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Episode #194 – Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career: Building Your Reputation

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #194 - Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career: Building Your Reputation

Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health 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 companies recruit 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 building your reputation as a way to help grow your Animal Health or Veterinary career. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I am glad to be here with you.

Julea: Stacy, why did you choose this as the topic for today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: A person’s reputation is extremely important in terms of growing their Animal Health or Veterinary career, and I don’t think enough professionals are aware of that. At the very least, I don’t think they pay enough attention to it. A person’s reputation is almost like a form of currency in the marketplace.

I have been an executive recruiter for more than 20 years, and I speak with professionals all the time, including while they are in the interviewing and hiring process. And that’s one of the things that I want to talk about today: how the way professionals behave during the hiring process can have a big impact on their job search, their current job, and even their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Julea: That sounds great! Where would you like to start Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start by pointing out that the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession are not huge, especially the Veterinary profession. It’s relatively limited in scope. It is not like Manufacturing or Engineering, which are much bigger. This is important because if you damage your reputation, then it can become magnified in a smaller profession like the Veterinary profession. You’ve probably heard of “The Six Degrees of Separation” or even “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” haven’t you?

Julea: I think so . . . but please refresh my memory.

Stacy: “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” is where an actor or actress was in a show with someone who was in a show with someone else who was in a show with someone else—all the way until a person starred in a movie or TV show with the actor Kevin Bacon.

Well, in the Veterinary profession, it’s more like “The Two Degrees of Separation.” That’s where you know someone who knows someone else. This becomes a problem when you do not manage your reputation properly. So it’s not like you can damage your professional reputation and then hide from the rest of the world or think that no one is going to find out about it other than the few people who witnessed it. In the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, that is not the case.

Julea: Stacy, is building and maintaining a good reputation related to personal branding?

Stacy: Yes, it is, and we’ve discussed personal branding many times on this podcast because it’s so important. In a sense, your reputation is the end result of your personal branding efforts. Everything that you do—or don’t do—to brand yourself creates your reputation in the workplace and the marketplace.

But I don’t want to talk about personal branding today. We’ve done that plenty in the past. If there are listeners in the audience who want to learn more about personal branding, I encourage them to read the many articles and listen to the podcast episodes on The VET Recruiter website that deal with that topic.

However, I would like to present some general guidelines and easy steps for building a positive reputation.

Julea: What are those?

Stacy: There are fundamental rules regarding human interaction that are universal and unbreakable. These rules dictate that people are attracted to certain types of people and they’re repelled by other types of people. And when I tell you these rules, you’ll agree that they’re both simple and logical. Here they are.

People are attracted to others who relieve pressure, reduce stress, and do not cause drama in their lives.

On the other hand, people are repelled by others who create pressure and stress and do cause drama in their lives.

Julea: Well, that certainly makes sense! Is it really that simple?

Stacy: In a general sense, absolutely. The experience that you should provide for other people should involve relieving pressure, reducing stress, and not causing drama. That’s the basis for building a good professional reputation. Take a moment to think about the people in your life who do all three of those things. I’d be willing to bet that not everyone in your life will make the cut.

Julea: No, they do not!

Stacy: And not everyone in my life makes the cut, too! And I’m talking from a professional standpoint. We all know that family can stress you out from time to time.

Now, relieving pressure, reducing stress, and not causing drama is what I like to call “addition by subtraction.” Basically, you’re building a positive reputation by not introducing or creating negative things. It’s similar to doctors and physicians who vow to “first do no harm” when dealing with medical patients. It’s a good idea to view your professional reputation in the same way. Strive to “do no harm” to your reputation first and foremost.

Julea: What’s the next step after that?

Stacy: If what we just talked about is “addition by subtraction,” then what’s next is “addition by addition.” That’s because there are two elements that professionals should add in order to build a positive reputation and grow their Animal Health or Veterinary career.

The first element is integrity. During my career as an executive recruiter, I have seen some people derail their career by NOT acting with integrity. And unfortunately, I still see some professionals not acting with integrity in their everyday professional life. If you want to build and maintain a good reputation, then you must act with integrity 100% of the time.

Julea: Stacy, what does that mean, exactly, to act with integrity 100% of the time?

Stacy: Well, I have some examples. They include:

  • Telling the absolute truth on your resume and not exaggerating
  • Doing what you say you are going to do
  • Showing up for a face-to-face interview when you have said that you will be there, including over Zoom
  • Telling the absolute truth during the interview
  • Telling the hiring manager that you are no longer interested in the position if that is the case instead of ghosting or disappearing from the interview process.
  • Letting a hiring manager know if you’ve already accepted an offer of employment from another organization
  • Showing up for work if you’ve accepted an offer of employment with an organization


Now, there might be some members of our listening audience who are thinking to themselves, “Well, of course you should do all of those things.”

