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Episode #235 – Strategies and Tips for Hiring Animal Health and Veterinary Talent in This Market

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #235 - Strategies and Tips for Hiring Animal Health and Veterinary Talent in This Market

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’ll be talking about strategies and tips for hiring Animal Health and Veterinary talent in this market. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Julea: Stacy, as we’ve been discussing in recent podcast episodes, this is a challenging market for hiring talent, is it not?

Stacy: Yes, it is. I know that I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: this is the tightest market for talent that I’ve seen in my career as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter. There are simply far more job openings and opportunities in the market than there are qualified candidates to fill them. As a result, employers must be more intentional and proactive about their hiring efforts and they must invest more time, energy, and effort into the process.

Julea: So which strategies and tips are we going to discuss today Stacy?

Stacy: We’re going to focus on the two most important parts of the hiring process for employers—the recruiting stage and the negotiation stage.

Julea: Why are these the two most important parts?

Stacy: Because these are the stages during which most candidates make their decisions regarding whether or not they really want the job. Top candidates are most at risk for dropping out during the recruiting stage, and of course, they’re at risk for turning down an organization’s offer of employment during the negotiation stage. A candidate accepting an offer of employment is not a foregone conclusion. That hasn’t been the case for quite some time and it’s certainly not the case in the current market.

Julea: Where would you like to start?

Stacy: I’d like to start with what employers must do during the recruiting stage of the hiring process to keep top candidates engaged and interested. This involves “selling” on the part of the employer, and I know that we’ve touched upon this topic before, but I’d like to explore it on a deeper level today. The reason for this is that selling by the employer has never been more important. There has never been a time when Animal Health companies and Veterinary practices have needed to do this more than right now. When it comes to hiring top Animal Health and Veterinary talent, this is a prerequisite.

And this is broken down into two parts.

Julea: Tell us about the two parts Stacy.

Stacy: The two parts are what an employer is selling and how they’re selling it. We’ve addressed the first part on a previous podcast episode, so I’m going to briefly mention what’s involved with that. There are five main things that an employer must sell to candidates during the hiring process. They include:

  1. The position itself
  2. The position’s potential for growth
  3. The organization’s potential for growth
  4. The company culture
  5. And the candidate’s potential for growth


Julea: Stacy, is this part of what you meant by being proactive?

Stacy: Absolutely. Top candidates are not going to “sell themselves.” The employer must sell them and sell them convincingly, which brings me to the second part of the recruiting stage of the hiring process. This part involves HOW an employer sells their opportunity to candidates. After all, selling a job opportunity is like selling anything else. If you sell it poorly, no one is going to buy.

Unfortunately, there are some organizations that are not aware they should be selling their opportunities, and even if they are aware, they’re not selling them very well. Employers that do a poor job in this area are more likely to miss out on top talent and see that talent hired by their competition.

Julea: How should employers sell their opportunity to top candidates?

Stacy: I have four tips for employers that want to sell their employment opportunity to candidates the right way.

The first tip is to understand what you’re selling. This might seem like it goes without saying, but we have to say it. In other words, thoroughly understand the job description, which is everything the person is expected to do and everyone with whom they’ll work. However, you must also keep in mind that this is just the first step, which is why it’s our first tip. Top passive candidates are never sold on just the job description alone.

The second tip is to clearly communicate what you’re selling. Communication during the recruiting stage of the hiring process is critical. Actually, it’s critical during all stages of the process, but during this stage especially. Communicating what you’re selling means talking about the opportunity in detail and providing specifics. This will show candidates not only that you’re laser-focused about what you’re looking for, but also provide them with enough information to help them make a decision.

Julea: Stacy, we’ve also discussed this before, but this also means that everyone involved with the hiring process must be on the same page, is that right? So they’re all communicating the same things and the right message?

Stacy: That is correct. The only thing worse than not communicating enough with candidates is miscommunicating with them and sending mixed messages. Candidates will think that you’re not organized and that you don’t have your act together. And if that’s what they think, then they will not want to work for your organization.

Julea: That makes sense. What’s our next tip for how employers should sell the job opportunity?

Stacy: The third tip is to frame the conversation in terms of what the candidate will gain from the opportunity. You’ve probably heard the phrase “WIIFM” before. It means “What’s In It For Me?” Employers must always sell their opportunity in terms of what is in it for the candidate. They have to forget about what’s in it for them, at least for the moment. The employer must sell the value that it can offer to the candidate first before focusing too much on the value that the candidate can provide.

Julea: How exactly can an employer frame the conversation this way?

Stacy: They must find out what it is that the candidate wants from making a move. Remember, the main motivation for top performers is rarely money and/or compensation.  Are they looking for a better experience? A different culture? The opportunity to gain new skills and expertise? Is it the chance to contribute to bigger and better projects? Whatever their motivation is, employers must find out what it is and sell to that motivation.

Julea: Stacy, what’s our final tip?

