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Why It Doesn’t Hurt to Have a Conversation with an Employer

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

You may have recognized the title of this blog post. That’s because I wrote a post previously with the title, “It Never Hurts to Have a Conversation with a Recruiter.” In that post, I explained that talking with a recruiter about an employment opportunity is a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Basically, you have nothing to lose and could have plenty to gain.

However, I’d like to take this concept a step further and state that it also doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with an employer. And the reason that I’m taking this conversation a step further is because of experience. I’ve been a recruiter for more than 20 years, and during that time, I’ve reached out to thousands of people about job opportunities. Some of them have said, I’m happy where I am” or “I’m not looking.”

Other people, however, made the decision to consider the opportunity because they acknowledged that the position was better than the job they currently had. Some of the people who initially balked when I contacted them ended up interviewing with my client and then accepting an offer of employment. Not only that, but they also thanked me for convincing them to consider the opportunity when I first contacted them.

So, what made the difference for these professionals? The answer is that they realized they had nothing to lose by first, having a conversation with a recruiter, and second, by having a conversation with an employer. And when I talk about having a conversation with an employer, I’m talking about a phone screen, a face-to-face interview, or both. If you’re talking with an organization about an employment opportunity, it counts as a conversation. It doesn’t matter if it happens over the phone or in person.

In my previous article about how it never hurts to have a conversation with a recruiter, I presented a “best-case scenario” and a “worst-case scenario.” I’m going to do so again in this blog post. That’s because I want to illustrate how low-risk it is to have a conversation with an employer. In this case, however, I’m going to start with the perceived worst-case scenario first, as opposed to the best case. The worst-case scenario is what people usually dread, and that’s the reason they ultimately don’t consider another employment opportunity in the first place.

Worst-case scenario

In this scenario, after talking with an employer, the person decides that the employment opportunity is not much better than what they currently have. Even if they had a phone screen with the hiring manager or a phone screen and a face-to-face interview, they simply decide they do not want to continue pursuing the opportunity. And that’s it. That’s the worst-case scenario: they find out the opportunity really isn’t better than the job they currently have and they drop out of the running for it.

There is plenty of fear associated with the worst-case scenario, which makes sense when you think about it. For example, the person could believe that their boss will somehow find out that they’re talking with another employer or interviewing with another employer. From there, it’s not a stretch of the imagination for the person to think that just having a conversation or participating in a phone screen is going to get them fired.

However, it’s crucial to note that these fears are unfounded. I’ve never received a phone call or an email from a professional who said they were fired just for talking with me or going on an interview with one of my clients. I also don’t recall a time where someone’s current employment was put at risk because of talking with me or one of my clients. But that doesn’t stop people from creating worst-case scenarios in their minds and then fixating upon them.

Best-case scenario

On the other side of coin, the best-case scenario is exactly like the real-life instances and case studies that I referenced above. First, the person learns about an employment opportunity that turns out to be better than the job they currently have. It could be a positon that gives them significant career growth. It could also provide them with more compensation and better benefits. The job might be with a more prestigious employer with a great reputation. It could be all of those things. In this best-case scenario, the person is offered the job and they decide to take the job. All things considered, that’s a pretty good best-case scenario.

There are two important things to keep in mind when it comes to having a conversation with an employer:

#1—You are NOT making a commitment of any kind.

You’re not making a commitment outside of the commitment to have a conversation, that is, but that should be evident. As a candidate, you don’t make any sort of commitment until you accept an offer of employment. You could go all the way through the hiring process, receive an offer of employment, and then simply decline that offer. You have not made a commitment of any kind until you’ve actually made a commitment.

#2—You are NOT being disloyal by having a conversation with an employer.

Some people think they’re being disloyal even thinking about another employment opportunity, much less having a conversation with another Animal Health or Veterinary employer. Unfortunately, these people have a disproportionate sense of loyalty. Now, don’t get me wrong: loyalty is an admirable trait. But misplaced loyalty can have unintended consequences, and missing out on a great new employment opportunity is one of those consequences. I tell Animal Health and Veterinary professionals that they need to be loyal to themselves, their career and their family, first and foremost.

Just like it never hurts to have a conversation with a recruiter, it doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with an employer. It’s just a conversation. It’s not a commitment. And it could ultimately lead to a great employment opportunity that changes your life. I know because I have received cards in the mail and emails from Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals who have thanked me for convincing them to talk with an employer who offered them a position that did change their life. I have countless stories of this happening throughout the years.

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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