Episode #240 – 10 Things I’ve Learned During My Career as an Animal Health and Veterinary Recruiter

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #240 - 10 Things I’ve Learned During My Career as an Animal Health and Veterinary Recruiter
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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’ll be talking about 10 things that Stacy has learned during her career as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Julea: Stacy, what prompted you to discuss this topic on today’s podcast?

Stacy: Good question, Julea, So, I just recently celebrated my 24th year as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter, and I started to think about all that I’ve seen and done during that time. The employment marketplace has changed quite a bit during the past two decades, and we’re in the middle of a truly remarkable time in this nation’s history for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the state of the job market. There is a talent shortage in the workforce, and that is especially the case in the Veterinary profession. It’s the most severe talent shortage that I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in the job market during my career.

Because of what I’ve experienced, I have a pretty good handle on what a person needs to do to be successful professionally. So I thought this would be a good time to discuss some of the things that I’ve learned, which I believe can help our listeners be more successful with their career. That’s one of the things that I’m passionate about, helping others succeed and reach their full potential.

Julea: I imagine there have been more than 10 things that you’ve learned about success during your career. Are these the top 10 things?

Stacy: Yes, you could say that. These are the most important 10 things, although I won’t be presenting them in any particular order. It won’t be like #10 is the least important and #1 is the most important or vice-versa. Although some might be considered more important than others, they’re all critical for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals who want to grow their career.

Julea: That sounds great. Are you ready to start?

Stacy: Yes, and the first thing that I’ve learned during my career is that people often allow fear to hold them back from doing things they want to do and going after things they really want.

Julea: Can you elaborate on that, Stacy?

Stacy: Certainly, I can. While fear can be a useful emotion, that’s usually the case in a life-threatening situation. People are not in that situation when they’re evaluating their career and making decisions about it. The problem occurs when people allow their irrational fears about a situation to influence their decision-making process. This is most evident when it comes to making the decision to change jobs. Even if the new job is a great new employment opportunity that is better than the job they currently have, some people will allow fear to prevent them from moving forward.

The second thing that I’ve learned is that resiliency is critical for professionals not only in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, but also for every person in the employment marketplace.

Julea: Why is that?

Stacy: There are a couple of reasons. First, adversity in life is unavoidable, and that includes both your personal life and your professional life. How you react to the adversity you encounter largely determines how successful you are in your career. If you handle it well, then your career will grow. If you don’t handle it well, then it will not.

Second, resiliency is a trait that is in short supply in the marketplace. I know this because I’ve talked with multiple hiring managers and other company officials who have told me this point-blank. They’ve said that resiliency is lacking and they want to hire more candidates who are resilient and have a track record of resiliency. And of course, resiliency doesn’t have anything to do with the technical skills that a person has. It deals with their mindset and their frame of mind. How a person thinks and what a person thinks has a tremendous impact on whether or not they experience success. And that leads me to the third thing that I’ve learned.

Julea: Which is . . .

Stacy: You must look for opportunity in the midst of adversity. Too often, people focus on the adversity, which is human nature. But there is almost always opportunity there, as well, and you can miss it if you’re too focused on the negative circumstances.

Julea: I can see how this one goes hand-in-hand with the one before it.

Stacy: Yes, first you must be resilient in the face of adversity and not let it negatively affect your frame of mind or your decision-making process. Then you must look more closely for opportunities in the midst of that adversity. There may be circumstances that you can use to your advantage.

Julea: That sounds easier said than done.

Stacy: It is, but it CAN be done. It requires the proper mindset, a commitment to doing things the right way, and the patience to remain calm during trying times. But it’s like anything else. The more that you practice doing it, the better you will become at it. Being successful is all about opportunities. The more opportunities you have, the more successful you can become, and sometimes opportunities present themselves when you least expect it. That’s why you must always be looking for them.

Julea: What’s the fourth thing on our list?

Stacy: The fourth thing that I’ve learned is that you must be proactive about your career. Some people are under the mistaken assumption that you can just sit back and wait for success to come to you. And I know that in a tight labor market like the one we’re in, there are professionals who believe they have all the leverage and they can do whatever they want. No matter how much leverage candidates might have in this market, though, there is always a limit to the leverage. It’s not endless.

Not only that, even if we’re in a candidates’ market where candidates have the leverage, you still have to be proactive if you want to maximize your career potential. You must have a proactive mindset. Proactive people make things happen. Reactive people allow things to happen to them. They’re constantly reacting to circumstances instead of proactively doing things to improve their situation. But even if you’re proactive, sometimes opportunities are presented to you, such as an executive recruiter presenting an employment opportunity because you’re a potential fit for their client’s job opening.

That situation brings us to #5 on our list.

Julea: What is #5 Stacy?

Stacy: The fifth thing that I’ve learned during my career is that you must always be open to opportunity. Notice I didn’t say take every opportunity that comes along, just to be open to it.

One of the most successful people I know in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession once told me that early in his career, his mentor taught him to never say “No” to an opportunity without first knowing about the opportunity. His mentor told him to always be open to at least hearing about the opportunity and that it costs you nothing to listen. This person credited his mentor and that advice with helping him become as successful as he is. He said sometimes the best opportunities come along when you are not actively looking for them and when you least expect them.

Julea: What should people say when they’re presented with an opportunity?

Stacy: There are a couple of things. They can say, “I’m open to hearing about it” or “What kind of opportunity do you have?” or “Tell me more about this opportunity.”

