7 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Veterinary Hires

What’s the secret to creating a long-lasting team of highly engaged, talented employees? While there’s no magic formula for success, there is one foundational key to consider and that is hiring the right candidates, right from the start. When you are careful about who you add to your team, you’ll be better able to maintain a strong, positive practice culture, deliver consistency to your clients and reduce costs by keeping turnover at a minimum.

Of course, knowing you need to hire right and actually doing so are two entirely different things. Recruiting good people isn’t always easy – especially for busy practice owners. The good news is, there are some strategies you can employ that should help you hone your hiring skills and get better results. Let’s take a look at a few of these tactics below.

Assess your current situation.

Before you can improve on your hiring, you need to have a clear picture of where you stand currently. Take a good, hard and honest look at the types of people you’ve hired in the past – particularly the ones that haven’t worked out. Do you see any patterns? For instance, do you always tend to gravitate toward a particular personality type? Have you been lax with candidate vetting in the past? Do you rush to fill positions without adequate applicant evaluation? Figuring these things out should help you identify areas for improvement moving forward.

Make the hiring process collaborative.

This is especially important if you’re responsible for hiring someone who won’t be directly reporting to you. It’s imperative that you have a clear and accurate understanding of what the job itself entails, the dynamics of the team and what the team lead or manager is looking for in a candidate. Working together on tasks such as writing the job description/posting, shortlisting applicants and interviewing those that make the cut can dramatically improve your chances of hiring the right person for the job.

Be forthcoming and accurate about the role.

You can almost instantly improve the quality of your hires by being forthcoming and accurate in how you describe the role as well as the practice environment. Candidates who are underqualified will typically not bother applying while others that are qualified may determine that the role and/or culture of your clinic simply isn’t a good fit. Either way, you’ll save time and end up with a pool of candidates that are already somewhat pre-vetted before you even begin the process.

Don’t underestimate the importance of culture.

Did you know that 89% of hiring failures are due to a poor cultural fit? The importance of choosing employees who are not only skilled but also possess certain intangibles, such as communication and a positive attitude, cannot be understated. To start, figure out what your practice culture is. From there you can determine what type of individuals thrive in that environment. It may take a little extra time and effort, but if you can avoid becoming another statistic, it’ll be well worth it in the end.

Be objective.

Another contributing factor to poor hiring decisions is bias, most of which is done on a subconscious level. Many things can impact how we form judgments, including how we were brought up, how we were socialized, how much diversity we were exposed to and other personal events that have occurred in our lives. And if we aren’t careful, these biases can derail the hiring process. To avoid this, make your decisions based on data, such as skills assessments, and work collaboratively with others to jointly choose the best candidate.

Implement a probationary period.

You wouldn’t buy a new car without test driving it, right? So, why would you risk damaging your business by not trying out your new hires before making a long-term investment? Set up a trial or probationary period during which a potential new hire can step into his or her role and give it a go. This will enable you to better assess his or her skillset and cultural fit before making a final decision. It’s also allows candidates to better manage their expectations about the position and the practice.

Measure, modify and repeat.

Even if you think you’ve got the recruiting thing down pat, there still may be room for improvement. Avoid becoming complacent in your hiring practices. Instead, regularly measure your results and be agile enough to make changes when and where necessary. An annual or quarterly review of your current approach should be sufficient in providing you the opportunity to refine and improve your quality of hire, increasing the likelihood of success.

One more important thing to keep in mind: improving your quality of hire isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and concerted effort, but the long-term benefits of increased retention and highly-engaged employees will make it well worth the wait.