Webinar presenter Josh Fisher answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Recruiting the Next Generation to Your Agency. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Given the current state of the economy, are you seeing more people or fewer people interested in their position with the local government?
Josh Fisher: We have seen an increase when we —— with physicians. We have seen an uptick in the number of applicants that we have had for any and all of our positions, which is awesome for us, right? It’s a little bit worrisome from a holistic level because we are seeing layoffs in other industries. But it’s an opportunity to really diversify our workforce and bring folks in that have alternate skill sets.
Audience Question: Are you aware of any shelters that at some version of a volunteer cadets program that they’re able to leverage for recruiting efforts?
Josh Fisher: Yes. I am aware of a couple. So, we have one here. We also have got some partners down in Pasco County, Florida that have looked into and have executed one of those programs. And I believe there is another program. Oh, oh, goodness gracious is it in Virginia. And please feel free to reach out to me via e-mail. And I can connect you with some of the directors and field operations for animal services, field ops, leadership within those agencies to help you get more information on those programs. But because for some reason, that second one is escaping my memory right now. But those programs definitely exist.
Audience Question: During an interview, what are some of the techniques that you recommend using for trying to determine whether a person is a good fit for the job and your organization?
Josh Fisher: Absolutely. So, one of the things that, whenever possible, we like to do is we like to have a diverse panel. So, if you can have a peer on the panel, a supervisor, a manager, and then a human resource representative. And I know pulling four people for interviews can be a challenge. That’s a lot of people, right? But being able to get a fit for the individual from that perspective is huge. Also, if, depending on the position. So, for our officers, for example, we have any candidates do a ride-along prior to moving forward in the process, so that they spend some time one-on-one, away from supervision and management with an officer that is on the roads already doing the work. And they can ask questions, they can get information. That officer can get a feel for this individual, and they can provide feedback to the hiring manager. We do the same for techs, we do working interviews for our animal health technicians and our veterinary technicians. And then we also try to do shadowing with some of our other PIO positions to make sure that we’re getting a good feel for what they are bringing to the table but also if they would be a good fit. Because sometimes, if you could just get them in a situation where they’re a little disarmed and willing to do some water cooler talk kind of thing, you can see if they’re a good organizational fit.
Audience Question: Do you have tips for shelters that are struggling to get DVM and nurses in, especially since events that are getting multiple job offers right now and not-for-profit need to compete with for-profits in terms of salaries, hours, and benefits?
Josh Fisher: Absolutely. So, veterinarians are hard to recruit right now. And one of the biggest things that we have found successful is leveraging your connections. So, if you have got veterinarians already on staff if you have previous veterinarians that have friends or co-workers, having those direct connections and those direct referrals is huge. Also, when you are looking to bring on a veterinarian, I think it’s really important to talk about flexibility in schedule. A lot of veterinarians that are coming in are getting offers from for-profit companies and things like that, that are having them work, you know, weekends, holidays, strange schedules. So, we in the sheltering world may have a little bit more flexibility, if we’re talking about somebody who’s going to do spay-neuter. And they may be able to start a little earlier, leave a little earlier if they want more time in the evening, or start a little later leave, a little later if they want, more time in the morning. Then there’s also the possibility of, you know, scheduling your surgical procedures so that you’re only doing surgery four days a week. And they can have Fridays off, or they could work a half-day Friday, and do administrative work in the morning so that they can catch up on that kind of stuff. The other pieces are looking at internships and externships, and what you can do to get folks in on the front end of their careers and kind of help them to build a skill set. It’s important when you do that though, to be mindful that new veterinarians very often need a mentor. Is that actually in the sheltering world because it can be very different to do high quality, high volume surgery, or to provide shelter medicine? As far as from a map of veterinary medical perspective as the actual medical side non-surgical. So, the internal medicine side of it, there is a lot of stuff, that is done slightly differently than may have been taught slightly differently than maybe approached in private practice. So, having a mentor system set up for that is huge. And being able to offer that mentor as, you know, a leverage point, when you’re trying to onboard. Veterinary nurses, one of the biggest things that we have found success with is, if you have any veterinary nursing programs in your community, leveraging them to have their students spend some time, and get some hours, and at your facility. Same thing as far as knowing people, you know, if you’ve got those connections. And then it depends in some ways. If you are talking about somebody that you want to make sure they’re licensed, or if you are open to somebody who is not licensed and is going to be a little bit more on the job training. And then finally, it’s that educational piece, right? So, for veterinarians, they come out of school, I think the average right now, the average veterinarian graduating right now has about a quarter-million dollars in student debt. So, what is it that, you know, if anything, that you can do to help offset that, and sometimes it’s a signing bonus. Sometimes it is that loan forgiveness program, where, you know, they can work for 10 years and have whatever they have paid off forgiven. And then other times it is, you know, being able to offer flexibility so that they can moonlight at or provide relief services at another hospital.
Audience Question: Other than your city job site, are there other internet sites that you regularly use for job postings?
Josh Fisher: Sure. So, it depends on the position. But we definitely use, for our animal control positions, we use the NACA page. We use, Indeed, for a lot of our positions, because it is just a very widely used job search engine. We have used social media. We leverage a lot of our position through Facebook and Instagram posting pictures that are linked to the job posting and encouraging people to apply there. We also, depending on, again, depending on the position, you know, we will post it with certain universities. We will post it with the American Veterinary Medical Association. The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, these different agencies. So, trying to find positions or trying to find advertising space, like we talked about a little bit earlier, where you know the applicant pool that you’re looking for is at least somewhat looking and being very intentional about finding that that niche, right? So, you’re going to post for an entry-level animal care job very differently than you’re going to post for a veterinarian.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Recruiting the Next Generation to Your Agency.