Episode #176 – What the COVID-19 Pandemic Has NOT Changed About the Marketplace, Part 1

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #176 - What the COVID-19 Pandemic Has NOT Changed About the Marketplace, Part 1
/

Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health thought leader and executive recruiter, Stacy Pursell 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 find and 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 what the COVID-19 pandemic has NOT changed about the marketplace. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I am glad to be here. How have you been Julea?

Julea: I am doing well Stacy. I am glad to be back in the recording studio with you again this week. Stacy, can you shed some light on the thought process behind today’s topic and why you chose to discuss it?

Stacy: Absolutely Julea. Most everyone, unless they have been living under a rock, knows that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on just about every aspect of life, including the employment marketplace. However, it would be inaccurate to believe that it’s changed everything. And that’s why I wanted to start a series of podcasts discussing the things that it has not changed.

Julea: So where would you like to start with this Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start with professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, whether they’re seeking new employment opportunities or not. Now, I will admit that one thing that has changed during the past few months is that it is no longer a candidate-driven market. Candidates no longer have as much leverage that they had prior to the pandemic. However, many of the things they need to do to be successful have remained the same.

Julea: And is that why we have been discussing Napoleon Hill this past few weeks, isn’t it Stacy?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely! With Napoleon Hill, we were talking in more general terms. Today, we’re going to discuss what hasn’t changed for professionals. Specifically, we are going to talk about how specifically animal health and veterinary professionals should focus on the value they bring to their employer and how they brand themselves on a daily basis. These are things that have not changed since the beginning of the year. And considering the state of the economy and the marketplace, a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession should certainly want to brand themselves as someone who can provide value and impact the bottom line of an employer. And I would like to take a moment to discuss a simple way that professionals can both brand themselves the correct way and also contribute to the bottom line of their employer.

Julea: What way is that Stacy?

Stacy: That way involves time management. Specifically, it involves improving your time management skills within the professional setting.

Julea: But Stacy, that seems rather elementary, doesn’t it? I mean, people have probably heard about the importance of time management before.

Stacy: Yes, I’m sure the members of our listening audience have heard all about the importance of time management. However, I’m not sure they’ve heard the reasons that I’m about to give today.

Julea: Tell us more Stacy.

Stacy: How you manage your time affects everything else in your life, and this includes in your professional life. One of the reasons for this is, obviously, your time management skills affects how much work you get done. And how much work you’re able to get done—or your “bandwidth,” as it’s sometimes called—is one of the ways in which you brand yourself.

Julea: You mean that you brand yourself as someone who is either able to get a lot of work done or is not able to get a lot of work done. Or, as someone who gets an okay amount of work done during a given period of time?

Stacy: That’s right, and of course, productivity is tied directly to an employer’s bottom line, or its profitability. If an employee is able to get a tremendous amount of work done, most of the time that high level of productivity translates into more profitability for the employer. Not all of the time, but most of the time.

So when you brand yourself as someone who is highly productive, you’re probably also branding yourself as someone who is highly profitable to have on the payroll. And while that’s a great place to start, it’s only just the beginning.

Julea: What do you mean by that?

Stacy: Basically, how you manage your time brands you in a number of different ways. We just discussed one of those ways, which is productivity. Another way is whether or not you’re able to show up on time for appointments and meetings. I know that may sound simple, but it also falls into the category of time management. If you consistently show up late for appointments, then it sends the message to other people that you’re disorganized.

Julea: And when you say “sends the message,” what you mean is that you’re branding yourself as someone who is disorganized, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right. And there’s a related aspect to this, and that’s when a person doesn’t finish tasks or projects on time. Now, it is true that some people are just able to go faster than other people. However, when a person consistently is not able to finish tasks on time, the main culprit is often poor time management skills.

So, if you’re a professional in the employment marketplace and you have a problem showing up on time for appointments and meetings and you also have a problem with finishing tasks and projects on time, then you really have another, bigger problem.

Julea: Can you elaborate on that?

Stacy: I certainly can. First, you’re doing something that’s called “overpromising and underdelivering,” which is pretty much just what it sounds like. It means that you’re in the habit of promising too much and not delivering enough. As you might imagine, that’s not the way you want to brand yourself. People who do this are typically not those who are hired or receive regular promotions.

Worse than that, though, you’re branding yourself as a person who is unreliable. That is one of the worst ways that you can brand yourself.

Julea: Why is that?

Stacy: Because when you brand yourself as unreliable, what you’re really doing is branding yourself as untrustworthy. And it makes sense that an organization is not going to hire a person if the hiring manager believes that the person is unreliable or untrustworthy. The same goes for giving an employee a raise and/or a promotion.

Julea: That certainly makes sense. But some professionals don’t view time management in those terms, do they?

Stacy: They do not, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to discuss this topic on today’s podcast episode.

Another reason I wanted to discuss this is that time management is a soft skill employers really want, and they want it all the time, regardless of the type of market we’re in. These are different than hard skills, which are technical skills.

Soft skills, of course, refer to skills that involve the way you interact with other people, specifically your boss and co-workers. These are also referred to in other ways, one of which is “people skills.” I’m sure those in our listening audience have heard that phrase before.

And there’s another aspect of time management that people often don’t notice.

Julea: What’s that?

