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 want when they’re looking to fill their open positions with candidates, as well as what they don’t want. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.
Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today.
Sharita: Stacy, we’ve discussed what employers are looking for in new employees before, but we primarily discussed experience and skills, including both hard skills and soft skills. How will today’s discussion be different than what we talked about previously?
Stacy: Well, what we’ll be addressing today has less to do with experience and skills and more to do with mindset and how candidates approach their work. This has become an important factor to employers during the last several years, and since I work with many organizations within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, employers have shared their preferred criteria with me.
Sharita: What does that criteria include?
Stacy: The first criteria is flexibility or adaptability. Organizations want employees who are able to be flexible in a number of different ways. This includes the ability to work by themselves or work within the confines of a group. It includes the ability to take on additional assignments at a moment’s notice and meet multiple deadlines even if the parameters of the project change unexpectedly. This actually speaks to something that we discussed in our podcast about the face-to-face interview.
Sharita: And what’s that?
Stacy: During the interview, the onus is on the candidate to highlight the value they could bring to the organization. The hiring manager is interested in that value because, in essence, that value is going to solve some problem that the company has. After all, the reason the company is hiring in the first place is because it has a problem to solve. If it didn’t have some sort of problem, then there wouldn’t be a need to hire anyone.
So if an employer hires you, they expect that you will be able to solve their problem or problems with the value that you bring to the organization. Now, as we all know, problems can come out of nowhere, they can take many forms, and they can be complicated. Sometimes, you have to think on your feet to solve them. In order to do that, you have to be flexible and adaptable, especially when it comes to the way you think.
Sharita: So the bottom line when it comes to flexibility and adaptability is solving problems. And we’re talking about more than one type of problem here?
Stacy: That’s right. First, you have the problem or problems that the company hired you to help solve in the first place. Then you have the unexpected problems that happen all the time within any workplace environment. Employers want candidates who can solve both kinds of problems, and ideally, they want candidates who can solve both kinds of problems at the same time.
Sharita: That seems like a pretty tall task.
Stacy: It might, but you have to remember that everything comes down to value. Employers want value, and they want to hire value. The more value you have as a candidate, then the more attractive you will be to potential new employers. And keep in mind that value can and does take many different forms. As we mentioned at the beginning of this podcast and as we’ve discussed during other podcasts, skills and experience are both counted in the category of value. Employers consider the right skills and the right experience to be valuable.
Sharita: So what you’re saying is that an employer views how a candidate or employee approaches their work as another kind of value?
Stacy: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. So if you’re a job seeker within the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession, you should be thinking about how much of this type of value you can provide to a potential employer. I can say without a doubt that companies are putting a premium on this value. That’s because they’re asking to me to find candidates who can provide this value.
Sharita: What else are Animal Health and Veterinary employers looking for?
Stacy: They’re looking for candidates who can work in a fast-paced environment.
Sharita: What does that mean, exactly? That doesn’t seem that surprising. Haven’t companies always wanted candidates who can do that?
Stacy: More or less, they have. However, it involves a slightly different dynamic than it has in the past. Basically, it’s the difference between what’s considered fast-paced now and what was considered fast-paced 20 or even 10 years ago.
Hiring managers mean multiple things when they say fast-paced. First, they’re referring to the quantity of work being done. Productivity is defined by many things, and one of those things is volume. An organization wants its employees to complete as much work as they possibly can, so it makes sense that the faster an employee can work, the more work that employee can get done.
Sharita: But won’t going faster lead to more mistakes?
Stacy: Sometimes it can. However, that leads us to another category of value. Animal Health and Veterinary organizations are looking for candidates who can complete a large volume of work quickly without making a lot of mistakes. Sure, some mistakes are going to be made. That’s because everybody is human and no one is perfect. But the professional who can work quickly with a large amount of volume and only makes a minimal amount of mistakes in the process is considered extremely valuable by employers.
Second, hiring managers are referring to how quickly candidates can adapt when they say fast-paced. In other words, while it’s good on one level for a candidate to be considered flexible and adaptable, what employers really want are candidates who are able to adapt quickly, almost without hesitation. Organizations want employees who can make decisions, who can make them in a decisive fashion, and who can make them quickly.
Sharita: And this is all within the context of solving problems for the employer?
Stacy: That’s absolutely right. As an Animal Health or Veterinary employee, you should be able to complete a large volume of work, adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and make decisions that will solve your employer’s problems as they arise. That’s what organizations are looking for when filling their open positions.
Sharita: Is there anything else that they’re looking for?
Stacy: Believe it or not, the term “old school” no longer carries a positive connotation.
Sharita: Can you elaborate on that?
Stacy: Several years ago, the term “old school” had a positive connotation. That meant when somebody called you “old school,” it was a compliment of sorts. It almost meant that you’re from a tougher era where things weren’t handed to you and you had a more resilient mindset. However, within the employment marketplace these days, including within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, you don’t necessarily want to be called “old school” or anything resembling “old school.”
The reason I know this is because I speak with hiring managers all the time, including after they interview candidates. Recently I had a hiring manager say this to me after an interview: “We know him, and he does business the old school way.” They did not mean that as a compliment. The hiring manager went on to say that they did not expect the candidate would be flexible in his thinking or be able to conduct business effectively in the modern marketplace.
Sharita: Stacy, why do you think this has become the case?
Stacy: Because one of the things that employers crave the most is innovation. They’re looking for employees who can see things differently and attack problems differently. These days, innovation and “old school” do not go hand-in-hand. If a hiring manager thinks that you are “old school,” then they’re probably not going to think that you’re innovative, as well. Being an innovative employee is one of the best ways to increase your value to an organization.
Sharita: What else should job seekers know about what employers want and what they don’t want?
Stacy: Well, the common thread that runs through all of this is that a recruiter knows what employers want and what they don’t. That’s the main reason we’ve been able to discuss this today. And that’s just some of what they know.
Sharita: What else do recruiters know?
Stacy: Well, if a recruiter is working with an organization to help fill their Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs and they’ve been working with that organization for a while, they know quite a few things. They know the hiring manager, they know what the hiring manager likes and does not like in a candidate, and they know how the hiring manager likes to conduct business during the hiring process.
The recruiter also knows what type of candidates the organization typically hires, how often the organization hires, and its turnover rate. In addition, they know the type of company culture that the organization has and the opportunities that exist within the company. The recruiter might even know how the organization stacks up against others within the industry.
Sharita: Wow, that is a lot of information! And this is all information that a job seeker can have access to, if they align themselves with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter?
Stacy: That’s right. Knowing what employers want and what they don’t want is just one small piece of a recruiter’s knowledge and expertise in the marketplace. And they’re willing to share that knowledge with job seekers and candidates who want the chance to grow their careers. They just have to be open to considering new opportunities when those opportunities are presented to them.
Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.
Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!