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How to Hire Veterinarians in 2023

It is perhaps more difficult to hire veterinarians right now than at any other time in the history of the profession. That’s because the shortage of veterinarians is as severe as it has ever been, and chances are good that it’s going to become even more severe in 2023, unless something unforeseen happens like a “black swan” event.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is predicting that Veterinarian jobs will be increase by 19% between 2021 and 2031. Based on this data and other numbers circulating within the Veterinary profession, there could be anywhere between 15,000 and 18,000 open veterinarian jobs by the year 2031 with no one to fill them. This growth, of course, includes the year 2023, and it will present yet more challenges for employers that want to hire veterinarians.

Hiring veterinarians in 2023

Hiring veterinarians requires more time, energy, and effort than it required previously. Since there is a shortage of veterinarians, it’s a candidates’ job market and veterinarians are “in the driver’s seat.” That means there are fewer active job seekers and more passive candidates, and the members of the latter group are not looking through online job advertisements as much. However, although they’re not actively looking for a new job, these candidates would be open to considering the right opportunity if it makes sense to do so.

So, when you have candidates open to exploring your employment opportunity by entering the interviewing and hiring process, you don’t want to let them get away. Not until you’ve hired your top choice candidate, that is.

With that in mind, below are five steps for hiring veterinarians in 2023:

#1—Focus on employer branding.

Your employer brand includes the experience that you provide for job seekers (regardless of whether they’re active job seekers or passive candidates) and employees. The better the experience for these groups of people, the better your employer brand will be.

If you provide a great experience to candidates during the hiring process, but you don’t give a great experience to your current employees, then you’ll have both a lackluster employer brand and a poor retention rate. You might be able to hire veterinarians, but you won’t be able to keep them for long, which defeats the purpose of hiring well in the first place.

#2—Make engagement a priority.

The way that you provide a great experience during the hiring process is by effectively engaging candidates—and keeping them engaged. Specifically, this means communicating often throughout the process, letting the candidates know where they stand in the process, and letting them know what the next steps in the process are going to be.

Unfortunately, when candidates do not receive this information, they’re more likely to think the worst: that they’re no longer considered a candidate for the position. Armed with this belief, they might simply drop out of the process, even if they still are a viable candidate!

#3—Make a compelling offer to your top choice.

Due to the Law of Supply and Demand, hiring veterinarians is more costly than ever. (When something is in short supply and high demand, the cost of that something increases. That’s the case with veterinarians in this market.)

Hiring veterinarians in 2023 will require more in the way of starting salary, a sign-on bonus, and other compensation. This could include help with paying off student loan debt or equity in the practice. New graduates and even students who have yet to graduate are asking for more than $100K in guaranteed or base salary, and they’re receiving offers of that amount and more. We have seen new graduate veterinarians receiving and accepting offers in the $100-$150K range for guaranteed compensation.  There is a low chance that you can “low-ball” a veterinarian candidate in 2023 and expect to hire them when the competition for them is so fierce.

#4—Execute a superb onboarding process.

Once the candidate has accepted your offer of employment, your work is not done. That’s because when it comes to hiring veterinarians, you can almost assume that your new hire is going to receive a counteroffer from their current employer. (Which is one of the reasons why you must make a compelling offer to your top choice; it must be so good that the candidate will not consider accepting a counteroffer.)

Candidate “ghosting” has been a growing trend in the years leading up to 2023, and that trend might very well continue. And if you think that a new hire won’t “ghost” on their first day of work because they accepted a counteroffer, think again. It happens more frequently than you might think.

#5—Work with an established Veterinary recruiter.

An experienced and reputable recruiting firm can help you to identify, engage, and hire the best veterinarians in the job market. That’s because the right recruiter has built relationships with top talent. They know what these candidates want in a new opportunity and which opportunity would convince them to make a move from their current employer.

In addition, the right recruiter can help with all of the steps outlined above, including keeping candidates engaged during the interviewing and hiring process and assisting with onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day of work. In this current market, you can’t afford to take anything for granted, and a good recruiter can help ensure that you have “all of your bases covered.”

Hiring veterinarians with the help of a recruiter

If your organization wants to hire more veterinarians in 2023, the right recruiter and the right recruiting firm can help. That’s because hiring veterinarians in this environment requires a proactive approach and not a reactive one. A reactive approach is the “post and pray” method of only sourcing candidates via online job advertisements. As mentioned above, though, top passive candidates are not actively looking for new jobs online (or anywhere else, for that matter).

The top veterinarian candidates in the job market—the top 5% to 10% of candidates in the Veterinary profession—are passive candidates. They’re not looking for a new job, but they would consider making a move for the right opportunity. They just need someone to present them with that opportunity and convince them that the opportunity represents the next big step in their career. And that’s exactly what a Veterinary recruiter can do for your organization . . . and in actuality, they can do much more than that.

We invite you to find out more about our Veterinary recruiting services for employers and also learn more about our recruiting process and how we can help you hire more veterinarians in 2023.

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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