Episode #64 – The Key Role That Core Values Play in Hiring Top Candidates

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 in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary profession attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the key role that core values play in hiring top candidates in today’s market. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

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

Sharita: Stacy, this is the first time that we’ve devoted an entire podcast to core values, isn’t it?

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct.

Sharita: Why do you feel that we should devote an entire podcast to this topic?

Stacy: I feel very strongly that Animal Health and Veterinary employers underestimate the importance that core values play in their ability to hire in the current marketplace. Because these employers underestimate the importance of core values, they miss out on hiring top talent. This is a mistake that they must correct or they run the risk of losing any competitive advantage they have.

Sharita: Stacy, before we get too far into the podcast, why don’t we define what core values are? Just to set the stage for the rest of our discussion?

Stacy: That’s a good idea. Basically, core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or a group of people. There are two things that these beliefs do. First, they shape the differences between right and wrong in the mind of the person or group of people that believes them. Second, they compel the person or group of people to say or do certain things that line up with those beliefs.

Sharita: Stacy, most employers have a set of core values. Why have these values become so important in the marketplace recently?

Stacy: There are a couple of different reasons. First, we’re in a candidates’ job market, which we’ve discussed before. Unfortunately, some employers don’t realize the repercussions of this type of market. They can be far-reaching, and this is just one example.

Because it’s a candidates’ job market, there are more job openings, which means that candidates have more options. This is especially the case for top candidates. Since they have more options, they have the luxury of being choosy about their next job. That wasn’t the case during the Great Recession. Job seekers didn’t have the luxury to be choosy. Now, however, they can afford to wait and choose a job with an employer that has the same core values they do.

Sharita: That makes sense. What’s another reason why core values have become more important in recent years?

Stacy: Another reason is the arrival of the Millennial Generation. We’ve discussed Millennials before on this podcast. I believe we discussed this generation on the episode titled “All About Hiring and Retaining Millennial Employees.” We’re going to discuss them again today, though, because there are more Millennials in the workforce than any other generation. As a result, they clearly have a great influence over what happens in the employment marketplace.

Sharita: Do Millennials put more of an emphasis on core values than previous generations?

Stacy: They certainly do. They want to work for an organization that has a set of core values that is similar to their own. This is one of the ways in which they feel fulfillment. You see, Millennials look for more than just a big paycheck when it comes to a new job. Other things are important to them, too, and core values is one of those things. That’s why Animal Health and Veterinary employers must take notice of this.

Sharita: Since we’re talking about top candidates in the marketplace and we’re also talking about Millennials, the generation that makes up the largest portion of the workforce, which core values are most important to Millennials?

Stacy: That’s a great question and it’s also a very relevant one. Animal Health and Veterinary employers are interviewing Millennial candidates all the time, so they should be aware of the core values that are most important to them. Millennials have many core values, but we’re going to focus on what are the top five.

The first core value is community. This means a sense of belonging. Millennials want to feel as though they belong. They want to interact with others. This also means working in groups to pursue a common goal. You’ve probably heard about organizations that have what’s called a “family atmosphere”? That’s the type of environment that Millennials typically like and that they thrive in.

The second core value is diversity. You must keep in mind that Millennials grew up in a global world. One of the reasons for that is because they grew up with the Internet at their fingertips. They can’t imagine living in a world that doesn’t have the Internet, mainly because they’ve never had to! As a result, the concept of diversity is pretty much ingrained in their brains. It’s like their “default setting.”

The third value is recognition. Millennials want to be recognized for the work they do, and it doesn’t even have to be in a big way. They just want to know that their employers appreciate them and the work they do.

The fourth value is respect. The VET Recruiter conducted a survey of professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. One of the questions involved what those professionals wanted most in an employer, and the most common answer was working for an organization that treats its employees with respect.

The fifth value is purpose. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Purpose, not profit” when it comes to Millennials. That is absolutely the case. For Millennials, finding purpose in their work is just as important as getting paid for their work. For some Millennials, it’s even more important than getting paid.

Sharita: Wow, Millennials think a lot about core values and they put a lot of emphasis on them. Where is the disconnect between job seekers and employers when it comes to core values?

Stacy: Employers are not thinking about core values nearly as much as they should be. They’re not thinking about the core values of the candidates they’re interviewing, and they’re not even thinking that much about their own organization’s core values. And I believe that’s a mistake.

Sharita: Why is that, exactly? Why do you think that’s a mistake?

Stacy: It’s a mistake because employers should be looking to make a match between the core values of the candidates and the core values of their organization. They should be the same. Hiring managers should be looking for candidates who have the same core values as their organization. Because when you find them, you’ll have candidates who are motivated to work for you.

Sharita: So is there a different definition of core values from the perspective of the employer?

Stacy: There’s a slight difference. The core values for an Animal Health Company or Veterinary Practice are those guiding principles of how that employer operates in terms of business and the employment marketplace. However, it should go beyond even that.

Sharita: What do you mean?

Stacy: An employer’s core values should also include its involvement in the community. Even if it’s not direct involvement, the organization’s core values should mention the community or describe how it’s impacting the community in a positive way through the carrying out of its values.

Sharita: Is that because community is important to the Millennial Generation?

Stacy: That’s exactly right. As an employer, if community is one of your core values, then it’s more likely that you will make a connection with Millennial candidates.

Sharita: So from a big-picture perspective, what should Animal Health Companies and Veterinary Employers do in regards to core values and hiring?

Stacy: Well, there are three steps they should take. First, they should identify their core values, all of them. Second, they should articulate their core values. This means to formally document them and then make them available. And third, they should communicate their core values, both to their employees and also to candidates in the marketplace who might become employees.

Sharita: Stacy, what is a search consultant’s role in all of this?

Stacy: When an employer works with a search consultant, that search consultant can identify the top candidates in the market. However, if they also know the core values of the organization, they can help to communicate those core values to top candidates early in the hiring process. This can help to generate interest in both the job and also the chance to work for the organization.

Sharita: Before we end today’s podcast, Stacy, is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to emphasize that core values are no longer a forgotten part of the hiring process. During the last several years, they’ve evolved to the point where they are an important part of the process. I want to stress this is something that Animal Health Companies and Veterinary Employers must understand if they want to hire top talent in this job market.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.

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