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Episode #294 – How to Recruit Veterinarians in a Challenging Job Market, Part 3

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #294 - How to Recruit Veterinarians in a Challenging Job Market, Part 3

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 continuing our discussion about recruiting veterinarians in a challenging job market. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

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

Caleb: Stacy, what will be talking about today in the next part in our series about recruiting and hiring veterinarians?

Stacy: We’ll be discussing a number of  things on today’s podcast, specifically those things that precede the job offer stage of the hiring process.

Caleb: Because as we talked about last week, everything before the offer of employment is the recruiting of veterinarians and everything after it involves the hiring of veterinarians. Is that right?

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct, especially for the purposes of this podcast. As we addressed in our previous podcast, the offer of employment is the “moment of truth.” If the candidate accepts the offer, then the employer has successfully recruited them. On the other hand, if the candidate declines the offer, “ghosts” on the offer, or otherwise seems to disappear from the face of the Earth, then the employer was not successful in recruiting them.

Caleb: Stacy, I know there is so much work that goes into recruiting veterinarians. I mean, we’ve already covered quite a bit and there’s even more to go.

Stacy: Yes, there is a lot involved, but that speaks to the degree of difficulty that is involved in recruiting veterinarians these days. First, there’s a shortage of veterinarians in the job market, and second, job seekers and candidates hold the majority of leverage in hiring situations. So, there is much involved, specifically time, energy, and effort that employers must invest into the process in a proactive fashion.

Caleb: Stacy, where would you like to start today?

Stacy: Last week, we talked about “selling” to candidates during the hiring process. This week, I’d like to address other ways to keep candidates engaged during the process.

Caleb: And can you recap why that’s important?

Stacy: Yes, of course. If you don’t keep candidates engaged during the process, then you increase the chances that they will drop out of the process. They could just disappear or “ghost.” They could accept an offer from another organization. They could decide to stay with their current employer and not go anywhere.

Caleb: So what are the different things that employers can do to help engage candidates?

Stacy: First of all, communication is the cornerstone of engagement. When you don’t communicate with candidates during the hiring process, they’ll think that you don’t believe it’s worth your time. If they think you don’t believe they’re worth your time, then they won’t believe that your opportunity is worth their time. In the mind of candidates, how often and how well you communicate with them represents how important you think they are.

This is where you can gain an edge over larger employers. That’s because bigger employers might have to deal with many more applicants and candidates. As a result, it could be more difficult to maintain a high level of communication with all of them. This is where your organization could get an advantage.

Caleb: What are some of the things that employers should be communicating?

Stacy: They should be communicating about almost everything or each step and what to expect. Specifically, though, they should be communicating about where the candidate is in the process and what the next steps of the process are going to be. Candidates do not want to feel as though they’ve been “hung out to dry.”

Employers should also explain the position and its responsibilities thoroughly. This starts with the position description and should continue through the phone screening and the face-to-face interviews. First of all, the job description should be compelling. You must do more than just list a bunch of duties and responsibilities. Yes, those are important, but you must also “sell” the position and frame it as being part of a larger opportunity. Then you must make sure that the candidates have a complete understanding of everything, from the job duties and responsibilities to how this opportunity will positively impact their career. If they don’t have that understanding, then they will not be engaged. The candidate wants to know how this opportunity is going to offer them career growth.

Caleb: That makes sense. What else can employers do to effectively engage candidates?

Stacy: Employers need to paint an accurate picture of the company culture.

This means communicating to candidates what it is really like to work for your organization. There are obviously reasons that people enjoy working there, or there would be no one working there. Identify why people work there and what keeps them there and present them to candidates in a way that will allow them to mentally project themselves into the position and the organization.

There are two other areas of your organization’s company culture that an employer should be prepared to address.

Caleb: What might those be?

Stacy: The first is workplace flexibility.

This was a concern for candidates before the pandemic even started, but it’s even more so now. That’s because the pandemic has forced some organizations to allow employees to work from home. Of course, that’s not an option for most Veterinary practices, which must have employees on site for animal care.

In this current job market, top candidates are looking for more workplace flexibility. This includes the days of the week that they work and the hours they work. These are all things they are going to want to know before they decide whether or not to accept an offer of employment from your organization.

Caleb: What’s the second area?

Stacy: The second area is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or (DEI).

Like workplace flexibility, DEI was a concern before the pandemic began, and it’s become even more a point of focus. For some candidates, DEI is ranked among their core values. Since that’s the case, if they explore new employment opportunities, then they’ll only consider accepting an offer of employment from an organization that aligns with their core values.

Keep in mind that these days, an organization can’t be unclear in their stance regarding DEI. They must have a clearly set position regarding these issues and be able to communicate this position to candidates. In fact, you have to do more than communicate. You must strive to overcommunicate in regards to this.

Caleb: How else can employers keep candidates engaged during the hiring process?

