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Having the Proper Mindset to Recruit Veterinarians

It is very difficult to recruit and hire veterinarians and other staff in this competitive marketplace. The VET Recruiter has been recruiting veterinarians for more than 20 years, and not only did the job market started to get tight in terms of talent in 2008 during the Great Recession, but it’s been getting tighter since then. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the market for recruiting and hiring veterinarians is not going to get any easier in the years ahead.

This is an even bigger problem for smaller employers that are trying to hire and recruit veterinarians. That’s because they’re competing for talent against bigger organizations that have more resources and personnel. However, there are ways to overcome these challenges, and it starts with having the proper mindset.


Recruiting veterinarians in a challenging market

Twice a year, the BLS updates its Occupational Outlook Handbook, which includes information about the nature of work, working conditions, training and education, earnings, and job outlook for hundreds of different occupations in the United States. The Veterinary profession is one of the occupations included within the Handbook.

According to information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September of 2022, the employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 19% from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. So according to the BLS, this tight market that we’re experiencing in the Veterinary profession in terms of hiring is not only going to stay the same, but it could conceivably get worse during the next 10 years. During the past few years, the BLS has been projecting an increase of veterinarians jobs by 16% to 17%. The Bureau’s latest numbers underscore the fact that the shortage of veterinarians in the job market is becoming more severe.

So if you’re finding it difficult to hire right now, these are the reasons why. And you’re certainly not alone. So how can you combat this? What can you do?

The first thing to know is that the proper mindset is required for recruiting and hiring veterinarians in today’s market. The right mindset is absolutely essential for hiring top talent right now. That’s because thought precedes action. What you think about the hiring process has an impact on what you do regarding it, specifically with what you do with the job candidates who are part of that process. The problem is that if you have any misguided notions or mistaken beliefs about the process or the candidates, then they will have a negative effect on your hiring efforts.

And that is why better hiring starts with the proper mindset. So the question is, “What IS the proper mindset when it comes to recruiting and hiring veterinarians in this market?”


A shift in leverage in the job market

Twenty years ago, the employer-candidate dynamic was different than it is today. It was generally acknowledged that the onus was on the job seeker or candidate to do nearly all of the “heavy lifting” during the hiring process. They were the ones who had to prove themselves. They had to prove their worth to the hiring manager or organization.

During the past 20 years, however, the leverage has been shifting, and this shift has been more pronounced within the Veterinary profession because there has been a shortage of qualified candidates. In many cases, the employer has needed the candidate more than the candidate has needed the employer’s job. This has especially been the case with the best candidates, those in the top 5% to 10% of the talent pool.

So the proper mindset for hiring in this market is the tough reality that in many cases, you need the candidate more than the candidate needs you. I know that’s not a popular mindset for employers to have, but it is one you must have if you want to experience hiring success.

(Need proof that The VET Recruiter can help you recruit veterinarians? See the hot veterinarian job candidates on our website!)


Recruiting veterinarians with the ‘consumer mindset’

Now that we’ve talked about your mindset, let’s discuss the mindset that job candidates have in the marketplace. This is a change that has happened during the past 10 or 15 years and maybe even longer than that. The younger candidates in the marketplace, and I’m talking about the Millennial Generation and Gen Z, have what is called a “consumer mindset.”

Because of this mindset, these candidates are used to having a multitude of options, along with the power to make whatever choice they want. This mindset has carried over from that of the larger economy to that of the employment marketplace. As a result, candidates are used to having a multitude of options when it comes to jobs and career opportunities. The bottom line is that candidates are accustomed to being wooed, either by merchants that are attempting to make them customers or by employers that are attempting to make them employees.

Once again, these changes are more pronounced for the Millennial Generation and Generation Z. That’s because they grew up while these changes were taking place. As a result, their impact upon them is much greater than, say, Generation X.


Recruiting veterinarians: Always Be Closing

This means as a Veterinary employer, must Always Be Closing while attempting to hire top talent. These are the ABCs of sales: Always Be Closing. What does this mean, specifically? It means that during every interaction that you have with job candidates during the hiring process, you should be attempting to convince these candidates to work for your organization.

In years past, less leverage equated to more effort on the part of the person lacking that leverage. For quite a while, job seekers and candidates had less leverage than employers. As a result, they were expected to prove their worth to the organization, which meant they had to do most of the work during the interviewing and hiring process. However, that is no longer the case, especially in the Veterinary profession.

So if you as an employer have less leverage, then it follows that you must also prove yourself to top talent and put forth more effort. Below are some things that you can do to prove yourself to veterinarians in your quest to recruit and hire them:

  • Preparing for the interview as much as they do
  • Being ready to answer this question and not be offended by it: “Why should I come to work here?”
  • Being prepared to provide references from other people who will attest to why the veterinarian should work for your organization, including both present and past employees
  • Writing a thank-you note and/or email to the veterinarian following the interview

You might think that you don’t have to do these things, and you’re right. You don’t have to do these things. However, if you want to effectively recruit and hire veterinarians in this challenging market, then these are the things that your organization must do.

(See what clients and job candidates are saving about The VET Recruiter’s services and how we’ve helped them with their career and hiring needs.)


Partnering with a recruiter to hire veterinarians

Something else that employers do when attempting to recruit veterinarians is utilize the services of an experienced and reputable Veterinary recruiter. That’s because a recruiter can help to engage top candidates in a way that will gain their attention and hold their attention all the way through the hiring process. Specifically, they can help to “sell” both the employment opportunity and the organization and explain to the candidate why working for the employer represents the next best step in growing their career.

