The Issue with Reactive Recruitment: Ignore at Your Peril

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Reactive recruitment is when you start looking for a new vet or nurse because a position has become available in your practice.

It seems logical. After all, why would you put effort into recruiting someone when you don’t have a gap to fill?

But let’s look at how this usually goes:

  • You receive a resignation.
  • You dig out your old recruitment advert.
  • You pay however much to place the advert on various websites and industry publications.
  • You get crickets.
  • Time goes by and you still get no interest from candidates, or from suitably qualified candidates.
  • You reach out to recruitment agencies, but they don’t come up with anyone.
  • Before you know it, the vet/RVN is leaving, and panic sets in.
  • The team are getting twitchy because there’s no replacement yet.
  • You start frantically contacting locums, but they are all booked up months in advance.

Reactive recruitment is like the lead actor pulling out of a movie and the producer not having a backup. It is stressful, and it is costly.

The Problem

The problem with reactive recruitment is you are starting from scratch every time someone leaves. Receiving a resignation can feel incredibly stressful because you know how time consuming it is going to be to recruit a new vet or nurse.

It’s rare that you find a new vet or nurse in time for the previous colleague leaving, so you end up with gaps in your workforce that may have to be filled by locums, or the rest of the team need to pick up the slack which stretches them even further.

When you’re only visible in the candidate market when you’re advertising, you may not be familiar enough to job seekers. It’s difficult for people to buy into something they don’t know enough about.

When time is not on your side, sometimes hasty decisions can be made. You may feel rushed to hire a lesser experienced vet or nurse than the practice can support, or hire someone who doesn’t feel like a good fit but “having someone is better than having no one”. The cost of hiring the wrong person into your business is 3-5x their salary in tangible and intangible costs.

What You Need to Do Instead

Proactive recruitment is the answer.

Proactive recruitment involves having a long term strategy to develop a pipeline of interest in your practice, and ultimately attract vets and nurses to your practice rather than having to chase them.

It means you are not just trying to engage with people only when you’re advertising a job and hoping there’ll be a serendipitous moment that involves the right person seeing the advert at the right time and applying only to your practice.

Doing proactive recruitment means you’ll be building a presence in the market and becoming a name and a brand that people are familiar with and want to work for, and therefore get curious about.

Recruitment is up there with one of the biggest challenges in the profession right now. If you don’t have a strategy, you’re relying on luck and hope, and I don’t believe in luck; I believe in creating the result you want to see.

The Next Step

Since having great people in your practice is how you’ll achieve your vision for the business, you may as well get good at it, and enjoy it!

But it requires a significant mindset shift because proactive recruitment involves doing things you haven’t done before and therefore will stretch you.

If you want to take control of recruitment, if you want to gain the competitive edge in a competitive market, have more choice of vets and nurses, then it’s time to play a different game.

Come and speak to me about Recruitment Mastery, a 6 month online group recruitment coaching and mentoring programme for veterinary practice owners and leaders where you’ll 1) Find Your Practice’s Sparkle and confidently communicate it out into the market, building a reputation and brand in the candidate market, 2) Create and implement your own bespoke recruitment strategy that WORKS, and hire and retain the best people. (This is also a programme I deliver 1:1 with individual practices, by request and subject to availability). 

Remember, if you don’t take control of recruitment, it will take control of you.

The secret to success with anything is to watch what the majority of people are doing and do the opposite. You should do this because others won’t!