Due to an unfortunate turn of events, I find myself once again searching for another team member. The hiring process is, in a word, exhausting. The time and effort involved in finding the perfect fit (or the perfect compromise) is both time consuming and grueling. The first few times I assisted my supervisor with hiring, it seemed ‘fun’. With one sheet of paper you can learn everything about someone — their address, email, work history, education, and skill set. Sounds easy, right? My first two new hires were experienced, outgoing, professional ladies who meshed well with the rest of the team. The best part? They both still work with me. Every other person hired after that has been a dud. Veterinary experienced, customer service oriented, dependable, go-getter, enthusiastic team player, dedicated animal lover didn’t matter one bit. For one reason or another, these six people (maybe? I’ve lost count) just didn’t work out.
Please understand that reception isn’t for everyone. Most people may assume we chat on the phone and play with puppies all day. But my job isn’t like that at all. It’s juggling ringing phones and temperamental office equipment. It’s learning a new software system during the busiest time of the year. It’s dealing with clients of every shape, size, ethnicity, professional and financial status. It’s not only listening to a client’s question or problem, but working to find a solution. It’s being a helpful, smiling, shiny, happy person at all times.
A veterinary receptionist wears many hats: telephone operator, greeter, message taker, product sales consultant, educator, grief counselor, appointment setter, data entry clerk, client advocate, cashier, medical records specialist, hostess, and custodian. The things we do — or don’t do — can make or break a client’s experience at our facility. Because we have the most contact with clients, we are the ‘face’ of the business. We are… BHVH. That’s a LOT of responsibility. So finding someone who is a good fit is challenging.
As I’ve been weeding through stacks of resumes, making phone calls, and meeting with applicants, I’ve tried to keep things in perspective. And not get my hopes up. There will always be that person who has a magnetic personality but wants way more money than you can offer. Or the new hire that fits in seamlessly, that everyone loves, but then ditches you via email. Or the person who looks great on paper, has a great interview, but you end up firing them because they’re using the office equipment to look for a new job.
So what makes one person stick when another falls flat? I think it comes down to the want to succeed. Do you want to learn? About dogs and cats, about medicine, products, and services? Do you want to make someone’s day? To help clients solve problems? To help doctors and techs provide outstanding care? Do you want to be challenged? To feel like you made a difference? Do you want to be part of a great team of veterinary client service professionals?
Serious inquiries only. Long-haired freaky people need not apply.