Episode #248 – Creating an Effective Animal Health or Veterinary Recruiting and Hiring Plan

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #248 - Creating an Effective Animal Health or Veterinary Recruiting and Hiring Plan
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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 talking about creating an effective Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Julea: Stacy, what prompted you to address this topic today on the podcast?

Stacy: A couple of reasons, really, but the main one involves the conditions that currently exist in the job market. As just about everyone knows, there is a worker and talent shortage, and that is especially the case in the Veterinary profession. Qualified candidates are scarce, and as a result, employers are finding it difficult to identify, recruit, and hire the people they want to hire for their open positions.

In conditions like these, it is important for employers to have an effective Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan. Unfortunately, not all employers have such a plan.

Julea: Really, why is that, Stacy? Why don’t all employers having a recruiting and hiring plan?

Stacy: There are multiple reasons, with lack of time and resources being one of the top reasons.

A couple of months ago, analytics company iVET360 surveyed close to 700 Veterinary practice managers in 49 states. As part of its survey, the company asked these practice managers about the top challenges they face. It might not surprise you that practice managers reported that Veterinary recruiting is their top challenge.

Julea: You are right. That does not surprise me. What were some of the other results of the survey?

Stacy: There were other findings that were interesting and relevant to what we are talking about today.

First, a little over 50% of practice managers indicated they have staff development and training plans.

Second, 60% of managers stated they have a formalized onboarding process for each role.

And third, only 11% of practice managers said they have a Veterinary recruiting plan in place for all open positions.

Julea: Wow, only 11%? That is a low percentage!

Stacy: You are right, that is a low percentage, especially considering what is occurring in the job market these days. What these numbers indicate is there are many Veterinary practices that are not prepared for the conditions in the marketplace, which means they are not prepared to recruit and hire the way they need to.

Any time is a good time for an employer to look at its Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan, but the end of the year is an opportune time.

Julea: Why is that, exactly? Why the end of the year?

Stacy: Because you have the chance to analyze what happened during the previous year and use that analysis to plan for the coming year. That is assuming, of course, that you have data and information to analyze. An organization should know how many employees it hired, but it should also know:

  • Where those successful hires came from or how they were sourced
  • Where all of the candidates who were in their hiring process came from
  • How many offers of employment the organization made overall and how many were turned down
  • The specific reasons that the offers were turned down
  • How many times they were “ghosted” by candidates and at which stage of the hiring process it occurred

Ideally, the organization would use this data to create a better Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan for the coming year. In our case, that coming year would be 2022, since we’re now at the end of 2021.

Julea: Yes, and I can hardly believe it. Time certainly flies.

Stacy: It certainly does, and it flies no matter how prepared you are to recruit and hire top talent. That is why this is a critical issue for employers.

Julea: So how would you like to tackle today’s topic?

Stacy: The first thing I’d like to do is outline the essential components of an Animal Health recruiting and hiring plan. Then I would like to discuss some ways that an employer can continue improving their plan over time. A recruiting and hiring plan cannot become stagnant. Instead, it must be pliable and adaptable so that it can change when market conditions change. If your organization’s recruiting and hiring plan does not line up with what is happening in the job market, then it is ultimately not going to be successful.

Julea: That makes sense Stacy. How many components does an effective Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan have?

Stacy: There are many components and many categories, but for the purposes of our podcast episode today, I am going to focus on five main components. Or as I like to call them, essential components.

Julea: What is the first essential component?

Stacy: The first essential component is the identification of talent. This is crucial, because as I have stated before, you cannot hire the best candidates unless you know who the best candidates are. This is where the information I mentioned earlier enters the picture. If an organization knows where their best hires came from during a given year, then they have a good idea where they can look to find more top talent—or at least more comparable candidates.

The second essential component is the engaging of the top talent that was identified. Knowing who the top candidates are is just the first step. Now the organization must engage those candidates in a way that will cause them to be open to hearing about the opportunity. It is important that an employer have a system in place for doing this and that the system is part of an overall Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring process.

Julea: These components seem as though they are pretty basic.

Stacy: They are basic, that is the beauty of it! There is nothing complicated in a good Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan. The common problem, as I mentioned earlier, is that some organizations do not have the time nor the resources to execute their plan. After all, what good is a plan if you are not able to execute it well?

Julea: No good at all, I would guess.

Stacy: And you would be correct! And that leads us to the third essential component, which is the recruiting of the talent.

Just because a candidate is open to hearing about an opportunity, it does not mean they will automatically be interested in it. This is especially true of top passive candidates in the marketplace. This is when you must “sell” both the opportunity and the organization to the candidate, continually emphasizing the WIIFM.

Julea: And if I remember correctly, WIIFM means “What’s In It For Them.”

Stacy: Yes, that is right. An organization looking to hire top talent must always know what is most important to those candidates and recruit with those things in mind.

Speaking of which, that brings us to the fourth essential component, which is the actual hiring of the talent. That is because when a candidate accepts an offer of employment, an organization has hired them—on paper, at least.

