Episode #61 – Is Your Team Hiring the Players Needed to Win?

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and recruiter 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 Companies and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about whether or not you’re hiring the players needed for your team or organization to win. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: We’re going to be using a sports analogy on today’s podcast, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right, because there are a lot of parallels between sports teams and Animal Health Companies and Veterinary employers. The first parallel is that both groups want to win. However, the common denominator involved with winning is having the best players.

Sharita: And in the case of Animal Health Companies and Veterinary practices, when you say best players, you mean best employees.

Stacy: That is correct. There’s a good chance there are some sports fans in the audience today. As sports fans, they know that the team with the best players is the team that usually wins. And that applies to just about all sports. The reason this is the case is simple. It is very difficult to overcome top talent.

Sharita: Stacy, let’s stay with our sports analogy for just a moment. How do sports teams acquire top talent?

Stacy: Well, we’re going to limit our sports analogy to professional sports teams. Professional teams, of course, pay their players, much like organizations pay their employees. And like employers, professional sports teams often have to recruit the players they want for their organization.

Sharita: How do these teams accomplish that?

Stacy: They do it through what is called the “free agency period.” This is a designated period of time during which teams can attempt to basically hire away players across the league who have been classified as free agents. In other words, they’re not currently under contract for the next season with their current team. As a result, these athletes are eligible to sign a contract with another team.

Sharita: I imagine that these teams want to hire the best athletes and players they possibly can.

Stacy: That’s right. The free agency period is the same as when an Animal Health or Veterinary employer has an open position and is trying to fill it. Both the professional sports team and the employer are doing everything they can to find, recruit, and hire the best. At least, employers should be doing that. If they’re not, then they’re seriously selling themselves and their organization short.

Sharita: How do these sports teams actually go about hiring the best players during the free agency period?

Stacy: Well, they do pretty much the same things that I advocate employers do when they’re looking to hire. There are three main steps.

Sharita: What are those steps?

Stacy: Those steps are to identify, recruit, and hire. I’ll address each one of them.

Professional sports teams have scouts and other personnel who know who the best available players are. These people evaluate the potential fit of the players and recommend which ones would be the best to pursue. This is much like what a search consultant or recruiter does for their clients, so once again, you can see the correlation. The search consultant is the talent scout for the hiring organization. The recruiter is scouting for talent for the organization. This is the identification stage. As we’ve discussed before, this is an important step because you can’t pursue and recruit the best if you don’t know who the best is.

Sharita: And recruiting is the second step?

Stacy: That’s correct. This step involves a lot, both for sports teams and employers. For sports teams, it almost always involves a visit from the player. This, of course, is similar to the face-to-face interview for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals. Much like an employer, a team will attempt to use its facilities to help recruit players. However, there is also another important aspect to the recruiting step.

Sharita: Does that have to do with compensation?

Stacy: Yes, it certainly does. The best players on the free agent market want to be compensated well for their services. These players are often represented by an agent. Once again, you can see the similarities between that situation and one in which a top candidate is represented by a recruiter. It’s during this stage that the team does its best to successfully woo players.

Sharita: So then the hiring step is the third and final step?

Stacy: Yes, and it could be said that this is the most important step of the process. This is where sports organizations convince top players to join their team instead of some other team. This where teams make their best offers to players. They don’t try to “low ball” the player with an offer that the player will not even consider.

Unfortunately, employers will sometimes try to “low ball” a candidate with a job offer. Professional sports teams rarely do that because they understand the fact that the team with the best players usually wins. These teams want the best players, and they do what is necessary to acquire them.

Here’s what these teams are NOT doing. They’re not leaving an important position open for a long time, certainly not indefinitely. They’re not filling a position on their team just for the sake of filling it. Once again, they want the best players they can possibly get because they know the team with the best players is the one that usually wins.

There’s another important consideration to keep in mind here, as well.

Sharita: What’s that?

Stacy: The best players always want to play for the best teams. When you think about it, that absolutely makes sense.

I have an example of this, too. That example is the New England Patriots of the National Football League. If you’re a professional football fan, then you know about the Patriots. They win—a lot. In fact, it seems as though the Patriots play in the Super Bowl just about every year. Because of this, the Patriots have become a desired destination for many top players during the past several years. This is because they want to play for the best and they want to give themselves a chance to play in the Super Bowl before their career is over.

Sharita: Stacy, are you saying this is also the case in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. The best candidates in the marketplace want to work for the best employers. Top professionals are always on the lookout for employers of choice, those organizations that have the best reputation and are the most attractive and the ones that pay well.

This is what you might call a self-feeding cycle of success.

Sharita: What do you mean by that in this situation?

Stacy: Well, it’s a series of events and each event leads to the next one. You hire the best candidates. Because you hire the best candidates, your organization is more successful. Because your organization is more successful, more people know about it. Because your organization is more successful and more people know about it, more people want to work for it, including the best candidates.

Sharita: Wow, it seems like once you get the ball rolling and you have a lot of momentum, top candidates come to you!

Stacy: Yes, that’s why it’s important for Animal Health Companies and Veterinary organizations to always focus on hiring the best. When you always strive to hire the best, it’s not just beneficial in the short terms. Sure, you’re filling a single position with the best candidate you possibly can. But when you do that over and over again with every open position you have, there’s a cumulative effect.

Unfortunately, some organizations don’t recognize that. They don’t understand the true value of hiring the best. When you always hire the best players, you don’t just win in the short term. You also set yourself up for long-term success. This is part of what I call a competitive advantage in the employment marketplace, and there are two ways that employers give themselves a competitive advantage by hiring the best players or the best professionals.

Sharita: What are those two ways?

Stacy: First, when you hire the best candidates, they contribute to your organization’s productivity and bottom line, helping it to become more profitable and more successful. Second, by contributing to the organization’s success, they also help to raise its prominence and notoriety within the marketplace. This further attracts even more top candidates, which is that self-feeding cycle of success that I talked about earlier in the podcast.

Sharita: Stacy, doesn’t this further illustrate the need for an Animal Health or Veterinary search consultant? Like you mentioned, aren’t there talent scouts and agents in the world of professional sports? Don’t they basically do what recruiters do?

Stacy: Yes, that’s true! In fact, a search consultant is like a talent scout and an agent all rolled into one. They work as a talent scout for their clients, but they also work as a career agent for candidates. However, they’re not trying to pit one against the other. A search consultant or recruiter works to achieve a win-win situation between the organization and the candidate that the organization wants to hire.

That’s because a good recruiter wants their client to hire the best candidates in the marketplace, and they also want the candidates who they represent to work for the best employers in the marketplace. That way, everyone wins!

Sharita: Stacy, that makes perfect sense. Thank you so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!