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 what employers should not do when working with a search consultant or recruiter. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.
Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.
Sharita: Stacy, before we continue, I have to ask a question. We’ve used the terms “search consultant” and “recruiter” on this podcast. Is there a difference between the two, or are they the same?
Stacy: They’re basically the same. However, it’s a matter of perspective. Hiring managers are more likely to use the term “search consultant.” That’s because they’re essentially using a consultant for the search process. Candidates, on the other hand, are more likely to use the term “recruiter.” That’s because they realize that they are the ones being recruited. They know an organization has hired somebody to recruit people for that organization’s open position. So yes, the terms are basically the same, but they’re used by different people because of perspective and point of view.
Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for explaining that for us. So today, we’ll be discussing what not to do when working with a recruiter from the employer side. Now, I know we’ve touched upon this topic before, specifically with our podcast titled “Employer Best Practices for Working with a Recruiter.” Today, though, we’re going to tackle this subject from a different angle, is that right?
Stacy: That’s correct, Sharita. The reason is simple. While it’s important to know and understand what to do in a given situation, it’s also important to know what NOT to do in that same situation. The relationship between a search consultant and their client can be a very productive one, but it’s a relationship that is like any other relationship. There is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. Not only that, but the hiring process also presents its own set of unique challenges.
Sharita: What do you mean by that?
Stacy: The hiring process involves a lot of people and a lot of moving parts. In addition, hiring managers typically have other responsibilities, in addition to their duties in terms of hiring.
As a result, the hiring process has the potential to turn into a chaotic and stressful situation. When that happens, it’s easier to forget the right way and wrong way to do things, especially the little things. While that is certainly understandable, even a little mistake during the hiring process can have negative consequences. I’ve seen that happen on more than one occasion during my career as an Animal Health and Veterinary recruiter.
Sharita: All of that makes sense. I imagine that you’ve probably seen just about every situation imaginable in the hiring process.
Stacy: I have definitely seen more than my fair share. If it can happen, then I’ve probably seen it!
Sharita: Where would you like to start, then?
Stacy: The first thing that an employer or hiring manager should not do is ignore the advice of their recruiter. Remember, as we mentioned at the beginning of this podcast, employers typically refer to recruiters as search consultants. As the name suggests, this means that the recruiter serves as a consultant on the search that the organization is conducting for its open position.
Sharita: So viewed in that light, it wouldn’t make sense for the hiring manager to ignore the advice of the search consultant.
Stacy: That’s true, but it still happens. And a recruiter who has been in the business for a while has plenty to offer in the way of advice. Recruiters talk with hundreds of candidates every month. They know exactly what’s happening in the employment marketplace, and their clients can have access to what they know.
Sharita: What is some of the advice that search consultants can provide for their clients?
Stacy: Search consultants can provide advice on just about all aspects of the hiring process, including the length of the process, what it will take to successfully engage candidates, and what it will take to successfully hire them. The search consultant and the hiring manager are on the same team. They’re working toward the same goal. If the search consultant offers advice, it’s because they have information and knowledge that can help with the realization of that goal, which is to hire the best candidate for the position.
Sharita: What else should employers not do when working with an Animal Health or Veterinary recruiter?
Stacy: Employers should not drag their feet during the hiring process.
Sharita: What does that mean, drag their feet?
Stacy: Well, that can mean a bunch of things when it comes to dealing with a recruiter. First, it means that hiring managers should not drag their feet when providing feedback to their search consultant. This is especially the case after the search consultant has presented candidates to them for consideration and also after phone screenings or face-to-face interviews.
Sharita: What happens when organizations drag their feet during the hiring process?
Stacy: When it comes to hiring top candidates, time is of the essence. As we’ve discussed before, we’re currently in a candidates’ market. In fact, we devoted an entire podcast to the subject of a candidates’ market, and I encourage our listeners to check out that podcast for more information. But in this kind of market, top candidates have more options.
