Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.
In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about some of the big factors that decide whether or not a candidate gets hired. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.
Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.
Sharita: Stacy, the factors that we’re going to discuss today, these aren’t things such as skills or experience, is that correct?
Stacy: Yes, that’s correct. Of course, skills and experience are major factors in determining who receives an offer of employment and who does not. But that’s not our area of focus today. We’re going to address other factors that are part of the decision-making process of organizations.
Sharita: Stacy, can you lay a little bit of groundwork as to why we’re going to look at these factors?
Stacy: I certainly can. In some cases, the competition for an open position is fierce. This is especially the case for high-level or senior leadership openings. When that happens, you have two or more candidates who are very similar in terms of skills and experience. But the hiring manager still has to decide which candidate receives the offer of employment. The factors that we’re going to discuss today are those that the hiring manager uses to help them make their decision.
Sharita: That makes sense. What’s the first factor that we’ll be discussing?
Stacy: Well, the first factor is the first impression, and there are a couple of different first impressions. One of them is the impression that your resume and your cover letter make. This is why your resume should be impactful and why you should invest time, energy, and effort into it. It’s also why you should never tell a hiring manager or Animal Health or Veterinary recruiter to “See my LinkedIn profile” when they ask for a copy of your resume. Saying that does not make a good first impression.
The other first impression is when you meet company officials for the first time, presumably during a face-to-face interview. There are many things that you can do to make a good impression.
First, make sure that you’re on time. Second, dress in an appropriate fashion. Third, be friendly with everyone whom you meet, not just the people that you think are going to be making the hiring decision. Fourth, do not play with your smartphone or look at it unless it’s an emergency, and responding to a Facebook post is not an emergency. Fifth, stay upbeat, positive, and engaged with those conducting the interview.
Sharita: The old saying is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. After more than 20 years as an Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, do you agree with that saying?
Stacy: I absolutely agree with it. Within the realm of the employment marketplace, it is certainly true.
Sharita: What’s our next factor?
Stacy: Our next factor is that of confidence. However, I want to explore both sides of this factor, specifically a lack of confidence and too much confidence. Each of those can be bad for a job candidate.
Confidence is an attractive trait. Employers want to hire candidates who appear confident. They want to hire people who appear confident in their abilities. They don’t like to hire people who are tentative or unsure of themselves.
On the other hand, employers don’t like to hire candidates who are arrogant, either. Arrogance is not an attractive characteristic. Not only that, but it’s considered a counter-productive trait, as well. Confident people are seen as leaders, while arrogant people often do not work well with others.
It doesn’t matter how sure you are that you’re going to get the job. Don’t act overly confident. And if you believe you have no chance, don’t let that come across, either.
Sharita: Because of you come across as too confident or not confident enough with your first impression, it will be difficult to change that impression?
Stacy: Yes, that’s right.
Sharita: What’s next on the list?
Stacy: Our next factor is being authentic and being real. While it’s true that you’re attempting to promote yourself during a job search and highlight your strengths and the value that you bring, you should not attempt to be someone that you’re not. And trying to present the person that you think the hiring manager wants to see will not get you very far.
Think about it: the hiring manager wants to see the real you so they can assess whether or not they want to hire the real you. And you want to present the real you. The reason is simple: because after you’re hired, you’re going to be the real you in your new job. You can’t pretend to be somebody else for the duration of your employment. That’s impractical, if not impossible.
It’s more than okay to strive to improve yourself, to add more skills and knowledge as you grow your career. But don’t be anybody else but yourself.
Sharita: Stacy, I know that we’ve talked on a couple of occasions about what job candidates should be focused on during the hiring process, which is what the employer is looking for and the value that they can provide. How does that play into what we’re discussing today?
Stacy: Great question, and it does play into our conversation. In fact, it’s part of the fourth and fifth factors in today’s podcast. The fourth factor is empathy or emotional intelligence. However, I want to explain that I’m including this factor only so far as it relates to the hiring process. Here’s what I mean by that.
For the purposes of this conversation, empathy means knowing what the other party needs the most. In this case, it means knowing what the employer or the hiring manager needs the most and then acting on that knowledge. When a job candidate thinks in this fashion, they stop focusing on what they want from the process and they start focusing on what the employer wants.
Sharita: And when you focus on what the employer wants, that increases your chances for getting hired?
Stacy: Yes, that’s correct. So viewed in that context, as a job candidate, you should have empathy for what the hiring manager wants. You should focus on what the hiring manager wants. You can also employ facets of emotional intelligence to better gauge the situation and connect with the people who are interviewing you. Above all, you want to connect with them, and the best way to connect with them is to focus on their needs and the needs of the organization.
And that leads us to our fifth and final factor?
Sharita: What is that factor, Stacy?
Stacy: It’s communication, which is extremely important during the hiring process, for a number of different reasons.
First, and I can tell you this through personal experience, but communication during the hiring process can fall off. In many instances, candidates do not communicate enough. Not only that, but sometimes the organization that is attempting to hire does not communicate enough, as well, which can add to the problem. As a candidate, you can stand out from the competition by making a concerted effort to communicate more often and communicate more effectively throughout the entire process.
Sharita: That includes the interview, is that correct?
Stacy: It’s especially true during the interview. That’s because as a job candidate, you have a tremendous amount that you need to communicate. First and foremost, candidates must communicate the potential value that they offer to the employer. Remember, #4 on our list is empathy for what the hiring manager and the organization needs. Once you’ve identified what that is, you can focus on that by communicating how the value that you provide can meet the need that the employer has.
And this is where your communication skills become especially important. That’s because you must communicate that value in as many different ways as you can.
Sharita: You mean more than just by talking about it?
Stacy: Yes, there is plenty of talking that occurs during a face-to-face interview, but you can communicate your value by more than just talking. Your resume is one way. Your cover letter is another. The way you conduct yourself during the interview is another way. If you display confidence, it is considered valuable to a potential employer and you are communicating that value to the employer.
Your goal is to communicate your value in as many ways as you can and tie that value to whatever it is that the hiring manager and the organization need the most. Forget about what you want and emphasize how you can give them what they need.
Sharita: So what you’re saying is that a candidate who maybe has a little bit less in the way of skills and experience could conceivably get a job over a person who has more in the way of skills and experience?
Stacy: That’s exactly right. If that candidate excels with the five factors that we’ve discussed today, then they give themselves an excellent chance to get the job and they could conceivably get it over somebody who appears to be more qualified on paper.
As an Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter for 20 plus years, I know the type of candidates that employers want to hire. That’s why candidates need to create and provide a well-rounded and diverse presentation of their value and how that value can solve the organization’s problems.
Sharita: But as you said, they should also strive to provide an authentic presentation and not try to be somebody else.
Stacy: That’s correct. That’s another way to stand out and enhance your candidacy.
Sharita: Stacy, thanks once again for sharing all of this great information with us today.
Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!