“Why Are There No Animal Health or Veterinary Applicants for My Job?”

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

The reason that the title of this article is in quotation marks is because this is a question that I have been asked with regularity lately. (Although I did add the words “Animal Health or Veterinary.” Much of the time, hiring managers and veterinary practice owners ask me, “Why are there no applicants for my job?”)

In fact, just the other day, a person in charge of hiring at a prospective client asked me this question. They also indicated that they had been posting advertisements on job boards and were receiving no responses. And when I say “no responses,” I don’t mean just a few responses or hardly any responses. I mean “no responses” whatsoever.

As can you imagine, this was a bit disconcerting for the person. It led them to believe that something was wrong. Perhaps the job wasn’t actually “live” on the Internet. Perhaps no one could see it. Maybe that was the problem and why they weren’t receiving any responses. Alas, that was not the case. Since I’ve fielded this question more than once, I was in a position to answer it.

Below are the reasons why this prospective client—and other employers within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession—are not getting any applicants for their jobs:

#1—The National Unemployment Rate is historically low.

Earlier this year, the unemployment rate in this country fell to 3.6%. The last time unemployment was that low was in 1969, when the rate dipped to 3.5%. Not only that, but there are also between six and seven million job openings in the country. Specifically, there are between six and seven million job openings that employers are having a difficult time filling. Just last week an economist, a PhD, working in the veterinary profession indicated there are around 12,000 open positions for veterinarians in the US. Up until recently I was hearing numbers of 3,000 to 5,000 current job openings for veterinarians. Regardless of if there are 3,000 to 5,000 or 12,000 openings, those are staggering numbers.

This is known as the skills gap. It’s not that there aren’t enough people in the country to fill those jobs. It’s that there aren’t enough people who are able to fill those jobs. In other words, not enough people possess the skills and/or the experience necessary to do so.

#2—The unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession is even lower.

According to a DVM360 magazine article published a year and a half ago, the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession fell to 0.5% by the end of 2017. So is the Veterinary unemployment rate still that low? It’s not, but it’s been hovering right around 1% for the past year or so. What this tells us is that almost everyone who is qualified to fill positions within the Veterinary profession already has a job. There is almost no one who is unemployed, at least statistically, within the profession.

In my job as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, I attend many tradeshows and conferences. I attended an analytics session at a conference last year in Las Vegas, and during the session, I was told that there is approximately one veterinarian for every five job openings posted online. I think that statistic, more than any other, underscores the challenges of hiring Veterinary talent in this current job market. Basically, for every five Veterinary openings, you can almost count on four of those openings remaining unfilled for quite a while.

#3—There’s a difference between an active job seeker and a passive candidate.

Active job seekers may or may not be employed, but in some cases, they are not. Or, they may be underemployed or unhappy in their current career situation. As a result, they are actively looking for a new job, making them much more likely to see a job advertisement and apply for it. Passive candidates, on the other hand, do not respond to online job ads, and the main reason they don’t is because they don’t see them. Typically, they are not looking for a new job, and there are a few reasons why this is the case:

  • They’re happy for the most part where they’re working now, although they would make a strategic move for the right opportunity.
  • They’re too busy at their current job to actually conduct an active job search, even if they wanted to.
  • They also don’t want to risk the confidentiality of their search being breached at any point in the process.

#4—Not everyone who starts to apply online actually finishes their application.

According to a 2016 report by CareerBuilder, 60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications. They quit due to the length or complexity of those applications. Employers, in an effort to make the application process as detailed as they can to identify the best candidates, are actually screening candidates out. And with a job ad, it’s nearly impossible to identify the best candidates in the marketplace, anyway.

All a job ad does is identify the best candidates who have answered the ad. And if 60% of them are quitting in the middle of filling out the application, that means the ad is only identifying the best candidates of the 40% who actually finished the application.

#5—The top 5% to 10% of candidates in the marketplace are passive.

I can tell you with confidence that the very best candidates in the marketplace, and I’m talking about the top 5% to 10% of professionals, are passive candidates. That means the best candidates are not looking at online job ads and they’re not responding to them. And that, in turn, means employers that only rely on these ads will more than likely not hire these top passive candidates.

As you can see, there are multiple reasons why Animal Health and Veterinary employers are not getting any applicants by advertising their job openings online. It’s not really a mystery. It’s the reality of the current employment marketplace, and this is where an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can make a difference. They have the expertise, and they have the connections and relationships with top candidates. As a result, partnering with an animal health or veterinary recruiter is an intelligent strategy that can help to give you a hiring advantage over your competition.

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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