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Episode #276 – How to Effectively Engage with Candidates during the Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring Process

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #276 - How to Effectively Engage with Candidates during the Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring Process

Caleb: 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 how to effectively engage with candidates during the hiring process with Animal Health companies and Veterinary practices. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Caleb: Stacy, you know a lot about this topic because you are a Workplace workforce expert and  a Certified Employee Retention Specialist and an Animal Health key opinion leader as well as a Veterinary key opinion leader. Please talk about the importance of the topic for today’s podcast.

Stacy: Certainly. As we’ve talked about on multiple occasions, we’re in a candidates’ job market where top candidates are scarce. That means they have a lot of options and opportunities, and employers are finding it difficult to recruit and hire them. As a result, when an employer does get a top candidate or multiple candidates into their hiring process, they must do everything they can to keep them in the process.

Caleb: Stacy, because they can’t afford to lose them because there aren’t enough active candidates in the job market.

Stacy: That’s right. And unfortunately, in this current job market, candidates need a lot of convincing to enter the hiring process, but they don’t need a lot of convincing to drop out of it.

Caleb: That makes sense Stacy, and you lead a team of Animal Health recruiters and Veterinary recruiters who are in the trenches of the job market on a daily basis, so you know more about this than just about anyone else. Where would you like to start with this topic today, Stacy?

Stacy: I have a straightforward blueprint of steps that employers can take to effectively engage candidates during the Animal Health and Veterinary hiring process, and I’d like to go through them one at a time.

Caleb: Are these steps in any particular order?

Stacy: They’re somewhat in order in terms of the recruiting and hiring process, but not strictly so. They follow the natural order of how an organization should approach the process and interact with candidates.

Caleb: Okay, that sounds good. What’s our first step?

Stacy: The first step is to effectively engage with candidates even if you don’t realize that you’re engaging with them.

Caleb: What does that mean to effectively engage even if you don’t realize you are engaging with them?

Stacy: It means being aware of your employment brand on the Internet and social media and being able to manage it. Today’s candidates check out potential new employers online before they even speak with anyone at the organization. They want to know what kind of online presence the company has, and more importantly, what other people are saying about it.

Caleb: Are you talking about sites like Glassdoor?

Stacy: Yes, that’s one of the major ones, for sure. Google Reviews is another one. Employers need to monitor what people are saying about them on these websites and respond to negative comments. When you ignore these sites and the information contained on them, you’re not effectively engaging with today’s candidates. This is where they go to get their information.

Caleb: And they also go to the company’s social media accounts as well don’t they Stacy?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. They want to know what the organization is about and what it stands for. Core values are important to today’s candidates, perhaps more important than ever before. They want to get a sense of the company culture and what they could expect if they were to work for the organization.

Caleb: So, the company’s social media accounts better be active, then, isn’t that, right?

Stacy: Yes! And not having any social media accounts is not the answer, either. In fact, that might be worse than having accounts that you don’t use or update. Social media can be a time-consuming process, but there are third-party apps available to help with this. Two of the most common are Buffer and Hootsuite. Employers must realize that candidate engagement starts sooner than they might think.

Caleb: Stacy, what’s the next step for candidate engagement during the Animal Health and Veterinary hiring process?

Stacy: Responding to candidates in a timely fashion and not making them wait on you. It’s simple when you think about it: you can’t effectively engage with candidates unless you make the move to engage with them in the first place.

Caleb: Which stage of the hiring process are you talking about?

Stacy: All stages! Every interaction that a company official has with a candidate is an opportunity for that official to brand the organization in the mind of the candidate. It starts with the first reach out from the hiring manager or practice owner and the first interaction. To put it another way, you can’t make candidates wait.

Caleb: Because they have leverage, and they have options.

Stacy: Yes, because they have leverage, and they have options. First, don’t be late for phone screenings or interviews. Don’t even be a few minutes late. And don’t be unprepared for the phone screen or interview, either. The candidate will take that as a reflection of the organization as a whole. First, they’re going to believe that you think the interview is not that important to them and that the candidate’s time is not important to them, either. Effectively engaging with candidates during the Animal Health or Veterinary hiring process starts with being on time.

In addition, don’t make candidates wait for updates during the process. Don’t “leave them hanging,” so to speak. As a hiring manager in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, since you have the job and you’re the one trying to fill it, you might be tempted to believe that you are the one in control of the process and you’re the one setting the tempo. While you have the job, it’s not entirely true that you’re in control of the process, and that’s because you don’t have the leverage to be completely in control of it.

Caleb: So, make sure that you’re always on time and that you always keep candidates updated on where things stand in the process.

Stacy: That’s right. That’s how you effectively engage them. There are two main things that candidates want to know when they’re in the hiring process. First, they want to know where they stand in the process, and second, they want to know what the next steps of the process are going to be. And they pretty much want to know these two things during the entire time they’re in the process. They don’t want to be “in the dark” at any point.

Caleb: Stacy, does this include after a candidate is hired?

Stacy: Absolutely! Once a candidate has been hired, the employer must let the other candidates know what has happened and they must do it as soon as possible. Speed is important when it comes to hiring and recruiting, and that includes the employer branding component of the process. Candidates will accept prompt responses and timely replies, even if they don’t receive an offer of employment.

Caleb: Stacy, what’s our next step for candidate engagement during the Animal Health and Veterinary hiring process?