Sharita: What do those options include?
Stacy: Well, they could be interviewing with more than one organization. That means they could receive more than one offer. This past year, I had a situation where a candidate interviewed with seven companies and received offers from all seven of them! It sounds crazy, but this kind of stuff does happen.
Hiring managers must remember that they’re not hiring candidates in a vacuum. They’re competing for top candidates. That’s because other organizations want these candidates, too, and those other organizations are most likely their competition. That’s why time is of the essence during the hiring process. If a hiring manager drags their feet during any part of it, they’re increasing the likelihood that they could lose out on a great candidate.
Sharita: And that’s why the search consultant wants their client to act with a sense of urgency?
Stacy: That’s right. However, it’s not a one-sided affair.
Sharita: What do you mean by that?
Stacy: I mean if you’re a hiring manager and you’re working with a search consultant, you can’t demand that the search consultant act with urgency all throughout the hiring process, but then you don’t act with the same level of urgency. That, in effect, is a double standard and it’s not going to contribute in a positive way to the shared goal of filling the position with the best candidate. As a hiring manger, you can’t act as though everything that you want is important and everything that the search consultant wants is not important. That sends the wrong message.
Sharita: What else should an employer or hiring manager not do when working with a recruiter?
Stacy: They should not talk with a candidate about serious or important issues pertaining to the position, the opportunity, or anything else regarding the process without also talking with the search consultant about those same issues. In fact, the hiring manager should talk with their search consultant first before broaching such topics with the candidate.
Sharita: Why is that?
Stacy: Because as I mentioned earlier, recruiters have inside information and knowledge about the marketplace. There’s an excellent chance that once the hiring manager approaches them about the issues in question, the recruiter will be able to make suggestions about the best ways to proceed. Employers should view the search consultant that they enlist to help fill their open positions as a valuable resource. They should lean on them and draw from their experience and expertise.
Sharita: What can happen if a hiring manager does that, talk with a candidate about a critical issue related to the process without also consulting the recruiter?
Stacy: It may sound like the recruiter wants to be a control freak, but that’s not the case. What the hiring manager has to understand is that the candidate also relies upon the recruiter for expertise and advice. From the candidate’s perspective, the recruiter has more knowledge about the position and the company than they do. As a result, they want the recruiter to be in the loop almost as much as the recruiter wants to be in the loop.
If a hiring manager broaches a sensitive subject with a candidate without first consulting the recruiter, then the hiring manager might get a response they did not expect. The candidate could react badly to the hiring manager and they could even drop out of the process altogether. However, if the hiring manager had consulted the recruiter first, they would have been told about the best way to approach certain topics, if they should be approached at all. The hiring process is often a delicate balance, and the smallest mistake can upset that balance.
And that brings me to my final point for today.
Sharita: What’s that?
Stacy: If a hiring manager is working with a search consultant, they should not make the formal offer of employment to the candidate themselves. Instead, they should allow the search consultant to do it.
Sharita: Why is that?
Stacy: This is also something that we’ve touched upon before. The candidate expects that the recruiter will present the offer to them. When the hiring manager makes the offer, it can throw them off. Remember, the candidate has been talking with the recruiter all throughout the process about what they’re seeking in a new employment opportunity. Basically, they’ve been talking with the recruiter about what they’re seeking in a job offer.
So typically, the candidate will want to discuss the offer with the recruiter once the recruiter presents the offer. That way, if they have questions or concerns, they can freely ask the recruiter and feel comfortable about doing so. However, if the hiring manager presents the offer, the candidate has nobody with whom to discuss it. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen a hiring manager put doubt into a candidate’s mind at the very last stage of the process because they decided to make the offer themselves and not allow their search consultant to do it.
Sharita: Stacy, thanks once again for sharing all of this great information with us today. As always, there is a lot here to think about in terms of hiring within the Animal Health and Veterinary employment marketplace.
Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!