The Friendly Recruiter

The Friendly Recruiter

Posted on 15 May 2024

The Friendly Recruiter: An interview with John Read BA (Hons), Treating people as people could save the industry

The Friendly Recruiter: An interview with John Read BA (Hons), Treating people as people could save the industry

John Read is the founder of Supreme Search Specialists. He has been dubbed “The Friendly Recruiter” by clients and candidates due to his innovative approach to recruitment. He opened Supreme in 2019 with the vision to reinvent recruitment by removing the pressure, and truly focusing on the people behind the job roles.

Q: Can you provide some background on how Supreme Search Specialists came to be and what motivated its focus on the veterinary industry?

A: I previously worked for what used to be the largest veterinary recruitment company in the UK. After working in environments that focused on high volume and quantity over quality, I noticed both consultants and candidates never seemed to stay in their jobs for very long. Speaking to consultants and candidates I quickly realised it was because they were not being valued or treated as people. So, I decided the only way to change the industry was by opening an agency that focused on the best interests of our employees and the people we help.  

Q: Why do you believe that the Veterinary Industry has named you as The Friendly Recruiter?

A: I was initially unaware that people had referred to me as ‘The Friendly Recruiter’ until one of the large corporate groups had made a passing comment at London Vet Show. I was then also approached at VMX in Florida by a client who also referred to me as The Friendly Recruiter. I did ask them where it had come from, and they had explained that most people within the industry referred to me as being one of the friendliest people they had met. I have been seen to be approachable to clients, candidates and even competitors. I believe the main contributor is that I am truly focused on the wellbeing of the industry as a whole. By treating people with compassion and respect, people see me as someone they can approach for help, knowing I will always have their best interests at heart.   

Q: What sets Supreme Search Specialists apart from other recruitment agencies in the veterinary field?

A: I believe that I can help save the industry by helping retain some of the people that leave clinical practice each year. We operate as a pressure free agency, meaning that we will never pressure a candidate to take a position that might not be suitable for them. As we work with so many clients, we are able to offer the candidates near enough every option available to them. This enables them to make an informed decision based on which practice suits them best. This also helps our clients know that if a candidate accepts a position with their practice, it is because it is the best fit for them. We also check in with the candidate before they start, and after they have started, to ensure any issues are identified and rectified straight away. This model helps us to ensure candidates are getting what was agreed, and helps practices retain the candidates they do employ.   

Q: How does your team ensure that you understand the needs and aspirations of both candidates and veterinary practices?

A: We firstly acknowledge each candidate as a person with their own needs and desires. So, all of our consultants go through a screening process with both practices and candidates. This includes clinical interests, aspirations, personal life, and future goals. No candidate is the same. Some value work life balance, some value income, some value progression, and if everyone is different, we need to find out what is important to them. Therefore, we go through the most important things for each person. We then use this information to match candidates and practices to the roles/candidates that can offer what both are looking for. If a role is not right for a candidate, or a candidate not right for a client, we let them know. For us it is about finding the right fit that will work for everyone.

We also collect feedback from previous candidates and employees on each practice, to get a better view on how they operate. We also discuss this feedback with the practices to ensure any potential improvements can be made. 

Q: Could you share some success stories or examples of placements that highlight the effectiveness of your recruitment process?

A: I could not give one single example as I take pride in every placement we make as a company. However, I personally have helped people find jobs that they have stayed in for multiple years, and when they have moved area or begin looking again, they have come back to me rather than approaching other agencies. To me this shows that I provide an exceptional service and that candidates know exactly what they are getting when they approach Supreme Search.

We get a lot of referrals from candidates, and this is testament that they have received a great service.

Q: How does Supreme Search Specialists stay updated with the evolving trends and challenges within the veterinary industry?

A: For me, the most obvious way is to speak to people within the industry. As Supreme Search Specialists has grown across multiple offices and the teams have dramatically expanded, I have continued to work as a recruiter on a daily basis. Most owners usually stop doing the day-to-day recruitment, however, I think to truly keep in touch with the market, I need to be speaking to both clients and candidates on a daily basis. This helps me to observe issues and trends within the market.

We also attend multiple veterinary conferences and events throughout the year, both in the UK and in North America, which enables us to stay up to date with anything and everything that is happening within the industry. This also gives us a fantastic opportunity to meet face to face with many of our clients and candidates and hold some great conversations about what is going well for them, and maybe not so well, so we can offer advice on any challenges they might be experiencing with staffing, retention, or anything else!

Q: How do you envision the future of veterinary recruitment evolving, and what role does Supreme Search Specialists aim to play in that future?

A: Since I started working in Veterinary Recruitment nearly 10 years ago, the industry has massively changed. I believe the future of Veterinary recruitment will revolve around retaining the current staff and any new people who join the profession. Like every industry, there will always be a natural churn of staff leaving, but we need to focus on retaining the fantastic staff we already have. I have spoken at some of the world's largest veterinary conferences, and later this year I will also speak at New York Vet Show and London Vet Show. I will use the information I have gained from the candidates and clients to help the industry as a whole implement strategies to retain their staff. I will also continue to help the corporate and independently owned practices find the right staff, and equally help candidates find the right role for them.

Going forward, I will continue to ensure everyone who works for Supreme Search Specialists will have the same approach to recruitment and works with the utmost honesty and integrity.

Q: Given your current rebrand, can you share the motivations behind it and how you believe it will better serve your clients and candidates in the veterinary industry?

A: The rebrand has been prompted by the clients and candidates I work with. They have voiced their opinion of me, and what a great reputation to have. The fact that people are already referring to Supreme Search as “The Friendly Recruiter” helps the clients and candidates realise how we are different. It has been a long-standing opinion that recruiters are pushy and forceful. We want everyone who works with us to know that we are not that type of agency. We have always been known as a pressure free agency that focuses on the right role for the right candidate, and we now think this is the right time that our branding fits with our values.

The rebranding includes a new logo, new website and refreshing simple approach to recruitment. This alongside speaking at such big events focusing on retention will truly show who we are, and how we aim to revolutionise recruitment within the veterinary industry. 

Published by The Vet Show

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