Episode #218 – Your Animal Health or Veterinary Interview, Part 3: What an Interview Is…and Isn’t

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #218 - Your Animal Health or Veterinary Interview, Part 3: What an Interview Is...and Isn’t
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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.

Today, we will be continuing a new series on “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” one which focuses on the interview stage of the hiring process for job seekers and professionals in the employment marketplace.

Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Julea: Stacy, this is our third week discussing the interview stage of the hiring process. What will we be addressing specifically this week?

Stacy: Well, we’ve covered the role of a person’s resume and also the phone screen so far. So now I’d like to discuss what an interview actually is. I want to do this because I think that there are some professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession who might not know exactly what an interview is and what it represents, and as a result, they don’t approach it in the right way. And if you don’t approach a job interview in the correct fashion, then the chances that you’ll receive an offer of employment go way down.

Julea: That makes sense. Where would you like to start today Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start with what an interview is not, because that will help to shed some light on our situation. We’ve already discussed that the number-one goal of any interview is to secure an offer of employment. You’re not supposed to make any decisions about the job, only perform well enough to receive an offer. Then you can make a decision about whether or not you want to accept the offer.

Now, as far as what an interview is not, an interview is not just a casual meeting between two people or between a person and a group of people who have a common interest. This is a job interview. It is supposed to be professional and not casual. Now, that doesn’t mean the interview has to be stiff and boring, but you don’t want to be too casual.

An interview is also not an informal “heart-to-heart conversation.” Sure, you want to share important information with those who are conducting the interview, but you don’t want to tell them your life story or reveal too much to them about your personal life.

Julea: So, what IS a job interview, then?

Stacy: A job interview is a situation in which a candidate is trying to communicate the type of value they can bring to the organization. That’s because the employer will not make an offer to the person unless they believe the candidate will provide a tremendous amount of value for them.

Julea: What about the candidate? Are they also looking for value from the employer?

Stacy: That’s a great question, and yes, that is the case. The employer must also communicate the value that they can bring to the situation. That is the case in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, where candidates are scarce, and employers are finding it difficult to hire the top talent that they need.

But I want to stick to the candidate side of the equation for today, since I believe that some professionals are having a problem understanding the true nature of an interview. And I have a case study that will help us to explore this.

Julea: A case study? Tell us more about that Stacy.

Stacy: Yes, case studies are valuable in terms of learning what to do and what not to do in the employment marketplace and the job market. And this includes during the interviewing stage of the hiring process.

I recently interviewed a candidate over the phone. However, that candidate kept interrupting me during our conversation. She wanted to focus on talking about her priorities instead of focusing on what she could offer to my client.

The priorities that this candidate wanted to discuss during the interview were compensation and work-life balance. I asked what her exact compensation expectations were. However, she did not specifically the question. It was difficult for me to address her priorities if I don’t know exactly what her expectations are.

Julea: Wow, that is a challenge!

Stacy: Yes, so now let’s review what happened during this interview, specifically the things that went wrong.

The first problem is that the candidate ignored the “Principle of Reciprocity,” which of course we have discussed before.

According to this principle, when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give them something in return. Conversely, when you first give something to someone else, they will feel compelled to give something to you in return.

Julea: Stacy, how does the “Principle of Reciprocity” apply to this case study?

Stacy: As I mentioned at the beginning of our episode, everything in the world of employment comes down to value. What the candidate should have emphasized is the potential value that she could bring to the organization. After all, that’s what the organization is seeking.

The hiring manager has a position they want to fill, and they’re focusing on finding a candidate who has the value necessary to fill it. Focus on what you can give the employer first. After that, then you can focus on what the employer can give you in return.

Julea: What else is important about this case study?

Stacy: The second problem is that the candidate talked more than she listened. Active listening is a skill that is crucial to the interview process. As an animal health and veterinary recruiter, I talk to a LOT of people on a weekly basis. However, I’ve discovered during my career that I learn more if I listen more than I talk. You learn by sitting and listening.

When you interrupt people during an interview and you’re not being an active listener, and it can present an obstacle with growing your career. Active listening is a valuable skill, one on which I encourage learning. We can all improve our active listening skills.

And there is another challenge, one that might not be evident at first, but it is once you think about the situation and analyze it.

Julea: What’s that?

Stacy: The candidate made it evident that she could be a challenge to work with!

Julea: You’re right! If she behaved this way during an interview, where she was not listening and was focusing on what she wanted instead of how she could help others, then that’s a sign that she will act this way once she is hired, with her co-workers, with customers, or both.

Stacy: Exactly right. When you first speak with someone, especially in a setting such as interview, you’re giving an indication of how future interactions will transpire. If you make that initial contact difficult in some way, then the other person is going to think that future interactions are likely to be difficult, as well. People tend to shy away from things that they believe are going to be difficult. It’s simply human nature. The last thing you want to do in an employment or job search situation is brand yourself as someone who is going to be difficult to work with.

There’s an analogy that I like to use when it comes to the interview, regardless of whether it’s an-person interview or not.

Julea: What analogy is that?

Stacy: It’s the “first date” analogy, and I think it’s how professionals might want to view the interview. And with this analogy in mind, I’d like to state that what an interview actually is falls into two categories. It’s either one thing or the other.

Julea: What are those two things?

Stacy: Very simply put, an interview is either the start of a relationship . . . or the end of one.

Julea: Wow, that really is simple, but it brings the goal of the interview more into focus.

Stacy: Yes, and once again, it does not matter if the interview is with a recruiter or with a hiring manager or practice owner.

If the interview is with a recruiter, it’s the start of a relationship in which that recruiter can work to help you find a great new employment opportunity. If the interview is with a hiring manager, it’s the start of a relationship that will hopefully end with you as an employee of the same organization of which the hiring manager is an employee. That means you’ll be coworkers.

Julea: And obviously, if it’s the start of a relationship, the candidate would want to start the relationship on the right foot.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right! It’s a good idea to start a relationship in the best way possible. To do that, though, it means NOT focusing on the things that you want. When you’re on a first date with someone, do you only talk about the things that you want?

Julea: Absolutely not.

Stacy: No, you don’t. That’s the quickest way to make sure there will be NO second date.

Conversely, if you ignore the “Principle of Reciprocity” and you talk more than you listen for example, then the interview can be the end of the relationship. Basically, it’s ending before it even has a chance to get started. That means no great new employment opportunity. Because when the relationship ends, so do the chances that you’ll be able to land that opportunity.

Julea: Stacy, it seems like there is almost no way to overemphasize the importance of The Principle of Reciprocity.

Stacy: You’re right. There is really no way to overemphasize it. Getting what you want in life is all about finding out what other people want and then working to give them those things. This definitely applies to the world of employment.

When you interview, you have the chance to start a new relationship, one that can benefit you greatly in the long run. As a result, you should focus on what you can give to the other person or the other party. Focus on the value that you can provide. Focus on how you can solve their problems.

Getting what you want is all about giving other people what they want first. That’s the best way to create long-lasting relationships and also the best way to grow your career, not just in the short term but also for the long haul.

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

Stacy: Yes, one more thing. I can’t stress enough that life is all about relationships. This includes both personal and professional relationships. The things that we talked about today have just as much application in a person’s personal life as they do in their professional life. You can’t get around the fact that relationships drive everything, which means they also help to drive a person’s job situation and their career. It’s a good idea to keep this at the forefront of your mind, regardless of whether you’re looking for a new job or want to explore other employment opportunities.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is 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, which will be the next episode in our series about the interview stage of the hiring process!