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Episode #327 – How to Recruit and Hire More Veterinarians in 2024

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #327 - How to Recruit and Hire More Veterinarians in 2024

The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider

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 recruit and hire more veterinarians in 2024. Welcome, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Caleb. As always, I’m glad to be here with you today. It is hard to believe we just entered 2024.

Caleb: Stacy, I agree and last week we talked about getting a new veterinarian job and growing your Veterinary career in 2024. It seems as though we are now turning our attention to the employer side of the equation in the new year. Would that be fair to say?

Stacy: Yes, I believe it would, and I thought this would be the perfect time to present this information, right at the beginning of the year.

Caleb: So what will we be talking about today?

Stacy: Well, we’re going to discuss a couple of things. First, we’re going to talk about the steps involved in successfully recruiting veterinarians in 2024. Keep in mind, the recruiting and hiring processes are not the same. One comes before the other. You can successful recruit a candidate to the point where they want to work for you and are ready to receive an offer, but you can still not hire them for whatever reason. They could turn down your offer, they could opt for an offer from another employer, or they could simply decide to stay at their current employer.

Caleb: Especially if their current employer made a counteroffer.

Stacy: Exactly! Especially if their employer made a counteroffer and they accepted that counteroffer.

Caleb: So what should we talk about first?

Stacy: We’re first going to discuss the three main challenges that Animal Health and Veterinary employers are dealing with in this job market.

Caleb: What challenges are those, Stacy?

Stacy: Those challenges are increased demand for Veterinary services, a shift in work-life integration priorities, and the veterinarian shortage.

Caleb: Stacy, can you elaborate on those challenges for us?

Stacy: I certainly can. With pet ownership on the rise globally, there’s a growing demand for high-quality Veterinary care. Pet owners expect top-notch services for their pets, putting pressure on Veterinary practices to meet these expectations.

Second is the shift in work-life integration priorities. Younger generations of veterinarians, primarily Millennials and Generation Z, are prioritizing a healthy work-life balance. The traditional model of long hours and extensive on-call duties may not align with the preferences of these newer professionals.

And third is the veterinarian shortage. Beyond a general shortage of qualified general practice veterinarians, there’s a notable scarcity of professionals with specialized skills and boarded veterinary specialists. This includes areas like exotic animal medicine, orthopedic surgery, and Veterinary oncology. Recruiting individuals with these specialties and specialized skills has become a significant challenge.

Caleb: These challenges are indeed substantial. Now, let’s dive into the heart of the matter—recruiting veterinarians in 2024. I understand there are two types of recruitment, active and passive. Can you shed some light on why engaging in both is crucial?

Stacy: Absolutely! Active recruitment involves proactively seeking out candidates through various channels, while passive recruitment involves creating an attractive environment that draws candidates to your organization. In the current job market, it’s essential to employ both strategies. Passive recruitment builds your employer brand and attracts candidates organically, while active recruitment allows you to actively seek out and connect with potential hires.

Caleb: That makes perfect sense. Now, for our listeners who are navigating the recruitment landscape, what do they have to do to successfully recruit veterinarians in 2024?

Stacy: I have a list of things that I’d like to present. Due to time constraints, we won’t be able to spend a whole lot of time on each item, but I want to at least touch upon them.

The first step is understanding your target audience.

Your target audience, in this case, are the veterinarians that you want to hire. Different generations may have distinct priorities, so tailor your recruitment efforts accordingly. Younger veterinarians often prioritize work-life integration and a positive workplace culture, while seasoned professionals may value competitive compensation and opportunities for career advancement.

The second step is building a strong online presence.

In today’s digital age, a robust online presence is non-negotiable. Prospective candidates will likely research you online, so ensure your website is user-friendly and showcases your values, services, and team. Utilize social media platforms to create a sense of community and share success stories and updates.

Caleb: And of course, LinkedIn is one of the major places where employers should be trying to brand themselves, is that right?

Stacy: That’s absolutely correct.

The third step in our blueprint for recruiting more veterinarians in 2024 is offering competitive compensation and benefits.

Conduct market research to determine average salaries and provide a range of benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and perks like continuing education allowances. Consider loan repayment programs to attract recent graduates. In this market, you can not afford to low-ball anyone.

