How to Hire a Veterinarian in 2024: A Recruitment Guide

How to hire a veterinarian in 2024

Hiring a Veterinarian in 2024

Hiring the right veterinarian involves many steps and takes time, but we’re here to help you through it. Here’s everything you need to know about finding and recruiting the best veterinarians!

Veterinary shortage? Yes! In the past few years, the veterinary employment market has tightened. There’s just not enough qualified talent to go around in the U.S., and it’s been getting harder for practices to find the licensed vets they need to keep their businesses running smoothly. 

It’s a sad fact: 

Of the thousands of students who graduate from veterinary school every year, they won’t still fill the need gap. Let’s break down the numbers – according to a study carried out by Mars Veterinary Health:

  • About 2,000 vets are retiring yearly, and only about a 2.7% increase in the number of vets that enter the profession annually. 
  • The staffing deficit has been a problem since the turn of the millennium and is expected to continue into 2023. And by 2030, it is predicted that the U.S. will have a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians.

By implication, practices will have difficulty filling their open job positions.

Bonus Tip If you are a veterinary practice owner, don’t miss out on this opportunity to have your practice valued by the experts.


If you’ve found yourself in need of hiring a new veterinarian, the following is a guide on how to hire a veterinarian in 2024:

Know Your Needs

Knowing what kind of vet you’re looking for is vital before starting the search. You may have to adjust your expectations based on your budget and location, but all parties must clearly understand what they expect from each other.

In essence:

  • Ask yourself why you want to hire one in the first place. Is it because you have pets that need veterinary medical care? Are you thinking of opening a veterinary clinic? 
  • Have a clear picture of what you’re looking for in terms of experience and education level. 
  • Know what kind of veterinary doctor you want. Knowing will help narrow down the field considerably, as there are many different types of veterinarians with varying degrees of experience and specializations that suit different needs. Some veterinarians specialize in specific areas, such as surgery or internal medicine; others go into general practice, where they care for all sorts of animals, from dogs and cats to horses.

Know What Makes A Good Veterinarian

We’re going to list some of the essential qualities that make a good veterinarian.

  • Education: The first thing to look for is education. You want to find someone who has graduated from an accredited university with a degree in veterinary medicine.
  • Licensing and Certification: Licensing and certification are also required for any veterinarian looking for work in the field today
  • Work Experience: Work experience is also significant when hiring a vet. The more years of experience they have shows that they’ve had enough time to learn from their mistakes and from their colleagues’ experiences; however, they’re more likely to cost more. 
  • Patient-Centered Care: A good vet will put their patients first and ensure they’re comfortable during their appointment.

At the very least, a good veterinarian could diagnose animals’ diseases, manage injuries and wounds, carry out surgical procedures, write prescriptions for medications, administer vaccines and injections, humanely euthanize animals and make house calls.

  • Personality: A good veterinarian should have excellent people skills and the knowledge needed for treating animals. You want someone who will listen to clients’ concerns and answer all their questions without rushing them out the door! 

Figure Out How Much You’re Willing To Pay For That Quality Of Talent

It’s crucial to understand what kind of salary you’re willing and able to pay because it’s not just about the money — it’s also about finding a candidate who will be happy in your practice culture and enjoy working with your clients and colleagues. 

If you’re willing to pay more than average ($100,370 per year/ $48.26 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021) or even above market rate for a particular type of candidate, then that’s fine; make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you start looking for someone.

How does this affect your search? 

Well, if you live in one of these areas where salaries are high, expect to pay more for quality talent. However, even if you don’t live in one of these areas, it’s still vital that you figure out what kind of vet you want before starting your search so that when you find them, at least they’ll be worth their paycheck!

Write A Compelling Job Posting (Job Ad)

Consider this step an opportunity to show off your veterinary practice’s unique culture and personality. Also, with a detailed and compelling job posting, you’ll draw in more applicants than if you put up a generic listing. 

The most important thing is to figure out what makes your practice different from all the other practices. This could be:

  • Compensation
  • Time off
  • Equipment and mentorship
  • CE opportunity, etc.

And then magnify these differences in the job description to really stand out and be appealing.

Additionally, include a detailed description of the job, the tasks and responsibilities, and any specific qualifications or requirements you have for the candidate.

Most importantly:

Focus on benefits that matter most to potential employees, such as vacation time or salary. Ensure to prioritize these benefits according to what matters most to applicants and then highlight those benefits prominently in your job posting

For example, if you have great benefits like flexible schedules or telecommuting options, ensure those are emphasized in the listing. Hence, people know how much they could enjoy working at your facility.

Finally, make sure applicants know precisely how to apply for the position.

Get Your Job Ad Out There

When you’re ready to put the word out about your position(s), you can use any of the following options:

Job Boards. These are websites that list job openings across a variety of fields. They’re usually free and easy to set up an account, but they may charge a fee when someone applies for the job. Examples include AVMA job board,, and

Social Media. You can post your job ad on any number of social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The key to using social media for job postings is to be clear about who you’re looking for and what you’re offering. Also, include a link to your company website where candidates can find more information about your business. 

Word of Mouth. Word of mouth is another excellent way to spread the news about your open position(s). Let all of your employees know about the openings in their departments and anyone else who might have contacts within their networks that could be interested in working at your organization (such as vendors or clients).