Julea: Although they have not shown up for their first day of work.

Stacy: Correct. Until the candidate shows up for their first day of work, they have not officially started work. However, convincing a candidate to accept an offer is a big step and its importance should not be understated.

And that brings us to our fifth and final essential component, which is the successful onboarding of talent. This component may be the most important one on the list, considering how many candidates have “ghosted” their employer on their supposed first day of work during the past year.

Julea: That is right! Even if a candidate accepts an offer of employment, it is no guarantee that they will show up for their first day work.

Stacy: Yes, and that’s why employers must remember that the onboarding process starts as soon as a candidate accepts their offer of employment and NOT on the candidate’s first day of work.

Julea: Because if they do not show up for their first day of work, then there’s not going to be any onboarding process.

Stacy: Exactly. And now that we have discussed the five essential components of an Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan, I’d like to address the steps involved in improving that plan. And there is a difference between having a hiring plan and having a hiring plan that is designed to hire the best candidates.

Julea: There is?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. That is because there are different types and different calibers of candidates in the job market. For example, there are A-level candidates and there are C-level candidates. There are active job seekers and there are passive candidates. If your Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan is designed to hire just anyone, then that is who you will hire. However, if it is designed to hire only the best candidates available in the marketplace, then you stand a better chance of hiring candidates of that caliber.

Julea: I can see how that would make a difference. What are the steps involved?

Stacy: The first step in improving an organization’s Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan is to make the plan your priority.

It is difficult to improve anything if you don’t make it a priority. Things usually do not just improve on their own. Not only should it be a priority, but it should also be measured. You have probably heard this adage: you can’t improve what you don’t measure. That means assessing your hiring plan and process in terms of the people you have already hired, which I touched upon earlier.

Are the people you’ve hired this year superstars and top performers? Or are they duds?

That leads to our second step for improvement, which is to identify and learn from past mistakes. While you’re measuring, identify what you believe led to subpar hires. Then do what is necessary to rectify those shortcomings. Try to remain objective. Only an objective analysis will provide the information you need to make the necessary adjustments.

Julea: Do you mean that some people will have a difficult time being objective about people that they’ve hired?

Stacy: Yes, because if you admit that you hired an employee that is not working out, then you’ll feel as though that is an indictment of your ability to hire or your worth as an employee. And that is not necessarily the case. There are many factors that go into hiring the right people.

Our third step is to research the market. Ask yourself some questions. What are the current trends concerning hiring and top talent? What is attracting top talent? What are the best candidates seeking in a new employment opportunity?

It’s difficult to hire the best unless you know what the best wants. It would also be to your advantage to know about the most up-to-date screening and interviewing techniques, anything that might give you an edge.

The fourth step is to become an expert in recognizing top talent. This is the only instance in which the essential components for an Animal Health or Veterinary recruiting and hiring plan overlap with one of the steps for improvement. This should tell you how important it is to identify top talent and then also treat those candidates as top talent during the hiring process.

The way you treat top talent during the hiring process should be different than the way you treat everybody else. Don’t get me wrong: you should treat everybody with the utmost of integrity and with the highest of quality. However, once you’ve identified the top talent you want to hire, put them on the fast track through the process and give them the attention they deserve. That will help to convince them to stick around.

Our fifth step actually has two parts. I’ll call them 5A and 5B.

Julea: Okay. What’s 5A?

Stacy: Step 5A is never stop hiring.

This doesn’t mean never stop bringing people onto the payroll, per se. It means never stop trying to improve the quality of your hires, and by extension, the quality of your employees and organization. It also means always being open to hiring and always being on the lookout for your next great hire. Even if you don’t have a position open, you can always make the person part of your talent network and have them on standby the next time your organization is looking to hire someone with their skills and experience.

Step 5B is to continually top-grade where it makes the most sense. And when I say top-grade, I mean replace your bottom performers with top performers. By some industry estimates, organizations should continue strive to replace the bottom 20% of their team with superstar candidates to maximize productivity and profits.

It’s every company’s goal to have its staff filled with nothing but A-players. Reward your current A-players, then set expectations for improvement with everyone else. If those expectations are not met? That’s why you’re always hiring or always on the lookout for your next great hire.

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

Stacy: Yes, one more thing. Sometimes it’s difficult to focus on improving your hiring plan when it seems as though you have to “put out fires” everywhere you look. The issues that threaten to consume your day can seem overwhelming, but they’ll derail your plans if you allow them. Focus is a critical component of creating your plan.

Once again, you have to somehow ignore the emergencies of the moment and make your plan a priority if you want the plan to be successful.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information about creating an effective Animal Health recruiting and hiring plan. And there is additional information The VET Recruiter website about your services for employers, is that correct?

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 positions that we’ve placed in the past.

I also recommend that those who visit the website also sign up for our monthly newsletter, which also contains hiring tips and 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 recruiting and 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: 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!