Episode #121 – If You Don’t Pay Recruiting Fees, Then You Should Fill Every Position

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, animal health and veterinary search consultant and executive recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode of The Animal Health Employment Insider, we’ll be talking about recruiting fees. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. As always, I’m glad to be here for our third podcast of the new year.

Samantha: Stacy, I was struck by the title of today’s podcast episode. How did you come up with that title?

Stacy: Well, as is the case with just about everything that we talk about on our podcast, today’s episode is the result of what I’ve experienced in the employment marketplace. Specifically, it’s the result of what I’ve experienced while working with Animal Health employers and Veterinary employers for more than twenty years.

Samantha: What have you experienced with some employers in regard to today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Well, as you might already know, there are some organizations and practices that are not keen on paying recruiting fees when it comes to filling their open positions.

Samantha: Yes, I was aware of that. Not every Animal Health organization or Veterinary practice engages the services of a search consultant or recruiter. Is that more of a preference thing, or are there other factors?

Stacy: Preference does play a role. For example, some hiring managers do not want to pay a recruiting fee. There are a couple of different reasons for this. First, they believe that paying a recruiting fee is a sunk cost or a frivolous expense. Now we’ve debunked both of those as being myths in previous episodes of our podcast. The fact of the matter is that paying a recruiting fee for successfully hiring a top candidate is an investment in an employer’s future. That organization should expect to receive a sizeable return on their investment in terms of the value that the candidate provides to the organization once they become an employee.

Second, the hiring manager might believe they can find a suitable candidate on their own. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that can’t happen. Obviously, they’re capable of finding a candidate for their open position on their own. However, there are certain criteria I’d like to highlight in terms of such a situation.

Samantha: What criteria are those?

Stacy: There are two main criteria. The first one is the quality of the candidates. We’ve talked many times on this podcast about the lack of quality candidates that currently exist in the marketplace which includes the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. We are, of course, in the midst of a candidate’s job market and we might be in a candidates’ market for quite some time.

Samantha: Yes, we’ve discussed all kinds of statistics that underscore how difficult it is to find top talent, haven’t we?

Stacy: Yes, including an unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession that’s been at or under 1% for nearly two years now and the fact there is approximately one qualified candidate for every job opening in the Veterinary profession. Those are startling statistics and facts about how difficult it is to find qualify candidates in today’s job market.

Samantha: So even if a hiring manager is able to find a candidate and fill their open position, there’s no guarantee that the candidate is of high quality?

Stacy: That’s right. The quality of the candidate is extremely important in terms of hiring. An A-level candidate is much more valuable to an organization than a B-level candidate. The gap is even greater when you’re talking about the difference between an A-level candidate and a C-level candidate.

Just because you filled a position does not mean that you filled it with the best candidate that you could have filled it with, which does not necessarily mean hiring success. And that brings us to our second criteria.

Samantha: And that is what?

Stacy: The second criteria is the speed with which the position is filled.

Samantha: We’ve also discussed this in previous podcast episodes, haven’t we?

Stacy: We have. Leaving a high level or important position open for too long can have an adverse effect on an Animal Health organization or Veterinary employer. If a hiring manager or a veterinary practice owner fills a position, but it takes six months or longer to do so, that does not necessarily represent hiring success, either. That’s because the animal health organization or the veterinary practice experienced a loss in productivity and probably profitability during the time that the position remained open.

Samantha: I just thought of something, Stacy. What if a hiring manager or veterinary practice owner takes six months or longer to fill a position, and then they will it with a B-level or a C-level candidate? Wouldn’t that be a double-whammy?

Stacy: Yes, that would definitely be a double-whammy. That means the organization or practice both lost productivity and profitability while the position was open and it will also receive less of a return on its hiring investment because of the quality of the candidate. That’s pretty much the “worst of all worlds,” outside of not being able to fill the position at all.

Samantha: And that does happen, Stacy, is that right? Even though we discussed at the beginning of the episode that hiring managers and practice owners can fill their own positions, sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

Stacy: That’s right. I guess you would call that the “worst of all worlds” situation. And when that happens, I often receive a phone call from the hiring manager or practice owner.

Samantha: What do they say?

Stacy: Typically, they’re up front about the situation. They say they have a position that they’ve been trying to fill and they’ve been unable to get the job done. So they ask if they can retain my services. This has happened more times than I can count during my career as a search consultant and recruiter.

Samantha: And most of the time, you’re able to help them?

Stacy: Yes, I am often able to help them. And I often wish that they would have come to me sooner, since they could have avoided wasting time and energy trying to fill the position on their own.

Samantha: What’s their reaction to that?

Stacy: They usually agree with me, especially after I’m able to present candidates they were not able to find on their own. Some say that the difference is like night and day, in terms of the candidates they were able to find and the ones that I was able to find.

Samantha: Stacy, I’d like to return to the title of today’s episode: “If You Don’t Pay Recruiting Fees, Then You Should Fill Every Position.” As we’ve just discussed, it’s not even enough just to fill every position, is it?

Stacy: No, it’s not. First, you have to fill every open position that you have. Second, you have to fill the position with the best candidate you possibly can in the marketplace, regardless of whether they’re looking for a job or not. And third, you have to accomplish all of that in the shortest amount of time possible.

Samantha: What kind of timeframe is that?

Stacy: Ideally, it should take no longer than three to four weeks to fill an important, high-level position. Anything longer than that starts to wear on the Animal Health organization or Veterinary practice.

Samantha: And correct me if I’m wrong, but your firm, The VET Recruiter, works on contingency assignments in addition to handling retained executive search. What does that mean, exactly?

Stacy: With contingency search, that means if we don’t complete the assignment, then the organization does not pay. If you hire one of our candidates, then the employer pays our fee.

Samantha: So the employer does not have to pay a fee until after they’ve hired a candidate and they’ve become an employee?

Stacy: That’s absolutely correct with contingency search! The VET Recruiter performs searches on a retained and contingency basis and we have a third option- the hybrid which is a hybrid of a retained and contingency search which is popular with some of our clients.

Samantha: Stacy, thanks so much for joining us today and providing all of this great information.

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Samantha, and thank you. Once again, it’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health Employment Insider!