Episode #160 – Bonus Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring Tips for Employers

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #160 - Bonus Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring Tips for Employers
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter and veterinary 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 that increases their bottom line, 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 bonus Animal Health and Veterinary hiring tips for employers. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you and to talk about these important topics and to help Animal Health and Veterinary professionals with their career. I just returned from one of the largest veterinary conferences in Orlando, Florida.

Julea: How did the conference go Stacy?

Stacy: It went great Julea. We had more than 1,000 people who we talked with at our booth and made a lot of good connections.  We already have some of the people we met at the show going through interview processes with our clients.  In fact just this morning I scheduled an interview with a veterinarian who came to our booth at the conference. In addition, we landed some new clients and have new jobs to fill. There was a great deal of energy at the conference and it was a good way to start off the year. There is so much happening in the Animal Health Industry and the Veterinary Profession.  Some challenging things but also lots of good stuff.

Julea: That is great Stacy and I’m glad the show was productive and that you are back.  Let’s get things started.

Stacy, we’ve talked previously about the right way to hire on this podcast. What’s different about today’s episode? You mentioned you have some bonus tips for our listening audience.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right Julea. With today’s episode, I’m going to explore some Animal Health and Veterinary hiring tips that we haven’t discussed before. These are things that employers can do that go beyond the basics. I think this is important because of the type of job market that we currently find ourselves in. Unemployment is low, and top talent is scarce. In the veterinary profession the job market is especially tight. Because of that, employers have to sometimes go above and beyond to find and hire the people they want to hire.

Julea: That sounds great. What’s our first tip Stacy?

Stacy: Our first tip is interviewing a candidate without first seeing a resume.

Julea: Tell us about this Stacy. Is this common for an employer to interview job seekers without seeing a resume first?

Stacy: Well, let me stop you there for a second. The reason is because of your use of the phrase “job seekers.” When an employer interviews someone and that someone doesn’t have a resume, it’s because they’re not a job seeker, but a passive candidate. An active job seeker probably already sent their resume to the employer in advance of the interview. They might even have filled out an online job application, too. So when I talk about interviewing a candidate without a resume, I’m talking about interviewing a passive candidate. More than likely, this passive candidate is one of the top passive candidates in the marketplace meaning they weren’t actively looking for a job when they were contacted about the job opportunity.

Julea: It still seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Interviewing someone for a job without them having a resume or handing over a resume?

Stacy: It may seem that way to some, but there are special circumstances involved in the marketplace. For example, the National Unemployment Rate is historically low. It was 3.5% at the end of December.

Julea: And the unemployment rate is even lower in the Veterinary profession, isn’t that true?

Stacy: Yes, it is true and we’ve also talked about that before. The unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession has been hovering around 1% to 1.5% for the past two years. It has even dropped below 1% in the past 18 months. What does that mean for employers, specifically? It means that 99% of veterinarians have a job and most of the 99% are not looking for a new job.  If they are gainfully employed and highly regarded by their current employer and relatively happy they are likely content with what they are doing and not looking for a new job.

Julea: Wow, that’s a pretty sobering thought.

Stacy: It is, and it also means some other things, all of which support the notion that it’s okay for Animal Health and Veterinary employers to interview candidates who do not have a resume.

Julea: What are those things you are referring to Stacy?

Stacy: First of all Julea, if you’re an employer and you have a job opening, those veterinarians who are part of the 99% who already have a job are probably not even aware of the opening.

Julea: And why is that?

Stacy: Because they’re not looking for it. They’re not looking for any job, actually. And the reason like I mentioned before is their employer is keeping them busy and relatively satisfied in their current position. At the least, the organization is keeping them satisfied enough to not want a job elsewhere.

Second, these individuals, in this case, veterinarians must be presented with a great employment opportunity for them to even consider it. Often times, the person who does that is an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter. And it’s important to note that just because an individual finds out about an opportunity does not mean they will automatically be interested in it. Whoever presents the opportunity to the individual must also generate interest in the opportunity and convince the person to join the hiring process.

