Podcast #168 – Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Offer (and Accept) a Job Without Meeting in Person

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Podcast #168 - Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Offer (and Accept) a Job Without Meeting in Person
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter 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 find and hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing job opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about why it’s acceptable to offer a job to a candidate and also for a candidate to accept a job offer without meeting in person. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, It’s great to be here.

Julea: Stacy, I know we have talked recently about how the COVID-19 virus has impacted the world of employment and these are changing times and people have to be flexible don’t they and be open to doing things a bit differently than they may have done things in the past. Companies still need to hire and people still need to find employment but with the social distancing requirements we have to do some things differently don’t we and that pertains to the interview process and even extending or accepting a job offer.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right Julea. As you can imagine, Animal Health and Veterinary employers—and all other employers in the marketplace,—have to some degree suspended in-person interviews in light of the virus and the resulting pandemic. As a result, you might think that employers have simply stopped hiring altogether. You could certainly point to the number of unemployment claims made in the country during the past three weeks as proof of that. However, that would be untrue.  There are still plenty of employers who are hiring.

Julea: There are employers who still have critical positions they need to fill and essential businesses still have to be able to conduct business and they still need to hire for open positions.

Stacy: That’s right Julea. I mentioned in our previous podcast episode, not only have some Veterinary practices not experienced a decline in activity, some are telling me they’re actually busier. In fact, one practice told me that they’re 25% busier than usual. And also as I mentioned in our previous episode, Veterinary practices are considered essential businesses. At the end of last month, the Department of Homeland Security issued something called the “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.” This document listed workers who are deemed essential to infrastructure, and Veterinary clinics and pet stores were included on the list.

Julea: So there are Veterinary practices that are still looking to hire right now?

Stacy: Absolutely, and they’re being creative in the ways in which they interview. One candidate of ours recently did an interview through a drive-through window at a veterinary practice, and of course, there are many employers that are using video interviewing to screen candidates and find new prospects for their open positions.

Julea: Stacy, if I remember correctly, something else you said in our previous podcast episode is that employers aren’t necessarily hiring right now if they’re interviewing. Is that correct?

Stacy: Correct. Just because an employer interviews does not meant that they plan to hire immediately. We have some clients who are interviewing for open positions they have now and are deferring start dates to May or in some cases June. However, there are employers that are both interviewing and hiring right now. I just presented an offer yesterday to one of our candidates on behalf of one of our clients for a critical position open in their organization.

Julea: Stacy, employers are conducting video interviews and then hiring new employees without meeting them in person correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right.

Julea: That’s rather unorthodox, isn’t it?

Stacy: That might be, but these are unorthodox times. The best companies and organizations in the marketplace have always been those that are creative and innovative, and that includes when it comes to hiring. Just as video interviewing has become the “new normal,” at least for now during this pandemic, hiring new employees without meeting them in person first is also the “new normal.” Actually, instead of calling it that, I would rather call it the “new reality.” The bottom line is that it’s the reality of the situation we are in right now.

Julea: Don’t you think that a job candidate would find it a little weird to have an employer offer them a job and for them to accept that offer without ever meeting in person?

Stacy: I want to say emphatically that it is not weird. Up until this point, it has not been commonplace in society, and just because it’s not commonplace does not mean that it’s weird. As I said, this is part of the new reality. I’ve had clients before the Covid-19 pandemic conduct video based interviews and hire candidates without meeting them in person. It wasn’t the standard norm but it did happen.  It’s happening more and more, especially right now, and you can expect it to happen more frequently in the coming weeks and months.

In fact, it’s a good sign if you interview with an organization remotely and then they offer you the job.

Julea: That is interesting Stacy. Tell us more. Why is that?

Stacy: There are a couple of reasons. First, it shows that the organization is forward-thinking. It shows that they have grasped the current situation and they’re acting proactivity deal with this “new reality.” As a job candidate, you should be encouraged by that and should also be intrigued to work with an employer that is forward-thinking.

It’s also a good sign because if an organization makes an offer to you without meeting you in person, it must mean that the hiring manager has a tremendous amount of confidence in you as a candidate. In fact, you should be flattered that an organization would want to hire you without even meeting you. So you have a situation where you’re interviewing with a forward-thinking organization, and that forward-thinking organization thinks enough of you to offer a job to you without meeting in person.

But ultimately, the bottom line here is the same bottom line for many things that we discuss on our podcast.

Julea: What’s that?

Stacy: Fear. People are intrinsically afraid of situations that they’re not familiar with. Actually, there’s plenty of fear and apprehension in the air already because of what’s happening with the COVID-19 pandemic. So I can understand why Animal Health and Veterinary professionals might experience fear when it comes to doing video interviews or accepting an offer without meeting the hiring manager in person. However, my thoughts about fear is the same as I’ve talked about in the past.

