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 of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies 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 discussing pro tips for better Animal Health hiring and retention. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you. Happy New Year! We are now on our way into 2021.
Julea: Yes, many people are thankful about that! So, Stacy, last week we talked about how Animal Health and Veterinary employers can enjoy more success in 2021. Is today’s podcast episode an off-shoot of that or a continuation of that?
Stacy: Yes, I think you could say that. Last week, we addressed this topic in a broad way, and this week we’re going to drill down a little bit and deal with some of the specifics involved. As we’ve discussed on previous occasions, even though we’re in a pandemic and quite possibly in a recession, that does not mean that Animal Health or Veterinary hiring has gotten any easier. I know that some Animal Health hiring managers and veterinary practice owners may not want to hear this, but it’s just as difficult now as it was before. It’s especially difficult to hire in the Veterinary profession right now as many in our listening audience know.
Julea: I also noticed that we’ll be talking about retention today, as well, and not just hiring. I imagine you have a reason for including both?
Stacy: Absolutely! As an employer, retaining your best employees is just as important as hiring the best job candidates in the marketplace. In fact, I think the case can be made that retention is even more important, because what is the point of hiring the best candidates if you can’t retain them on a long-term basis as employees?
Julea: That’s a great point. I can see why retention is so important. Where would you like to start today, Stacy?
Stacy: Well, I think everyone would agree that every employer would like to have a more dynamic and impactful workforce this year than they had last year. And I think everyone would also agree that we’re in much different place and different situation at the beginning of this year than we were at the beginning of last year.
Julea: Yes, I would say that is absolutely the case!
Stacy: For many employers, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on their business in one way or another, and for some employers, it has been in multiple ways. However, Animal Health and Veterinary employer are counting themselves fortunate because they have not been as impacted as some industries. For example, the Hospitality and the Entertainment industries.
Even though the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession have not been impacted as much as these other industries, hiring and retaining the right people still requires a lot of time, energy, and effort.
Julea: That makes sense Stacy.
Stacy: And I know that when we talk about Animal Health and Veterinary hiring and retention, we usually start with hiring first, but I’m going to switch that up today.
Julea: Oh? Sounds good. Why is that?
Stacy: Because of how important retention is. Unfortunately, some companies and organizations don’t focus on it enough, and as a result, they’re more at risk for losing their best employees. So my first tip that I want to discuss today focuses on retention.
Julea: Which tip is that?
Stacy: Recognize and reward your top performers. Now of course, before you can recognize and reward them, you need to know who they are. Ideally, these employees stand out from everyone else, so it should be relatively easy to identify them.
It’s important to remember that top performers want to feel as though they’re being recognized and rewarded. They want to feel as though their employer appreciates them. This is especially the case with Millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce. You just can’t assume that top performers know they’re appreciated. That appreciation must be intentional, and it must be evident. Top performers want to know that you appreciate them.
Something else which must be intentional and evident is employee branding, which is our second pro tip?
Julea: What does that involve Stacy?
Stacy: Just like some professionals overlook personal branding, some Animal Health hiring managers and Veterinary practice owners overlook this, as well. Employee branding is more important in this day and age, largely because it’s more important to today’s candidates. They want more than just a great job. They also want to work for a great employer that holds the same values they do.
And it’s critical to realize that this type of branding is just as important for current employees as it is for job candidates and prospective employees. If you’re not branding yourself in the right way to your current employees, especially your top performers, then that increases the chances that they might start looking for their next career move.
Julea: So employee branding addresses both Animal Health and Veterinary hiring and retention?
Stacy: Yes, that’s correct!
Julea: Stacy’s what’s our next pro tip?
Stacy: Well, now that we’ve discussed retention, I’d like to move to hiring. And the first pro tip for better Animal Health and Veterinary hiring is casting your talent pool wider and deeper.
Julea: That sounds like a fishing analogy, doesn’t it Stacy?
Stacy: Yes, actually. It makes sense that when you cast your next in a deeper and wider body of water, you’re more likely to catch fish. Not that top candidates are like fish, of course. Let’s put it this way. Which would you rather have, the top candidate in a shallow and narrow pool or the top candidate in a deeper and wider pool?
Julea: The top candidate in a deeper and wider pool!
Stacy: That’s absolutely correct! What might look like an A-level candidate in the first pool might only be a C-level candidate in the second one. And that leads us to our next pro tips, which is to not treat all candidates the same, especially in regards to top passive candidates vs. active job seekers.
Julea: Why is that?
Stacy: Because they’re not all approaching an organization’s open position in the same way. I know that we’ve discussed this before, but as a general rule, passive candidates are more likely to be among the top 5% to 10% of the talent in the marketplace. That means you need to exert more time, energy, and effort to successfully hire them.
Julea: Which is exactly what we discussed at the beginning of this episode.
Stacy: Yes, that’s correct.
Julea: Stacy, what’s our next step?