The fourth step is to provide professional development opportunities.

Invest in continuing education programs to keep your team abreast of industry developments and contribute to job satisfaction. Establish mentorship programs for guidance and support. Encourage veterinarians to pursue specialized certifications, adding value to your practice and attracting professionals seeking skill advancement.

Caleb: This is how an organization can position itself as an employer choice, is it not?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right, and that’s exactly how an organization should brand itself.

The fifth step for recruiting more veterinarians in 2024 is embracing technology.

Caleb: What does that mean, exactly?

Stacy: It means to incorporate technology into your practice to enhance efficiency and attract tech-savvy professionals. Invest in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, showcasing your commitment to providing the best possible care through modern technology. Provide training programs to ensure your team is adept at using technology, making your practice more appealing to candidates who value innovation.

The sixth step is to prioritize work-life integration.

Caleb: And we discussed the difference between work-life integration and work-life balance on a previous podcast, I believe.

Stacy: Yes, we did. Work-life integration is a better way to describe what candidates and employees are seeking in the modern job market.

Employers should consider offering flexible scheduling options, consider alternative work arrangements, and ensure on-call duties are reasonable and well-distributed. A fair on-call schedule prevents burnout and contributes to the overall well-being of your Veterinary team.

The seventh step for recruiting more veterinarians in 2024 is implementing employee well-being initiatives.

The well-being of Veterinary professionals is crucial. Implement initiatives supporting mental and physical health, such as counseling services or employee assistance programs. Provide workplace wellness programs, including fitness challenges and nutrition workshops. Flexible time-off policies contribute to a healthier work-life integration.

Caleb: That’s a pretty comprehensive list. Each step seems important for Veterinary employers aiming to recruit the best talent in 2024. Now, if we circle back to the challenges that we discussed earlier, do you think this blueprint addresses those challenges effectively?

Stacy: Absolutely! These steps are designed to address the specific challenges faced by Veterinary employers. If employers follow the steps, then they can create an environment that not only attracts, but also retains top-tier talent.

Caleb: So during the first part of today’s podcast episode, we talked about recruiting veterinarians. Now we’re going to discuss hiring them, and under which context will we be discussing this, Stacy?

Stacy: We’re going to talk about the importance of accelerating the hiring process for the purpose of hiring more veterinarians in 2024.

Caleb: Before we discuss the specific steps, can you tell our listeners why it’s essential for employers to accelerate the hiring process?

Stacy: I can do that. Ideally, every employer wants to fill their vacancies promptly, but it’s important not to sacrifice quality in the process. Accelerating the hiring process efficiently and effectively means saving time, effort, and energy while still achieving the desired results. In the competitive job market, especially in the Veterinary profession, being swift and strategic in hiring can make a significant difference.

Caleb: That makes sense. So we had seven steps in terms of the blueprint for recruiting veterinarians. How many steps do we have for accelerating the hiring process?

Stacy: We have 10 steps, and the first one is defining your ideal candidate profile. That’s because knowing the skills, experience, and attributes that you seek helps target the right individuals. This clarity streamlines the hiring process and ensures that you attract candidates who align with your company’s culture and values.

The second step is developing a compelling employer brand.

A strong employer brand is a magnet for top talent. Showcase your unique selling points—positive work environment, growth opportunities, and meaningful work. Leveraging your online presence, including social media and employee testimonials, creates an attractive brand image that resonates with potential candidates.

Caleb: This is more attractive to the members of the younger generations, is that right, Millennials and Generation Z?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely, and those two groups make up the vast majority of workers in the job market right now, including within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession.

The third step for accelerating the hiring process to hire more veterinarians in 2024 is crafting compelling job descriptions.

Well-crafted job descriptions are crucial for attracting top talent. You should clearly outline responsibilities, required qualifications, and desired skills. Use engaging and concise language that reflects your company’s culture, and avoid generic or overly technical jargon that may deter qualified candidates.

The fourth step is leveraging employee referrals.

Encourage your employees to refer potential candidates and reward them for successful referrals. This taps into their networks, increasing the likelihood of finding qualified individuals who are already vetted by trusted employees.

