She's out there somewhere. Hiding among the recent graduates and doctors looking for a change of scenery is your ideal associate.
But she'll take some effort to find. Long gone are the days of placing an employment ad in a veterinary journal and waiting
for a throng of applicants to apply. There are practices that have been looking for an associate for months and even years
without success. The average veterinary school graduate receives four to five offers of employment. The numbers are not in
Illustrations by Steve Pica
Despite these odds, some practices have little or no trouble acquiring new veterinarians. So what are they doing that you
aren't? As the labor market changes, practices must also change how they recruit. If what you've been doing in the past is
no longer working, maybe it's time to look at some fresh ideas and approaches. Let's examine the best strategies you can use
to find your own Dr. Wanda.
Make friends with the Internet
Most people today turn to the Internet for almost everything, from shopping to playing games to communicating with friends
and family. So can you guess the first destination for today's job applicants? That's right: the Internet. And job seekers
have plenty of options. They can visit general employment sites like
http://CareerBuilder.com/, or they can use veterinary-exclusive employment sites like
http://CareerSniff.com/. But just posting on a veterinary-specific site won't necessarily leave you flooded with applications. In this competitive
market, you have to set your practice apart. And it starts with your employment ad.
Mark Opperman, CVPM,
To find your ideal associate, you have to sell your practice as a great place to work. So ask yourself, "What makes our practice
great?" Then tout those attributes in your ad—and don't shortchange yourself. I was recently conducting a veterinary practice
management class, and as part of the exercises, I asked the students to write employment ads. One practice owner seeking an
associate doctor wrote a real snoozer. When I asked that doctor about her hospital, she told me they had 24-hour care, a high
employee-to-doctor ratio, a digital radiography system, licensed technicians, and a recently remodeled facility. But none
of that information was in her ad. That's a mistake! Those are the kinds of high-caliber features associates are looking for,
and listing them in your ad can do wonders for recruiting quality associates.
In addition to touting your practice, you also have to sell associates on the surrounding area. Ask yourself, "Why do I love
living here?" Another participant in my management school told me that her practice was located near a beach, in an area with
great schools and less than five miles from a major city. Plus, the practice was very family-friendly. All this information
needed to be in her ad—but wasn't. Keep in mind that you're not limited in words online like you are with a print ad, so you
can include some of this detail—though you don't want to ramble on and on. I suggest including your Web address, the hours
you expect the doctor to work, any emergency service required, and the salary and benefits you'll be offering. Some people
say you shouldn't post a salary range, but I think that if you're only willing to pay $70,000 and a candidate is looking for
$80,000 or $90,000, you could be wasting each other's time.
The bottom line