However, working with a recruiter also requires the proper mindset, which involves what hiring managers and practice owners are thinking and expecting when they hire the recruiter. If an organization wants to maximize the value that it receives from a recruiter, then the people within that organization who interact with the recruiter should have the correct mindset. If they do, then that will help the hiring process, and as we know, without a great hiring process, an organization has difficulty recruiting and hiring veterinarians in this challenging market.

A quote that illustrates this mentality is this one: “We don’t hire a recruiter so we can tell them what to do. We hire a recruiter so they can tell us what to do.” This sums up the correct mindset when working with a Veterinary recruiter.

A recruiter is sometimes called a search consultant, and the word “consultant” is right in the moniker. A Veterinary recruiter acts as a consultant to the companies and organizations that it works for. Or at the very least, a recruiter should act as a consultant and fill that role as much as possible. Unfortunately, some hiring managers and practice owners have difficult allowing a recruiter to consult them about recruiting veterinarians . . . even though that’s they hired the recruiter in the first place!


A recruiter can save time AND money

It is true that company officials usually know more about their own organization when they initially hire a Veterinary recruiter. However, a recruiter typically knows far more about the marketplace and the top veterinarian candidates in that marketplace, not to mention the competition. So if a recruiter is able to act as a consultant for a Veterinary employer, the recruiter can save that employer both time and money. Specifically, they can do so in the following six ways:

  1. Filling a position more quickly—The longer it’s open, the more costly it becomes, and a recruiter can reduce the amount of time it takes to fill a position.
  2. Locating veterinarians that employers can’t find—These are passive candidates who are not even looking for a new job. These are the types of top Veterinary candidates who aren’t reading job boards or website postings.
  3. Streamlining the hiring process—The recruiter keeps everyone involved in the process on the same page. They also help to make sure that candidates are engaged throughout the process, so that an employer’s best prospect isn’t lost to a competitor’s offer.
  4. Offering marketplace intelligence—Veterinary recruiters “have their finger on the pulse” of the profession, so the advice they give to clients is timely. They know what’s happening when it’s happening.
  5. Decreasing training costs—That’s because the recruiter located a veterinarian candidate who possessed all of the skills and experience outlined in the job description.
  6. Increasing retention levels—A recruiter accomplishes this through their onboarding techniques and also through their follow-up with the candidate after the placement is complete.

There are some hiring managers and practice owners who do not know that the right Veterinary recruiter can do all of this. This yet another reason why the proper mindset is important when partnering with a recruiter. If you enter the situation with the incorrect mindset, then you might try to tell the recruiter what to do and try to do more than you really should. The idea is to take advantage of the knowledge and skills of the recruiter so that you don’t have to do as much.


So what should a Veterinary employer look for when it comes to working with a recruiter?


A great Veterinary recruiter is very knowledgeable about the profession and the market in which they work. This includes the best employers, the top candidates, and the emerging trends. They’ll put this information to work for their clients to help them find the best candidates.

#2—A caring attitude

The right Veterinary recruiter cares about their clients. A great recruiter cares whether or not their clients succeed and excel. They have everyone’s best interests in mind, and that includes the hiring manager and the job candidate. They want to reach a win-win situation and for everyone to be happy with the final outcome.


People who are passionate about what they’re doing are almost always better at what they do than others. A passionate recruiter will bring energy and enthusiasm to any search for a veterinarian, and they’ll meet obstacles and challenges head-on.

#4—A great attitude

Recruiting is very much an up-and-down profession. I can tell you that without a doubt from personal experience. A great Veterinary recruiter doesn’t let external circumstances negatively affect them, the search, their clients, or their candidates. Instead, they remain positive in the face of adversity and continue moving forward.


Veterinarians are your single biggest asset

Organizations do a lot of things to protect themselves. They hire the best lawyers they can find to handle their legal affairs. They hire the best accountants they can find to handle their financial affairs. And when they hire these people, they let them do their jobs. They don’t try to tell them how to do their jobs. And that’s what employers should do when they hire a recruiter to help them recruit veterinarians.

An organization’s ability to recruit, hire, and retain top talent is crucial to its long-term success. That’s why the advice and expertise of a Veterinary recruiter or search consultant is just as important as that of an attorney or an accountant. In fact, it could be argued that a recruiter’s advice and expertise is even more important.

That’s because an organization’s talent represents its single-biggest asset. That’s why making one bad hire can be costly in terms of energy, resources, and manpower. This is where the specialized services of a Veterinary recruiter or search consultant enter the picture. The right recruiter has the skills necessary to help an organization find and recruit the veterinarians it needs to be successful.

Partnering with a Veterinary recruiter helps employers protect their most valuable asset—their talent.


How The VET Recruiter can help recruit veterinarians

However, you want to partner with an experienced and reputable recruiting firm, and no firm in the Veterinary space is as experienced and reputable as The VET Recruiter. For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping hospitals, practices, and organizations recruit and hire the veterinarians they need. And we’ve been through every kind of market—from the Great Recession to the tight talent market that we’re currently experiencing to everything in between.

We can help you find, recruit, and hire the veterinarians you need to succeed!

Check out The VET Recruiter’s services for employers and also download our e-brochure for more information about how we can help your organization.

You can also request a free consultation from The VET Recruiter to discuss your hiring needs or request a quote of The VET Recruiter’s services.

In addition, we invite you to contact us for more information regarding our recruiting process and how The VET Recruiter can help your organization identify, engage, and recruit veterinarians in this challenging job market.

You can also call (918) 488-3901 or (800) 436-0490 or send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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