Look in any veterinary journal or on social media, and you will see a plethora of job adverts for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses – and it often is a case of not seeing the wood for the trees. So many adverts look similar and uninspiring, so job searching becomes a chore and adverts are skimmed through rather than read carefully.

With the difficulty experienced by most practices in recruiting vets and nurses, it has never been more important to create a good advert that will attract the right people. As a manager, it is your job to design the kind of advert that catches the reader’s eye and makes them want to apply for the post you are offering. This may be stating the obvious, but very few job adverts achieve this.

So how do you create the job advert that succeeds and, once created, where do you put it for maximum effect?

Creating the ideal advert

You need to be prepared to invest time and money on creating a really good advert that will attract the ideal person for your practice. If you manage to find your ideal person by spending that little bit extra, it has been money well spent. Bear in mind that poor recruitment, including bad advertising, is at the root of most HR problems.

Begin by being clear about the job you are offering. Include the salary, the benefits, what it is and what it is not. This will avoid attracting the wrong applicants, who only discover at the interview that the job is not quite what they thought – and both their time and yours has been wasted.

Do not just look at your previous adverts for the post and replicate them for the new advert. Start from scratch with new ideas and new eyes. Have a very clear picture in your mind about the kind of recruit you want, and write the advert in a way that will attract that type of candidate. Try to put yourself in their shoes and see the advert through their eyes.

Your potential recruit will be looking at dozens of adverts, so make your advert stand out to catch their eye. This could be through a picture (the beautiful countryside in your area – especially important for social media adverts), or a statement (‘If you are an amazing vet who wants an ideal lifestyle, read on’).

Very often, less is more; have a succinct message with a link to more information. Many adverts seen online will have what is called a ‘job supporting document’ attached that can be downloaded and gives more detailed information about the job, the practice and the personnel.

There are, however, some basics which do need to be included in the main advert:

location – it doesn’t matter how perfect someone would be for the job if they want to work in Scotland and your practice is in London experience – be clear if the experience is necessary, don’t waste a new graduate’s time if you would not consider employing one permanency – is this full-time, part-time or maternity cover?

Once you have these essentials in place, follow the basic rule of advertising – aim to ‘stand out’, think about what makes you different – the way you work, benefits, practice culture green credentials, location etc., and use them to attract applicants. These are the things that will help readers identify with you. Above all, always keep in mind the ideal person for the job and personalise your advert with that person in mind. Ask questions or make statements that appeal directly to them.

Phrases to use

Below are some phrases that can work well in adverts, the aim should be to attract attention to capture the reader’s attention and make them want to know more. Ultimately, it is for you to decide what makes your practice special and what you think will appeal to your ideal vet or veterinary nurse.

  • committed to independent ownership
  • cakes on Tuesdays
  • an extra day’s holiday on your birthday
  • generous CPD allowance
  • excellent salary
  • paid sick leave
  • we have a highly supportive and experienced team of vets
  • are you ready for a better work/life balance? Well, look no further!
  • if you want to enjoy doing your job well with great people come and see us
  • enhanced maternity and paternity pay
  • health and travel insurance provided
  • paid professional membership for vets and nurses
  • private healthcare available.

Placement

Once you have the perfect advert, where are you going to put it? The answer is in as many places as possible, but digital is the key. It is still worth using the classified sections of hard copy journals, but it is more likely that their websites and e-editions will have many better-browsed careers sections.

It is also worth placing adverts on LinkedIn and your practice website. Bear in mind that journal online careers pages look very different from their hard copy classified pages. Spend some time looking at how adverts are initially displayed, with their ‘taster’ advert being much briefer than the main advert behind it.

Consider what will attract the reader’s eye to this first advert. Remember that they could be scrolling down more than a hundred adverts and you want them to pick yours.

FIVP member benefit

As a member of FIVP, we can help you find your ideal veterinary surgeon or nurse. After registering a vacancy using the practice recruitment form on the FIVP’s website, your advert will be placed in the careers sections of the popular and much read websites of MRCVSonline, VNonline and VetCommunity.

It is probably fair to say that the rule of thumb is – if you want outstanding employees, you need to produce an outstanding advert to attract them.