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The True Cost of Hiring a DVM

by Gretel Team

Conducting a job search is getting expensive. Veterinary practice owners can be forgiven for struggling to come to grips with this reality. The adage “it takes money to make money” is growing more apropos by the day in some competitive markets for doctor talent. It is just another new normal.


Conducting a job search is getting expensive. Veterinary practice owners can be forgiven for struggling to come to grips with this new reality. Many have not hired a new Associate in several years and thus haven’t been exposed to it. Others have toiled for months, received a meager flow of resumes, and are just facing up to it. A rare few caught lightning in a bottle when a great applicant rapidly appeared, sparing them from it. The adage “it takes money to make money” is growing more apropos by the day in some competitive markets for doctor talent. It is just another new normal.

Why? It is a natural consequence of there being too many jobs and not enough willing job seekers. It is all about attention. To garner potential applicants’ attention, you need access to them, you need a compelling message to them, and amidst the cacophony of other voices, you need to stand out. In the past, practices could choose whether to pay for any or all of these three things. Today, denying the need to do so only prolongs the search in most cases. While spending up is no guarantee of a quick hire, based on our research, it is undeniably accelerating many searches.

The Price of an Audience

It’s one thing to have a job description; it’s another to have people looking at your job description. Today, if you’re a DVM and you’re looking for a new job, odds are good you are opening up a web browser and navigating to a few job boards. AVMAAAHA, state/local VMAs: they all run job boards these days. However, there is a cost – usually up to several hundred dollars – associated with posting your veterinary practice’s job on any of them. You could also entertain broader career sites, such as Indeed or Monster. Which one should you post on? How many should you post on? Both are excellent questions that depend on your specific search and how urgent the hire is for your practice.

Wooing Them with Words

Writing a job description is easy. Writing an eye-catching job description that excites a reader enough to apply for the opportunity is not. We’ve read hundreds of job posts for Associate Veterinarians. Our consensus: they’re sterile enough to be in your surgery suite. They’re perfunctory. They’re not descriptive enough. They spend way too much time highlighting things like that cold therapy laser gathering dust in a closet. In a sea of job opportunities, few stand out as truly exciting. 

Now, not many independent veterinary practices employ professional copywriters, and it shows. Many of the corporate groups do, and it shows. In an industry where corporate practices represent a growing portion of open jobs, the pressure on an independent to try something different to stand out is rapidly increasing. This likely explains the increased demand for our DVM job description writing service

If there is one step in the process of looking for a new Associate that we would implore you to spend a little extra time on, writing the job description is hands-down it. Do a little research online, pick your best writer from the team, and expect to refine several drafts. If the finished product isn’t knocking your socks off, consider paying a professional to raise it to another level. You simply won’t attract the best candidates with a poorly-written listing.

Rising Above the Crowd

In highly competitive searches, spending on the “extras” that many job boards offer can enhance your success too. Options, such as video listings, bolded listings, etc., are routinely offered by some boards to make your opening stand out in their search results. Running targeted advertising on LinkedIn is always an idea too. The key to deciding what is appropriate for your search is determining what other job posters in your area are doing. Play the role of a job seeker and see what you find. Then consider doing just a little bit more to grab the attention of real searchers.

Fortune Favors the Bold

When all is said and done, you could easily spend upwards of $1,000 to jumpstart your search. I know the immediate reaction of many veterinary practice owners is to balk at such figures. However, the market has changed. It is prudent to expect the worst. For example, what would be the cost of a lengthy search to the practice? Is your current veterinary team booked more than a week out for surgery or wellness appointments? Will they be in April? Are they a little burned out already? Will that improve without a new doctor by Spring? These are questions worth pondering.

One should expect a search to last at least three months in today’s job market. Failing to be aggressive up front increases the probability that it will last longer. During that time, the practice can miss out on profits if it’s unable to meet pet owners’ demand for appointments. The anxiety of your existing veterinary team can rise from the busy workload. You will need to pay to renew your listing on the job board(s) at a certain point. The cost of a long search adds up quickly. What once would have sounded absurd (i.e. spending $1,000 at the start of a search) now deserves careful consideration. As we said, conducting a job search is getting expensive.


How a veterinary practice consultant could help…

When it comes to helping practices be more successful with their hiring plans, we offer several options:

  • DVM Recruiting Assessment – A combination of a “Best Practices” e-guide and a custom-written job description for your current opening. This is best for the “do-it-yourself” practice that just needs a little help getting started.
  • Managed Search – Completely outsource the marketing of your job opening. Our team will research your market, write the perfect post, advise on the optimal promotional strategy, and coach you through screening applicants and interviewing candidates to help you land the best next doctor for our practice.


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Geographies Served

At this time, Gretel Veterinary Advisory, LLC is only offering services to veterinary practices located within the following states:

AK, AR, CA, DC, DE, HI, ID, MT, ND, NH, NV, OR, WA & WY

We will be expanding our reach to cover the rest of the United States shortly.