Stacy: Our next step is to provide correct, detailed, and specific information when you communicate with candidates. Or at the very least, as detailed and specific as you can possibly be. What candidates do not want is vague information that they really can’t base anything on. Remember, top candidates are already employed, and more than likely, they’re conducting a confidential job search. Not only that, but there’s also a good chance that they’re a passive candidate, meaning they were not actively looking for a new job initially.

Caleb: Like you mentioned earlier, it doesn’t take much to convince them to drop out of the process.

Stacy: Yes, it doesn’t take much, and an Animal Health hiring manager or Veterinary practice owner who does not communicate well or communicate the right information could be all the convincing that the candidate needs to drop out of the process and stay with their current employer.

Caleb: Stacy, does this information include phone screens and interviews, I mean in terms of logistical information?

Stacy: Yes, and I’m glad that you brought that up. When it comes to phone screens, online videos, or in-person interviews, candidates want to know exactly what they’re supposed to do and where they’re supposed to go. An in-person interview is especially important because the candidate will be onsite at the employer. They’ll have the chance to see what happens within the organization during a typical day, and this will help to form their opinion about the organization and whether or not they want to work for it.

Caleb: Is it true that as an employer, you want to provide the best experience possible for all of the candidate who are part of the Animal Health or Veterinary hiring process?

Stacy: Yes, even those candidates that you do not eventually hire. That’s because they might tell other people about their experience. They could tell friends or colleagues, or they could even post something on social media or on a review site. And if they post something that’s negative, that can hurt your employer brand as an organization.

And that actually leads us to our next step.

Caleb: Which step is that?

Stacy: Respecting candidates’ time and confidentiality during the interviewing process.

Caleb: What does that mean, exactly?

Stacy: It means a lot of things, starting with the fact that you don’t want to over-interview candidates. Interviewing them twice is okay, but some employers bring candidates back for four, five, or six interviews. In today’s job market, that is too many. I just heard a story from a candidate who had to go through 8 interviews with one company. In fact, I just placed that candidate with one of our clients. She didn’t go to the company that had her do 8 interviews. Top candidates are scarce and top candidates who will tolerate four or five interviews are even scarcer. In fact, I’m not even sure that many exist.

Once again, these candidates are already employed. They have a job and they’re exploring other employment opportunities and interviewing without their employer’s knowledge. They can’t keep taking time off to interview. It’s only a matter of time before their employer is going to figure out what they’re doing, especially if they’re a top employee. I understand that employers want to be through and do their due diligence, but they must also strike a balance. That means maximizing the interview time that they do have so they can make the best decision in the shortest amount of time.

Caleb: This is also a chance for the organization to brand itself to candidates, is that right?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely! And the last thing you want to do is brand your organization as disorganized and unprepared. Even if you don’t schedule four or five rounds of interviews, you can’t bring candidates in for a marathon interview that lasts all day. Unfortunately, I know of employers that have done this, and they did not even have the courtesy to give the candidate a break for lunch.

Caleb: Wait a minute. Not only did they not offer to buy the candidate lunch since they were there all-day interviewing, but they also did not give them a break for lunch/

Stacy: That’s correct. This has happened and it is not considerate of  the candidate.

Caleb: If I was the candidate in that situation, then I would not want to work for that organization.

Stacy: That’s exactly what I mean. These are not small mistakes, nor are they simple inconveniences. You can either engage a candidate the right way or you can engage them the wrong way, and this is an example of engaging them the wrong way.

And that leads us to our final step for effectively engaging with candidates during the Animal Health and Veterinary hiring process.

Caleb: Which step is that?

Stacy: Making sure that everyone involved in the hiring process on the employer side are “on the same page” and communicating effectively with each other.

Caleb: Is that because even if the Animal Health hiring manager or Veterinary practice owner is communicating well and is prepared, other people involved in the process might not be?

Stacy: That’s right, and it happens more frequently than you might think. An Animal Health hiring manager or Veterinary practice owner does everything they can to engage effectively with candidates, and then the whole process gets blown up by other people involved in the process. Typically, multiple people interview a candidate, especially the further along in the process the candidate goes.

Caleb: How do you troubleshoot something like that?

Stacy: It takes time and effort up front to make sure that everyone involved in the process knows exactly what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. They should also know which questions they’ll be asking, mainly so that they don’t end up asking the candidate the same questions over and over. The key is to make sure that everyone involved is taking the process seriously and they realize that they’re all branding the organization in the eyes of candidates. Hopefully, this will translate into effectively engaging the candidates all the way through the process.

Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time, so is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s episode?

Stacy: I’d like to emphasize again that candidates have the leverage in today’s job market. In fact, in the Veterinary profession, they have so much leverage that employers are giving candidates gift baskets just for interviewing.

Caleb: Really! That is incredible.

Stacy: It is, and it has been more common, especially in those industries and professions in which candidates are scarce. It’s just another reminder that you cannot successfully recruit and hire candidates in today’s job market without first effectively engaging those candidates—and that means before the process starts, during it, and after it has ended.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about the Pet industry trends that are driving the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure Caleb, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

Caleb: For those in our listening audience, be sure to connect with The VET Recruiter on social media including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you are an employer hiring in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, be sure to connect with Stacy Pursell and her team of Animal Health Recruiters and Veterinary Recruiters. If you are a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession looking for your next career move reach out to The VET Recruiter today. The VET Recruiter posts Animal Health jobs and Veterinarian jobs on The VET Recruiter website at www.thevetrecruiter.com  Look out for our next podcast episode next week of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider and we look forward to connecting with you soon.

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