to recruit them and make them feel wanted during the hiring process.  You have a job you need this candidate to do and that is why you are hiring for the position but the candidate will want to know “what is in it for me” if I join your organization. You have to sell your organization to these high impact candidates.

There are five key areas in which organizations should “sell” candidates on their Animal Health and Veterinary jobs:

#1—The position itself

This makes the most sense. After all, this is what the candidate is most interested in. However, you have to do more than just trot out a list of duties and responsibilities. Instead, you want to “sell” the position by presenting it in an enticing fashion. If the candidate doesn’t think the opportunity is exciting, then they’re not going to want it.

#2—The position’s potential for growth

There’s the position the way that it is and then there’s the position the way that it could be. As an employer, you must “sell” both of these things to the candidate. They want to know that if they take this job, they won’t just be “spinning their wheels” while they’re in it. That’s because to a top candidate, growth is also exciting.

#3—The company culture of the organization

Company culture is more important than ever to top candidates these days, especially the members of the Millennial Generation. Candidates want to know that they’ll fit into the company culture, specifically that the culture will accept and respect them. As an employer, you must assure these candidates that will be the case, and just like the first two items on our list, you should make them feel excited about the prospect of joining your culture.

#4—The organization’s potential for growth

Similar to #2, there’s the growth potential of the position and then there’s the growth potential of your Animal Health organization or Veterinary practice. While the candidate wants to grow in their position, they want to grow within the organization, too. They also want to know they’re working for a winner within the industry, so you need to be able to communicate that to them, as well.

#5—The candidate’s potential for growth

All of this boils down to the candidate and how they will grow professionally if they join your organization as an employee. If they don’t believe they will grow, then they will not want to join your team. So when discussing the opportunity and the organization, you must ultimately speak in terms of how both are going to help the candidate grow.

Because this statement bears repeating, just because a person is a candidate for your open position does NOT mean they’re job hunting. You still need to recruit them, and you still need to convince them that your opportunity is the next best step in their career.

A recruiter’s job is to contact high impact players that their client has hired them to recruit and convince to consider their client’s open position. That is what recruiters do.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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