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Episode #127 – Animal Health and Veterinary Recruiters vs. Technology and Social Media

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #127 - Animal Health and Veterinary Recruiters vs. Technology and Social Media

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 improve their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about an interesting subject, which is how recruiters stack up against technology and social media when it comes to hiring. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Samantha: Stacy, when we say technology, what are we talking about specifically?

Stacy: Well, any form of technology, really, but especially those that apply to the employment marketplace and hiring. This includes the Internet, smartphones, job boards, social media, and even artificial intelligence.

Samantha: Yes, artificial intelligence has been all the rage during the past few years. I’ve heard it mentioned more and more in terms of hiring.

Stacy: Yes, it has. However, I want to talk about a pattern of events that has occurred during the last couple of decades that shows an interesting trend.

Samantha: What pattern is that?

Stacy: Well, I’m going to use artificial intelligence, or A.I., as a starting point. Ever since A.I. has been getting so much attention, there’s been some talk about how it’s eventually going to basically eliminate recruiters. There are those who believe that artificial intelligence will advance to the point that there will be no need for them and that employers can simply rely on A.I. to hire the candidates they want to hire.

Samantha: Wow, that sounds pretty serious.

Stacy: It does until you look at the pattern of events I mentioned earlier. I’ve been a recruiter for more than two decades, so I’ve had the opportunity to witness these events first-hand. The fact of the matter is that this is not the first time that people have predicted that something was going to replace recruiters or eliminate the need for them.

You have to remember: when the recruiting profession began, a lot of the technological tools we have today did not exist. There was a telephone, that was about it. Computers hadn’t even arrived on the scene yet, and when they did arrive on the scene, not everyone used them or could even afford them.

But then the Internet arrived. Today, we can’t barely imagine a world in which the Internet didn’t exist. So when it arrived on the scene, it had a huge impact. And it probably doesn’t surprise you that it convinced some people that the Internet was going to eventually replace recruiters.

Samantha: But it didn’t.

Stacy: That’s right, it didn’t. Recruiters continued to exist. Then, shortly after the introduction of the Internet, the big job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder arrived on the scene. Once again, some people announced that these job boards were going to eventually replace recruiters.

Samantha: But that didn’t happen, either.

Stacy: That didn’t happen, either. But wait, we’re not done yet! That’s because something else arrived after the job boards. That something was social media. Once again, people were blown away by the power and reach of social media and once again, some of them predicted that it would be the death of recruiters. As you might imagine, LinkedIn appeared to especially be a threat to recruiters.

Samantha: LinkedIn has been around for 15 years, but it hasn’t replaced recruiters.

Stacy: It has not. The recruiting profession is as strong as it’s ever been. Recruiters have not been replaced by the Internet, the big job boards, or social media. And they won’t be replaced by artificial intelligence.

Samantha: I would imagine it’s not a fluke or a coincidence why that’s the case. Are we going to discuss the reasons for it today?

Stacy: We are. And the reason that it’s not a fluke and it’s not a coincidence is that technology and social media do not provide the same value to employers that recruiters do. If technology and social media did provide the same value, then they would have a chance to replace recruiters. Realistically, they’d have to provide even more value. But that’s not the case, and that’s why we’re here.

Samantha: So what is the difference between the value that recruiters provide and the value that technology and social media provides?

Stacy: The difference can be boiled down to the difference between data and information and what you do with that data and information.

Samantha: What do you mean by that, exactly?

Stacy: Well, let’s start with the information that an Animal Health company or Veterinary practice would need in order to fill their job openings with the best people qualified. That information includes:

  • Who the top candidates are in the marketplace
  • Whether or not those candidates would be interested in the position
  • What it would take to convince those candidates to be interested in the position
  • What it would take to keep those candidates interested during the hiring process
  • What it would take close an employer’s top choice and successfully hire them


Of those pieces of information, which of them do you think could technology or social media provide for an employer?

Samantha: Maybe the first item on that list, the one about who the top candidates in the marketplace. I’m not so sure about the other ones, though.

Stacy: This is the difference that an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can make. An experienced recruiter has all of the information in that list, not just one or two items. Does social media know whether or not a professional would be interested in a certain position? Does artificial intelligence or other forms of technology know what it takes to keep candidates interested during the hiring process? I believe the answer to both of those questions is “No.”

However, a recruiter’s value does not stop just with the information that they possess?

Samantha: It doesn’t?

Stacy: No, the value that recruiters provide goes beyond that. It goes back to what I mentioned before about the difference between simply having information and what you do with that information. And this is where the value of a recruiter is clearly evident. It may sound like I’m oversimplifying, but I’m not. The biggest value that an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter provides is their ability to recruit. Now, our listeners might be saying to themselves, “Of course they recruit. That’s what they do.”

Samantha: But LinkedIn, the LinkedIn social media platform, it doesn’t recruit, right? Neither do other social media sites and neither do the big job boards.

Stacy: That’s exactly right. Now, when professionals create a profile on LinkedIn, they can be found on LinkedIn. But unless a candidate specifically indicates on their profile that they’re looking for another opportunity, you’re not going to know that they’re looking for another opportunity. And who would do that? No one in their right mind would do that, especially if they’re employed.

So what we have here is a situation where there is information, but it’s a low level of information. We have a candidate, but we don’t know if that candidate is actively looking for another position. If they’re not actively looking, would they be open to the idea of making a move? If they were open to the idea of making a move, what kind of opportunity would convince them to do so? And those are all questions that have to be answered before you even get the candidate into the hiring process!

Samantha: Wow, I’m starting to see the limitations that technology and social media have in terms of effective hiring.

Stacy: And as far as the big job boards are concerned, they’re only good at identifying those candidates who are actively looking for a job. Passive candidates are not actively looking at online job advertisements. So while a top passive candidate probably has a LinkedIn profile, they’re not participating in an active job search by using the big job boards. That is not the kind of value that is going to replace a recruiter. It’s certainly not the kind of value that’s going to eliminate the recruiting profession.

As you can see, the value is not on the data, but on what the recruiter can do with the data. Their job is to take the data, approach the candidate, consult with the candidate, and convince them to consider their client’s employment opportunity.

The act of recruiting is an extremely important component of the hiring process. That has always been the case, and it’s one of the reasons why the recruiting profession was started in the first place. There was a need for recruiting and for people who specialized in recruiting. By the way, I know plenty of good candidates who are not on social media including LinkedIn. I may be dating myself but I learned how to recruit before the Internet was readily available and these old fashioned recruiting skills are still some of the most important skills I use today and are highly relevant in today’s marketplace. Even though I incorporate social media into my recruiting strategy I don’t rely on it. Recruiters will always be in the people business. Knowing who the best people are, how to find them and how to convince them to enter a hiring process when they were not looking for a new position in the first place takes a high degree of persuasive skills and no job board or social media site will ever be able to replace that human to human interaction.

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!

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