Many veterinary practices are feeling the employment crunch that started in the late 2000s. With there being more practices than credentialed veterinarians in the country, practices are left to compete for talent in a very small talent pool. Unemployment among veterinarians was only 1.6% in 2018.
How to Hire a Veterinarian:
1. Write a compelling job ad.
To attract and hire skilled veterinarians, write a job post that grabs the attention and gets straight to the most attractive aspects of your employer value proposition. Focus on the benefits and perks you offer, company culture, and your incentive program. Be sure to highlight whatever you offer that addresses common problems vets face at work such as cramped rooms, aging technology, long hours, stressful situations, etc.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What could be making vets unhappy in their current employment?
- What would make them consider working for my practice?
A few things veterinarians are looking for from employees:
- Health benefits.
- Positive company culture.
- Flexible working hours.
- Access to the latest technology.
- Opportunities for collaboration.
- Good starting salary.
Use our Veterinarian Job Description template to craft a job ad. It is best to customize it to touch on some of the points mentioned above. Try to keep it short.
2. Post your job ad on the right job boards.
While it is best to actively recruit veterinarians because of how competitive the labor market is, the first step to finding vets to work for you is to post your job ad to Indeed. This way, you reach a very wide audience, and they are often the first stop for anyone looking for work.
Then, post your job ad to niche sites that target veterinarians. American Veterinary Medical Association, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, iHireVeterinary, and The Vet Recruiter are great options.
3. Use social media to attract veterinarians.
Social media is a great way to research, find, and hire veterinarians. Social recruiting is about promoting your company culture, the benefits you offer, career advancement opportunities, etc, with the aim of attracting potential employees. The point is to show skilled veterinarians that your practice is the one to work for.
Some ideas for attracting your next veterinarian:
- Set up social media profiles for recruiting.
- Post a mix of original and curated content.
- Like and share posts, answer any questions, and try to help where you can.
- Use images and videos to highlight your company culture, the technology you use, the animals you treat, etc.
- Post Facebook job ads.
- Ask your current employees to like and share your posts.
For some recruiters, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have been particularly effective platforms for finding veterinarians. Take a more active approach and use these platforms to research and recruit credentialed veterinarians from competitors, identify potential employees working in related fields, and create relationships with veterinary schools.
4. Create relationships with veterinary schools.
Approach local, regional, and national schools and colleges and try to form lasting relationships with them. Schools are a great source of qualified veterinarians. The best ways to attract them to your practice is to participate in job fairs and to offer internships.
While job fairs can be time-consuming and expensive, they're still very effective for creating employer brand awareness. Be sure to take all the marketing materials you need, including flyers, business cards, posters, branded items, etc. You can also use the job fair to screen interested candidates. Be prepared for any questions about your company.
5. Ask current employees for referrals.
A great way to hire a skilled veterinarian is to ask current employees for referrals. Create an employee referral program to motivate employees to actively participate in the recruitment process. Offer a reward for any referrals leading to hires. Explain clearly that the veterinarian they refer should have the right skills, qualifications, work ethic, and experience.
6. Screen your veterinarian applicants.
Finding a good veterinarian to work for you includes a screening process. This will include a screening email, a short phone interview, a test, and an in-person interview.
Send each applicant an email thanking them for their application. The email should include five questions. Those applicants who take the time to answer the questions are serious about the position. Many applicants won't respond at all. This applicant screening email also identifies who of the skilled veterinarians could be a good fit.
Questions to include in a screening email:
- What interests you most about this position?
- How long have you been a veterinarian?
- Why did you become a veterinarian?
- When can you begin?
- Why did you leave your last employer?
7. Set up a phone interview.
Contact those applicants you think are best suited to the position and schedule a phone interview. The interview should be about 15 minutes long and should cover salary, qualifications, experience, and work history. Read our guide on how to conduct a phone interview to get the most out of the interviews with the veterinarians.
- What do you expect for a salary?
- How did you find out about this position?
- What qualities make a good veterinarian?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- How have you handled stressful situations?
Print out a copy of each applicant's screening email interview answers and check to see that the answers given during the phone interview support those given in the email. Be wary of applicants who seem uninformed or have a harsh communication style.
8. Set up a decisive test and final interview.
The last step in finding a veterinarian involves a test and a final interview. Call to schedule a time for each applicant to come into the practice for their test and interview. Explain to them what they should bring along with them and what can be expected.
The test should be designed to assess the applicant's ability to perform the duties of a veterinarian. It can include role-based questions and should have a practical component. The test should measure the following:
- Veterinary knowledge.
- Pharmaceutical knowledge.
- Emotional intelligence.
- Collaboration skills.
- Ability to handle a wide range of animals.
- Ability to diagnose.
- Communication skills.
After the test, conduct the in-person interview. Read through our veterinarian interview questions for some suggestions. Be sure to allow the applicant to ask any questions they might have about your practice, the position, team members, etc. Use the interview to further sell the position to the applicant. Remind them of the benefits and perks you offer.
9. Offer your preferred applicant a job.
Finding a skilled, qualified vet in a very competitive labor market is not something to take lightly. When you find one, snatch them up with a job offer. First, call the applicant to tell them the job is theirs. Follow this up with a job offer letter reiterating all that is on offer and what they can expect next. For help writing a compelling letter, use our job offer letter template.
How much does it cost to hire a veterinarian?
The cost of hiring a veterinarian depends on what job boards you use, whether or not you participate in job fairs, how much you pay a social media professional to help you with your social media presence, etc. All that aside, According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the starting salary for a veterinarian in 2017 was $76,000.
How do I find a good veterinarian to hire?
What benefits are offered to veterinarians?
- Excellent medical and vision coverage.
- Paid vacations.
- Sick leave.
- Skills development opportunities.
- Opportunities to work using the latest technology.
- Safe and positive work environment.
- Work-hours flexibility.
What qualities should I look for in a veterinarian?
- High emotional intelligence.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Passion for animal welfare.
- Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
- State licensure.
- Ability to make prudent decisions.
- Excellent people skills.
- Outstanding organizational skills.