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5 Hiring Tips To Improve Your New Graduate Retention Rate

Recruitment is a minefield where the wrong decision can be costly and damaging. With as many as 40% of new graduates reported to leave their job within the first 3 months (RCVS Survey of Recent Graduates 2013), it seems like something is going wrong in the matching process.

In an effort to help you avoid this, here are my top five tips to help you hire the right person to fit your technical and cultural needs plus stick around to repay your investment of time, money and energy.

1. Plan before beginning the process.

Ask why you need this person? What will they be doing to advance the business that someone else couldn’t do? Where will they be working and when?

Then review or define the job in terms of objectives. What exactly is required of the role and how will the applicant know they are meeting the performance standard required.

Finally, build up a detailed personal specification (a checklist) that accounts for both the technical skill and personal attitude/behaviours required.

Very few practices take the time to do this, all would benefit from the hour or two this process requires.

2. Use the job advert as a screening tool.

A good job advert serves a dual purpose.

First, it must stand out from the crowd and attract the right applicant who matches your person specification. But, as importantly, it must repel as many of the wrong candidates as possible.

To achieve this, write to impress the person who matches your person specification. Don’t try to impress all new graduate vets by promising awesome support, available colleagues and a great facility if two out these three things is not true. The first day your graduate calls a colleague for help and they don’t answer is a broken promise and the start of their exit from your practice.

I recommend being honest, talking up your strong points and making arrangements to cover your weak spots.

And whatever you promise, stick to it.

3. Eliminate the wrong candidates in a way that is inexpensive for you, fair to them and covers your backside legally.

Create a suite of online tests that allow your potential candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. I have pages on my website where candidates go to download tasks that relate to the position they are applying for and return answers as part of the selection process.

This has a triple advantage.

Firstly, it allows you to start to grade the quality of a candidate's knowledge and interactions via email.

Secondly, it will highlight any egos out there who think doing such tests is beneath them (I respectfully suggest that you do not want these people on your team).

Thirdly, you have a fair system for eliminating candidates should you ever be challenged on reasons for your decisions.

4. Get psyched!

I use psychometric profiling in all of my job interviews because face to face interviews are prone to mischievous and misleading internal subjective biases. I like combinations of DISC, NLP and VIA surveys to learn more about what makes any one candidate tick. Then I match the results back to my detailed person specification. If I have a good fit, then I move on to the final step, interview day.

5. Involve the team in the decision.

The final step is to bring your candidate in for a few hours to see how they get on in a trial work situation. By all means have some face to face, traditional interview time. But have your graduate perform some of the tasks you expect them to complete each day (under supervision). Only by placing them under the pressure of realistic working conditions will you get some clue as to their true nature.

Ask your team for feedback. Would they want to work with this person each day for the next three years? Listen to the answers and probe for reasons why. Many eyes and ears on the job will be far more likely to spot problems and aid your decision.

The cost of the wrong choice

If this seems like a daunting or arduous list to work through then think about this. The cost of a poor hire is four times base salary - a conservative estimate according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. An hour or two extra here is far better than weeks, months or even years of poor performance and team disharmony in the future.

Further Learning

Want to know more about how to get the most out of your new graduate by being an awesome boss? Then check out my free webinar called "Unleash The Power of The Next Veterinary Generation" here.

Or perhaps learning more about building a reliable recruitment system is more up your boulevard? If so then go here for a free hour of online training on the common errors made when recruiting and what to do differently.

If you are hiring a new graduate now or hired a graduate last year and want to offer them more support within your practice to start building their productivity, confidence and leadership skills then consider enrolling them in the VetX Graduate Accelerated learning and development program.

VetX is a leadership and life skills training program led by yours truly offering online mentoring into the bargain. I’m taking on a maximum of fifty new or recent graduates into the class this year and it’s going to be intense. we’ll have at least three hours of skills based training /mentoring each month with access to an online peer network.

This is the only graduate training program in the world offered independently which offers anywhere close to this level of personalised learning and support so your graduates grow into profitable, self-aware leaders. Class starts on September 7th.

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