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Episode #227 – The Foundation of a Successful Interview Process for Animal Health and Veterinary Employers

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #227 - The Foundation of a Successful Interview Process for Animal Health and Veterinary Employers

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. 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 discussing the foundation of a successful interview process for Animal Health and Veterinary employers.

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

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

Julea: Stacy, we just finished a podcast series about the interview stage of the hiring process for professionals and candidates. But today, we’re looking at the interview stage from the point of view of Animal Health and Veterinary employers, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. Because even though the interview stage of the hiring process is important for candidates, it’s equally important for employers. In fact, it’s even more critical considering how scarce top Animal Health and Veterinary candidates are right now and how difficult it is to find and hire these candidates. Since that’s the case, employers need to pay attention to the interview stage of the hiring process, specifically what they do leading up to the interview and during it.

Julea: Stacy, we know that employers screen candidates out of the hiring process, including during the interview. Do candidates do the same things with employers?

Stacy: Yes, they do! And this is something that Animal Health and Veterinary employers must be aware of. Unfortunately, some company officials and hiring managers have a

“mental block” of sorts when it comes to considering candidates for their organization’s open positions. Since they work for the organization, they sometimes can’t fathom why someone else would NOT want to work for it. This is what is known as an “employment bias.”

Julea: That sounds like it’s a dangerous bias to have, but I can understand why a person would feel that way about their employer, especially if they like their employer and they enjoy their job. The problem arises when these company officials and/or employees believe, subconsciously or otherwise, that there’s only one decision that has to be made: whether or not they want to hire the candidate.

Julea: But there’s more than one decision to be made?

Stacy: Yes, there is. In actuality, there are two decisions that must be made:

Whether or not company officials want to make an offer of employment to a candidate

Whether or not a candidate would accept that offer if it were made

Just because an offer of employment is made to a candidate, there is NO guarantee that the candidate will accept the offer! This is a simple truth of the employment marketplace. Failure to identify, accept, and accommodate this truth has been a painful experience for some organizations.

In fact, I have a story that illustrates this.

Julea: Great! I love the stories that you share with us on the podcast.

Stacy: I’m glad that you do because I have many stories and I like to share them so that others can learn from them.

In this particular story, a candidate was interviewing at a potential new employer. During the interview process, one of the company officials made the following comment: “We don’t always pay our bills, but don’t worry, you will get paid!”

Julea: Wow, they actually said that?

Stacy: Yes, they did, and there are many problems associated with this comment, including:

First, regardless of whether or not the comment is based in fact, the comment is inappropriate. Even if the person was “joking,” this is not an acceptable setting.

Second, the comment begs the following question: how did the person who made the comment come to be part of the interview in the first place?

Julea: What was the candidate’s reaction to what happened?

Stacy: As you might imagine, the candidate left the interview very much concerned about the organization, especially its financial viability.

Julea: Stacy, forgive me for stopping you here, but I have to agree with you. The person who made that comment should not have been part of the interview. Obviously, that was not an appropriate thing to say.

Stacy: You’re absolutely right! And that is the foundation of a successful interview process for Animal Health and Veterinary employers, making sure that the people who are conducting the interviews for your organization know how to interview! They need to know what is appropriate and what is not. They need some training.

Julea: Stacy, who exactly should be part of the interview stage for employers?

Stacy: There are many factors that influence who within the company is part of the interviewing stage. Depending upon the position that is being filled, the people involved could include:

  • The person’s soon to be supervisor if they were to be hired.
  • The person’s co-workers if they were to be hired.
  • People from other departments who might work with the new employee.
  • High-ranking company officials like the CEO or CFO if appropriate


These people are chosen to interview the candidate for specific reasons, all of which are more than likely good reasons. They will have direct or indirect interaction with the candidate if they’re hired. As a result, their input is valuable and will ultimately have an impact on the final decision.

Julea: I have a question, Stacy. I know that there are people who have to be part of the interview because of the reasons you just outlined, but just because they should be part of the interview, does that mean they know how to be part of the interview?

Stacy: That is a great question, and I think it’s the most important question to ask about this topic. If these people don’t know how to conduct an interview or know what to say, then it doesn’t matter how closely they’ll be working with new employee or how important their input is. They could conceivably say or do something that will convince the candidate to dismiss the organization as an option in their job search.

Julea: Stacy, what can Animal Health or Veterinary employers do to address this problem?

Stacy: It’s important to keep in mind that how you present yourself as an organization to candidates is at least as important as how they present themselves to you. Candidates, especially top candidates, are trying to decide if working for your organization is a wise career move. If you are looking for reasons to screen out candidates during the interview, then you can bet that they’re looking for reasons to screen out your organization.

With all of this in mind, there are three main steps that employers must take to tackle this issue.

First, choose the right interview team.

Selecting the members of your team is crucial and should be done carefully.  First and foremost, they should be qualified for inclusion.  Second, they must be committed to the process and be able to confirm their commitment, including their willingness to provide feedback (both verbal and written) following each interview.

The second step is to prepare your interview team.

You will want to make sure that everyone on the interview team is thoroughly versed on the job description and the duties and responsibilities of the position.  This will take some time since this information first has to be collected and then it must be distributed among team members. A meeting to discuss these items is recommended to bridge any gaps in knowledge.

The third and final step is to get your interview team on the same page.

Now that your team is properly prepared as individuals to go through the process, they must be prepared as a group.  That means everybody must understand not only the process, but also their role in the process, everybody else’s role, the flow of information throughout the process, the expectations of the process, and how those expectations will be met.

Julea: What you are saying Stacy is that you have to be intentional about it.

Stacy: Yes, that is what I’m saying. You have to be intentional, and it does require some work and effort. But missing out on top talent and great candidates can also be a lot of work and more effort. It can also be frustrating and cost your organization money in lost productivity over time.

Candidates want to see an interview team that’s organized, efficient, and shows a unified front. They want to leave feeling good about the interview, the people they just met, and the opportunity. And if you don’t have the right people part of the interview stage of the hiring process, then it’s going to be more difficult to do that.

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

Stacy: Yes, I do. When you as an organization have the opportunity to hire top candidates—those who will make a real difference within your organization—you can’t leave anything to chance. You can’t take anything for granted. You can’t assume that the candidate automatically wants to work for your organization. What you have to assume is that you have to continually convince the candidate that they should work for your organization and having the right people who are part of the interview stage is the first step in making that happen.

The goal of any search is to find the best candidate possible in the shortest amount of time possible, extend an offer, and have the offer accepted. One of the best ways to ensure that is to assemble an organized, unified, and cohesive interview team.

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 an executive 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”!

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