Episode #90 – Whoever Represents Your Organization Better Know What They’re Doing

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire 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 whoever is representing your organization during the interviewing and hiring process better know what they are doing. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

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

Samantha: Stacy, when you talk about representing an organization, you’re talking about those company officials who interact with candidates during the hiring process, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. The problem, of course, is that some times animal health company officials or veterinary practice owners have other duties besides trying to hire new employees. They’re trying to do all of the duties associated with their job or run their business at the same time. As a result, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. It becomes a matter of priorities, in other words, which tasks deserve the most attention first.

Samantha: So I guess the question is how much of a priority is hiring to the organization that wants to hire?

Stacy: That’s exactly right. The priority that is placed on hiring is in direct correlation to the amount of time, energy, and effort that is put into making it happen.

What happens sometimes, though, is that organizations underestimate the amount of time, energy, and effort that’s required. Couple that with the fact that company officials are busy and hiring managers have other duties, and you have a situation in which the hiring process is at risk.

Samantha: I imagine you’ve seen this happen before during your time as a recruiter?

Stacy: Yes, I have, many times. In fact, I have three stories that illustrate the problems that this can create for Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. My first story doesn’t involve me directly, but it involves another recruiter who, incidentally, shared their story on social media.

In the story, the recruiter was experiencing difficulty reaching and speaking with a hiring manager regarding their organization’s job opening that the recruiter had been hired to fill. Failing to set up a phone call to discuss the open position with the hiring manager, the recruiter finally sent a candidate’s resume to them. However, at that point, the recruiter had little information to share with the candidate about the position.

The hiring manager then scheduled a phone interview with the candidate. Unfortunately, the recruiter described the interview as embarrassing.

Samantha: Why is that?

Stacy: Because the hiring manager didn’t tell the candidate anything substantial about the position. They only asked basic, elementary questions. As a result, the candidate felt they had not learned much, if anything, about the position or the company. They didn’t even know if they wanted to proceed with the process, much less work for the organization. They were not impressed, to say the least.

Samantha: What about our second story, Stacy? Does that one involve a situation that you saw yourself?

Stacy: It does. In this second story, I set up a series of phone interviews for multiple candidates on a certain day at specific times for a hiring manager at that manager’s request. However, the hiring manager did not call the candidates at the designated times. They also did not call me to say they would not be able to conduct the interviews.

Samantha: Wow, that’s not very professional!

Stacy: No, it isn’t. The candidates sat by the phone for almost an hour waiting for the interview call. The hiring manager later said he had gotten busy that day and did not have time to conduct the interviews.

What sort of impression did that make on the candidates? After all, they were also busy, but they took time out of their day to invest in a phone interview that was requested by the hiring manager. Once again, these candidates were not impressed with the employer and already there was doubt forming in their mind about whether or not they really wanted to work for the organization.

This leads us to our third story.

Samantha: Stacy, this one also involves you as well, correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. In this story, a candidate turned in their expense report for a face-to-face interview, and the organization took 10 weeks to reimburse them. In the meantime, the candidate had to pay their credit card bill and had to follow up with the employer several times in order to obtain the reimbursement.

So the candidate was left to wonder if they wanted to work for an employer that didn’t follow up on its commitment in a timely manner. If the organization took that long to pay an expense report, how long might it take to do other things such as pay the candidate’s expenses if they went to work for the employer? You see how once doubt is introduced into a situation, it can grow and take on a life of its own?

All of these questions lead to a central question.

Samantha: Which one is that?

Stacy: Who is representing your organization to candidates and how are they representing your organization to candidates?

This is an important question because the people who are representing your organization are also the people who are branding your company to the best and brightest candidates in the marketplace. These candidates get their impression of your organization from these people. As a result, they often decide whether or not to work for your organization based upon that impression.

That’s why I have a series of five questions that employers should ask about who represents their organization.

First, have the employees in your organization who are interacting with candidates received the proper training?

Second, do they know which questions to ask?

Third, do they know which questions are illegal to ask?

Fourth, do they know the position well enough to talk about it in a satisfactory manner with the candidate?

Fifth, what kind of overall impression are they giving about your organization?

The people who represent your organization during the interviewing and hiring process are crucial to your ability to attract and hire top candidates. This is 100% the reality of the situation!

Samantha: Stacy, isn’t this about creating a great candidate experience during the hiring process? I know that we’ve touched upon that before.

Stacy: Yes, creating a great candidate experience is extremely important in this current employment marketplace. It’s important not just for attracting top candidates, but also for keeping them engaged during the hiring and interview process and then convincing them to work for your organization at the end of it.

The first step is making sure that the right people are in place. The next step is making sure that those right people are doing the right things.

Samantha: And that’s what we’ll be discussing next?

Stacy: That’s right. I have a list of five things that those who are representing your organization should be doing during the hiring process. These things lead to a great candidate experience and ultimately, to consistently better hires.

The first thing is setting proper expectations. This means making sure that everyone involved with the process is “on the same page.” Specifically, it means everyone should be in agreement regarding important aspects of the hiring process. This includes the type of candidates being sought and the length of the hiring process, among other things.

The second thing is to consistently communicate and provide feedback to candidates. This is especially critical when dealing with top candidates. That’s because top candidates are more likely to want to know where they stand in the process. One of the reasons for this is that they’re probably involved in more than one hiring process. If they have doubts about where they stand in yours, then they might opt out of it to focus on another employer.

Samantha: This is what gives top candidates more leverage in this market, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right. And when candidates have more leverage, employers have less. That’s why the third thing on our list is so important, and that’s making an attractive offer. What you do NOT want to do is low-ball your offer. That could offend candidates, and if that happens, they could tell their friends and colleagues about their experience. And when they relay their experience, it will probably include the low-ball offer and how much they did not care for it.

When it comes to offers, the formula is actually quite simple. If you believe that a candidate is a top candidate, then make a top offer. Top talent is in demand right now. If you can’t afford to make top offers, then you will miss out on hiring top talent and will lose candidates to your competition.

There is another caveat to the offer stage, though.

Samantha: What’s that?

Stacy: It’s the fourth item on our list, which is to let your executive search consultant or recruiter make the offer, if you’re working with a search consultant or recruiter.

Once again, the reason is simple. It’s what the candidate is expecting, and deviating from this procedure can have an adverse effect on the process. I’ve seen it happen many times during my career.

When the search consultant or recruiter extends the job offer, there is a higher probability it will be accepted. After all, the search consultant was the one who started the relationship with the candidate.

Samantha: That makes sense. What’s fifth on our list?

Stacy: The fifth item is follow up after the offer has been made and accepted. A hiring manager might believe their responsibility is over once the candidate accepts the offer. That is not true! It’s important to keep the candidate engaged.

Samantha: Because they might receive another offer?

Stacy: Yes, they might receiver another offer, a counter-offer from their current employer, or both! The candidate is still at risk at this point. You must keep them engaged.

Samantha: Stacy, we’ve just about run out of time. What would you like to add before we finish today’s episode?

Stacy: It’s crucial to remember that the hiring process is a two-way street, not a one-way street where the employer is the only one who has to be impressed. An organization must have the right people in place doing the right things to provide the kind of great candidate experience that will attract top candidates.

Samantha: Thank you, Stacy! Once again, this episode was full of great information for our listeners.

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