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The Pitfalls of Fixating on Long-Term Commitments in Hiring

I work with Animal Health and Veterinary employers on a daily basis to help them with their talent acquisition needs, and of course, that includes the recruiting and hiring of veterinarians. As a result, I “have my finger on the pulse” of what is happening in the job market, including trends within Animal Health and Veterinary hiring and the employment marketplace at large.

Animal Health and Veterinary Hiring: A Case Study

With this in mind, we at The VET Recruiter recently sent a veterinarian candidate to a client for an urgent opening that they had. The client immediately passed on the candidate, stating that the candidate was only planning on being in the area for a few years and they needed someone who would commit to staying in the position for at least five to ten years.

There are multiple reasons why this logic could be considered flawed:

#1—There is no longer a stigma attached to “job hopping.”

I have addressed this topic multiple times, and the rationale is the same. It used to be that if you changed employers more frequently than every five years, then you were considered a “job hopper” and that was bad for your career prospects. This is no longer the case.

In fact, what has become rare is the person who actually stays in the same job for five years. And of course, the members of the younger generations—the ones who are currently dominating the workforce and job market—are more likely to change jobs more frequently.

#2—There is no such thing as the “perfect candidate.”

Not wanting to consider a candidate because they may only be in the area for three years instead of five years falls into the same category as not wanting to consider a candidate because they don’t “check absolutely all of the boxes” for the position.

After working in the search profession for 25+ years, I can tell you with confidence that there is no “perfect candidate.” (I am sure that I would have found them by now.)

#3—There is a shortage of veterinarians.

I have also addressed this topic before in articles and blog posts. As an employer, when you have the chance to consider (and interview) a qualified veterinarian for an urgent opening, you should consider and interview that veterinarian. The need is immediate, and there is no guarantee that you are going to find another qualified veterinarian in the near future, if at all.

Considering the fact that some Millennials and Generation Zers are changing jobs every 18 months to two years, potentially having the position filled for three years could be considered a “win.”

#4—People’s plans change.

How many people in the world do you think had a three-year plan in 2019? How about a five-year plan? How many of those plans do you think actually came to fruition? After all, a global pandemic began in 2020. Sure, such events are not common, but people do not need a global catastrophe for their plans to change, sometimes drastically.

People can be unpredictable. In many cases, even they cannot predict exactly what they are going to do. People get married, they have babies, they have loved ones who pass away . . . simply put, life is unpredictable.

The Role of Retention in Animal Heath and Veterinary Hiring

Of course, there is another way in which to look at this situation, and that is through the lens of retention. The best way to hire a veterinarian and have them stay in the job for at least five years is to convince them to stay in the job for at least five years—regardless of what may or may not happen in the rest of their life. Thus is the prominent but often overlooked role of retention in Animal Health and Veterinary hiring.

In response to the shortcomings of fixating on long-term commitment, employers can adopt alternative strategies to attract and retain talent who are likely to stay longer and contribute to the organization’s success. Those strategies include the following four:

#1—Cultivating a Culture of Engagement and Growth

A key factor in attracting and retaining long-term talent is the cultivation of a supportive work environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated to invest in their roles. This begins with fostering open communication, transparency, and trust between leadership and employees. Employees who feel heard and appreciated are more likely to remain loyal to the organization and contribute positively to its success.

In addition, providing opportunities for skill development, career advancement, and meaningful contributions to organizational goals is critical for retaining top talent. Investing in employee training programs, mentorship initiatives, and leadership development opportunities enhances employee skills, and it also demonstrates a commitment to their professional growth and well-being.

#2—Embracing Flexibility in Hiring Practices

Recognizing that the one-size-fits-all approach to hiring may no longer be applicable in today’s diverse workforce, employers should embrace flexibility in their Animal Health and Veterinary hiring practices. This includes offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible schedules, or project-based roles, to accommodate the varied needs and preferences of candidates.

In addition to flexibility in work arrangements, employers should also consider adopting a more comprehensive approach to candidate evaluation, focusing on skills, competencies, and cultural fit rather than strict tenure requirements. By broadening the criteria for candidate selection, employers can attract a more diverse pool of talent with varying levels of experience and career trajectories.

#3—Implementing Effective Retention Strategies

Proactively addressing factors that contribute to employee turnover is essential for retaining top talent in the long term. This involves regularly soliciting feedback from employees to identify areas for improvement and implementing initiatives to enhance job satisfaction and retention.

One effective retention strategy is to create a culture of recognition and appreciation where employees feel valued for their contributions. This can be achieved through formal recognition programs, such as employee of the month awards or peer-to-peer recognition platforms, as well as informal gestures of appreciation, such as personalized notes or public acknowledgments. By acknowledging and celebrating employee achievements, employers can reinforce a sense of belonging and loyalty within the practice or organization.

#4—Promoting a Culture of Continuous Learning and Adaptability

Encouraging employees to embrace change, experiment with new ideas, and adapt to evolving challenges fosters a culture of innovation and resilience within the organization. One way to promote continuous learning is through ongoing training and professional development initiatives.

This can include formal training programs, workshops, seminars, and conferences, as well as informal learning opportunities such as lunch-and-learn sessions or peer mentoring programs. By investing in employee development, employers not only enhance employee skills and competencies, but they also demonstrate a commitment to their growth and success.

As an employer, if you are going to be fixated on a long-term commitment from candidates during the Animal Health or Veterinary hiring process, then you must also be fixated on implementing and executing engaging retention strategies that will help ensure that commitment once they’ve been hired!

We invite you to find out more about our Veterinary recruiting services for employers and also learn more about our recruiting process and how we can help you hire more veterinarians this year.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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