Facebook could be your ticket to recruiting success.

Between attending conferences and working with consulting clients, I spend a lot of time discussing practice challenges with managers, and one issue that comes up time and time again is recruiting.

Hiring veterinary staff is no easy task.

In most areas of the country, job openings in our industry are plentiful, while qualified applicants are not. For many, finding high-quality candidates seems to be only slightly trickier than finding a needle in a haystack. Still, find them we must, especially given how our sector’s turnover rates compare to the industry-wide national average. It’s not a pretty picture.

According to research conducted in 2016[1], the turnover rates for technicians and other staff were 22% and 31% respectively, compared to a national average of just 15%. So we know the need to recruit is there. The question is, how to go about it?

How do you fill veterinary roles?

From conversations I’ve had, Craigslist, Indeed, and industry job boards seem to be the most popular destinations for recruiting. Some practices host career pages on their websites. A few opt for traditional print advertising. And some, to my surprise, have admitted to relying purely on walk-in enquiries. But few have tapped into the capabilities of Facebook ads.

The beauty of Facebook lies in its ability to target ads in a way few other mediums can. You also have the flexibility of stopping as soon as results have been achieved, or even pausing, modifying and restarting your campaign if it isn’t performing as hoped. Plus, you can run multiple campaigns at once, monitor results regularly, and discontinue poor performers to optimize your investment.

Is Facebook right for your recruiting needs?

I wouldn’t say Facebook ads are a must for all hires. For client service staff, I’m pretty comfortable casting a wide net as I’m looking less for industry experience and more for the right personality. But when you get into more specialized roles, for example, technicians, assistants and veterinarians, it’s definitely worth adding Facebook to the mix. By allowing you to target by job title and location, among other criteria, this social media platform can do a lot of the weeding out for you as we discovered during a recent recruiting effort at Tipp City Veterinary Hospital.

We put Facebook to the test by running two campaigns simultaneously. The first was targeted to a broad audience. Messaging focused on our tuition reimbursement benefits and how staff members could use them to pursue RVT degrees/certification. It prompted an above-average click-through rate of 3.3%. Not bad.

The second was more narrowly targeted towards veterinary professionals. The messaging – “Ever considered a change in scenery?” – was simple but thought-provoking, and prompted a click-through rate of 12.9%, which led to more than 100 applicants. Outstanding.

Another 100 or so candidates responded to our free Indeed ad bringing total responses to 209 in just 10 days. To date, we’ve secured four great hires and still have applicants moving through our interviewing process.

Zeroing in on specific veterinary roles certainly worked for us.

While I recognize that our case alone isn’t exactly hard evidence that Facebook ads work, I’m confident we wouldn’t have seen this level of interest had we not actively targeted veterinarian professionals. The fact is, those who aren’t proactively looking for change don’t tend to frequent job boards. With an investment of just $360, Facebook enabled us to present our proposition to active seekers as well as more complacent professionals, thereby widening our net without compromising focus. Next time you’re hiring, why not give it a try?

[1] Compensation and Benefits, eighth edition (2016), published by AAHA Press

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