Stacy: When you’re an employee of an organization, you’re not really managing your own time. What you’re really managing is your employer’s time. Basically, what the employer has done by hiring you is given you an amount of time to put to good use. They’ve actually done more than that. They’ve given you an amount of time, and they’ve also given you an amount of money as an investment for what they believe you’ll do with that time.

So if you waste your time as an employee or if you manage it poorly, then you’re actually wasting your employer’s time. You can see how important time management actually is. First, there’s the issue of personal branding. Second, there’s the issue of providing a return on the investment that your employer has made in you as an employee.

Julea: And that’s really how an organization views an employee, right as an investment? And the organization wants to receive a return on the investment it made in the employee?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. A few years ago, I wrote an article titled, “The 3 Main Reasons an Employer Would Want to Hire You.” In that article, I stated there are three main reasons why a hiring official would make an offer of employment to someone:

  1. They believe the person is going to make money for the organization.
  2. They believe the person is going to save money for the organization.
  3. They believe the person is going to both make money for the organization and save money.

As you can see, the reason that an employer would hire someone is that organization’s bottom line. And when I say bottom line, I mean its financial bottom line. That is, after all, why the organization is in business: to make a profit, if they are not a non-profit organization. So it makes sense that when it wants to hire new employees, the focus is on hiring job candidates who will help it make a profit. Or more of a profit than it already makes.

Julea: Stacy, what if someone is exploring other employment opportunities. Should they also focus on the value that they can offer to other employers?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely! And the candidate should focus on that all throughout the interviewing and hiring process. In fact, the moment that the candidate makes the decision to pursue the opportunity, they should start thinking about the value they can offer to the bottom line of the organization.

Julea: Really? The moment they make that decision?

Stacy: Yes, because it’s that approach that will help the candidate the most in their pursuit of the opportunity. The candidate should conduct research prior to the phone screen and before the face-to-face interview.

Julea: What kind of research?

Stacy: For one, the candidate should research the organization’s bottom line, all the ways that it makes money and makes a profit. Then, they should research how the position that they’re pursuing impacts the organization’s bottom line. But it doesn’t stop there.

Julea: It doesn’t? What else should the candidate do?

Stacy: The candidate should also take stock of all their skills, both technical skills and soft skills, and their experience. Then, they should plug all of that into the position and formulate how the skills and experience they bring to the position will provide value for the employer and impact its bottom line in a positive way.

Julea: So if you manage your time well, provide value, and impact your employer’s bottom line, that will bode well for you when you explore other Animal Health and Veterinary employment opportunities?

Stacy: Yes, as a job candidate being considered an employment opportunity, you must draw a line from what you “bring to the table” to what the organization will gain if it hires you. As a job seeker or candidate, that’s what you want the employer to do, draw that line between your value and how it benefits them.

Julea: But won’t the hiring manager do that, anyway?

Stacy: Even if they do, it’s in the best interests of a job candidate for them to do it more quickly. Basically, you want the employer to recognize the value that you offer as quickly as possible. That’s why I’m emphasizing and focusing on it so much. You want the employer to see you as the best candidate for the position as quickly as possible. That gives you an edge during the hiring process, and it gives you an edge in two ways.

Julea: What two ways are those Stacy?

Stacy: First, it gives you an edge over other candidates. You must remember, of course, that there is competition for most every job opening in the marketplace, no matter how low the unemployment rate is. This is especially the case for the best jobs in the market. Everyone wants to work for the best employers and in the best jobs, and that creates competition. If you’re a job candidate for a position, and the hiring manager sees you as the best person for the position before they see anyone else in that light, it gives you an edge.

It also gives you an edge over the employer, and let me explain what I mean by that. As I just mentioned, when you’re a candidate and you prove that you have value to offer early in the hiring process, you position yourself as the best candidate for the job. When you position yourself as the best candidate for the job, it’s now incumbent upon the employer to articulate what kind of value it can provide for you, if it hasn’t already done so.

Julea: Stacy, what’s the bottom line with all of this?

Stacy: If you’re a job seeker or candidate in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, then you have to focus first and foremost on the value that you provide to your current employer. That’s how you foster job security and success. And if you’re exploring other jobs, you should focus on what you can offer to a new employer and how that value will impact the employer’s bottom line in a positive ways.

Everything boils down to value. You can’t escape from that fact. Nothing can change that, even a pandemic. In fact, the value that a person provides as an employee or a job candidate has only become more important since the pandemic started. And as we’ve discussed, that value is closely tied to time. You must make the best use of the time that your employer gives to you. They’re looking for a return on that investment, so you must provide that for them.

Julea: Stacy, this is all great information about the bottom line when it comes to Animal Health and Veterinary employment. We’re just about out of time for today. Is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s episode?

Stacy: Yes, I want to add one more thing. We have already said this, but I want to mention it again: organizations are in in business to make a profit, and at no time has that been more important than it is right now. They’re not in business to simply offer you a job.

The employer has be profitable or it cannot stay in business. That’s the reality of the marketplace. You want your employer to be profitable so that you have a job and so your employer can continue to offer the products and services that it offers to its customers. And of course, the better that you manage your time, the more productive you will be as an employee, the more profitable you will be, and the more valuable you will be to your employer.

Julea: Thank you, Stacy, and thank you so much for all of this great information.

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

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