Avoid Being Catfished and Ghosted

The terms “catfished” and “ghosted” are used regularly in the dating world to refer to individuals who either aren’t who they present themselves to be or seem very interested only to vanish without so much as a farewell. Believe it or not, these same terms can also be applied to recruiting, particularly in the veterinary industry. 

If you’ve ever had a candidate lie about his or her skills or suddenly drop off the radar when you thought things were going well, congratulations. You’ve been a victim of both ghosting and catfishing. And chances are, it cost you in some way. Thankfully, there are proactive measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of this happening to you again.  

Why is it happening?

These issues aren’t new. What’s made them more prevalent, however, has a lot to do with technology. Anyone from anywhere can apply to any open job, either by submitting an online application or by emailing in their resume. There’s little to no human interaction in much of this process, at least at the beginning. As such, the anonymity of this has led to applicants not giving much thought as to whether they’re actually interested or even qualified in the position in question. 

Compounding this is the fact that we are currently operating in a candidate’s market. With more open positions than there are qualified individuals to fill them, applicants have their pick of job offers. This is often why a candidate you thought was perfect might suddenly stop responding to your emails and calls. They’ve simply found something better and, unfortunately, the anonymity of technology makes it easier to simply fade away, rather than be courteous and professional enough to let you know. It’s just the way it is these days.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Practice

Being aware of the issue is the first step toward preventing it from happening to you and your practice in the future. Here are a few additional recommendations to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Define and communicate your culture. What makes your practice better than all the rest? Why does your team love to come into work every day? Focus on perfecting your practice culture, and then make sure that’s showcased in your job postings, social media presence, interactions with others, etc. 
  • Make the hiring process more personalized to each candidate. Don’t use those same old canned responses for every person. Remember – if you don’t want your applicants to treat you and your practice like just another number, you shouldn’t do it to them either.
  • Carry out phone interviews in addition to in-person interviews. Again, the more you make a human connection with your candidates, the better. Plus, this will ultimately save you time and aggravation in the long run, as it will help you better narrow down your list of candidates to only those who would be the best fit.
  • Always check references. Remember the old adage, “Trust but verify.” Just because someone looks amazing on paper doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a good fit with your practice, or that their skillset actually matches what they’ve got on their resume. Always verify this information by checking references of previous employment. 
  • Consider implementing a probationary period. Another way to avoid being catfished is to incorporate a conditional trial period of employment. This will provide you with the opportunity to determine firsthand whether a candidate is who they say they are. It’s also likely to drive away individuals who might otherwise try to bluff their way into a job. Avoiding this altogether is ideal.

While it’s virtually impossible to prevent ghosting and catfishing entirely, by putting the above suggestions into practice, you can significantly reduce its impact on yourself, your staff and your clinic.