Simple but Highly Effective Animal Health and Veterinary Career Advice

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

The best and most effective career advice for growing your Animal Health and Veterinary career is typically the simplest advice. In my experience, that has been the case during my more than 20 years as an Executive Search Consultant and Recruiter.

“That’s good news,” you might be thinking. “It’s good that the best and most effective advice is the simplest.” While that IS good news, the problem is that just because it’s simple does not mean that it’s also easy. In fact, sometimes, the reality of the situation is just the opposite, and that could be said of the advice in this particular article.

Career advice straight from a hiring manager

Rather than wait until the end of this article to reveal the advice, I’m going to do so right now. The advice is as follows:

Be humble and respect the people who are trying to help you.

Once again, sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, I have a case study that illustrates why, even though it sounds simple, following this advice is not always easy.

I recently presented a candidate to the hiring manager of one of my clients. Prior to doing so, I interviewed the person. At the time, I believed she was not as experienced as some of the other candidates that I had interviewed, but I also thought she might have some potential, so I referred her to my client. After interviewing her, the hiring manager said he did not think she was the strongest candidate, but that he would still consider her as he continued interviewing other candidates.

After a few weeks, I had another exchange of communication with the candidate. Unfortunately, she made some disrespectful comments about the length of the interview process. I and my team offered to connect her with some other employers that could offer her additional experience, which would help make her a stronger candidate for the level of position that she wanted in the future. The candidate was unappreciative of the offer, and she said that she would hold out for the position that she really wanted. She was not open to receiving feedback or help.

In response to this, the hiring manager at my client indicated that the candidate should “be humble and respect the people who are trying to help you.” That was a direct quote from him. This person is an executive at a major Animal Health company. I placed him in his current role and I’m in the process of helping him build his team there. I also placed him in an executive role at his former company, which is another major Animal Health company.

Now, I have to say that I am a proponent of confidence. And while I admire this candidate’s self-confidence and her desire to go after the things she wants, I must also caution against being disrespectful and not be willing to accept feedback or help in your quest to achieve your goals. There were some things this individual could have done to make her a stronger candidate for the position she really wanted, had she been open to listening to suggestions.

The bottom line in this situation is that the candidate had, for all intents and purposes, gone as far as she could go in reaching her goal solely by having self-confidence or being bold. More was needed, and there were people willing to help provide her with the things that were needed.

Maximizing your Animal Health or Veterinary career

I’ve touched upon aspects of this advice in previous articles. One of them is titled, “Feedback Following the Interview is a Gift, NOT a Personal Attack,” and the title of the article says it all. And as I pointed out in that article, sometimes feedback can be humbling and sometimes you don’t want to hear it or don’t like what you hear. Even if that is the case, honest feedback is necessary for true growth. As the saying goes, “All growth is painful,” and that definitely applies to your professional life.

Another previous article that applies to this piece of advice is titled “Being Self-Aware Gives You a Competitive Advantage in the Marketplace.” The reason that it can give you an advantage is that is a rare skill. There is a disparity between the number of people who believe that they’re self-aware and the number who are actually self-aware. One of the reasons I know this is the case is because there have been multiple hiring managers who have told me this.

When you’re not self-aware and you don’t know how you’re coming across to other people, you run the risk of branding yourself in a negative way. Positive personal branding is integral to a person’s successful Animal Health or Veterinary career, specifically in that person’s efforts to grow their career. It is more difficult to do so and to reach the goals that you have for your career if you consistently brand yourself in a negative fashion because you’re not self-aware.

An Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, having had the experience of working with thousands of Animal Health and Veterinary professionals and hundreds of companies over the past 23 years, I have received thousands of instances of feedback about people’s careers and job interviews. I can say there is a place for being confident and being bold, but there is a limit to the effectiveness of both. There are other factors involved in reaching your full professional potential and maximizing your career, and those factors are summed up perfectly with the quote by the top Animal Health executive in our case study:

“Be humble and respect the people who are trying to help you.”

If you’re looking to make a change or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

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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The VET Recruiter is The Animal Health Executive Search Firm and The Veterinary Recruiting Firm

Stacy Pursell is an Animal Health Executive Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter and Workplace/Workforce expert for the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession.