Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers. Her mission is to help organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities.
Teresa: Hi, I’m [name here], and welcome to today’s podcast. I’m joined by Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter, and we’ll be talking about how companies can hire the best employees they possibly can. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us.
Stacy Pursell: Hello, I’m glad to be here.
Teresa: First of all, tell us about some of the challenges for companies today when it comes to hiring the best.
Stacy: There are only so many A-level candidates in the marketplace at any one time. So if you truly want to hire the best, then you have to realize that overall, the candidate pool is relatively small.
As a result, organizations must be proactive in their hiring of A-level candidates. These candidates are employed, they’re extremely busy, and they’re probably being compensated well by their present employer.
Teresa: Some smaller organizations might think they’re at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring these A-level candidates, because they can’t compete with the “big name” companies. Is that the case?
Stacy: No, that’s not the case, because companies routinely make mistakes during the process, and these mistakes cause them to miss out on hiring the best candidates. Sometimes the biggest companies make the biggest mistakes during the hiring process. I’ve seen just about every hiring situation—and hiring mistake—that you can imagine. I know what companies should not do, but more importantly, I know what they should do.
The good news for smaller organizations is that the things they should be doing don’t cost a lot of money. They just have to recognize what those things are, create a plan for implementing them, and then execute that plan.
Teresa: What would you say is the most important thing that companies should do when it comes to hiring?
Stacy: The number one, single-most important thing that companies should do when it comes to hiring is identify the best candidates available. You can either proactively hire them, which I recommend, or try to passively hire them.
A company’s hiring process should definitely be streamlined and efficient. Remember that time is at a premium for the best candidates. They’re more than likely already employed with plenty of responsibilities both in and out of work. They don’t have the time or the patience for a long, drawn-out hiring process.
At the beginning of last year, The VET Recruiter conducted a survey of candidates in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. As part of that survey, we asked a series of questions, many of which dealt directly with employers and the hiring process.
We asked candidates about the longest amount of time they’d spend in an organization’s hiring process before bowing out. A little over 13% indicated that they’d spend three weeks in the process, while another 15.7% indicated they would spend four weeks. That’s nearly 29% of candidates who would drop out of a hiring process in four weeks, tops.
In September of last year, the MRINetwork conducted an employment landscape survey and then released the results of that survey. In the survey, hiring managers were asked the primary reason why candidates rejected their offer of employment. The top three answers were “accepting another offer,” “low compensation packages,” and “counteroffers.”
The longer a top candidate is in a company’s hiring process, the greater the risk becomes that the candidate will accept a competitor’s offer. That’s why organizations must have a system in place for identifying, recruiting, and hiring the best candidates in the shortest amount of time possible. If they don’t have that system, then they will likely not hire those candidates.
Teresa: Do you have an example or case study that illustrates this?
I have many of them, actually, but there’s one that happened recently that stands out in my mind. I presented a candidate to one of my clients for a marketing manager position. The client put the position on hold. However, they had a marketing manager role open up in another department. The good news, I thought, was that the candidate I had presented for the original marketing manager role was an even better fit for the second marketing manager position.
But the company would not consider that candidate for the second position. The reason was that the company had different hiring strategies for the two positions. The hiring strategy for the first position was to use a recruiter. The hiring strategy for the second position was to post online job ads and pray that a suitable candidate responded to the ad.
After five weeks, the hiring manager was still trying to find a candidate to fill the second marketing manager position. But the HR department would not let the hiring manager consider the qualified candidate that I had presented. The candidate was nearly a perfect fit for the position, yet the company refused to consider the candidate. That is NOT a recipe for hiring the best candidates you possibly can.
Teresa: What can a company do to make their hiring process both efficient and effective, so they hire the best candidate in the shortest amount of time?
Stacy: There are four things.
The first thing is that you must have a well-written and accurate job description. Your job description has to achieve two main goals.
First, it should entice top candidates and generate interest. This means not just reciting dry job requirements, but providing “sizzle” that will turn candidates’ heads and cause them to consider your job and the opportunity to work at your organization. Second, the job description should encompass everything that the position entails.
The second thing companies must do is actively “sell” the opportunity. The best candidates are not automatically going to sell themselves on your opportunity. They have to be convinced.
Seize every opportunity to highlight the benefits of working for you, whatever those opportunities might be. This means not only knowing the value that you offer to the best candidates, but also being able to articulate and communicate that value at every stage of the process. In short, you never stop “selling.”
Third, you must provide regular feedback throughout the hiring process. Candidates want to know where they stand. If candidates don’t hear from you, especially after interviews, they’re going to think that either the process is at a standstill or that you’re no longer interested.
And fourth, you must communicate expectations throughout the process. In addition to feedback, candidates want to know what to expect. That’s only human nature.
Teresa: Let’s say that a company does all of those things. Could it still make a bad hire?
Stacy: It could, and that’s because it didn’t hire for a cultural fit, as well as for a technical one.
Just because a candidate has all of the technical experience and expertise you’re looking for does NOT mean they’ll be a complete fit for your company. How well the candidate fits into the culture of your organization is just as crucial.
Teresa: Okay, let’s say a company hires well for both a technical fit and a cultural fit. Can something still go wrong?
Stacy: Believe it or not, it can, and the reason is the lack of a solid onboarding program.
You have to assure the candidate who you’ve kept engaged throughout the entire hiring process that they made the correct decision. You accomplish that with an onboarding process that’s just as engaging as the hiring process. You can’t leave them “high and dry.”
Your onboarding plan and process should not only help them be as successful as possible in the shortest amount of time, but it should also continue to make them feel wanted.
Teresa: Wow, there’s definitely a lot of things to consider when it comes to successfully hiring the best candidates in the marketplace. Thanks so much for providing this information for us.
Stacy: You’re very welcome, and I’m looking forward to next week’s show.