But again, I can tell you from personal experience that some professionals have not done these things, and their careers have suffered in some ways as a result, even if they don’t know it is the case. In addition to these examples of what a person should do, I also have some examples of what they should NOT do. You should not:

  • Take credit for achievements that aren’t actually yours.
  • Assign blame to someone else for your shortcomings.
  • Say and do unprofessional or harmful things to co-workers.
  • Misrepresent results to management.
  • Basically, perpetuate any lie or deception that makes you look better at the expense of others.


So integrity is our first element, and it’s the most important one, too.

Julea: What’s the second element?

Stacy: The second element is nearly as important, and that element is trustworthiness. And in keeping with our theme of simplicity, there is a simple way to build trustworthiness with other people and build a positive reputation.

Julea: How’s that?

Stacy: The simple way to build trustworthiness is to do what you say you’re going to do.

Julea: That’s it?

Stacy: That’s it. And what some professionals don’t understand is that even if you say that you’re going to do something small and you don’t do it, then it can still damage your reputation. Two examples of this would be not getting back to people when they contact you and they expect you to get back to them and not following up with someone when you’ve told them that you would.

If you do this, then the other person is going to think that you’re absent minded or discourteous, at the very least, and that’s not the way you want to brand yourself.

Now if it happens more than once, then they’ll start to think that you’re unreliable. And I must say that in my experience, being branded as unreliable is NOT good for your career. That’s because unreliable is close to untrustworthy. Being someone who can be trusted is extremely important in the employment marketplace. Hiring managers want to hire people who they feel they can trust. If they think that you’re unreliable or untrustworthy, then they are not going to hire you.

Julea: Stacy, I imagine you have plenty of personal examples of this from your career as an executive recruiter, is that right?

Stacy: Yes. Unfortunately, and I have an example of this. One time, I reached out to a professional about an opportunity, and he said he would send his resume and call at 5 o’clock in the evening. Well, he did not send his resume, and by 7 o’clock he had still not called. So he said he was going to do two things—send his resume and call by a certain time—and he did neither one of those things.

As a result, he lost some credibility with me. That’s not the way to start a relationship with a recruiter. Actually, that’s not the way to start a relationship with anyone. I have another example at the end of the hiring process that’s actually much worse.

Julea: You do? This should be a good story.

Stacy: Stacy: Yes, although I have to admit that this story was not one that happened to me personally. A friend of mine who is also a recruiter told me the story, which happened to them. My friend the recruiter placed a candidate in a position with one of his clients. That candidate’s first day of work was scheduled to be on a Monday.

Monday came and went, but the candidate did not show up for work to start her new position. Of course, the recruiter’s client let them know about the situation. So the recruiter called the candidate to check on her whereabouts, but the candidate did not answer. My recruiter friend became worried, wondering if something had happened to the candidate. Perhaps she had been in an automobile accident. Maybe there had been a family emergency or tragedy.

Julea: So what happened?

Another day passed and the recruiter continued to call, but the candidate still did not answer her phone. It got to the point that the recruiter was considering contacting the police and filing a missing person’s report.

The recruiter had the phone number of the candidate’s father, so he called and expressed his concern. The candidate’s father said that he had seen his daughter twice lately, including during a Father’s Day brunch two days previously. As the recruiter hung up the phone, he was even more perplexed. So what happened next?

Ten minutes later, the candidate called the recruiter.

Julea: What happened Stacy? Was there an emergency?

Stacy: Absolutely not. What happened was that the candidate had received another offer of employment after accepting the offer extended by the recruiter’s client. The candidate decided the second offer was better, accepted it, and then started employment with that organization.

Julea: Wow! It’s amazing that someone would do that.

Stacy: I know, but she did. And this is not an isolated incident. This is why it is so important to act with integrity and to do what you say you are going to do.

I’ve known people who liked to say they were trustworthy, but in actuality, they really weren’t. It’s not enough to just say that you’re trustworthy. Anyone can do that. You have to back up those words with actions that really prove that you’re trustworthy. My mother always said to me, “Don’t listen to what people say, but watch what they do.” I have found out during my life and during my career as an executive recruiter that she was absolutely right about that.

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

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to say that perception is reality. What people perceive about you is the reality of what they think about you. If their perception of you doesn’t line up with the reality of who you are and what you think your reputation should be, the onus for changing that falls on you and not on the other person.

If you want to build and maintain a positive reputation and grow your Animal Health or Veterinary career, then you must take ownership of it and do the things that are necessary. A positive reputation is an important factor in professional success, and it should not be taken lightly or dismissed. I’ve seen what has happened when people have done that.

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

Stacy: My pleasure Julea. I want to ad for those listeners who are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite you to visit our website at We hot job opportunities available on our site, and new ones are posted on a regular basis.

Julea: Yes, and for those employers and hiring managers who are in our listening audience today, if you have hiring needs reach out to Stacy through The VET Recruiter website which is once again Stacy is a Animal Health and Veterinary workforce and workplace expert. She is both an Animal Health key opinion leader when it comes to hiring and a Veterinary Industry key opinion leader on hiring.

Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

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

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