Life sciences recruitment is tough. Incredibly so. How can you compete more effectively for talent in today’s life sciences environment? Watch our video, or read below for advice from a senior life sciences recruiter.
Life sciences recruitment: a competitive landscape
Change seems to be the one thing you can count on in life sciences recruitment.
Even compared to two years ago, candidates are better informed and prepared to make fast decisions.
Perhaps more than anything, today’s candidates know their value.
In this environment, talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers must continuously deepen their understanding of the candidate market, says Gary Jones, director of life sciences recruitment at Hudson RPO in the Americas.
To hire top quality talent when you need it, make sure you have a well-defined employer brand and streamlined recruitment processes.
Hiring decisions need to be informed, but designed to be delivered more quickly than in the past.
If you haven’t hired in the last several months or a couple of years, the candidate market and recruiting world of life sciences has changed and will require that you change with it to successfully compete for top talent.
Create the vision, or candidates will
For top candidates, great roles are like buses. Another will be along in a minute.
There’s an abundance of compelling opportunities in today’s market. In-demand life science candidates are making quick decisions about taking new career opportunities. The risk is low. They know if they choose the wrong role, it’s easy to find another.
Plus, these well-informed candidates are better positioned than ever to make quick decisions. Using social media and sites such as Glassdoor, they’ve studied the market and a range of companies. This includes you and your competitors’ employer brands, cultures, and employer reputations. They’ve talked to their networks and have formed opinions.
Put simply, if you aren’t deliberately creating and sharing a compelling employer brand story with candidates, candidates are creating another version.
In life sciences recruitment, don’t delay the job offer
I can’t state it enough. When you’ve got a match, make an offer.
Some hiring managers decide they want to interview a certain number of candidates before the interview process even begins.
The number always seems random, such as “I need to see seven candidates,” or “we’ll make our choice after 10.”
If candidate number two is perfect, why add several months to the recruitment process to meet some arbitrary number?
In this market, the candidate hiring process is like a hot home-buying market. Before you begin your search, you determine your preferred criteria, such as neighborhood, price, etc.
You have your ducks in a row so that when you find a home you love, you can make a quick offer. You don’t say, “I’m in love with this house, but let’s look at eight more just in case.”
In a hot home-buying market, any delays in making an offer pretty much guarantee you’ll miss out.
That same sense of urgency permeates today’s candidate market in the life sciences sector.
Be reasonable in your requests during the process
Don’t tap candidates on the shoulder and then make them jump through hoops.
If your recruitment team reaches out to a passive candidate and sparks interest, be mindful of how much homework you give the candidate early in the interview process.
Yes, you want to ensure he or she is the right fit, but expecting people to complete a lot of outside assessment work when your company approached them, may not leave the best impression or increase early interest or engagement from a passive candidate.
I’ve had candidates say to me, “You guys approached me, and now you want me to do all this extra work?” See it from the candidate’s view. Then, encourage hiring managers to make reasonable adjustments.
Don’t forget to sell the job to top life sciences candidates
Yes, life sciences sales jobs are usually demanding. However, you can set that expectation while also highlighting the benefits of the role.
I scan the job boards and see opening lines such as, “This position is 24/7 with 100% travel.”
Whoa! Why would anyone read past that? Most life sciences sales roles are demanding. That’s a given. You can communicate the dedication required while also highlighting the benefits of the role and company’s mission.
Excel in life sciences recruitment with strategic innovation
New innovations make competitive markets more competitive.
Flexibility and scalability are important to keep up with new innovations, products, and strategies.
For example, the CEO of a company I support decided to invest significantly in robotics. Naturally, other life science companies are adopting the same strategy. It’s where the industry’s headed.
Such developments make an already competitive talent market even more so.
In that example, the CEO’s new strategy meant a massive hiring drive. Sales and R&D requisitions grew by 300% each, year over year. We had 60 to 90 days to prepare for some incredibly niche positions critical to the company’s growth strategy. Our RPO team was able to flex up resources and support quickly to meet the demand and then scale down once the hiring needs were met.
Sales hiring is always a challenge in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, and medical device fields. Given the product mergers and acquisitions, territory changes, and general turnover, you need fluidity in your recruitment teams and processes, in order to meet shifts in hiring demand.
Great life science candidates are out there, but in this market, you need a strong employer brand plus speed and flexibility built into the life science recruitment process to win over top candidates.
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