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Episode #260 – WIIFM, Motivation, and Reciprocity in Animal Health and Veterinary Employment

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #260 - WIIFM, Motivation, and Reciprocity in Animal Health and Veterinary Employment

Joel: 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 WIIFM, motivation, and reciprocity in Animal Health and Veterinary employment. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Joel: Stacy, what can you tell us about today’s topic?

Stacy: I would like to lay a foundation or a basis for our topic today to set the tone for our discussion. There are many ways that a professional in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession can grow their career and achieve success.

Some of these ways are short term in nature, which means they are not sustainable over long periods of time. Others, meanwhile, are long term, meaning that they are sustainable. And since a person is probably going to be a member of the workforce for a long time, it is better to choose a long term and more sustainable strategy. However, there is a problem with this.

Joel: What problem is that?

Stacy: The problem is that we live in an “instant gratification society.” Unfortunately, we have been trained to want everything we want and to want it now. Even more unfortunately, some of us have been trained to believe that we should always get what we want when we want it.

After 25 years working in the Animal Health and Veterinary employment marketplace as a recruiter, I can tell you that is NOT how it works. It’s never worked that way, and it never will.

Joel: How does it work, then Stacy?

Stacy: That is what we are going to talk about today, and there are three main pieces to our puzzle. These pieces are identified in the title of today’s podcast episode—WIIFM, the power of motivation, and the Principle of Reciprocity. And we are going to discuss each of them one at a time.

Joel: Sounds good. Which one would you like to discuss first today, Stacy?

Stacy: The first one that I would like to discuss is WIIFM, which is an acronym for “What’s In It For Me.”

So, it is not an acronym for a statement, but rather an acronym for a question. The mistake that some job seekers and candidates make is they only think about what’s in it for them. When they talk to a hiring manager or veterinary practice owner during a phone screening, they think about what they want. When they head into a face-to-face interview, they think primarily about what is in for them and not for the organization that is interviewing them.

Joel: Stacy, is that because we are in a candidates’ market, especially in the Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Yes, that is right. Candidates, especially top candidates, have the leverage, and since that is the case, they think about themselves more than the employer and whoever might be representing the employer. While this is natural, it can also be counterproductive. Only focusing on yourself all the time is a NOT a recipe for long-term success.

Instead, job seekers and candidates should be thinking about the value that they could provide to the employer. They should be talking about what is in it for the organization, namely the value they bring to the situation. Consequently, if you are a job seeker or candidate, this is what YOU should be doing. Emphasize what is in it for other people and not for yourself. That is easier said than done, of course, but it is a critical step in the overall process.

Joel: I imagine that you have plenty of case studies that involve candidates who think of themselves first more than they think of others first.

Stacy: I do! I once had a candidate send me an email about what they want in their career. They indicated they wanted a six-figure salary, as well as other benefits and perks. However, what they failed to mention in the email is what they “brought to the table,” so to speak. They failed to mention the value that they can offer to an employer. The email was all about what they wanted.

And of course, this was not an isolated incident. I speak with candidates on a consistent basis who talk first of what they want without thinking about what an employer wants. And if these job seekers and candidates are not talking about what they want, then they are talking about all the things they don’t want or don’t want to do. I want to impress upon the members of our listening audience that a “me-first attitude” will not take you very far, even if it’s a candidates’ market, the unemployment rate is low, and job openings appear to be plentiful.

However, WIIFM is a two-way street in terms of Animal Health and Veterinary employment.

Joel: What do you mean by that Stacy?

Stacy: I mean that employers also have to focus on the other person, in this case the job seeker or candidate, and not exclusively on what they want. And as we discussed, this is especially the case because it IS a candidates’ market and top candidates DO have the majority of the leverage. The reality of the job market is that employers need top candidates more than those candidates need the employers, and that can be a harsh reality for some hiring managers and veterinary practice owners to accept.

Joel: But they have to accept it, don’t they?

Stacy: They absolutely do. They have to accept it and recognize what they need to do to adapt to the conditions of the Animal Health and Veterinary employment marketplace.

Joel: And are they doing that?

Stacy: The ones that want to enjoy more hiring success are, but not all of them. If you’re an employer and you want to hire consistently well, then you must identify what candidates want; you must provide an excellent experience during the recruiting and hiring process; and when you make an offer to your top choice, you must make sure that offer contains  what the candidate wants and needs in order to accept your offer.

You cannot assume that a top candidate is automatically going to be interested in your job opening or in working for your organization just because you have an opening. And you cannot assume that a top candidate is going to be fully engaged during the recruiting and hiring process just because they are part of that process.

Joel: And we discussed assumptions that employers should not make in a recent podcast episode, didn’t we?

Stacy: We did, and some of those assumptions are at the heart of WIIFM. You cannot assume anything, and when you focus more on yourself, you are more likely to make assumptions that can hurt you. This is why focusing on the other person and what is in it for them is a better way to work toward a positive outcome—not just for you, but for the other person and everyone involved.

Joel: Are you talking about a win-win situation?

Stacy: Yes, that is right, a win-win situation! And a win-win mindset is in fact one of the core values of The VET Recruiter. I encourage our listeners to visit The VET Recruiter website to see all of our core values. There are thirteen of them, and many of them deal with the topics that we are exploring today.