Julea: Stacy, hold on for a second. But what if the candidate is interested in the position and they do decide to enter the hiring process? Doesn’t that means they’re applying for the position?

Stacy: That is a great question. However, it does not mean the candidate is applying for the position, even if they agree to enter an Animal Health or Veterinary hiring process. This is a critical distinction and a very important one. When a passive candidate enters the hiring process, they have NOT made the decision to leave their current employer in any way, shape, or form. If a hiring manager or practice owner assumes this is the case, then they’re making a mistake.

Julea: Stacy, I’m going to make a mental leap, but are you saying that since these passive candidates are not officially applying for the position and they haven’t made the decision to leave their current employer, that’s why they don’t have their resume ready?

Stacy: That’s exactly right. You made the correct conclusion. Active job seekers usually have their resume 100% updated and ready to go. But top passive candidates are not active job seekers. They are not conducting a job search and they absolutely have not made the decision to leave their current employer. I have talked with numerous people over the years especially veterinarians who tell me they have not updated a resume in 20 years.

Julea: But they are interested in the opportunity, at least somewhat?

Stacy: Yes, they are interested, but only to a certain point. The employer’s job is to keep the candidate interested and make them even more interested. And it shouldn’t matter if they have a resume or not if they are a good candidate. It’s risky to stop the entire process and ask the candidate for their resume. We could be waiting two weeks. I’ve seen that numerous times. If they don’t have a resume ready, because they were not looking for a job, they’re not going to take the time to put one together. And do you know why that is?

Julea: Because they’re interested in the opportunity, but not totally sold on it.

Stacy: That’s right! They’re interested, up to a point, but they’re not totally sold on it. So that means it’s the hiring manager or in this case, veterinary practice owner’s job to sell them completely. If you’re an employer and you haven’t sold a top passive candidate completely on your opportunity and they don’t have a resume ready to give you, don’t ask for the resume until you know that you’ve sold them. Asking them could delay the process and in some cases can turn the person off. I’ve seen this myself. I have spoken with veterinarians who were not looking for a position but were willing to interview but were not willing to take the time to put a resume together.

The #1 reason why you should interview a candidate without a resume is because if you don’t, then you could miss out on the chance to hire a qualified candidate, possibly a top candidate. And you’re going to miss out on the candidate because you’re placing a greater emphasis on protocol over hiring priorities.

Julea: Stacy, what do you mean by that?

Stacy: The top hiring priority for any organization should be to hire the best candidates in the marketplace for its open positions. What if, as an employer, you have the opportunity to interview that candidate? Are you going to refuse to interview them if you don’t have a resume in hand first?

If you refuse to interview the candidate, what you’re essentially saying is that the candidate needs you more than you need the candidate. In this current  job market, that is simply not the case in the vast majority of cases. Top candidates, especially those in the Veterinary profession, do not need other employers more than those employers need them. This is one of the realities of the current marketplace.

Julea: Stacy, I imagine that you’ve told hiring managers and internal recruiters not to demand a resume from candidates that you’ve presented to them, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right. And there’s a rule I like to use that applies to this situation. That rule is this: if you want someone to do something, then make it easy for them to do it. If you want a candidate to be interested in your job, then make it easy for them to be interested in your job. If you make it difficult—by demanding they produce a resume, for example—then they’re less likely to be interested.

Julea: What’s our second Animal Health and Veterinary hiring tip for today?

Stacy: Our second tip is to find out what superiors thought of candidates in their previous positions and roles. Now, of course, candidates provide references, but those references don’t always include people who were their bosses or managers at previous employers. They may just be a co-worker or someone else who worked for them, but not someone to whom the candidate reported.

