Episode #96 – Why It Never Hurts to Have a Conversation with a Recruiter

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 companies 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 why it never hurts to have a conversation with a good Animal Health recruiter or a Veterinary recruiter. Stacy, thank you for joining us today.

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

Samantha: When you say that it never hurts to have a conversation with a good recruiter, I assume that you’re not just talking about casual conversation. What do you mean?

Stacy: Well, the situation I’m talking about is when a recruiter reaches out to a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession about an employment opportunity that may be better than the one they currently have. That’s the situation in which it never hurts to have a conversation.

Samantha: I’m guessing that you’ve encountered some professionals who believe that it does hurt to have that conversation?

Stacy: I’ve encountered some professionals who have not wanted to have a conversation about other opportunities, sometimes even before they know anything about what the opportunity is. It’s a frustrating experience.

Samantha: Why is that?

Stacy: Because I know that I have a great opportunity for the person that could be better than the one they have. What many professionals don’t realize is that I know they would not consider a position or make a career move for an opportunity that is not better than what they have. So when I do make a phone call to someone or reach out to them, it’s because I know I have an opportunity that could be better.

Samantha: So when you reach out to a candidate, you have something better for them?

Stacy: That’s right. I often do. Unfortunately, though, some professionals don’t even want to hear what the opportunity is about. They say they’re not looking for Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs right now or that they’re not open to opportunity. When they say that, they don’t even know what they’re saying “No” to.

Samantha: Because they haven’t had the conversation and you haven’t told them about the opportunity.

Stacy: That’s right. What they don’t realize is that I have an opportunity that has the potential to change both their professional life and their personal life for the better. However, because they refuse to even discuss it or ask questions about it, they have no idea what the opportunity is or what they could be missing.

Samantha: Stacy, why do you think that is? Why do you think some Animal Health and Veterinary professionals tell you that they’re not open to opportunity?

Stacy: I think there are a couple of reasons. One of them is being comfortable and allegiance to the status quo.

Samantha: What does that mean?

Stacy: When people get to a certain stage in their career, they’re at risk for feeling too comfortable and being addicted to the status quo. That’s because they’re making enough money and their employer is treating them well enough. Not only that, but in some cases, they’re also not working exceptionally hard especially if they are not growing or learning new challenges. Because of that, they become reactive and not proactive. They don’t take the initiative, including with their careers. In addition, they place more value on being comfortable as opposed to taking a chance or exploring a new opportunity.

Samantha: And being comfortable is not a great way to grow your career, is it?

Stacy: No, it is not! And we’ve talked about this before in podcast #87. If some of the people in our audience have not heard that podcast, I encourage them to listen to it. What Animal Health and Veterinary professionals have to realize is that they’re probably not going to retire at their current employer unless they are at retirement age. People work for multiple organizations during the course of their career, perhaps more than at any time in history. So unless you somehow plan to retire and manage to retire at your current employer, you are going to make a move eventually. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

However, people don’t think ahead when they’re in the comfort zone. They’re only preoccupied with being comfortable, and that can lead to them becoming lax. They can lose their edge, and you don’t want to lose your edge with your employment or with your career. You have to constantly stay sharp in a number of different ways. Being happy with simply being comfortable is not a way to stay sharp.

Samantha: What’s another reason that some animal health or veterinary professionals don’t want to have a conversation with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter?

Stacy: Another reason is fear.

Samantha: Fear of what, specifically?

Stacy: Fear of a couple things, actually. First, they fear the unknown and they fear uncertainty. They know what to expect at their current employer. They know what to expect from their boss. They have a daily routine and they’re used to it. With a new opportunity, even one that’s better than their current job, they wouldn’t know what to expect immediately.

Something else they fear is that their boss or current employer will find out they’re talking with a recruiter. If that happens, they fear they’ll be seen as disloyal in some way by the company. If they take that fear to an extreme level, they might even be afraid they’re going to lose their job because they talked with a recruiter. This is an irrational fear, of course, as are all of the fears we’re discussing today.

And all of these fears go back to one thing.

Samantha: What’s that, Stacy?

Stacy: They all go back to being comfortable or the status quo. When a professional fears change, it’s not just uncertainty that they fear. They also fear not being comfortable. They fear being uncomfortable. However, sometimes you have to be uncomfortable if you want to grow. We’ve used this phrase before, but “all growth is painful.” It’s difficult, if not impossible, to both grow and be comfortable at the same time.

When a professional fears that their boss or employer will find out they’re talking with a recruiter, they fear losing their comfortable situation. They fear losing their comfortable situation so much that they won’t even listen to what the recruiter has to say. They won’t even take 60 seconds to hear about the opportunity and what it has to offer. But as I just mentioned, these are irrational fears. They’re not based in fact. They’re on based in theory and conjecture.

Samantha: What do you mean by that?

Stacy: There isn’t much to fear in a new opportunity. Sure, it’s a new job with a new employer with a new boss and new co-workers. But people change their Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs all the time. They become acclimated to their new surroundings and their new situation. Once again, is it uncomfortable? Yes, it can be. Is it anything to fear? No, it’s not.

Then there’s the fear of their boss or employer finding out they’re talking with a recruiter. First of all, if the Animal Health or Veterinary professional is a top performer and providing a tremendous amount of value to their employer, then that employer is not going to entertain the notion of firing them just because they talked with a recruiter. The reason is simple. They don’t want to lose the value that the employee provides.

We’re in a tight job market right now. The national unemployment rate at the end of September was 3.7%, the lowest in the country since 1969. Not only that, but the unemployment rate is even lower in the Veterinary profession. By some accounts, it’s as low as 0.5%. As a result, top talent is extremely valuable.

Second, if you’re a top performer, it’s actually expected that you would be talking with recruiters. Not just one recruiter, but quite possibly multiple recruiters. I have worked with a number of candidates who have worked their way into the C-suite by making it a habit to often talk with recruiters in their network. They don’t feel guilty about it. They don’t feel badly about it. They don’t believe they’re going to get fired for doing it. They are usually always open to hearing about an opportunity that is better than the job they currently have. And that’s why they’ve grown their careers and they’re currently sitting in the C-suite. In fact the higher you climb in your career, the more likely it is that you got there through the help of a good recruiter.

Samantha: So what you’re saying, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that there’s really no downside to simply having a conversation with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter and talking about an employment opportunity that is possibly better than the job you already have.

Stacy: That’s exactly what I’m saying. And there’s no downside because you are not making a commitment of any kind. And that’s where I think some professionals get confused. You’re not making a commitment if you simply talk to a recruiter. And it also does not make you a disloyal person. There are some people who believe that they’re not a loyal employee if they even have a conversation with a recruiter, as if they’re betraying their employer in some fashion. That is absolutely not the case.

Samantha: But shouldn’t a professional have a loyalty to their career, first and foremost?

Stacy: Yes. A person should definitely have a sense of loyalty toward their employer, but that sense of loyalty should only go so far. You shouldn’t completely ignore other opportunities because of it. If you truly want to grow your career and enjoy it more, then you should be open to opportunity and you should be okay with talking with a recruiter. You can always tell them you’re not interested in the opportunity after they present it. You have that option. As I said, you’re not committing yourself to anything, and you never know, it could turn out to the golden opportunity that you’ve been waiting for.

That’s why it never hurts to have a conversation with a good Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter.

Samantha: Stacy, thank you for joining us today and for sharing all of this great information with our listeners.

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