Stacy: The final tip is don’t just talk to candidates when you’re selling to them, but also show them what you’re selling.

Julea: What does this mean?

Stacy: Before the pandemic, this would mean taking candidates on a tour of the company or its facilities, and employers can certainly still do that now. However, some of our clients have provided a video tour of their organization to candidates in their attempts to sell them. This is something that I encourage, especially for those companies that cannot or do not provide in-person tours. If done correctly, there is almost no downside to providing this type of video and giving candidates an inside look at what it would be like to work for the organization.

You have to show them what you’ve talked with them about. This means emphasizing the key points and selling everything that you sold before . . . again. Only this time, you’ll be able to make visual connections, and when you do this, it helps the candidate to visualize themselves working for the organization.

Julea: Which, of course, is exactly what you want.

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. And if you’ve successfully sold your top candidate on all of the key points, the last thing you want to do is lose them during the negotiation stage of the hiring process.

Julea: Because as you said, just because an employer extends an offer does not mean that the candidate will accept.

Stacy: Correct. Employers cannot lose focus during this stage of the process. It’s critical that company officials do and say the correct things during this stage to ensure that the candidate they want to hire accepts the offer. Remember, superstar candidates and top talent might be interviewing with multiple organizations and could receive more than one offer. And as we stated earlier, how you do something is just as important as what you do, and that applies to the offer of employment, and I have five tips for convincing a candidate to accept your offer.

The first tip is to set expectations and meet them during the earlier stages of the hiring process. Candidates don’t want to be guessing about what’s next in the process or the timeframe involved.  You should communicate all of that, and in as much detail as possible.  Of course, once you’ve set expectations, you must also meet those expectations.  Failure to do so will actually increase the chances that the candidate will decline your offer if one is made.

Julea: This is all about employer branding, isn’t it?

Stacy: Yes, it is. An employer brand themselves in a positive way if they want a candidate to ultimately accept their offer.

The second tip is to not make the candidate wait for the offer. This could be the product of an overly lengthy hiring process, which is bad, or simply not contacting the candidate about the offer immediately upon deciding that the offer should be made, which is worse. Keep the hiring process tight, and once you’ve decided to make an offer, make it!

Next, make sure that the offer mirrors everything that you’ve discussed with them and everything that you’ve shown them. The offer and negotiation stage of the hiring process is not the time for surprises, especially unpleasant ones. The candidate will not react in a positive fashion to such surprises.

And that leads us to our fourth tip, which is to let the recruiter present the offer if you’re working with a recruiter.

Julea: Stacy, we’ve touched upon this before, haven’t we?

Stacy: Yes, we have. Candidates who work with recruiters often expect the recruiter to make the offer. After all, they’ve been working with the recruiter throughout the entire process. Their relationship started with the recruiter, and they feel comfortable having someone to discuss the money aspect of the negotiation process with someone who is not going to be their future boss. It is a bit like when buying or selling a house, you expect to do those negotiations through your real estate agent and not directly with the buyer of seller.

The fifth and final tip is also one that might go without saying, but we still have to say it. Give the candidate enough time to think about the offer. Don’t make them wait, but don’t rush them, either. Changing jobs is one of the most stressful decisions a person will make.  The last thing you want to do is make it more stressful.

Julea: Stacy, these are all great tips and strategies, but we’re just about out of time for today. Do you have anything else that you like to add?

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to talk about communication one last time, and that’s because communication is so vitally important for employers that are trying to hire in this market. Communication is important not just for candidates, but it’s also important when working with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter. In fact, the more people who are part of the hiring process, the more that communication should be a focus for the organization. All it takes is one miscommunication to derail the hiring process, and when that happens, you can lose out on a great candidate. And in this current market, no employer can afford to let that happen.

Julea: Stacy, thank you for all of this great information. Before we end today’s podcast episode, I want to remind our listening audience that Stacy is considered an Animal Health key opinion leader and Veterinary key opinion leader. Stacy was the first executive recruiter to specialize in executive search for the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary profession. Stacy has been an executive recruiter in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession for more than 23 years. Because of that she has created numerous resources for employers and candidates who are working in the industry.  There is so much valuable information about The VET Recruiter’s services on The VET Recruiter website. Isn’t that right Stacy?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. We have information about our services for employers, including a detailed breakdown of our recruiting process and testimonials from Animal Health companies and Veterinary organizations that have used our services and continue to use them. And since The VET Recruiter has a long track record of success during the past two-plus decades, we also have a list of some of the positions that we’ve filled over the years to give our listeners an idea of the types of roles that we fill.

I also recommend that those who visit the website sign up for our monthly newsletter, which also contains hiring tips and career development strategies. You can also follow The VET Recruiter on the various social media channels, including LinkedIn, and you can do that right from The VET Recruiter website.

And of course, you can get a quote of our services, submit a job order, or request a consultation. We would be happy to speak with you about your Animal Health or Veterinary hiring needs.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is 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!

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