When you’re able to find out what their bosses or managers think of the candidate, you’ll get a better picture of what kind of candidate and potential employee they’ll really be. That’s because their boss or manager has a good idea of the value the person offers, and a potential employer needs to know what kind of value that person offers. If you’re serious about a candidate, you should try to obtain copies of performance reviews from previous jobs that they’ve held.

Julea: Is that because the person’s boss or manager was the one who conducted the performance review?

Stacy: That’s right.

Julea: So how do you get those reviews?

Stacy: You ask the candidate for them. If they’re a great candidate, then they should have no problem providing you with copies. Keep in mind, though, this is late in the hiring process. As an employer, you should have already effectively engaged them and “sold” them on both the position and your organization. They have to be “on the hook,” so to speak. If they’re only halfway interested, then you run the risk of them not providing their past performance reviews.

But once you have these reviews and if they confirm what you already suspect about the candidate, then you can make an offer of employment with confidence, knowing you made the right selection.

Julea: What’s another bonus hiring tip?

Stacy: Our second tip is to make sure that the candidate can articulate the value they plan to bring to your Animal Health organization or Veterinary practice. As I mentioned a moment ago and as we’ve discussed previously on the podcast, everything revolves around value in the employment marketplace. That’s why employers hire people in the first place.

It doesn’t matter if a candidate has all the technical skills, all the soft skills, and all the experience. If they don’t know the value that they offer to your organization and that they’ll provide once they become an employee, then there’s a problem. There’s nothing wrong with asking a candidate point-blank, “What value will you bring to our organization if we hire you?” In fact, all employers should ask that question. It’s one of the most important questions hiring managers and practice owners can ask.

One of the reasons it’s so important is that it indicates the candidate is thinking about more than just themselves. They’re thinking about more than what they’re going to receive if they become an employee. In this current job market, there are some candidates who are only thinking about themselves. That’s to be expected, since it’s a candidates’ job market and they’re sitting in the driver’s seat. But when you find a top candidate who is thinking first about the value they can offer to your organization, that’s a candidate definitely worth hiring.

Julea: Stacy, what’s our next Animal Health and Veterinary hiring tip for today?

Stacy: Our next tip is to interact with candidates in a social setting. This can be as easy as inviting them to lunch during the interview. It could also be dinner after the interview.

Julea: Why is it important to interact with candidates socially?

Stacy: When you interview a candidate in the office, they’re on their best behavior. They’re consciously presenting themselves in the best light possible, or they should be, at the very least. In a social setting, they’re more likely to let their guard down. Not that you’re trying to trick them or anything, but this is a chance to see more of their personality. You can find out more about them and what “makes them tick,” so to speak, and this information has many applications.

A key application is how the candidate is going to fit into the culture of the organization. Interacting with them in a social setting is a great way to figure out if they’ll fit and how well they’ll fit. Employers should strive to hire the complete package, if they can, and that includes cultural fit.

Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Is there anything else that you’d like to add today?

Stacy: Yes, there are a couple of things. I’ve said this before on the show, but employers can not treat active job seekers and passive candidates the same, especially if those employers are working with a recruiter. An organization’s top priority should be to hire the best candidates possible for its open positions. Protocol should be a secondary consideration. I know it might sound counterintuitive to some people, but as I mentioned, it’s the reality of the marketplace.  The focus should be on the result not as much the process. You have to be flexible and nimble.

Second, hiring well is NOT easy, especially in this job market. You just can’t throw up some online job postings on job boards and think that you’re going to be flooded with qualified candidates. Successful Animal Health and Veterinary hiring requires effort. It requires an investment of time, energy, and resources. If an employer is not willing to put forth the effort necessary to hire top talent, then that employer is not going to be successful in hiring that talent.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information about Animal Health and Veterinary hiring tips.

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Julea, and thank you. It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode!

Julea: That’s all for tuning into today’s show of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider. For Stacy Pursell and everyone at The VET Recruiter, thank for your listening and we welcome you to join us next time when we address more employment issues in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. We hope that you’ll join us then!