All you’re doing is agreeing to hear about the opportunity and then you can decide whether or not you’re interested. What you’re NOT doing is committing yourself to the opportunity. And you’re certainly not saying, “Yes, I will resign from my current employer and leave tomorrow to take another position.”

Julea: You’re just creating options for yourself.

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct, and more options are a good thing.

Julea: Stacy, what’s next on our list?

Stacy: The sixth thing I’ve learned is that problem solving is one of the best forms of value that a professional can offer to employers. In fact, it could be the best form of value. That’s because there is no end to the number of problems that companies and organizations run into. That’s why companies hire employees in the first place. They’re trying to solve specific problems. So the more problems that you can solve, the more valuable you are.

And when you think about, all that you possess—your technical skills, your soft skills, and your experience—all relate to problem solving. You use those things to solve problems for your employer. They could be problems right now, in the present, or they could be future problems that your employer sees on the horizon. Companies and organizations place a high premium on professionals who are proven problems solvers and who can solve a variety of problems in a variety of ways. That’s because the bottom line in the employment marketplace is results. If you want to be a top candidate and a top employee, then you must be able to deliver the results that organizations want.

The next couple of items on our list deal with how often professionals should change jobs during their career.

Julea: Which items are those?

Stacy: First, #7, which is unless you’re going to retire from your current job, then it’s wise to keep your options open.

Julea: Right, no one retires from their employer with a gold watch anymore.

Stacy: Yes, those days are long gone. In fact, I keep my husband’s grandfather’s gold watch in my office to remind me of that. He did retire with a gold watch but that was a long time ago. Right now, people are changing jobs every two to three years, and it’s become an accepted practice in the job market. This is especially the case for the younger generations, Millennials and Generation Z. Once again, though, this is a mindset. There are still some people who handle their career as though they’re going to retire with their current employer. Maybe subconsciously they know that’s not the case, but even so, they don’t do the things that are necessary to create options for themselves and grow their career. Even worse than that, they’re not open to even considering an opportunity when one is presented to them.

Julea: That makes sense. Statistically speaking, someone in the job market who is in their 30s or even 40s is not going to retire with their current employer. It’s almost certain that they won’t. So why aren’t people’s mindset and actions more in line with the reality of the marketplace?

Stacy: That is a great question, and I wish I had a magic answer. Fear of the unknown certainly plays a role, as well the desire to remain comfortable and cling to the status quo. But the only thing that’s certain is change, and that’s why you must be proactive and initiate change instead of waiting and allowing external circumstances to force change upon you.

Julea: Stacy, what is #8 on our list?

Stacy: The eighth thing I’ve learned during my career is that staying at a job for more than five years can negatively impact your income. We’ve already established that changing jobs every two to three years has become accepted practice, but staying at the same job for five years or more can actually hurt you financially.

Julea: How is that?

Stacy: A person who changes jobs every two to three years is going to earn more over the life of their career than someone who changes jobs every five years. That’s because when a person changes jobs, their base salary and other compensation are often dramatically more than what they were earning at their previous employer. That is even more the case during a talent shortage and a candidates’ market. However, for the person who changes jobs every five years, their annual raise might only be in the 3% to 5% range, and that’s if they’re lucky. On the other hand, a person who changes jobs every two to three years could be experiencing a salary increase of 10% to 15%. And in some cases, it could be more.

I can tell you that during the past year, I have seen candidates offered salaries that were 30% to 50% more than what they were currently making. And in select cases, the increase was even more than that!

Julea: That’s amazing Stacy.

Stacy: It is and it is what we see happening in the marketplace right now, especially in the Veterinary profession. That’s why staying in the same job for more than five years can negatively impact your income. And that leads us to #9 on our list.

Julea: What is #9?

Stacy: Staying at the same organization for 10 years or more can have a dramatically negative effect on your career growth.

Julea: Do you mean outside of the money lost that you just discussed?

Stacy: Yes, even outside of that. The reason is because some employers now look negatively at professionals who have stayed with an organization that long.

Julea: They do? Why is that?

Stacy: Employers view these professionals as stagnant in their careers. Not only that, but they also believe these professionals do not take enough risks. As a result, they’re hesitant to hire these people. Organizations are seeking candidates who are not afraid to take risks in the pursuit of bigger and better things.

Julea: So staying with the same employer for 10 years can back-fire on a person in multiple ways.

Stacy: Yes, it can hurt them financially and it can also hurt their chances for career growth when they actually start exploring other employment opportunities.

Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time for today. What is the 10th and final item on our list?

Stacy: This is one that I probably already knew when I started my career, but working with an experienced recruiting firm is the best way to become aware of job opportunities in a passive, low-profile manner. In other words, in a confidential manner.

If anonymity is your primary objective, and that means conducting a job search without anyone knowing that you’re conducting a search, an experienced recruiter can provide that. In fact, their entire process is based upon conducting a discreet search.

But in order for that to happen, you have to choose the right recruiter, communicate well with that recruiter, and build a relationship. Effective communication is crucial. You must make sure that your recruiter is armed with the knowledge they need to help you find the job you’ve always wanted. I may be a bit biased, but I believe that working with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter is one of the best ways to keep on top of the best employment opportunities in the marketplace and grow your career the right way.

Julea: Stacy, thank you for sharing with us 10 things that you’ve learned during your career as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter. Stacy, of course, is the founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter. 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”!