Hospital managers are always telling our account managers how great our staff is. We’re proud of the hiring process we’ve developed, and we believe it’s the reason we have such amazing employees at VSS. With the tight competition the veterinary industry is currently facing to hire great staff, it may be an appropriate time to re-evaluate your current recruitment practices. Here are seven tips to get you started.
#1: Write a job description
The first step to any interview process is to truly understand what the new employee’s responsibilities will be. Overview the daily responsibilities of this position and put them in writing for the applicant. Candidates want a clear expectation of their potential roles as well as what lies within and outside the job description. This will also be beneficial to you in your recruitment efforts, because it will help you to profile the type of person who will be successful in this role.
#2: Make a list of “must haves”
Once you understand the responsibilities, outline the necessary skills and education requirements for this role. Does your practice manager position require a bachelor’s degree? Do your technicians need to be credentialed (CVT, LVT, RVT)? What about customer service experience for your front desk staff? Outline your must haves, and write down your requirements.
#3: Consider your current staff
You know your team best. What types of personalities will work best in your clinic? What soft skills will make a new hire successful in this role? Do you need a go-getter or a laid-back person? If necessary, consider discussing this in a staff meeting to get an inside opinion from your staff on what their ideal associate would look like. This will not only help you in your recruitment efforts, but it will create buy-in from the team and may make the new hire’s transition smoother in the long run.
#4: Find the right job board
Where is your perfect employee looking for a job? Where Techs Connect? NAVTA? CACVT? Or, does she have her resume posted to Monster, Indeed, Career Builder, or LinkedIn? Create a few profiles, post some ads, and track your responses to fine tune your job posting returns.
#5: Tailor your interview questions
Once you have a firm outline of a successful candidate, start to consider the types of interview questions that might help to reveal these qualities or qualifications. We have standard interview questions tailored to each position in our company. We include questions like: What is your ideal work environment? Tell me about a time your ethics were compromised. What makes your work meaningful to you? What is the most helpful criticism you’ve received? You can find more examples here and here.
#6: Assess your competition
Reach out to your local credentialing association or talk to other hospital managers. What are they paying for different roles? What do their benefits packages look like? How many hours do their techs work? What is the cost of living in your area? Now, look at your clinic. How do you match up? Are you as competitive as you thought you were, or would you be more successful if you could offer more pay, flexible scheduling, or a better benefits package? Your candidates have likely interviewed with multiple practices and are judging you against the competition. Shouldn’t you do the same?
#7: Pre-screen your candidates
Check your local DVM or technician credentialing agency for any marks against the applicant’s license and whether it’s current. Contact her references and ask her thoughtful questions to see if she’ll be a good fit for your culture. With easy access to controlled substances in our field and the national opioid crisis, consider pre-employment drug screenings and background checks to weed out any candidates who may be unwilling to participate in or pass these screenings.
Remember: No two practices are alike, and your hiring system should be tailored specifically to fit your needs. The more work you are willing to put into the front end of this process, the better return you will receive in qualified candidates who want to stay with your clinic for the long haul.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Katie is a CVT, wife, mother, manager, and adventurous chef. When she’s not working at VSS (or being a mom – work in progress), she’s hiking, traveling, reading, or trying out a new hobby to see if it will stick.