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Right person, right role. Recruitment essentials for your veterinary practice

Posted in Operations @ Dec 10th 2015 - By Sue Crampton, CCG/Provet
Right Person Right Role Recruitment Essentials For Your Veterinary Practice

It’s often said that people are our greatest asset.  And it’s absolutely true. 

Our people are the lifeblood of our veterinary business, the reason the door gets opened, the phones get answered and the patients are taken care of.  But our people are also our greatest asset in a financial sense.  Wages are the biggest cost to a practice, so it makes sense to ensure that you are spending your money in the right place. 

The financial cost of recruiting a new team member is high. 

There’s the potential for overtime while there is a gap to fill, then there’s advertising costs, agency fees, screening resumes, interviewing and all the corresponding administration.  Once you have made an offer and the new team member starts, there is the potential for increased wages during training and induction to ensure regular business operations can continue. 

The cultural cost of making mistakes during the recruiting and induction process can be potentially even more damaging than the pure financial cost.  Disharmony in a practice team can lead to reduced efficiency, lowered levels of customer service and reduced standards of patient care.  A cultural misalignment may also lead to future resignations, which puts you right back in that expensive exercise of recruitment and induction.

You need a recruitment tool box

The first step to ensuring that you get the right person for your practice is having a tool box full of the right tools to work your way through the recruiting process. 

Do you have an advertisement for the role that gives a realistic overview of the criteria you are looking for, both personal and technical, and the environment you will provide? 

If you advertise with full colour fireworks and emoticons, but you are actually quite a serious or mellow workplace, you are not giving the right message. 

Do you have a detailed job description to provide to applicants? 

Remember that job descriptions are not daily/weekly/monthly task lists, and while some parts of a job description can be quite specific, they are ideally an overarching framework for the role.

During the interview process....

Ask questions which allow you to uncover key information regarding your identified criteria.  Ask open, behavioural questions in such a way that encourages the applicant to tell stories about past experiences, situations, outcomes and learning.  Try to steer away from closed, leading questions such as “How are your telephone skills?”  Of course they are going to say they have excellent telephone skills!

Once they start work...

Once you have offered a position, and your new team member starts work, the next step is their induction.  In your box of recruitment tools, you should have a logical, detailed, personalised induction plan ready to use.  Remember that the choice to terminate a role during induction without reason goes for both you and the employee.  You are also on probation as an employer and the employee may decide that they don’t want to work for an organisation whose processes come across as disorganised and unstructured.  Taking time to make the new employee feel welcome and valued in the first few weeks can go a long way to creating positive long-term foundations.

Recruitment and induction can easily be dismissed as a hassle, and undertaken in a rushed, careless manner because everyone is keen to get back to adequate staffing levels and regular operations.  Other times not enough attention is paid to the process simply because no one really knows how to recruit or train new staff.

Crampton Consulting Group offers a wide range of training and tools covering every step of the process, from job descriptions to online training.  Find out more at or call 07 3621 6005

About Sue

Sue is acknowledged as a leading speaker, trainer and consultant across Australasia in the areas of practice and organisational development, strategic planning, communication excellence & staff development and management. Sue has a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Human Resources and Marketing, as well as her Diploma in Company Directorship (GAICD) and a Masters in NLP.

Sue invests time working as the HR Manager for Provet and maintaining a weekend role as a veterinary nurse in a quality mixed practice in Brisbane.

Click here to visit the Crampton Consulting Group Page in the Vetanswers Business Directory



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