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What to Do if You Don’t Get the Animal Health or Veterinary Job You Want

By Stacy Pursell, CPC/CERS
The VET Recruiter®

At first, when the candidate said these words, I almost didn’t believe what I just heard:

“The employer is stupid for not hiring me. I know more than they do!”

But that was exactly what the candidate said, which was unfortunate on a number of levels. This was a candidate who interviewed with one of my clients for an Animal Health job, and unfortunately, my client did not make an offer of employment to him. Instead of accepting this reality gracefully, he lashed out verbally. He did not keep his disappointment to himself or even say these words out loud when he was alone. He included me in his assessment of the situation.

This story serves as the perfect illustration of what NOT to do when you don’t get the Animal Health or Veterinary job that you want. That’s not to say that I don’t understand his reaction; I do. Not getting a job, especially one that you really want, can be disappointing in the least and could even feel devastating at the time. Once again, though, it’s not the circumstances that are ultimately important, it’s the way in which a person reacts to them that is.

When you don’t get the Animal Health or Veterinary job

When you’re in the hiring process of an employer in pursuit to fill an Animal Health job or Veterinary job, especially if its’s a premium employment opportunity with a top organization, you’re going to have competition. Of 200 candidates uncovered during an initial search, perhaps 50 of them will make the first cut, five will be finalists, and one will get the job. Based on those numbers, that’s a .05% chance of receiving the offer of employment. (If there are 100 candidates uncovered during the initial search, then your chances increase to 1%.)

With this in mind, below are four tips for what to do if you don’t get the Animal Health job or Veterinary job that you want:

#1—Do not take it personally.

If you don’t get the job, realize that it is not an indictment of you, either as a person or as a professional. The employer simply believed that another candidate would be a better fit for their organization. Sometimes, the difference between one candidate and another is miniscule, and the hiring manager goes with their “gut feeling,” and you have no control over those.

#2—Above all else, be gracious.

How one acts and reacts when facing adversity ultimately defines that person, and it takes no greater effort or energy to be gracious in this situation as it does to not be gracious. Even if being gracious is the last thing you want to do, act with professional courtesy. No matter how you might be feeling, you are doing yourself—and your career—a favor.

#3—Process your feelings and emotions in a healthy manner.

It’s perfectly normal to have certain feelings in a situation where you don’t get a job that you really want. However, just like everything else, there is a healthy way and an unhealthy way to work through those emotions so that you can move forward. Remember that there is opportunity in the midst of adversity, and if you’re able to adopt this mindset, then you can use these perceived setbacks as motivation for future success.

#4—Evaluate yourself and your situation.

This is where the objective part of the process comes into play. That’s because you must recognize there may be things upon which you can improve, so that you can receive an offer for the next employment opportunity that you want. What can you do to improve your resume? What can you do to improve your performance during the face-to-face interview, whether it’s a virtual interview or an in-person interview? Making adjustments now could make a big difference the next time you’re in the hiring process for an Animal Health or Veterinary job.

The role of personal branding in determining your future

We’ve addressed the topic of personal branding on a number of occasions, and with good reason. The way that you brand yourself to others is critical in terms of your career growth, development, and satisfaction. The rules are simple. If you brand yourself poorly, then your chances of growing your career the way that you want are lessened. On the other hand, if you brand yourself the right way, then you’re positioning yourself for future success.

This includes when you don’t get an Animal Health or Veterinary job that you really want.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re working with an executive recruiter or not. You might brand yourself in a positive way to the hiring manager, but if you then lash out at the recruiter or say something you shouldn’t, you’re still branding yourself poorly to someone who could help you in the future. If you didn’t get the job and you don’t like what the recruiter has to say about why that happened, be professional and polite. You must remember that the same recruiter might be the one to hand you your next job on a silver platter. If you “burn bridges” with your recruiter, though, they’re probably not going to recommend you to their clients in the future. You may need their help in the future.

Remember, the recruiter ultimately works for the employer. It’s their job to present the best candidates possible for their clients’ open positions. They will not be inclined to present candidates who lash out, say things they shouldn’t say, or brand themselves poorly. They only want to present the very best candidates, and that includes the best all-around ones—from a technical skills perspective, a soft skills perceptive, professional demeanor, and in terms of cultural fit.

And remember that what you do when you don’t get the Animal Health or Veterinary job is almost as important as when you do.

If you’re looking to make a change or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

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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