5 hiring fouls veterinarians make


You want to hire the best veterinary employee, but if you're guilty of these blunders, you might end up with duds.

I've recruited hundreds of people in veterinary hospitals, and now I spend a lot of time helping others do just the same. Unfortunately, I see a lot of the same recruitment mistakes over and over again—and the cost of these mistakes is unbelievably high.

To avoid making them, it's important to recognize them. Here are five mistakes most veterinarians make when hiring a new recruit:

Foul: Poor preparation. Planning your recruitment process is a step that begins with writing clear objectives for every role in your practice. Without these descriptions, you're just going to make a lucky guess—and more likely a terrible mistake.

Fix: Plan ahead. Develop detailed specifications that define the attributes and skills your new hire must possess to do the job well.

Foul: Blending in. The purpose of a job ad is to get the attention of the right people. Using the same language as everyone else (e.g., "We're a progressive practice") fails to achieve this.

Fix: Write the right ad. Your job advertisement should reflect the personality and culture of your practice—who you are, what your practice is really like and what the job will entail.

Foul: Superficial hiring. The résumé and interview are two of the least reliable ways to gauge someone's suitability for the job—and neither represents what the workplace reality is going to be for either party.

Fix: Use online tests. Recreate tasks your employees will have to undertake. I send out tests for technicians on anesthesia and other everyday responsibilites. This alone objectively rules out about 80 percent of job candidates.

Foul: Think you're done. Once the recruitment process is complete, many DVMs move on to more pressing issues, leaving the new hire to drown, completely unaware of the practice's objectives and expectations.

Fix: Profile prospects. This helps determine if a candidate is a good fit for the job and your team. Language and Behavior (LAB) and DISC profiles are two reliable tools.

Foul: Avoid your mistakes. When it comes to recruiting, it's no surprise that the superhuman you saw in the interview turns out to be a "problem" employee. Instead of admitting the error and dealing with it, most DVMs do nothing.

Fix: Be there. Make sure new hires know what's required to perform the job well. Set regular review meetings to provide feedback. And most important, if you make a recruitment mistake and your new hire turns out to be a dud, quickly move on and start over.

Dr. Dave Nicol is the owner of Dr. Dave's Vets and Pets in New South Wales, Australia, and co-founder of Recruit Right for Vets. This originally appeared in CareCredit's Power Up Your Practice.

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