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 talking about the difference between an Animal Health and Veterinary job applicant and a candidate. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you today. How is your week going so far?
Julea: It’s going great! Stacy, what prompted you to want to talk about this topic today about the difference between an applicant and a candidate?
Stacy: A couple of things, actually Julea. First of all, we’ve been discussing employer issues during the past few weeks, specifically what’s involved in successful hiring during this pandemic. And second, I believe that the distinction that we’re going to talk about today is very important in helping organizations identify and hire the best candidates in the marketplace. It’s an overlooked distinction, but it’s one that still exists, regardless of the pandemic or the possibility that we’re in a recession right now.
Julea: Okay, that all makes sense. Where would you like to start today Stacy?
Stacy: I want to start with the word “applicant,” which all employers use, of course. For our purposes, an “applicant” is another word for an active job seeker, and just as the name implies, these are people who are actively looking for a new job. And what do you think the number-one way is that these people look for jobs?
Julea: I would have to say through job boards or online advertisements.
Stacy: That’s right! On the other hand, a candidate for a particular position could be a passive candidate. And as we’ve discussed before, passive candidates do not necessarily apply for positions and they typically do not do so through job boards or online ads. They’re not actively looking for a job, so there is no reason for them to do so.
Julea: And that’s why they’re called “passive candidates”?
Stacy: Correct. There’s another difference between Animal Health and Veterinary job applicants and passive candidates.
Julea: What difference is that?
Stacy: Passive candidates typically represent the top 5% to 10% of the candidates in the marketplace at any given time. The logic behind this is simple. If an Animal Health or Veterinary professional is in the top 5% or 10% in their field, then they more than likely provide a tremendous amount of value to their current employer. Since that’s the case, their employer wants to retain them as an employee. That means the organization is probably making sure that the employee is happy, or at the very least, happy enough to not be actively looking for a new job.
Julea: Right. If the organization is doing everything that it can to retain the person as an employee, then this person is probably not conducting an active job search and they’re not applying for jobs online. That makes sense.
Stacy: The problem that arises for employers is when they do not make the proper distinction between an Animal Health or Veterinary job applicant and a passive candidate. When they don’t make that distinction, they run the risk of making a mistake.
Julea: Which mistake is that?
Stacy: The mistake is treating applicants and active job seekers the same as top passive candidates. When employers make this mistake, they push the passive candidates away without even realizing that they’re doing it.
Julea: So, then it’s important for a hiring manager or veterinary practice owner to know if they’re interviewing an applicant or a passive candidate?
Stacy: Yes, it is. If they don’t, then they’ve just reduced the chances that they’ll conduct a successful interview. That’s because an active job seeker and job applicant has a different mindset than a passive candidate. In order to ask the right questions and brand your organization in the right way, you must know the mindset of the candidate.
Julea: Stacy, what’s the difference between these two mindsets?
Stacy: That’s a great question, and I have the answer for you. The difference between the two mindsets can be summed up this way.
First, an active job seeker or applicant does not have to be convinced (or recruited) to pursue an organization’s employment opportunity. They actively sought out the opportunity and completed the application.
And second, a passive candidate does have to be convinced—or recruited—to pursue an organization’s employment opportunity. They did not actively seek out the opportunity and they did not complete an application.
Julea: I see. So a hiring manager must know the mindset that they’re dealing with so that they can approach the interview in the right way.
Stacy: Yes, that’s right. If an employer is interviewing a passive candidate, then their approach should be different than if they’re interviewing an active job seeker or applicant. Specifically, the employer should be focusing on convincing the passive candidate to continue pursuing the organization’s opportunity.
Julea: You mean they should keep recruiting them?
Stacy: That’s exactly right! They should keep recruiting them. When you engage with top passive candidates during the hiring process, that’s what you’re doing. And it doesn’t matter if you have the title of “recruiter” or “search consultant” or not. You could be a hiring manager or a veterinary practice owner or a practice manager. If you’re dealing with passive candidates during the interview or at any stage of the hiring process, then you should be recruiting those candidates.
Julea: Stacy, is that one of the reasons why candidates, especially top candidates, drop out of the hiring process?
Stacy: Yes. Top passive candidates will drop out of the process if they’re not invested in the process. And the best way to invest them is to actively engage them. Recruiting and selling them on all of the best aspects of the opportunity and the organization helps do this. Not only are you able to engage them more effectively, but you’re also communicating important information that will help them make an informed decision about the job opportunity and their career.
Julea: Would you say that this comes down to a situation where the employer needs the candidate more than the candidate needs the employer?
