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July 10, 2018
August 9, 2018

7 Ways Small Veterinary Practices Can Hire Like Big Companies

Sheila Grosdidier

Every day I hear variations of the same lament – “I’d love to hire a (receptionist, veterinary technician, associate veterinarian) but there are no good applicants, no one applies, or the individuals who do apply are not qualified.” What’s a practice to do?

With unemployment currently under 3.9% - the lowest it’s been this century - and wages increasing at a steady pace, the pool of viable and productive candidates to fill open positions has shrunk to a puddle. You can moan, groan and rail at the world – or commit to updating your hiring process.

Here are the first 7 steps to take on the path of hiring evolution: 

  1. Read no further unless you have a job description. If you want to find the right fit for the job, you must know what skills, knowledge and ability align with the position. This is your first step in hiring and you can’t get around it. You won’t find the employee you need if you don’t know exactly who you need. Here’s a sample Job Description (will download upon clicking) – Be specific to the position and your practice when outlining the duties and expected skills.

  2. Vow to bury the old hiring ways – they aren’t working. You can take a moment of silence for that if you need to, but you must focus on what lies ahead. It’s no longer about placing an ad and sorting through candidates. It’s about marketing your positions as if you were selling a service. There are many options available in the job market – make sure they notice yours. Create an online presence that shows them the real you, make sure you look online the way you wish to be seen.

  3. No career site on your website? Why did you create your original website? You created your website to attract business – now use that platform to attract new employees! Utilize the resources you already have. If you have a website the heavy lifting is already done. Now you need to create a page that will help direct applicants to you. They may apply even when an immediate opening is not listed because they see a team they would like a chance to join.

  4. And, Social Media. 70% of hiring managers are using social media to find potential job candidates and over 70% of entry level positions were filled by individuals who found the job through social media. It works both ways. A large percent of the applicant pool may not even know you are hiring if you aren’t willing to use this channel to advertise your openings.

  5. Small veterinary practices have many work environment benefits – there’s more of a family feel, closer client interaction, flexibility in scheduling and work/life balance, and not being over-encumbered in policy. Ask your employees why they work for you and get those quotes onto social media. Potential employees want to know what it’s really like to work for you – let your current employees help paint the picture. It also can help make your point better than you can yourself.

  6. Commit to looking for your next employee all the time. It won’t be easy, so don’t wait until a position is open. Employee longevity continues to decrease and your efforts to fill positions needs to increase. Don’t wait until you have an urgent need and go into survival mode to hire. Keep your pool of applicants fresh with a steady stream of interest.

  7. Invest in retention – Keeping the employees you have decreases the need to hire, can improve productivity, contributes to team satisfaction, and enhances your work environment. Hiring and training are costly and time consuming. Value the team members you have and invest in keeping them engaged for the long term. As they grow in experience, you encourage them to learn and use new skills, and the team learns to work together smoothly – you not only increase their value to your practice, you increase each team members satisfaction with their job and commitment to the shared goals of the practice.

Good candidates are still out there – learn to find them in a changing world!

Send your practice manager to our week-long VMC School of Veterinary Practice Management to better prepare them to succeed. With all three of VMC's consultants teaching, your practice manager will learn skills from Financials to H.R. management. Learn more and register here.

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