How do you know whether you’re working with a recruitment agency that has your clinic’s best interests at heart?

How do you know whether the recruitment agency will protect and represent your vet clinic’s brand in the best way possible?

Not all recruitment agencies created equal

As I said last week – check out episode 082 – not all recruitment agencies are created equal.  

Some recruitment agencies use the “spray and pray” method.   They’ll get a job-seeker’s CV, then spray it all over town (to their database) and leave it to the employer – the vet clinic – to do contact the CV owner, set up the interview, interview, and negotiate direct.

What’s more, you won’t be the only vet clinic receiving the CV.

Nor will you know how many other clinics you’ll be up against.

Spray and Pray type agencies leave it to the job-seeker to play one vet clinic off against another to get the best position … because that agency will be onto spraying other CVs all over town to different vet clinics…

NZ Privacy Act needs to be respected and adhered to

Recruitment agencies that use the Spray and Pray method of mass emailing their database with your CV could be breaching the NZ Privacy Act, which states that a recruitment agency needs to seek permission to share info from the job seeker before releasing it.   

Here are 8 questions vet clinic HR & PMs (or Lead Vet or Head Nurse) need to ask a recruitment agency before working with them (and the answers to listen for):

Is the agency a specialist or generalist?

When you check out their website, can you find jobs for butchers, bakers and candlestick makers? If so, they’re a generalist and aren’t going to be much help to you as a vet med professional – which is a specialised and niche area of recruitment.

What do you get for the fee?

What exactly do you get for the fee they charge?  

For example, when they introduce a job-seeker to you, what behind the scenes work have they already done with that person?   Or are they just sending your clinic – and other clinics on their client database as well – a CV and then it’s up to you to follow up with that person.

If all you’re getting is a CV you can bet your bottom dollar other clinics on the agency’s database will be getting the same CV with the same email.

Sending CVs isn’t recruitment.   

If they say that chat with the job seeker – exactly what does that mean?   How in-depth is the conversation with them?  

Do they know, for example, whether your clinic’s values align with the job-seeker’s values?

I’ve heard more’n a few times from different clinics around the country that they like working with VetStaff because they know when we introduce a vet or a nurse or a tech to them, the fit is going to be good… the match will work.   

They also like that we’ve done all the leg work behind the scenes – background checking, reference checks, qualification checks, etc.  

Some of the overseas based agencies charge more than VetStaff and do a lot less work.    Some of the recruitment agencies in the UK, for example, wouldn’t dream of getting out of bed for the fees charged in NZ.    In the UK and the US some agencies are 2-3x what NZ agencies charge.

Does the agency get the job seeker’s permission to send YOU THEIR CV?

This is important because it’s a breach of the NZ Privacy Act for a job-seeker’s information to be sent out without their express permission.

I’ve heard stories from job seekers that they’ve got a surprise call from a clinic that they had no idea they were being put forward to!   They’re unprepared for that out-of-the-blue phone call which, when you think about it, doesn’t create a very good first-impression when a job seeker is caught on the back foot.

So drill down on exactly what you get when you accept the terms of business of a recruitment agency.   If you’re paying a full-service fee, make sure you get the full service – not just a CV emailed to you (and everyone else).


As well as background checking, will the agency provide you with the reference checks they’ve done for the vet or nurse or other job seeker?  If not, that’s another job you’ve got to do yourself and one you’re really paying for in their full-service fee.

So find out who’s responsible for reference checking:   your clinic or the agency.

Contract negotiation

Who’s going to negotiate the contract between your clinic and your potential new employee?   You or the agency?

If it’s you, you need to factor that into your timetable because it can take a lot of time!

Contract negotiation takes time and when you’re invested to the degree your clinic and the new employee is, in representing themselves, it’s even more fraught with nerves. 

If you can remain at arm’s length during the contract negotiations, it enables you to keep a clear head and get on with doing the other stuff that’s part of your day, which contract negotiation is not because you probably don’t do it often enough like we do.

How do they approach your referees – what permission do they seek?

Again – you need to make sure there’s no breach of the NZ Privacy Act.

If all an agency does is pass your CV onto multiple clinics and then leave it to the clinic to contact your referees, it means your referees are going to be contacted multiple times. Is this what you want for them?

After the new employee starts – onboarding

What happens after your new employee starts? 

Will the agency keep in touch with your new employee to make sure that everything is going smoothly?   To make sure there aren’t any problems or surprises …?

The last thing you want after you’ve spent time and energy doing all the leg work yourself is to find out your new employee’s not happy when they resign after they’ve only just started.

We keep in touch with the vets and nurses we find jobs for.   If there are hiccups at the beginning we’ll help smooth the way …

We also help your new employee break the ice after they start – we’ve got our own onboarding programme to help your new employee think YOU’RE the best place to work!

If all you’re receiving from an agency is someone’s CV, there’s no way any of this follow up service will take place … because the agency will be onto the next CV … the more CVs they can spray over town the more invoices they can send out … they’re not interested in the long term relationship, only in getting as many names as possible on their database – on both sides of the employee / employer fence – your clinic and the job-seeker.

Professional coaching for the first three months after the new employee starts

This is a brand new initiative we’ve just started at VetStaff and one we’re super excited about – it’s great for the clinics AND your new employees.

When a clinic employs a VetStaff job seeker, your new employee will receive three months of coaching on us.  

Together with their coach, they’ll look at things like self-belief, value, purpose, career development and special interests, work/life balance and resilience, how to cope when things go wrong, when perfectionism doesn’t work for them, perspective, performance, role transitioning and acceptance.  

There’ll be an element of mentoring in the conversation but it’s mainly about coaching them to be the most fantabulous version of themselves as professionals they can possibly be.   This means they’ll be supported in finding answers as opposed to the answers being given to them. 

How exciting is that?   We’re absolutely stoked and I genuinely wish it was something I thought of years’ ago, rather than last month.  

We’ve got a few vets in the countdown to starting their new jobs and we can’t wait to hear what they think about it. 

We think it’s great for the clinic and the new employee as it’s a win / win.   

Protect your clinic’s brand by partnering with the agency that’ll protect it as fiercely as you do

Another thing to consider as a clinic that, right now, there is only so much veterinary talent in the New Zealand pool, right?

I’m sure you’d agree with that.  

However, perhaps what we don’t all agree with is that engaging multiple recruitment agencies to find your next dream team member doesn’t increase the pool size.

When clinics ask multiple agencies to find you a unicorn vet it confuses the job seeker.

How?   Because then the conversation at our end starts something like “I’ve just had a call about this from another recruiter”.

When that happens, it harms your brand as a result, and it wastes a huge amount of time … (yes, you have to brief three or four agencies to find that unicorn vet) that all of us know are in short supply right now!

I know it’s easy to think that if you have lots of eyes looking for you, you’ll increase your odds. It doesn’t. At all.

Can I respectfully suggest that you find a recruitment partner that you can trust, that represents your clinic’s brand professionally, understands your clinic’s culture and is 100% committed to filling your clinic with perfectly fitting dream team members.  Not just any vet or nurse who gets floated first through a CV spray out email and “sort of” fits.

Those are some of the things that clinics get are available to you as a job seeker when you use a recruitment agency.   As you can see, not all recruitment agencies are created equal so you need to know that you’re entrusting your professional future to an agency that has your best interests at heart, that they’re not just after the payday they’ll have by introducing you to a clinic.

Get in touch with VetStaff

Here are 12 reasons to use a recruitment agency to find your next job – check out VetStaff’s page here


Episode 082 – 9 questions job seekers need to ask a recruitment agency before working with them

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