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Summer Staffing: Hiring Tips and Tricks for Veterinary Practice Owners and Managers

With the summer season comes increased foot traffic to veterinary practices. Pet owners are more active with their pets, leading to an uptick in both routine and emergency visits. As a result, veterinary practices often need to bring in additional staff to handle the surge. Hiring the right team members can ensure smooth operations during this busy period. Here are some key hiring tips and tricks for veterinary practice owners and managers.

Start Early

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is waiting until the last minute to start your hiring process. Begin your search early, ideally in late winter or early spring. This allows you ample time to find, interview, and train new staff members before the summer rush kicks in.

Define Your Needs

Before starting the hiring process, identify the roles you need to fill and the skills required. Whether you need additional veterinary assistants, technicians, or reception staff, having a clear job description can guide your search and help potential applicants understand what's expected of them.

Expand Your Search Channels

Don’t limit yourself to traditional hiring methods. Utilize job boards, social media platforms (especially those frequented by veterinary professionals), and local colleges with veterinary programs. Consider participating in job fairs or hosting an open house event to attract potential applicants.

Leverage Your Network

Word-of-mouth referrals remain one of the best sources of reliable candidates. Let your current employees, industry contacts, and even clients know you're hiring. They might know someone who would be a perfect fit for your practice.

Look Beyond Technical Skills

While relevant skills and experience are important, they aren't everything. Look for candidates who are not just qualified but also display qualities like empathy, a strong work ethic, and the ability to work under pressure. Remember, technical skills can often be taught, but character traits and attitude are much more difficult to change.

Develop a Solid Onboarding Process

Even the most qualified candidate will struggle if thrown into the deep end without proper training. Have a structured onboarding process in place that familiarizes new hires with your practice's systems, culture, and expectations. This will set them up for success and lessen the learning curve.

Important: If your standard hiring and onboarding process takes three months, you will struggle to utilize your new staff properly before their time with you comes to an end.

Offer Competitive Compensation

While it's important to stay within your budget, offering competitive wages and benefits can attract higher-quality applicants and reduce turnover. You don't necessarily have to offer the highest wages in town, but ensuring your compensation is fair and competitive is key.

Foster a Positive Workplace Culture

Job seekers don't just look at the role and the salary - they also consider the work environment. Fostering a positive workplace culture that values teamwork, continuous learning, and work-life balance can make your practice more attractive to potential hires.

Consider Seasonal Staff and Interns

If the summer rush is significantly higher than other seasons and you're struggling to find long-term staff, consider hiring seasonal staff or offering internships. Veterinary students often look for summer internships and could bring enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to your practice.

Don't Forget about Compliance

Ensure you're compliant with all local, state, and federal employment laws when hiring. This includes fair hiring practices, proper classification of employees (vs. independent contractors), and adherence to minimum wage laws and overtime provisions.

With thoughtful planning, an early start, and a clear understanding of your staffing needs, you can navigate the summer hiring process more effectively. A successful summer hiring strategy will ensure your veterinary practice runs smoothly during the busiest time of year, setting you up for success now and into the future.

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