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 five areas of focus for more Animal Health and Veterinary hiring success. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.
Julea: During the past several weeks, Stacy, we’ve been discussing the topic of hiring success. Why did you want to tackle this top again on this week’s podcast?
Stacy: For one thing, Julea, Animal Health and Veterinary hiring success is always difficult to achieve, regardless of the circumstances that exist in the marketplace. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were challenges for employers because it was a candidates’ market and high-quality candidates were in short supply. Now that we’re in the midst of the pandemic—and quite possibly a recession—there are still challenges. While it might not be quite as much of a candidates’ market as it was a year ago, high-quality candidates are still in short supply. Qualified candidates are especially in short supply in the Veterinary profession right now and we expect that for at least the next five years by looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
As recruiter, I take pride in my role as a strategic talent consultant to employers and our firm’s clients. I want our clients to enjoy more hiring success, and after more than 20 years in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary profession and as an Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, I know what it takes to enjoy that success and enjoy it on a consistent basis.
Julea: So what does it take to enjoy Animal Health and Veterinary hiring success on a consistent basis?
Stacy: Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss in today’s podcast episode. However, if I had to boil it all down, I would have to say that in order to enjoy hiring success in today’s environment, employers don’t have to dramatically change their strategy or their tactics. What they must do is what they should have been doing all along. What worked before will work now. In other words, the pandemic has not radically changed employers’ approach to hiring, outside of conducting virtual interviews and perhaps making an offer of employment to a candidate they have not met in person. Instead, they should focus even more on those things that led to hiring success before the pandemic started.
Julea: What are those things Stacy that employers need to be doing to have hiring success?
Stacy: From a broad perspective, hiring managers and veterinary practice owners must be proactive and intentional with their hiring. They can’t be reactive or passive in any way. We’ve discussed this before, because it is a key to continued Animal Health and Veterinary hiring success.
Basically, if you hire “B-level” and “C-level” candidates, then you’re going to receive “B-level” and “C-level” results. It should be the goal of every employer to hire “A-level” candidates every single time for every single position. That’s the hallmark of hiring success, and that’s the kind of success that I want our clients to enjoy.
Julea: So which areas of focus will we be discussing today? I know that the title of today’s podcast episode mentions five areas.
Stacy: The first area of focus that I’d like to address is the job description. This is something that some hiring managers and veterinary practice owners overlook. The biggest rule with the job description is that you have to attach plenty of what I call “sizzle” to it.
Julea: What does that mean, “sizzle”?
Stacy: First, your job description can’t read like a grocery shopping list. You can’t make it dull. It has to be exciting or top candidates are not going to be interested in the opportunity. After all, if we’re talking about top candidates, you should assume that they CAN carry out the duties of the position, anyway. What you’re really looking for is someone who can exceed expectations and have an impact on the organization that goes way beyond a list of tasks to complete.
Instead, highlight whatever it is about the position that could be appealing to top candidates. You want to make them believe that your opportunity is interesting, attractive, and exciting.
This area of focus actually dovetails into our next area of focus.
Julea: And which one is that Stacy?
Stacy: Emphasizing recruiting at the beginning of the hiring process. A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the difference between job applicants and top passive candidates. We concluded that top passive candidates are not just going to “fall into your lap,” so to speak. As an employer, you must convince them to consider your opportunity. That means a lot of recruiting efforts on the front end. I cannot overstate the importance of this.
It’s important to remember that identifying top candidates is only the beginning. It doesn’t matter much if you identify them, but they’re not interested in your job opening. The existence of top candidates is only relevant to you if they know about your opportunity and they are interested in it.
Julea: That does make sense. Stacy, have you found that some employers don’t emphasize recruiting enough or put enough stock in it?
Stacy: Yes, I’ve found that to be the case during my career, both during a good economy and also a down economy. I’ve also found that some employers make a mistake at the end of the hiring process?
Julea: Which mistake is that?
Stacy: It’s our third area of focus, which is emphasizing negotiation at the end of the hiring process. And if you think about it, this is really just an extension of recruiting.
Julea: Explain that Stacy.
Stacy: Recruiting gets the candidate interested in the position. Negotiation closes them at the end of the process so they accept your offer of employment and become an employee of your organization. But when you’re negotiating with a candidate, you’re basically still recruiting them. You’re just in the negotiation stage of the recruiting process.
Julea: Is that because an employer is still trying to convince the candidate to work for their organization?
Stacy: Yes, that’s right. Once again, it doesn’t matter if you’re able to convince top candidates to consider your opportunity if you can’t also convince them to work for your organization. Recruiting at the beginning of the process gets them interested in the opportunity and the organization. Effective engagement keeps them in the process, and effective negotiation at the end of the process convinces them to join the team.