Vocal Veterinary Medical Association Events: This is another great way to get face time with prospective candidates, but ensure you’re well prepared to make a lasting impression since chances are high that you will be competing for attention. It’s also a way for potential applicants to get excited about your company and its offer.

Partner with Veterinary Schools: Attract veterinarians to your practice by networking with veterinary schools and colleges. This will help you build valuable relationships and will make it easier for schools to call on your practice, should they need help. And as far as hiring veterinarians go, these schools are a treasure trove of qualified vets. Make your practice hard to ignore by offering internship opportunities for young graduates to “catch them early.”

Review Resumes Of Applicants

Take a look at the resumes you have gathered, and decide which ones to bring in for an interview.

A good resume will:

  • Be well-written and easy to read. If it’s hard to understand, the vet may be unable to communicate clearly with their patients.
  • Have good references from previous employers who can attest that this vet is knowledgeable, skilled, and trustworthy (who aren’t just friends or family members). Ask if the people on their list are willing to talk about them—that way, you’ll know what kind of person they are before making an offer!

Other activities you may conduct at this stage include:

Background Check: You may decide to run a background check to ensure that applicants are qualified and free from any criminal history.

Reference Checks: Verify the information provided by the candidate. It is recommended to consider candidates with multiple references from previous employers or veterinarians who have worked with them in some capacity.

Save Time And Cost With These Two Tips

Recruitment is a costly business, requiring lots of time and effort. The good news is that you can use some tried and true tactics to help reduce costs while still finding the right person for your practice. 

Use Email To Screen Candidates 

A “screening email” is an excellent way to learn more about a candidate’s style, personality, and skills. You can use it as a way to ask questions about their experience, as well as their availability for interviews.

Your screening email should include the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What is your motivation for quitting your last job?
  • How soon can you start working with us?

It’s also a great way to get a sense of whether or not this person would be a good fit for your practice – through their response. It’s free, and there are no awkward in-person interviews necessary!

Consider Using An Applicant Tracking System

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software tool that helps businesses hire employees more efficiently by automating the entire hiring process. It can be used by any organization looking to fill positions with new hires.

Here’s where it gets interesting: 

Most ATS consists of “resume scanners” that employ artificial intelligence to identify phrases and keywords in a candidate’s resume. Candidates whose resume does not match your job description would be automatically rejected, thus saving you time and the hassle of manual review. This could be helpful if your company has a high volume of applicants.

Set Up Interviews And Tests

After reviewing the resumes and references, narrow your list to three or four candidates. Now it’s time to interview them.

The interview process should be a two-way street. You want to ensure that the candidate is a good fit for your practice as much as they want to know if they will enjoy working there.

Do A Phone Interview With Shortlisted Candidates 

It’s also a good idea to get an idea of their personality through the phone interview so that when they come in person, you can ensure they are someone who meshes well with your other staff members.

If a vet’s experience is essential to you, ask about it. If education is what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to bring it up. It would help if you also asked about their interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

Other questions should be tailored toward finding out about the candidate’s personality and work ethic. For example, ask about their preferred method of communication (email, text, or phone call) and their availability (hours per week).

Ask about any pet care experience with animals other than their own — this will give you an idea of how well they interact with other people’s pets and what type of clientele they prefer.

Use A Test To Assess The Readiness Of the Candidates

Preceding in-person interviews, you should test your candidates to see if they have what it takes to be a good fit for your veterinary services. If they do not pass, it’s the end of the interview.

The test assesses the candidate’s general understanding of veterinary medicine, reasoning ability, and problem-solving skills. It also ensures that the person has read and understood the job description thoroughly before coming in for an interview.

The test can be anything from an online quiz to a paper-and-pencil exam.

In-Person Interview

Asking candidates to come in for an in-person interview is the best way to gauge their skills and abilities. You can also see how they interact with your team and whether or not they are a good fit.  

At this point, you will have a good idea of whether or not you want to hire this person. Remember, when conducting an interview, it is up to you how much information you want from each applicant. 

If it doesn’t feel like a good fit after the interview, let them know that you think this way and wish them well on their job search. Don’t hold out hope that they will change their mind or try to convince them otherwise; it will only make things awkward if they take another job elsewhere.

Veterinarian Interview Questions 

The veterinarian interview process should include questions that ask about applicants’:

  • Education and training;
  • Ethics;
  • Work experience;
  • Interests, hobbies, and activities;
  • Salary and compensations

Here are examples of some basic questions you should ask:

  • How do you determine a proper diagnosis?
  • What is your approach to treating a patient?
  • Give me an example of when you helped a pet parent with a problem beyond your expertise or knowledge level. 
  • Tell me about some of the challenges veterinarians face today and how this industry can overcome them.
  • Why did you decide to specialize in this area of veterinary medicine?
  • Do you have any questions?

Hire A Veterinarian And Give Them A Trial Period

This approach will help you determine if they are the right fit for your practice. A trial period can be 3-6 months, depending on the position and how quickly you need to fill it.

When hiring a veterinarian, it’s imperative to consider their ability to work well with the rest of your team. Your vet should be able to work well with your existing team so that they can quickly integrate into your practice. They also need to be able to work well with pets and clients for them not only to get along but also to provide the best care possible.

The last thing you want is any problems between your vet and other employees or clients because this could cause stress or even lead down a path where no one wants anything more than just getting through each day.


Hiring a veterinarian need not be rocket science. If you follow the steps above, you will find one that’s right for you.

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