Episode #131 – Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring for Culture Fit or Values Fit

Angela: 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 organizations 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 Animal Health and Veterinary hiring for culture fit or values fit. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Angela. I’m glad to be here today.

Angela: Stacy, I know that we’ve mentioned culture fit before on our podcast, but we haven’t used the phrase “values fit.” Is there a difference between the two phrases?

Stacy: For all intents and purposes, there is not. But the idea of hiring for a cultural fit has evolved over the past couple of years.

Angela: How is that?

Stacy: Well, that is a good question Angela and I believe it began as a well-intentioned idea. Hiring for cultural fit meant hiring someone who fit into an organization’s culture well. After all, you don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t fit into the culture. That’s because they won’t like it, and eventually, they’ll want to leave.

However, in recent months and years, the term “cultural fit” has sometimes taken on a negative connotation.

Angela: Really? Why?

Stacy: These days, the phrase “cultural fit” means to hire people who are more like the people who already work for the organization doing the hiring. For example, hiring candidates who work or think like current employees, or to be even more specific, who like the same work environment. That type of thinking is now thought be biased and not open-minded enough if an employer is genuinely interested in hiring diversity.

Angela: So, say someone involved in the hiring process didn’t like a candidate for some reason or another. They could just say that the reason the candidate should not be hired is because they wouldn’t be a good cultural fit. Is that right?

Stacy: Yes, that’s the thought process behind this trend toward downplaying cultural fit. In fact, some organizations don’t even want their employees to use the word at all.

Angela: Is that where “values fit” enters the picture?

Stacy: That’s exactly where the values fit enters the picture. For instance, Facebook now uses the phrase “values fit” for its hiring process, and other employers are taking its lead. Instead of thinking in terms of culture, employers are now thinking in terms of values. There’s also another phrase being used right now, and that phrase is “culture add.”

Angela: How does that phrase fit into the picture?

Stacy: The idea behind “culture add” is that you want to hire someone who is going to add something to the company culture in a positive way, something that perhaps wasn’t there before. You see, the problem that some people have with “culture fit” or “cultural fit” is there is no suggestion that anything positive will be added, only that the person will “fit in” to the existing culture. With “culture add,” it’s being inferred that an organization will hire a person who will not only not disrupt the existing culture, but they will also bring some new aspect to the culture that will benefit the organization.

Angela: Stacy, can you recap all of this for us? This seems like a lot there you just said.

Stacy: I certainly can. First, the phrase “cultural fit” is being dropped. Second, phrases such as “values fit” or “cultural add” are being used instead. When you put all of that together, it looks something like this:

Employers are no longer looking to hire people who will fit into the existing company culture. Instead, they’re looking to hire people who have the same values as the organization or who value the same things. But that’s only half of it. Not only do they want to hire people who have the same values, but they also want to hire people who can add new and positive elements to the existing culture. So basically, you’re looking at an emphasis on “values fit” with a “culture add.”

Angela: Okay, that makes sense. It’s not as though culture is actually being de-emphasized, though, is it? It just seems like it’s being emphasized in a new way, a way that also emphasizes diversity and values at the same time.

Stacy: Yes, that’s a good way of stating it. However, despite all of these changes in terms of the phrases and words being used, the overriding goal for employers is the same as it’s ever been.

Angela: What’s that?

Stacy: The overriding goal is to identify, hire, and retain the best candidates in the employment marketplace. It doesn’t matter if you call it “cultural fit” or “values fit” or “culture add.” The objective is pretty much the same. Hiring managers for animal health companies and veterinary practice owners should not get hung up on wording or nomenclature. Simply changing words and letters is not going to help you automatically experience hiring success. There is so much more involved with the process, and employers must recognize that.

Angela: Stacy, can you break that down for us? This is good information.

Stacy: Yes, I would love to, but it really just boils down to two things: recruiting and retention. An employer must be proficient in both of these areas. If not, then all the word changing and different phrases won’t mean anything. You still won’t hire the candidates you want to hire and you still won’t keep the employees you want to keep. And with that in mind, I want to touch upon a few of the important aspects of this whole process. These aspects are broken into two categories.

Angela: Which categories are those?

Stacy: The categories are before the hire and after the hire. That’s because what an employer does before the hire is crucial to the actual hiring of the candidate, and what the employer does after the hire is crucial to the retention of that same candidate as an employee.

First, there’s employer branding, which we’ve discussed before. Employer branding is closely linked to the candidate experience during the interviewing and hiring process. What candidates think of your Animal Health Company or Veterinary practice is your employer brand. That brand is formed, in part, by the experience candidates have with your organization during the hiring process.

If candidates have a poor experience with a potential employer, then they’re going to brand that employer poorly in their minds. Remember, the person doing the branding in this situation is the one who is having the experience. If an organization wants to have a good employer brand, then its hiring officials must put an emphasis on providing a great experience to job seekers and candidates. And I’m not just talking about the top candidates, although this especially applies to them. I’m talking about ALL candidates who come into contact with the organization. As we all know in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession it is a small world and it seems everyone knows everyone.

As an employer, when you provide a great experience and you brand yourself in the proper way, then you’re one step closer to hiring the candidates you want to hire. But even if you hire them, that’s just one half of the process.

Angela: Why is that Stacy?

Stacy: Because the other half is the retention of those candidates, and that starts with the second category, which involves what the employer does after the hire. Picture this for a minute. A candidate goes through the hiring process with a potential new employer and they love what they experience. They love everything about the Animal Health job or Veterinary job, and they love everything about the employer. As a result, they’re really excited about joining the organization and starting work.

However, once they do start work, they realize that the reality of working for the organization is much different than their idea of what it would be like. Perhaps the job description is actually different than what they expected. Maybe they’re not afforded as much flexibility as they were promised. Perhaps their manager or supervisor is a problem, and they did not expect that to be the case.

Whatever it might be, whatever the candidate is expecting before they accept an organization’s offer of employment, it must match what they experience after they accept the offer. If those two do not match, then it dramatically increases the chances that the employer is not going to be able to retain the person it just hired.

And this is why, when you think about it, the recruiting process never stops.

Angela: What do you mean by that?

Stacy: I mean that once you hire a new employee, you must continue to recruit that employee. You’re still recruiting them to work for your organization, but in this case, you’re recruiting them to keep working for it, not start working for it. However, one is not more important than the other. As a I mentioned earlier, it really does boil down to two things: recruiting and retention. And if you want to go even further, you can boil it down to just one thing: recruiting. Either you’re recruiting someone to start working for you, or you’re recruiting them to keep working for you. Does that make sense?

Angela: Yes, Stacy, that makes a lot of sense. As always, thank you so much for joining us today and providing all of this great information.

Stacy: It has been my pleasure Angela. I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health Employment Insider!

Angela: And for those listeners who want to change their current employment situation and are interested in exploring other Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, we invite you to visit The VET Recruiter website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. The VET Recruiter has numerous jobs available both in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession, with new jobs being posted all the time. We are your resource for topics that are job, employment, hiring and career related in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession.

Have a great day everyone! We look forward to seeing you next time.