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Why Hiring from Your Network can Fail for Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

As you may know, I’m a big advocate of networking. I believe that people should continue networking all throughout their career, regardless of the industry or profession in which they work. However, there is a difference between that and basing your organization’s approach to Animal Health or Veterinary hiring solely, or at least in large part, on your network.

What I mean by that can be summed up as follows:

  • You’re looking to fill an urgent, critical position within your organization.
  • A trusted colleague of yours whole-heartedly recommends somebody that they know for the position before you’re even able to start interviewing candidates.
  • You figure that if this person has recommended the candidate, then they must be perfect and you’re lucky to have found this person so early in the process.
  • You fast-track this person through the process and eventually hire them in short order.

While at the time, this all seems “too good to be true,” in many cases, that’s exactly what it is. It’s too good to be true because it simply does not work out. Far from being perfect, the candidate turns out not to be a fit, either for the position, the organization, or both. The obvious question is “Why?”

The danger of restricting your talent pool

There are many reasons why this type of hiring approach often fails, but when you boil it all down, it’s rather simple:

When you only consider people with roughly the same life and work experiences and who look, act, and think like you, then you’re severely restricting your talent pool.

I’ll come back to that statement, but for now, let’s dig a little deeper into this issue. Below are four reasons why Animal Health and Veterinary hiring through your network can fail:

#1—Hiring bias

Since someone from your network whom you trust recommended this person, then you’re going to put more stock in their recommendation than just about anything else. In fact, if you were to compare this person to another job candidate, you would be more inclined to prefer your network’s recommendation. That’s just human nature. But be that as it may, it also can subtly sabotage your hiring efforts. Bias in any form is rarely, if ever, a good thing.

#2—The desire to “hack” the hiring process

When I use the work “hack” here, I don’t mean a security breach. Instead, I mean the slang word associated with a shortcut. In this case, it means skipping to the end of the hiring process. There are many perceived advantages associated with doing so, including saving time, energy, and effort. You might also believe that you’re saving money, but that’s where the irony lies. If the candidate does not work out, then the cost to the organization can be astronomical, much more than you would have spent simply by utilizing a conventional hiring strategy.

#3—The absence of true vetting

Due to the hiring bias and the desire to “hack” the hiring process, the level and degree of vetting is almost certainly diminished. The person in your network who recommended this candidate may not have intimate knowledge about the inner workings of your organization, unless they’ve worked there themselves in the past. And while they may possess general knowledge about the industry and the position itself, their unfamiliarity with specifics and their inexperience regarding talent evaluation can hamper the outcome.

#4—The complexity of the hiring process

I’ve said this before: hiring, including Animal Health and Veterinary hiring, is not easy. If it were easy to hire well, then every employer would do so. Alas, that is not the case. There are many different factors, as well as many different people, included in the process. These factors and people should not be excluded simply because you’ve found what appears to the perfect candidate on a recommendation from a member of your network, even though the perfect candidate is a myth and despite the four factors outlined above.

And despite all of this, there is yet another and perhaps even more compelling reason to be wary of candidate recommendations from your network.

Diversity and Animal Health and Veterinary hiring

Remember my statement from earlier in this blog post? Here it is again:

When you only consider people with roughly the same life and work experiences and who look, act, and think like you, then you’re severely restricting your talent pool.

Earlier this year, I attended a conference within the Animal Health and Veterinary profession, and during that event, there was a discussion centered around the topic of hiring within your network. The take-away from the discussion was that if you’re only hiring from your network, then your approach lacks enough diversity. That’s because of you’re only considering and hiring people who look like you, think like you, and act like you, then that is the very definition of not hiring in a diverse manner.

Here are three quick tips for avoiding this type of Animal Health and Veterinary hiring mistake:

  1. Resist the temptation to take shortcuts and skip to the end of the hiring process.
  2. Don’t lend more credence or credibility to certain candidates unless you have objective reasons for doing so and not subjective ones.
  3. Make an organization-wide commitment to investing the time, energy, and effort into the process on the front end so that you hire the right candidate and don’t suffer financially on the back end because you didn’t hire the right one.

The VET Recruiter has helped countless Animal Health companies and veterinary practices with Animal Health and Veterinary hiring for nearly 23 years. We help with every stage of the recruiting and hiring process, from identification of talent through the offer stage and onboarding of new employees. We know what it takes to hire the best candidates in the marketplace, and we can help your organization do just that.

You can click here to find out more about our services for employers. Click here to learn more about our recruiting process.

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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