Once again, Animal Health and Veterinary hiring is not like a game of horseshoes. You don’t get any points for “coming close” to hiring the best candidates.
Julea: I suppose you’re right! That’s a very interesting analogy. Stacy, what’s our next area of focus for today?
Stacy: Our next area of focus is hiring for both the tangible traits and the intangible ones.
Julea: What does that mean, exactly?
Stacy: It means that the right candidate is not always the person who has the most amount of skills and experience. It is possible to find what are called “diamond in the rough” candidates who turn into superb employees. After all, even if you do everything right, even if you do everything that we’ve been talking about to the best of your ability as an employer, candidates might still turn down your offer of employment. They might still accept a counter-offer from their current employer. They might even drop out of the hiring process completely and “ghost” you, even if you’ve done everything in your power to prevent that from happening.
When things like that happen—and they will happen, you can count on that—but you still need to hire. But if you can find a “diamond in the rough” candidate who may be lacking a bit in technical skills, but more than makes up for it with soft skills and other intangible attributes, you could consider adding them to the team and help them fulfill their potential.
And that leads us to our fifth and final point of focus for more Animal Health and Veterinary hiring success.
Julea: Which is what Stacy?
Stacy: Company culture and, by extension, employer branding are the “X Factors” in terms of successful hiring. Most of the time, people are the reason why people do things. On the other hand, they’re also the reason why they don’t do things. Specifically, people like to work with people they like. This is why company culture is so important in today’s marketplace.
Candidates want to feel as though they fit in and they belong. They want to like the people they work with, and that includes their boss. In some cases, it’s especially their boss. This is why it is critically important for employers to make a concerted effort to emphasize culture and also be as friendly as possible during the entire hiring process.
Julea: Stacy, are you saying that some top candidates will accept an offer based on the culture alone?
Stacy: Yes, I’m saying that company culture plays a big role in their decision-making process. And that’s just as true now as it was before the pandemic began. In fact, it might be even more important now.
Julea: Really? Why is that?
Stacy: The COVID-19 pandemic has cast uncertainty over everything. Candidates want to feel assured that if they take the next step in their career and decide to work for another organization, their next employer will do everything it can to keep them healthy and have their best interests at heart.
Julea: Yes, I can see why that makes sense. Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Is there anything else that you’d like to add? I don’t want us to run out of time before we cover this topic completely.
Stacy: Yes, there is something. Once again, I want to talk about the importance of an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter and the role they play. Simply put, search consultants and executive recruiters can be a wealth of information. For example, they know the top candidates in the marketplace. They also 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: Speaking of which, you have a certification for retaining employees, is that right?
Stacy: Yes, I’m one of a handful of people with a Certified Employee Retention Specialist certification. This means that I am uniquely qualified to provide expertise in the area of employee retention. The successful retention of top employees is just as important as the successful hiring of top candidates. Because if you can’t retain top professionals as employees after you hire them, then what’s the point of hiring them in the first place?
The bottom line is that if you’re going to focus on Animal Health and Veterinary hiring, then you should also focus on retention. It’s not an either-or situation. You must focus on both if you hope to improve your workforce in the future and maximize the productivity of your personnel.
Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And before we end today’s episode, I know that there is a lot of great information on The VET Recruiter website. Can you describe for the listening audience what is available to them on the site?
Stacy: Yes, absolutely. In addition to an extensive blog that we have for both employers and job seekers, we also have many other resources. For example, we have a page devoted to our recruiting process and examples of the many placements that we’ve made during the past 20+ years. On the job seeker side, we have career resources, including interview tips, information about relocation, and best practices for working with a recruiter. But I think that one of the most valuable resources for recruiters that we have are our jobs.
Julea: There are a lot of Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on The VET Recruiter website, aren’t there Stacy?
Stacy: Yes, and our jobs are broken down into different categories. For example, there are Animal Health industry jobs, Veterinary practice jobs, and jobs categorized by geographic location. You can also search through our jobs by title or any other term that you would like to search on. There are two other things to keep in mind, too.
Julea: What’s that?
Stacy: First, we add new jobs to the website all the time, on an almost daily basis, so it’s a good idea to check the site often for new jobs. And second, some of the jobs that The VET Recruiter has are part of what is known as the “hidden job market.” This means the organization with the job opening wants us to conduct a confidential search and that the job is not being advertised through traditional means, such as the major job boards. That’s why I recommend not only checking out our hot Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on a regular basis, but also submitting your resume so that you can be considered for positions that are part of the “hidden job market.”
Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: You’re very welcome, Julea, and thank you. It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!