Julea: Tell us more about your thoughts on fear.

Stacy: The point is that you can’t allow fear to rule your decisions. You can’t let fear determine the decisions you make about your life and your career. I’m not saying that you should be reckless, but just because you haven’t done something before or you’re not familiar with it doesn’t mean you should be afraid of it or not willing to try it. You have to be open to change in order to grow.

Julea: Stacy, is there also fear on the other side of the equation, when it comes to employers and hiring managers?

Stacy: Yes, there is. One reason, of course, is the pandemic and all of the uncertainty that surrounds it. There is much uncertainty overall in the world right now. And as I mentioned, not every employer is looking to hire right now. While some Veterinary practices have experienced an increase in activity and business, there are some that have experience just the opposite. So while they might be interviewing, they’re not looking to hire at this exact moment. Some of them are waiting until we get on the other side of this crisis.

I understand that some employers might be hesitant to offer a job to a candidate they have not met in person. First of all, employers are afraid of making the wrong hire to begin with, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the search. It doesn’t matter if there’s a pandemic or not. That’s because the cost associated with making a bad hire can be very high. As a result, there are employers that exercise extreme caution in terms of their hiring methods. Why caution can be good, you don’t want to suffer “paralysis by analysis” and no make an offer to a really good candidate.

Julea: Stacy, what was that quote by Warren Buffett that you mentioned in our previous podcast?

Stacy: You mean “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful”?

Julea: Yes, that’s the one. That refers to this situation, too, doesn’t it?

Stacy: Yes. As I mentioned, employers should continue to interview, hire, and build their teams during this time if they have hiring needs. After all, right now, some employers might be able to hire talented people away from their competition. And one of the ways you as an employer could hire these talented people is by doing so without meeting them in person. Once again, that’s the “new reality” of the current marketplace.

Julea: So an employer that is willing to hire a candidate without meeting them in person has an edge over an employer that is not willing to do so?

Stacy: Absolutely. That employer automatically gains an advantage over their competition that does not want to hire in that fashion or is afraid to hire in that fashion. Some of our clients have the attitude right now that they want to recruit talent from their competition and we are helping them to do it. It’s the right attitude to have to want to hire the best talent and the best talent may be working for your competition.

As I said earlier, if you’re willing to hire a candidate without meeting them in person due to the current situation, then that is a sign that you are a forward-thinking organization. We’ve talked about the importance of employers branding before on the podcast, and branding your organization as forward-thinking is one of the best ways that you can brand it. Candidates and job seekers want to work for a forward-thinking organization, and if they’re interviewing with your company, then they must already believe that their current employer is not forward-thinking enough.

There’s something else that employers should consider, too.

Julea: What’s that Stacy?

Stacy: Right now, we don’t have any idea when some employers will be able to start holding in-person interviews with job candidates. It could be a month. It could be two or three. It could be more. Having said that we do currently have employers who are still conducting face to face interviews. But until there’s a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, there are some candidates who are not going to want to fly across the country for an in-person interview, even if the government says that it’s okay to do so.

Julea: So things aren’t going to revert 100% to the way they were once the virus slows down?

Stacy: That’s right. First, the marketplace is going to come back in stages, depending upon the industry in which you work and the state in which you live. So even when we get to the other side of this crisis, employers are going to have to implement new hiring strategies and techniques, and one of those strategies is hiring an employee remotely or hiring one without meeting them in person.

Julea: It sounds like employers will have to be flexible and be willing to move with market conditions, regardless of what those conditions are.

Stacy: That’s a good way to put it. That’s exactly right, and when you think about it, that’s what employers should be doing no matter what market conditions are. Ideally, they’re proactive about meeting the challenges that exist in the marketplace and overcoming those challenges with creative ideas and innovation. The circumstances that exist right now are no different.

Think about the market during the last several years. It was a better economy, for sure, but there were still challenges. It was a candidate-driven market, which means that top talent was difficult to find, recruit, and hire. That type of market had its own challenges, and those challenges had to be overcome in order for employers to thrive and prosper. Today’s market also offers challenges, although they’re different than what we’ve seen during the last several years. It’s up to Animal Health and Veterinary employers—and all employers, really—to do what is necessary to rise to the challenge and become creative with how they do things, including interviewing and hiring.

Julea: Stacy, this is great information about the current state of the marketplace and the creative ways that Animal Health and Veterinary employers are hiring because of it.

Stacy: Julea, I hope this information is helpful and takes some of the fear out of it for both employers and candidates when it comes to extending and accepting an offer without meeting in person. Julea, I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

Julea: That’s all for today’s show. For Stacy Pursell and everyone at The VET Recruiter, thank for your listening and we invite you to join us next time when we address more employment issues in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. We hope that you’ll join us then!