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Recruiting Tool Kit
Candidate Sourcing

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Active Recruiting: What It Is & How It’s Done

Typically, veterinary recruiting has consisted of placing an ad on a job board and waiting for candidates to apply. This method has a name: passive recruiting. It is essentially the same as creating a pond and waiting for fish to want to swim into it.

While you might get a few great candidates this way, you are limiting your results to those who are actively looking for another job. The candidates you really want are the ones who currently have a position and aren’t unhappy where they are—but who will choose to work for you instead because you offer them a better option.

So…how do you attract candidates who aren’t looking for another job? Answer: Active recruiting.  

Active recruiting simply means reaching out to people through a variety of mediums to see if they would like to apply for a job at your practice. A recent study showed that 81% of employees would consider leaving their job if the right company came along. This doesn’t mean that these employees are currently looking for employment; simply that if another position came along that was better than the one they had, they would jump on it. Active recruiting takes advantage of that.

And if you’re worried that this strategy is time-consuming, don’t—hospitals that are successful with active recruiting typically spend about 15 minutes a day working on it, and they see huge returns. In fact, one hospital we worked with found several new, experienced team members in just one month using this method!

But I don’t want to upset the other hospitals in my area!

We hear this concern often. In some cases, it does make sense to be cautious about the employee- fishing at other practices. Here are some ground rules you might want to consider:

  • If you have a great relationship with a practice, avoid contacting their team members. It’s a good idea to balance the relationship you have with any practice where you want to recruit.
  • Limit by location. Some hospitals will avoid contacting employees at hospitals within a set 2-mile radius around their practice and only contact team members outside that radius.
  • Only contact employees at corporately owned practices. We are all for this tactic, as we can promise you the corporate hospitals are contacting your employees, too.
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OK, So how is active recruiting done?

There are several ways you can actively recruit, and all involve the same basic premise: search for candidates and reach out to them. How you reach out to them will vary depending on the candidate source.

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Direct Outreach

This can be one of the easier ways of actively recruiting. If you know the email format for a veterinary practice or veterinary corporation with local affiliates (for example, [email protected]), then you can simply look on the websites of local companies that you would want to source team members from and email them directly. Keep in mind that you will be emailing them at their work email address, so make it professional and courteous, since these messages may be seen by the corporate office.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be an excellent place to find local and location-based individuals whose experience matches your needs. In some cases, you may need to purchase a paid membership with LinkedIn to be able to message candidates.

To find candidates on LinkedIn, simply search your criteria in the search bar, along with your location. For instance, you could search for “veterinary technician, Portland, OR.”  You’ll see a few people at the top of the page, and under them, you can click “See All People Results.” This will usually pull up thousands of people who may fit your criteria.

You can then filter your results. At the top of the page, there are buttons such as “Locations” and “Current Company.” We recommend clicking “All Filters” which allows you to really narrow down the list of people included in your list.

If you click on any candidate, you’ll see a “Message” button. Paid LinkedIn memberships will allow a specified number of messages per month. Always try to maximize the messages you send out to increase the number of possible applicants for your position.

Indeed

Indeed is another great place to search for applicants. Often, the candidates on Indeed will be more likely to be interested, as they have taken the time to post their information on Indeed at some point. This action means they are interested in making a move, but not necessarily actively applying.

To access Indeed resumes, you will need a paid subscription. Once you have an account, you can search by position and location, just like with LinkedIn. You can also filter your search on Indeed, including by distance from your search location. When you have chosen a candidate to reach out to, you can click “Message” to send them a message.

AVMA

The AVMA offers a candidate search tool as well. Click on “Resume Search,” and once you login, you will be able to search all resumes that have been posted to the AVMA that are considered active.

NAVTA

Another veterinary-specific tool, NAVTA also allows employers to search for candidates on its site. Hover over “Employers” at the top of the page, then click “Resume Bank.” Similar to the AVMA, this will bring up all of the resumes in the system that are currently considered to be active.

Leverage Your Vendors

The most connected people in the veterinary field are your vendors. Vendors have relationships with all of the veterinary hospitals in the area. They can alert you to people who have recently left the field, or if they know of someone at a local hospital that is looking elsewhere. Since they usually have had at least some interaction with team members at other practices, they can often point you in the direction of some great candidate options.

Online Career Fairs

While these have become more popular during the pandemic, online career fairs have been around for several years. Career fairs allow you to meet with candidates virtually who are perusing the jobs available around them. Career fairs allow you to create an excellent first impression of your practice to a large number of job seekers. If you offer benefits, wages, or work experiences that are superior to other local hospitals, these career fairs can help you stand out as an employer of choice.

Social Media

Yes, you can source candidates on social media! Networking and recruiting through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are common and a great way to get exposure.

So what exactly should I say when I reach out?

What you say can vary somewhat depending on the position you are offering, but we recommend a few guidelines regardless of the position:

  • A greeting
  • An explanation for the email
  • A few bullet points about the opportunity
  • Information about how to apply
  • A closing

Here are a few examples for you.


Hello Kate:

I found your resume on LinkedIn and wanted to reach out. It looks like you may be a great match for our receptionist position at Main Street Animal Hospital. Our practice offers:

  • Very competitive wages
  • A heavy emphasis on a client centric, employee focused culture
  • Fully paid medical benefits
  • 3 weeks paid time off
  • And so many perks!

I would love to discuss this opportunity with you. If you are interested, please email me your resume and a few times you would be available to chat over the next week. My email address is [email protected]

If you are happy in your position, please forgive the intrusion. Have a great day!


Hello Kate:

I came across your resume on Indeed and thought you might be interested to hear about the Certified Veterinary Technician position that we have available at Main Street Animal Hospital. We offer some pretty cool benefits, including:

  • Highly competitive wages
  • A culture that values the skills our techs bring to the hospital each day
  • Fully paid medical benefits
  • $1500 per year continuing education stipend
  • 3 weeks paid time off, plus sick time
  • And so much more!

I would love to discuss this opportunity with you. If you are interested, please email me your resume and a few times you would be available to chat over the next week. My email address is [email protected]

If you are happy in your position, please forgive the intrusion. Have a great day!


Hello Dr. Miller:

I’m reaching out because I wanted to make you aware of the great opportunity our practice has for an experienced DVM who might be looking to make a change in their current working situation.

We’re an established, privately-owned hospital with a growing clientele. We’re a tight-knit, collaborative team that loves what we do, and it shows in how we approach our clients, patients, and each other. Our goal is to find another like-minded veterinarian to join us. We can offer you:

  • Sign-on bonus [if applicable]
  • Competitive pay
  • Fully paid medical and dental benefits
  • Retirement plan
  • 5 weeks paid time off
  • $3000 per year CE stipend + paid license and VMA fees
  • Personal pet benefits
  • Commitment to work/life balance

The experience highlighted in your online profile leads me to believe you would be a potential fit for this role. I would love to discuss it more with you. If you’re interested in having an initial conversation, please let me know when you would be available to chat over the next week. My email address is [email protected]

If you are happy in your position, please forgive the intrusion. Have a great day!


We encourage any practice struggling with hiring to spend a little time actively recruiting—we know for a fact it does pay off!