Tips for Attracting Top Veterinary Talent: How to Stand Out from the Pack

When it comes to recruiting veterinary talent, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. There are far more open positions than veterinarians to fill them—which means, if your practice is like most others, you’re struggling with recruiting. With such fierce competition, how can you set yourself apart?

Some super-successful veterinary practices do so by showering candidates with fat signing bonuses and top-tier compensation. Some are even paying off their new hires’ student loan debt! But if you’re like most animal hospitals and clinics, that’s simply not an option. 

Fortunately, you can differentiate your veterinary practice without spending a fortune or trying to be something you’re not. It’s straightforward, commonsense, and most-likely second nature: simply give your candidates what they want most—hint: it’s not money!—and deliver it with a warm human touch.

What Vets Really Want 

The life of a veterinarian can be extremely gratifying, but it will never be classified as easy. Vets work long, fast-paced hours and face emotionally difficult situations, from suffering animals to distraught and difficult pet owners. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), burnout and turnover is very high right now—in fact, the highest of any medical specialty. 

Even more alarming, according to a CDC study, veterinarians are at an increased risk of suicide. Compared to the general population, male vets are 2.1 times more likely to commit suicide and female vets are 3.5 times more likely. No wonder the veterinarian turnover rate is twice that of physicians, with roughly 2,000 vets retiring every year. 

Medical professionals are people who choose to take care of others, whether human or critter. But in this environment, vets desperately need to take care of themselves as well.

That’s why a veterinary practice that goes out of its way to care for its people—that prioritizes a healthy work-life balance and invests in its staff’s well-being—has a very compelling story to tell. This is something you can offer new hires that goes far beyond dollars and cents.

6 Ways to Show Recruits that You Genuinely Care

Actions speak louder than words. It’s not enough to say how much you would value and appreciate your new employee; you need to show them, right from your earliest conversations. How do you do that? Well, during the recruiting process, you might choose to:

Offer Them More Time Off

In a 2020 AVMA survey, 30% of veterinarians expressed the desire to work fewer hours, up from 23-24% in 2017-2019. Their stated reason: to achieve better work-life balance and improved mental health. Veterinary practices that offer their staff lighter schedules may not only reap the benefits of happier, healthier employees, but gain a tangible recruiting edge.

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Tell Them about Your World

Providing your candidates with accurate, curated information about your area is a thoughtful way to save them time, while promoting the advantages of your area. By freely sharing data regarding neighborhood features, housing, schools and local attractions, you’re demonstrating that you’re mindful of life beyond work—and making it easier for candidates to imagine themselves living there. 

Give Candidates a VIP Interview Experience 

When applicants come in for face-to-face interviews, give them the gift of your time. Invite them to shadow your vets for the day…let them meet the whole team over lunch…introduce them to some of your clients and patients. In addition, wine and dine them, with tours of the area and dinner at a unique local restaurant. There’s no substitute for a warm welcome.  

Reimburse Them Quickly for their Travel Expenses

On a more practical note, be sure to reimburse candidates quickly for their interview-related expenses. Typically, such reimbursement can take as much as 4-6 weeks, which hardly creates a caring impression. This is especially true for young veterinarians, who—according to the AMVA—carry an average of more than $183,000 in student debt.    

Show Them That You Give Back 

Is your practice engaged in local community efforts, such as sponsoring low-cost vaccine clinics and partnering with nearby animal shelters? This demonstrates that you’re truly part of your community and care about making a difference—and it may resonate with candidates that prioritize this as well.

Make Their Relocation Easy  

It’s a plus if you offer a relocation allowance to cover the cost of a new hire’s move. But it’s even better if you can lift the weight of that move off of their shoulders entirely, by providing digital tools and professional services that simplifies the whole process. More than proof that you put your money where your mouth is, it has the practical benefit of allowing new vets to focus more thoroughly on their furry, feathered or scaly new patients.  

We'll Help You Run with the Big Dogs

Obviously, some of these changes are up to you. However, at UrbanBound, we can definitely help you improve your candidates’ interview and relocation experiences. You might like knowing that we have years of experience serving veterinary employers, including Mission Veterinary Partners, Pathway Vet Alliance and Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG). 

Sure, veterinary recruiting isn’t a walk in the park—but with our proven solutions, you’ll be well on your way as leader of the pack. Let’s talk!   

Human Resources Today