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Struggling With Recruiting Vets? You Could Be Underutilizing These Tools

Building tools laying against a plain yellow background.

Poor hiring decisions can be a costly mistake. Particularly in the current economic climate, with practices scrambling to recruit and retain employees, getting veterinary recruitment right has never been so important.

A poor hire can result in lost time, productivity, income, and morale¹. According to research, replacing an employee can cost an employer as much as 30% of their yearly earnings- an eye-watering amount². And the cost of a bad hire is far greater still!

Unfortunately, in this profession, hiring mistakes are common. This is unsurprising, given how much pressure employers are under to put bums on seats. Around 40% of hiring managers attribute pressure to fill a job as the main reason for employing the wrong person³.

In this article, we highlight three useful tools (often overlooked by practice owners and managers) that can improve hiring decisions. To discover what they are, read on.

Tool One: Psychometric Assessments (aka Personality Tests)

Hiring is always a risk because you never know whether a candidate will be a good fit for a role until they’re actually doing the job.

To combat this, many organizations now routinely use psychometric tests to gain insight into whether an individual is likely to be a good employee and team fit.

Given that most hiring fails boil down to personality-related problems, using popular tools (such as the DISC assessment or Myer-Briggs test) can be invaluable⁴. Such tests provide useful data on how a person is likely to behave and can be mapped to the types of jobs and teams you are hiring for.

A good example would be using a psychometric test to assess whether an individual has an aptitude for detail focussed work. A skill clearly valuable in many clinical roles in veterinary practice.

A graphic displaying a statistic: 71% of human resources professionals believe that personality tests can be useful in predicting job-related behaviour or organisational fit (Kogan et al, 2015)

Currently, only around 9% of veterinary practices use personality tests during the veterinary recruitment process. That’s a lot of people passing up on this tool.

While psychometric tests are useful, they aren’t infallible, and they should always be used as a supplementary recruitment tool.  

Tool Two: Social Media

Although not everyone is a fan of Facebook (or any other social media platform for that matter), a lot of people are on it- and a lot of employers are missing out by not using it during the hiring process. 

Social media can offer great insight into the ‘real’ person behind the resume.

Want to know what that person really thinks about working in veterinary medicine or whether they bad-mouth colleagues? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok are increasingly full of people espousing their opinions. If you’re not reviewing potential recruits on social media, you may be missing out on the opportunity to confirm a good fit or spot a red flag in advance.

We’re not advocating for you to deep-dive, intrusively cyberstalk every person that approaches your practice (because that’s just weird), but we are suggesting you look out for problematic traits.

For example, if you look at a candidate’s Twitter and find they’ve been bad-mouthing clients or previous employers publicly on the network, you can probably safely say that they may be a problematic hire.

A graphic displaying a statistic: 69% of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on the content they have posted on social media (Kogan et al, 2015)

Although around 90% of recruiters use social media to screen candidates, only about 45% of vet practice owners and managers do the same⁵.

Tool Three: Background Checks 

With many practices under a lot of pressure to recruit quickly, it’s no wonder that so many neglect to carry out standard background checks before taking on team members. We’ve even heard of staff being offered a job without even attending an interview!

According to research, most practices neglect to authenticate candidates’ backgrounds before hiring them. Only around 10% of clinics check applicants’ credit scores and almost none carry out criminal record checks. This is comparative to other industries, where about 70% of recruiters conduct criminal record checks and 47% conduct credit score checks.  Though a background check may not be a top priority for you when you desperately need some cover, in a profession such as veterinary medicine, employers should at least authenticate their team’s prior employment and education status before letting them work with animals (and dangerous medications for that matter).

A graphic displaying a statistic: 30% of people lie or grossly exaggerate their resume (Statistica, 2020)

Background checks can also protect you as an employer from being liable for a poor hire. Although these are extreme cases, there have been accounts of practices screening new vets and discovering that they are not qualified⁶.

Following up with references can also help employers verify the information a candidate has provided, such as their skills, performance, and knowledge. Although some regions require background checks as standard, many do not.

The Bottom Line

So there you have it- three tools to improve your recruitment process so you hire the right people more often.

These tools can assist you, but remember that picking the right person for the job is ultimately down to the judgment of the recruiter. You understand your practice better than anyone- use that knowledge!

For more leadership tips, check out our leadership masterclass. This masterclass covers the fundamentals of veterinary leadership and the common mistakes practice owners/managers make. Register here.

A call to action for a free veterinary leadership webinar.


1 -  ‘How Much Employee Turnover Really Costs You |’ 30 Aug. 2013, Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.

2 - ‘The Unexpectedly High Cost of a Bad Hire – LinkedIn.’ 16 Jul. 2013, Accessed 6 Sept. 2021.

3 -  ‘Use of social media by residency program directors for … – PubMed.’ 1 Oct. 2010, Accessed 6 Sept. 2021.

4 -  ‘No job, now what? – Airtasker Blog.’ Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.

5 -  ‘Recruitment and Hiring Strategies of Private Practitioners … – PubMed.’ Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.


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