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The 3 Top Hiring Mistakes Veterinary Practices Make

Hiring can be a real headache.

With veterinarian employment projected to grow by 16 per cent from 2019 to 2029 in the US alone, it has never been so important for practices to perfect their hiring strategies.

Common hiring mishaps can lead to huge losses in the long term, and can result in unnecessary stress for managers and practice owners.

And with almost 50% of veterinarians leaving their previous roles due to stress-related issues, it is imperative for hiring managers to take the steps towards recruiting more effectively to lessen this emotional burden.

So how can practices avoid the costly mistake of hiring the wrong candidates?

In this article, we outline the 3 top hiring mistakes veterinary practices make when recruiting and how you, as a recruiter, can overcome them.

Your job adverts aren’t up to scratch

One of the top hiring mistakes veterinary practices make is not putting enough time into writing job adverts.

With a thousand things to do at work, writing a job advert is probably the last thing you want to do. However, writing a good, thorough, job advert is key if you want to find the right candidate.

Employers frequently make the mistake of writing generic, unspecific ads which fail to stand out and either attract no-one or run a high risk of attracting the wrong people.

And whilst shooting out a quick job advert might save you time in the short-term, in the long-term you’ll likely spend more time looking for a candidate than if you took the time writing a decent advert in the first place.

Hiring the wrong person will not only cost you time- but also money. 30% of an employer’s first-year earnings, to be exact.

So what’s the solution to this?

Well, there are a few crucial aspects to consider when writing your job ad.

First, are you writing ads which attract the right kind of candidates? A good way to attract more suitable candidates is to incorporate your personality into your advert.

By doing so, you should attract candidates that fit better into your work culture, hence reducing the chances they’ll leave due to related issues.

Second, are you being honest and specific in your job description? Especially in regards to customer service/junior roles, where there are typically more applicants, having a clear outline of the role can help filter out undesirable interviewees.

It can be easy to gloss over the details of the job, but at the end of the day writing a clear and engaging job advert is crucial to finding the best candidate.

You’re looking for candidates in the wrong places

Posting a job advert online and not getting the type of candidates you imagined? Perhaps it’s time to switch up how you recruit.

Whilst it can be tempting just to list your job on a job board, it might not be the best way to find the perfect candidate.

With reports that almost 85% of all jobs are filled by networking, exclusively advertising on job sites can be one of the biggest hiring mistakes veterinary practices can make.

So what’s the solution to this?

One of the most beautiful things about veterinary care is the wonderful community it has. Utilize your existing contacts to reach and scope out prospective hires, or ask your staff what sites they commonly use to find opportunities.

There is not a one-size-fits-all all approach required here. You must research your ideal candidate and go where they are likely to hang out.

Being a prominent voice in a community will help to raise your profile and build relationships which can be leveraged when the time comes to recruit. So playing a longer game in the online space is likely to be a very good investment.

The reality is that the market is flooded with vacancies, so you are going to have to work much harder to cut through the noise.

Not getting to know your candidate

So you’ve written a amazing job advert and you’ve finally found a suitable candidate. What now?

Whilst it can be easy (especially when you urgently need to fill a role) to breeze through the interviewing process, it is important to pay attention during this stage.

Though someone might seem perfect on paper, in reality this might not be the case.

Screening out candidates who don’t match your practice values will save you a lot of heartache in the future.

So how do we go about doing this?

An effective way to screen candidates is to utilize personality tests.

The DISC personal assessment for example is a fantastic tool to use for evaluating whether an individual’s working style & persona fits well into your team.

No interview process should be completed without a session where you ask situational performance questions that allow candidates to offer insight into their historical actions in real situations.

Such questions are specific and often start by inviting a candidate to ‘tell you about a time when…’

It is good to stick to this style of event-based questions and avoid the hypothetical ‘what would you do if…’ style. The latter is far too easy for people to tell you what you want to hear.

Another great way to evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for your practice is to have them complete a trial shift.

The way we present ourselves vs. the way we actually behave at work can be two vastly different things – no better way to establish the truth than to simulate or experience first hand.

Although this may be more technically challenging given current covid/time restrictions, it is always something to keep in mind for the future.


Although hiring can be a complicated process, investing time and care into your recruiting process can be key to finding the next person to develop your team.

What do you think the biggest hiring mistakes are? Let us know in the comments.

For more advice on how you can become a better leader within your practice, check out our Veterinary Leadership program here, or download a free brochure for more information:


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