You want happy, productive team members who stick around because they belong. And your team wants the same thing. How to hit
the mark: Create an environment where people are the top priority and staff retention is a central part of your culture.
To improve staff retention, you'll want to enhance your hiring process. So if your practice is experiencing low morale, high
turnover, and difficulties hiring qualified replacements, read on. Soon you'll be able to identify the steps to assemble your
To begin the hiring process, consider who you're reaching with your advertising. Increasingly job seekers embrace the Internet,
so consider a combination of strategies. Advertise in the print and the online version of your local newspaper. Consider your
personal contacts. If you're impressed with a receptionist or hostess at a local restaurant, ask if he or she is interested
in working in the veterinary field. Advertise on websites such as
Well-Managed Practices successfully use many different approaches to find applicants. And their strategy depends on whether
they're angling for a new team member or a new associate. When she's looking for a certified veterinary technician, Kim Mulvahill,
practice manager at Intermountain Animal Hospital in Meridian, Idaho, has had great luck with targeted mailings. "We get a
list from the state board of certified technicians, which is public record, and mail out a letter advertising our open position,"
she says. "We also advertise with our local veterinary technician associations. On the other hand, our associate positions
have always been filled by word of mouth or drop-in candidates."
To improve your hiring success rate, know your must-have skills and personality traits. These can vary by position. For credentialed
technicians, you want someone with high-level technical and diagnostic skills as well as good client communication skills.
You'll need to decide the skills you're willing, and able, to teach. Develop position descriptions and hire based on them.
Determine the skills necessary for each position, including the qualities you'd like to see in a candidate and the responsibilities
he or she will shoulder if hired. A position description allows you to evaluate candidates' previous experience so you can
place them at the appropriate skill level.
Heather Blount, CVPM, the office manager at College Road Animal Hospital in Wilmington, N.C., asks applicants to submit their
résumés through e-mail. "Our practice is computer-based and all of our medical records are electronic, so someone who can
only come in and turn in a handwritten résumé might not be the right fit," she says. Blount also looks to see what information
applicants felt was pertinent to put on their résumé. "Did they list experience from 20 years ago when they were in high school
versus more work-related training and education? That's usually a red flag," she says.
CONDUCT PHONE INTERVIEWS
After reviewing the résumés you've received, decide which candidates to contact for a phone interview. This preliminary conversation
will cover technical training, prior job experience, and professional goals. If you're impressed by any of the candidates
during the phone interview, invite them in for an interview at the practice. Discuss the duties for the position, and use
a standard list of questions to interview each applicant. It's easier to compare candidates this way, and you're less likely
to skip steps.
Dr. Michael W. Brown, owner of Care Animal Hospital in Muncie, Ind., says he goes through résumés and tries to whittle down
the list to a manageable group. Then he conducts phone interviews to discuss the position, hours, and other topics that can
quickly thin out candidates.