Stacy: The next step is to use the talent sourcing methods that produce the best candidates and the best results.
Julea: We’ve also talked about this before, haven’t we? Employers should have a good idea of what those sourcing methods are, is that right?
Stacy: That’s right. Ideally, Animal Health and Veterinary employers should be tracking this information. If so, they would have historical data from which they can draw and then plan accordingly. From a practical perspective, this makes sense. Basically, you do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Julea: So in other words, if an organization knows that their best employees come from a certain source, they should focus the majority of their attention on those sources.
Stacy: Yes, that’s correct. But that’s only one half of the equation.
Julea: Really? What’s the other half?
Stacy: Making sure that the right people are part of the hiring process.
Julea: What does that mean?
Stacy: It means two things. First, those most closely associated with the position you’re attempting to fill should be part of the process. Second, those who can effectively screen candidates and assess their candidacy should also be part of it. The big reason is communication. There has to be a large degree of communication. Specifically, everyone involved should communicate with one another regarding all aspects of the process to maximize the candidate experience.
And speaking of the candidate experience, it is vitally important that employers effectively engage candidates during the hiring process, and that’s our next pro tip.
Julea: What does that mean, specifically?
Stacy: This means a number of different things. It means setting expectations. It means communicating with candidates often. It means letting them know what the next step of the process is going to be. If you don’t engage with top candidates, then they are more likely to drop out of the interview and hiring process completely.
All of our tips to this point have dealt with everything prior to the hiring of candidates. Our final pro tip deals with what happens after an organization hires a candidate.
Julea: Which tip is that?
Stacy: Our final pro tip is to improve the onboarding process. In fact, an Animal Health company or Veterinary organization should strive to maximize its onboarding process. And the crucial thing to remember about the onboarding process is when it starts, which is also something that we’ve discussed before.
Julea: Refresh my memory, Stacy, when does it start?
Stacy: It starts the moment that a candidate accepts your organization’s offer of employment. It’s tempting to believe that it starts on the employee’s first day of work, but that is simply not the case. Any hiring manager or practice owner who has lost a new hire between the time they accepted an offer and the time they were supposed to start work can attest to that.
Julea: That’s a form of “ghosting,” isn’t it?
Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And as we talked about earlier in the episode, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic and a possible recession, the chances of a candidate “ghosting” is just as great now as it was before the pandemic. And that includes “ghosting” after accepting an offer of employment.
In fact, there is such a lack of candidates in the Veterinary profession that employers can not assume that a candidate who accepts their offer will show up for their first day of work. Instead, they must understand the importance of an effective onboarding process that stars the moment that they accept the offer. You can’t let two or three or four weeks pass before they reach out to the candidate again or make contact with them.
Julea: Stacy, it seems that as we’ve been discussing Animal Health and Veterinary hiring, making assumptions is a bad idea.
Stacy: Yes, making assumptions is not a good idea, in life in general, but especially when it comes to hiring.
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 talk briefly about the bonus tip of aligning yourself with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter.
Julea: Does this have to do with the fact that effective hiring requires so much time, energy, and effort?
Stacy: Absolutely. An experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary Recruiter can help in this area, because this is what they do. They know the top candidates in the marketplace. They know what the competition is doing. They know the best strategies for identifying, interviewing, and hiring top talent. Some even know the best techniques for retaining candidates after they become employees.
Julea: Stacy, don’t you hold a certification in retention?
Stacy: Yes, I do. I am a Certified Personnel Consultant or CPC and also a Certified Employee Retention Specialist or CERS. As a result, I’m uniquely qualified to provide expertise in the area of Animal Health and Veterinary employee retention and that’s why I feel so strongly about how important it is for employers.
Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. But before we end today’s podcast episode, I’d like to talk briefly about your role as an Animal Health and Veterinary strategic talent advisor. Can you elaborate on what that is and why it’s so important?
Stacy: I certainly can. Hiring the right people is not easy, as we’ve discussed before on this podcast. After all, if it was easy, then everyone would be doing it. Clearly, that is not the case. And the Animal Health and Veterinary hiring process is just that—a process. And it’s a process that requires analysis and strategy for it to be successful.
The problem that some Animal Health companies and Veterinary practices run into is that their officials and hiring managers are extremely busy. They’re “wearing a lot of hats,” so to speak, so they don’t have the time to invest in analyzing their interviewing and hiring process and then making adjustments to that process so they can be more strategic, and ultimately, more successful. This is where our firm, The VET Recruiter, and I enter the picture.
As an Animal Health and Veterinary strategic talent advisor, I put my more than 20 years of experience to good use helping our clients maximize the effectiveness of their entire recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. For an organization, there is nothing more important than hiring the right person, and chances are good that if you’re able to hire the right person, then you’ll also be able to retain them longer as an employee.
Julea: For more information about The VET Recruiter and the services that it provides to both employers and professionals, we invite everyone listening to visit www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Julea, It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider”!