Stacy: There is another way and this one is relatively easy, or at least, it should be easy.

It’s respecting candidates time and their confidentiality. Some hiring managers might cringe at this statement, but top candidates’ time is every bit as valuable as your time. In fact, if you’re trying to hire said candidates, then it might possibly be that their time is more valuable. In addition, top candidates want the confidentiality of their job search guarded closely. They do NOT want their current employer to discover what they’re doing. Breaching that confidentiality does not keep them engaged in your hiring process.

Caleb: Stacy, you mentioned earlier that communicating with candidates well during the hiring process can give a smaller employer an edge over bigger ones. I imagine that’s good news for small employers. But are there other ways that these employers can offset the advantage that bigger employers have in the job market?

Stacy: Thank you for bringing that up, and yes, there are multiple things that a smaller employer can do to try to “level the playing field” with bigger employers.

The first one is something that we’ve discussed previously, and that’s using an in-house referral program.

Second, maximize and leverage your presence on social media.

We’ve already discussed the importance of employer branding, and using social media is a great way to communicate your brand to professionals in the job market. While it’s true that you can advertise on the social media sites, there are plenty of free ways to get more exposure for your brand.

The third thing is to make your website the best that it can be.

You don’t have to be a large organization to have a stellar website. In this day and age, anyone can have a website that brands themselves in a positive way and impresses the candidates who visit it. Keep in mind that when a person is even thinking about working for an organization, they check out that organization on the Internet.

Caleb: Yes, that’s almost a no-brainer these days. It’s assumed that every employer has a website and that it’s a good website.

Stacy: That’s right! And the next thing is to keep tabs on review sites for employers.

This includes Google Reviews, Glassdoor, and other sites. What people say on these websites absolutely matters. Just like candidates will check out your website, they’ll also check out these sites. So monitor the sites, and if there is a review from a past employee that seems suspect, keep in mind that you can sign up for a free employer account on the site and respond to that review.

Next is emphasizing the advantages of working for a smaller organization.

Caleb: What might be those advantages?

Stacy: There are many, starting with the fact you have more control over your career. In addition, you have greater responsibility beyond the job description and the chance to advance more quickly. You can also have a greater impact on the organization more quickly and you can enjoy a closer-knit, more family-like company culture.

Caleb: All of those things do you sound like positives.

Stacy: They are positives, and it’s a way that smaller companies can gain an advantage over larger ones when trying to recruit veterinarians.

And our last point is to identify candidates’ pain points and “sell” back to them during the hiring process. This one is particularly important because it also helps you to keep the employee engaged.

When you’ve identified a top candidate during the hiring process, identify their pain points. This means the reasons that they’re exploring your employment opportunity in the first place. When you discover those reasons, it’s important to bring those points up during the hiring process, especially while you’re continuing to “sell” to the candidate. Basically, you’re emphasizing the ways in which your organization can give them what they’re looking for. It’s another way for you to remind them both of why they’re looking for a new job and why they should work for you.

Caleb: Stacy, it seems as though when it comes to recruiting veterinarians, smaller employers can provide the personal touch. How important is that?

Stacy: It’s very important, namely because the candidate experience is so important these days. Candidates want to feel as though an employer cares about them and their career. They want to work for an employer that cares, not one that just treats them like a number or a commodity. That’s why you must make today’s candidates feel wanted during the hiring process. They want to feel as though you want them to work for you, not that you’re just rolling the job out there with a “take it or leave it” attitude.

Caleb: So if you don’t give candidates the personal touch and you don’t make them feel as though they’re wanted, then when the time comes, they won’t accept the offer of employment, which is the “moment of truth” for recruiting veterinarians.

Stacy: That’s 100% correct. It doesn’t matter how big your company or Veterinary practice is, you must engage candidate, keep them engaged, make them feel wanted, and communicate that you care about them and their career. If you’re not able to do that, then the candidate will not be inclined to work for your organization, no matter what kind of offer you make to them.

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 podcast episode?

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to say one more thing about recruiting veterinarians, and that’s if you don’t recruit them successfully, then you cannot hire them. Because veterinarians are so scare in this job market, you can’t just “pluck them out of thin” air and hire them without any effort. You have to find them, and you have to recruit them. Veterinarians are not sitting on the side lines unemployed. Almost every veterinarian who wants a job has a job in this market. There just is no other way to do it. That’s why recruiting and hiring go hand-in-hand, especially when you’re in a candidates market and especially when you’re trying to find top talent.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about recruiting veterinarians.

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

Caleb: For our listening audience, be sure to check out our  Hot Animal Health Jobs and Veterinary Jobs on The VET Recruiter website. If you need help with a resume you can connect with a resume writer right on our website.  We offer many resources on The VET Recruiter website so be sure to check out all of the resources that can help your Animal Health or Veterinary Career. Thanks again for being here today and we look forward to seeing you here next week on The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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