Episode #125 – How the Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring Process is Like Dating

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #125 - How the Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring Process is Like Dating
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Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, 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, we’ll be talking about how the hiring process including in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession is a lot like the dating scene. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. As always, I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, the title of this podcast reminds me of another podcast episode that we’ve done in the past. If I remember correctly, that episode was about how hiring correctly in this market is a lot like real estate.

Stacy: That’s right! I believe that was podcast episode #97, and our listeners can access that particular episode on The VET Recruiter website. Today’s episode, however, is a little different than that one, although we’re still using what I consider to be a fun analogy.

Samantha: I think so, too. Can you talk about why you chose this analogy?

Stacy: I certainly can, but I wasn’t the first person to come up with the analogy. The dating analogy has been used to describe recruiting and hiring for quite a while. The problem is that not a lot of people are familiar with it, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to address it in today’s podcast episode. And I think it’s important to address the topic in light of current market conditions.

Samantha: What conditions are those?

Stacy: As we’ve discussed before, we’re in the midst of a candidates’ job market. To use the analogy, this means the best candidates have a lot of “dating options.”

Samantha: When you say “dating options,” what you really mean are Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs that employers are trying to fill.

Stacy: That’s correct. And when an employer has an open position or job that they are trying to fill, that employer has to realize its open position is just one of possibly many options available to top candidates. A top candidate could be considering multiple opportunities. They could be involved in the hiring process of more than one organization. Not only that, but you also have to remember that staying with their current employer is also a viable option for these candidates.

Samantha: It is?

Stacy: Absolutely. These candidates are typically being treated quite well by their current employer. Just because they’re open to considering other opportunities does not mean they’ve made up their mind to leave their current employer. That’s far from the truth. They’re only considering other opportunities, and if they don’t like what they see, they’ll just stay where they are. That’s one of their many “dating options.”

Samantha: So Stacy, how does this dating analogy work, exactly?

Stacy: Well, if you’re an employer and you’re trying to fill an important, critical position in this current job market, then you’re pretty much the equivalent of a single person who wants to get married. The problem for employers, though, is that their prospects aren’t necessarily so great right now. For one thing, there just aren’t that many quality candidates available in this tight job market . And second, there are other suitors, too, in the form of competing organizations.

Samantha: So what does that mean for the employer in terms of our dating analogy?

Stacy: It means they have to make the very best impression they possibly can when they are courting candidates. In a strictly practical sense, it means impressing every single candidate who enters the organization’s hiring process. And many of the rules of dating also apply to the hiring process.

Samantha: Can you give an example?

Stacy: Certainly. If you go on a date with someone and you really like them; for example, you find them to be particularly attractive or fun or funny or smart, then you’re going to want to impress them. The same goes for an Animal Health or Veterinary employer. The employer should want to impress a candidate that it finds attractive.

In fact, I have a few other ways that hiring is a lot like dating, especially from the point of view of the employer.

Samantha: Can you share those with us?

Stacy: Of Course. The first one we’ve already touched upon somewhat, which is that the first impression is critical. You don’t always have a second chance to make a first impression. What we are really talking about here is employer branding.

Samantha: Is that anything like personal branding?

Stacy: It’s very much like personal branding, which means that it’s all about the experience provided. Employers must provide a great experience for candidates. They must put “their best foot forward,” especially during the hiring process, and specifically during the interview stage of the hiring process. Just like with dating, an employer should want to create a “spark” with a candidate.

And once an employer creates a “spark” with a candidate, it should work hard to keep that candidate “on the hook.”

Samantha: Now what does that mean?

Stacy: Basically, one date is only one date. Even if you impress a person on the first date, you have to keep impressing them. You can’t just stop. It’s the same for employers. Even if an employer has made a good first impression, they have to keep making a good impression with subsequent encounters. Employer branding is not a “one and done” affair. You have to keep the good feelings going.

Part of doing that is showing respect.

Samantha: In what ways should an employer show respect toward candidates?

Stacy: What some employers don’t understand is that candidates are closely watching how they act and what they do during the hiring process. That’s because candidates believe that how they’re treated during the hiring process is how they’ll be treated if they’re hired and become an employee. So if they feel like they’re not treated with respect during the hiring process . . .Just like in dating, how the person behaves when you are dating them is likely how they will act if you marry them.

Samantha: From the candidate perspective, they believe they won’t be treated with respect once they become an employee.

Stacy: Exactly! And there are two main things that an employer must respect when it comes to candidates. First, an employer must respect candidates’ time. After all, these are most likely passive candidates who are already employed. That means they have to take time off work to interview. So employers should not be scheduling all-day interviews or holding three or four rounds of interviews. They should also not schedule and then reschedule interviews. This wastes people’s time and is disrespectful. I understand emergencies happen but we see some employers that will schedule interviews and then reschedule, sometimes multiple times. This is a real turn off for candidates. We have seen candidates drop out of the process for this reason.

The second thing that an employer should respect is the confidentiality of the candidates’ involvement in the interview and hiring process. As I just mentioned, these candidates are likely to be gainfully employed, and the last thing they want is for their employers to find out that they’re interviewing with another organization.

Samantha: That makes sense. What else do you have in terms of a dating analogy?

Stacy: Employers should not just hire for “looks.” What I mean by that is you should not hire in a superficial way. Even if a candidate looks good in terms of skills and experience, you also have to take into account the intangibles, such as the candidate’s character and their core values. For example, you could date a very attractive person. Then you could marry that person, but let’s say you eventually discover that they’re negative, lazy, and combative. What good are the person’s looks at that point?

In the same way, what if an employer hires a candidate who has all the skills and experience, but that candidate has a poor attitude and does not work well with others? If you hire that person, it could very well be a mistake.

Samantha: Let’s say that you do marry a person, or in this case, you hire them, and the person is the “complete package.” They have the skills and the experience and they also have good character and a solid set of core values. Does the analogy still apply?

Stacy: It certainly does. When you marry or hire someone, you don’t start to immediately ignore them. Or at the very least, you should not ignore them. You want to keep engaging them in a positive way, and that’s where the orientation and onboarding process enters the picture. An employer should strive to onboard their new hires effectively, and that includes continuing to make them feel wanted and providing them with a good experience.

Samantha: That’s sort of like the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship, isn’t it?

Stacy: That’s exactly right. However, there are some employers that do not approach it that way. Once the candidate accepts the offer of employment and starts work with the organization, the employer does not give the same level of attention. Now, I know it may not be impossible to maintain the same level of attention forever, but immediately after the hire is a critical part of the process. We have had candidates tell us they arrived at the new employer and felt neglected. That does not make the person feel welcome and the employer is opening themselves up to risk of not retaining this person.

The candidate wants to be assured that they made the correct decision. What they experience during the onboarding process should assure them of that, and remember, the onboarding process begins as soon as the candidate accepts the offer, not on their first day of work.

Samantha: So it’s the same as when a person gets married. They want to know they made the right decision.

Stacy: That’s right. A person’s choice of where they’re going to work and their choice of who they’re going to marry are two of the most important decisions they make during their life. And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to discuss this analogy today.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this episode, top candidates have a lot of suitors, especially in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. There are a lot of employers trying to “marry” these candidates, so to speak to use our analogy again. That’s why an organization needs every advantage it can get.

This is where an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can help. They have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help organizations attract, engage, hire, and retain the best candidates in the marketplace. There is no doubt that working with an experienced executive recruiter can give an employer a strategic advantage in this competitive job marketplace. And as I said, this might be the most competitive job market for talent that I’ve seen in more than twenty years of being an executive recruiter.

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!