The fifth step is utilizing proactive sourcing strategies.

Don’t wait for candidates to come to you; be proactive in your sourcing efforts. Develop a robust talent pipeline using various channels such as job boards, professional networking sites, social media, and industry-specific events. Engage with passive candidates through targeted outreach, showcasing your company’s unique value proposition.

Caleb: It seems as though we talk about being proactive at least once during all of our podcast episodes. I imagine that means it’s extremely important.

Stacy: It is extremely important, both for employers and also for job seekers and candidates. You must be proactive in the modern job market, no matter who you are.

The sixth step for accelerating the hiring process to hire more veterinarians in 2024 is streamlining the screening process.

Efficient screening is essential. As an employer, you can use an applicant tracking system or ATS for initial resume screening. You can also use pre-employment assessments or skills tests to evaluate candidates objectively. Conduct phone or video interviews to narrow down the pool before in-person interviews.

The seventh step is optimizing the interview process.

This means streamlining the interview process for efficiency and effectiveness, similar to what we just talked about with streamlining the screening process. Create a structured interview format with pre-determined questions. Consider panel interviews and virtual interviews to save time and involve multiple stakeholders.

Caleb: It seems as though moving quickly is just as important as being proactive when it comes to recruiting and hiring veterinarians. Is that the case?

Stacy: That is definitely the case. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “He who hesitates is lost.” That certainly applies to recruiting and hiring veterinarians in 2024.

And that brings us to our eighth step, which is prioritizing the candidate experience.

A positive candidate experience is critical for maintaining a positive employer brand. Communicate promptly and transparently, providing updates and feedback during the hiring process. Ensure interviewers represent your organization in a positive fashion. Implement a smooth onboarding process to set new hires up for success.

The ninth step for accelerating the hiring process to hire more veterinarians in 2024 is expediting the decision-making process.

Delaying decisions can lead to losing top candidates. Establish clear timelines for each stage of the hiring process. Efficiently gather feedback to make informed decisions promptly. Implement a streamlined approval process to minimize bottlenecks.

Caleb: Once again, it seems as though unnecessary delays are the “kiss of death,” so to speak, during the hiring process and employers can not afford them.

Stacy: You’re right. They can’t afford them. That’s why accelerating the hiring process is so important.

And the 10th and final step is committing yourself to continuous improvement and feedback. This means regularly evaluating and refining your hiring process. Gather feedback from candidates and hiring teams. Leverage data and analytics to track key metrics, and implement changes based upon insights to continuously optimize your hiring efficiency.

Caleb: These steps provide a comprehensive guide for employers looking to streamline their hiring process and bring in top-tier talent. Stacy, can you share some insights on how these steps specifically apply to the Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Certainly, Caleb. In the Veterinary profession, where qualified professionals are in high demand, these steps become even more critical. For example, defining the ideal candidate profile allows Veterinary employers to pinpoint individuals with the specific skills and attributes needed for success in the field. Crafting compelling job descriptions ensures that candidates understand the unique aspects of the role and are drawn to the opportunities for growth and impact within the organization.

Caleb: These insights have been incredibly valuable, Stacy. As we wrap up today’s episode, do you have any final thoughts or tips for our listeners who are navigating the hiring landscape in the Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Absolutely, Caleb. The key is to approach the hiring process strategically. Define your ideal candidate, showcase your company’s strengths, and streamline every step—from sourcing to decision-making. Remember, investing time upfront to optimize your hiring practices can yield significant long-term benefits for your organization’s success.

Caleb: Stacy, how can our listeners reach out to you if they have any questions, either about this episode or about their Animal Health or Veterinary career in general?

Stacy: You can visit The VET Recruiter website at www.thevetrecruiter.com, and if you’re listening to this podcast episode, then you might already be on the site. I would recommend navigating to the “Contact Us” section in the main navigation, where you’ll see multiple ways in which you can reach out to us.

Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about how to recruit and hire veterinarians in 2024.

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

Caleb: Before we go today, if you are an employer needing to hire an experienced Animal Health professional or veterinarian reach out to The VET Recruiter. If you are a veterinarian or other Animal Health professional looking to make your next career move reach out to The VET Recruiter. We will see you back here next week.


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