Independent Hiring Strategies

April 2023 |

Get a leg up in the intensively competitive hiring game.

If you’re losing associates to corporate practices, play to your strengths. Consider focusing on strategies that make your practice a place where veterinarians want to work.

1. Make culture king. For many veterinarians, especially Millennials, practice culture is a crucial consideration in the job hunt. Independent practices that offer a great culture and good work-life balance might be able to get away with paying a lower salary. But if your culture is not stellar, figure out what’s not working, because otherwise you won’t be able to compete with corporate on any level. And if your salary is too low, great culture won’t be enough.

The best independent practices have a strong vision, mission, core values and standards of care, says Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA, president of Simple Solutions for Vets. “Many independents offer the ‘mom and pop’ feeling that might be missing in a corporate practice environment,” he adds. “And working in an independent practice often allows for more freedom of thought and collaboration.”

2. Be creative. When constructing benefits programs. Consider benefits that may not cost much but add value to the position, such as job sharing, flex time, sufficient vacation, mentoring and paid coaching. And don’t forget CE and training programs, which not only keep veterinarians engaged but can also add new and profitable services.

3. Be proactive. For better success, anticipate future staffing needs and be on the lookout for good candidates even when you are not actively hiring, Weinstein suggests. Go beyond the old “post and pray” approach of simply waiting for candidates to respond to ads.

Continue to place ads in the usual places, such as the AVMA job board and local and state VMA newsletters, but also attend veterinary school career fairs, participate in the Veterinary Business Management Association’s regional events, and network with veterinary school classmates, colleagues and drug reps who may know of qualified veterinarians looking for a change.

4. Sell yourself. To attract top candidates, create job postings that are friendly, warm, professional and fun. If you post only a basic job description, candidates are not going to be attracted to working with you, regardless of location or salary. Instead, write a creative ad that catches people’s attention and highlights what makes your practice special.

“Be different, be colorful, stand out,” Weinstein advises. “Go beyond the basics. Consider video tours and staff introductions on your website. And if you are an indie … promote that proudly.”

5. Match the money. Many independent practices believe they can’t afford to match corporate salaries, but the reality is that if you want to hire a good new associate, you can’t afford not to, experts say. Evaluate expenses and revenue so you can get closer to the salaries being offered by corporate.