Joel: As a reminder, you can visit The VET Recruiter website at Stacy, what would you like to talk about next?

Stacy: Next, I would like to talk about the power of motivation.

When you really think about it, just about everything in life boils down to motivation. In other words, nothing happens unless someone is motivated to make it happen. Now, there are two main types of motivation. There is intrinsic, or internal, motivation and there’s extrinsic, or external, motivation. In other words, people are motivated to do something because they want to do it themselves or because they are being influenced by outside forces. In extreme cases, someone could be forcing them to do it.

Joel: How does motivation fit into our discussion?

Stacy: Well, we just talked about WIIFM from both the point of view of candidates and employers. And what a person wants speaks to their motivation. In terms of the Animal Health and Veterinary employment marketplace, if you know what motivates another person, then it is easier to predict what that person will say and/or do. As a result, you should make it a priority to know what motivates other people, especially if you are part of the recruiting and hiring process as a candidate or as an employer.

Joel: Stacy, is this related at all to emotional intelligence?

Stacy: Yes, I am glad you asked that because emotional intelligence is a very valuable soft skill in the job market. In fact, it is probably one of the most valuable skills that you can possess, especially as a job seeker or candidate. And to answer your question, motivation is one of the five components of emotional intelligence.

The other four components are:

  1. Awareness, which means being aware of your emotions and the emotions of those around you
  2. Regulation, which means being able to control your emotions and influence the emotions of the people around you
  3. Empathy, which means being able to empathize with people after you have identified their emotions
  4. And social skills, which means having the soft skills and people skills necessary to practice effective emotional intelligence

Joel: So, what role specifically does motivation play in terms of emotional intelligence?

Stacy: Motivation speaks to the overriding goal of emotional intelligence, which is to apply it to real-world situations for the purpose of solving problems within the workplace. So, as you can see, motivation is an essential component of emotional intelligence.

And when you put all these elements and components together, it doesn’t matter if you’re a candidate or if you’re an employer. You should know the WIIFM of the other people involved in the recruiting and hiring process, and you should know what motivates them.

Joel: That leaves us with the Principle of Reciprocity, doesn’t it?

Stacy: It does, and this might be my favorite of the topics that we discuss today.

I have long been an advocate of The Principle of Reciprocity, namely for two reasons. First, it helps to brand a person with integrity, and second, because it works. First, let’s define what the principle is and what it means. The Principle of Reciprocity means that 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.

Joel: Is this sort of like a version of “paying it forward”?

Stacy: Yes, you could say that. The two are very similar. The concept that is central to each one is giving to someone before they give to you. However, with that being said, I want to address what the Principle of Reciprocity is not.

It does NOT mean doing something for someone only because you believe that you will receive something in return. It is not a selfish act, nor should your motivation for it be selfish. When you give to someone first, you should be genuine in your giving. If you are not, then the other person will probably sense that you’re not. The Principle of Reciprocity is not a form of manipulation, and it should not be approached that way.

In fact, I have a quote that I use often, and there is a reason that I use it often. That quote is by the late Zig Ziglar, who said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

And just like the win-win-mindset is at the heart of WIIFM, it is also at the heart of the Principle of Reciprocity. To be as successful as possible, always strive to give first so that you can achieve a win-win situation with everyone.

Joel: Stacy, we are just about out of time for today. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we finish today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Yes, I would like to close by saying that networking is another of the long-term, sustainable ways to grow your career and enjoy more success. And while you network with other people within your profession, you can incorporate all of the elements that we have talked about today. You can invest in your future by investing in other people, and when the time is right, they will invest in you. As you might have already guessed that investment could take the form of hiring you for a great new Animal Health or Veterinary employment opportunity.

If you are an Animal Health or Veterinary professional in the job market and you want to grow your career and experience more success, then you should understand WIIFM and the power of motivation and you should also practice the Principle of Reciprocity. While I can understand the desire to focus on yourself, your situation, and your needs, I would recommend resisting that desire and focusing on other people instead.

By doing this, you will set yourself on the path to long-term, sustained success and position yourself to reach your full professional potential and maximize your career in the process.

Joel: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information about the Animal Health and Veterinary employment marketplace. And before we end today’s episode, I know there is also a lot of great information on The VET Recruiter website for professionals. Can you talk briefly about what’s on the site?

Stacy: I certainly can. We have a blog for both employers and job seekers, and we also have a career resources section that includes interview tips, information about relocation, and best practices for working with a recruiter. In addition, we have jobs on our website, which are broken down into different categories. For example, there are Animal Health industry jobs, Veterinary practice jobs, and jobs categorized by geographic location. You can also search through our jobs by title or any other term that you would like to search on.

It is important to note that we add new jobs to The VET Recruiter website all the time, so it is a good idea to check the site often for new jobs. Some of the jobs on the website are also part of what is known as the “hidden job market.” This means the organization with the job opening wants us to conduct a confidential search and the job is not being advertised through traditional means, such as the major job boards. That is why I recommend checking out our jobs on a regular basis and also submitting your resume. That way, you can be considered for positions that are part of this “hidden job market.”

Joel: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: You’re very welcome, Joel, and thank you. It has been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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