Stacy: Yes, I think that’s fair to say, although I know that some employers don’t want to hear that. However, it’s the reality of the situation right now in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. It’s a matter of leverage, really, and just like any situation or human interaction, the person who has more leverage has more control of the situation. Or at the very least, they have more influence over the direction that the situation goes.
Julea: And you’re saying that’s still the case, even though we’re in a pandemic and quite possibly a recession, too?
Stacy: Yes, I’m saying that’s still the case. Yes, the unemployment rate may have gone up slightly in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession during the past 12 months. But number one, the unemployment rate was extremely low before the pandemic began, especially in the Veterinary profession, and secondly, even if the rate has gone up, it has not gone up as dramatically as it has in the marketplace in general.
The bottom line is that there is still a lack of high-quality candidates in the marketplace. As a result, these high-quality candidates often have more leverage than the employers that are trying to hire them. And since that’s the case, employers can’t afford to keep treating top passive candidates the same as they would active applicants who are motivated to find a new Animal Health or Veterinary job.
Julea: So, what should Animal Health Industry hiring managers and Veterinary practice owners do, then Stacy?
Stacy: I have a three-step plan that I believe Animal Health and Veterinary employers should adopt and implement within their organizations.
The first step is to know the difference in mindset between an Animal Health or Veterinary job applicant and a top passive candidate. We’ve already discussed the difference at length today.
The second step is to know which candidates in the hiring process are job applicants or active job seekers and which are top passive candidates.
And the third step is to use the correct approach with each candidate involved in the hiring process. Specifically, if you’re dealing with a top passive candidate, then you must work harder to engage them effectively, recruit them, and sell them on all of the positive aspects of the opportunity and the organization.
Julea: That certainly seems like it would take a lot of time and effort.
Stacy: It does! But as we’ve been discussing, effective hiring takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. It really is an investment in the health and well-being of your organization, and if you make a solid investment, then chances are good that you will receive a solid return on that investment.
What employers cannot do is take a “one size fits all” approach. That will not work. Instead, it will only sabotage your efforts to attract and hire the best candidates in the marketplace. There is definitely a difference between Animal Health and Veterinary job applicants and the top passive candidates, and it’s crucial to know the difference between the two and how to approach both during the interviewing and hiring process.
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, there is, and it’s something that I’ve discussed before on multiple occasions, and I believe that it’s relevant to our discussion today, as well. It’s the role that an Animal Health Executive Search Consultant or Veterinary recruiter can play during the interviewing and hiring process and how they can help an employer enjoy more success as a result of that role.
We just talked about how it requires a lot of time and effort to enjoy more hiring success. When you partner with an experienced recruiter, they can help to provide more of the energy and effort that’s necessary. Not only can they find the top candidates in the marketplace, whether they’re looking for a new Animal Health or Veterinary job or not, but they can also help manage those candidates during the interviewing and hiring process.
Julea: Do you mean that a recruiter can help prevent candidates from dropping out of the process?
Stacy: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. They can help keep candidates engaged and they can keep recruiting and selling them on the opportunity and the organization all the way through the process. This is part of the value that a recruiter can provide to employers in the marketplace today, and why Animal Health companies and Veterinary organizations should consider partnering with one to experience more hiring and personnel success.
Julea: Stacy, thank you for all of this great information. Before we end today’s podcast episode, I have a question for you. Not only have you been a recruiter for more than 20 years, but you’re also considered an Animal Health key opinion leader and Veterinary key opinion leader, is that right?
Stacy: Yes, that’s correct.
Julea: Why is that so important and why does that set you and The VET Recruiter apart from other recruiting firms in the marketplace?
Stacy: My experience as an Animal Health Executive Recruiter has helped me to become an Animal Health and Veterinary thought and opinion leader, and that is a role that I’m proud to fill and one that I take seriously. Not only does The VET Recruiter offer this podcast, but we also have a newsletter for both professionals and employers and I conduct presentations and webinars within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession on a regular basis. You can read past newsletter articles on The VET Recruiter website, and you can also see recorded versions of my webinars and presentations.
It’s important to me to be able to share my expertise with others. Wisdom does come with experience, as the saying goes, and what’s the point of gaining wisdom if you don’t share it with other people so they can use it to increase their quality of life?
Julea: For more information about The VET Recruiter and the services that it provides to both Animal Health and Veterinary employers and professionals, we invite everyone listening to visit www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, Julea, and I look forward to our next episode of the “Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider”!