Rethink Recruiting

6 Keys to Building Relationships with Industry Recruiters

Healthcare recruitment can be a constant challenge, especially in tech-forward specialties like pharmaceuticals. Hiring managers in these specialties have their work cut out for them, particularly now that the economy is in recovery mode in most places, and recruiting the best talent takes more work.


Recruiters and hiring managers want the same thing: to place the right candidate in the right job.

Building a strong collaborative relationship with the appropriate specialty recruiter can benefit the pharmaceutical hiring manager tremendously, both short term and long term. After all, both hiring manager and recruiter want the same thing: placement of the best candidate in the right job at the right time. If you’re a hiring manager, here are 6 ways you can build strong, mutually beneficial relationships with industry recruiters.

1. Communicate Relationship Expectations Up Front

This isn’t a time to be coy. When you meet a recruiter you feel like you could work with on sourcing great candidates, it’s best for both parties to state what they’re looking for from the connection. Transparency and honesty set the stage for trust, and understanding each other’s goals (and knowing which mutual goals you have) can help clarify what each party can expect from the other. There’s no secret code: just talk about it.

2. Make the Effort to Keep in Touch Regularly

Like any relationship, staying in touch on a more or less regular basis is important. Depending on the schedules and personalities involved, this could take place primarily through email, phone calls, text messages, meeting every quarter for coffee, or some combination of these. Staying in touch regularly makes it easier to communicate your needs when you face a hiring challenge and could use a recruiter’s services.

3. Collaborate on Screening and Interview Questions

A hiring manager and recruiter working together should not be at cross purposes. In addition to knowing what each party expects from the professional relationship, the two should find ways to effectively collaborate. For example, hiring managers and recruiters may work together to come up with screening and interview questions. Not only does this help recruiter and hiring manager understand each other’s needs better, it prevents misunderstandings with candidates.

4. Put Technology to Work

We have so many options for keeping in touch that there’s really no excuse for letting contact lapse, particularly in a professional relationship that can be so important to both parties. Discuss in advance the best ways to communicate should, for example, you lose a key employee and need to start a hiring push right away. Knowing your recruiter is just a text message away can help you cope when you’re faced with a sudden hiring challenge.


Communication technology is your ally in a strong recruiter relationship.

5. Regularly Discuss the State of the Hiring Market

Recruiters spend significant time not only studying the state of the hiring market, but experiencing its effects throughout the hiring process. Things can change quickly, so it’s important for hiring managers to understand that just because there were plenty of pharmaceutical sales candidates to choose from last year, it doesn’t mean it will be easy this year. Ask your recruiter to let you know if something happens that affects the hiring market.

6. Work Together to Deal with Major Hiring Challenges

Suppose you’ve been assigned responsibility for recruiting a “rock star” level clinical trial director, yet the budget is tight and you have to work fast. Discuss with your recruiter how realistic your chances are, as well as ways the position might be reworked (to require less experience, for example) or what data to show your own boss to convince her to come up with a more generous compensation package. A great recruiter can have your back in this type of situation.

Honesty and Transparency Create a Sturdy Foundation for Success

Professional networking takes place in many contexts, and one of the most beneficial relationships the hiring manager can have is with an experienced, savvy recruiter who understands the industry and knows the state of the hiring market at any time. Developing such a relationship, based on honesty, trust, and understanding of common goals, can make the hiring process faster and prevent the kinds of misunderstandings that lead to hiring mistakes.

We invite you to contact us at any time to discuss your needs as a hiring manager, and we know that much of our success depends on having strong relationships with hiring managers and fully understanding their needs. A great recruiter can have a positive effect on a biotech firm; doesn’t it make sense to develop a working relationship to help ensure you hire the best candidates?

About Rethink Recruiting

The recruiting landscape is changing as a result of technology, culture, and the increasing demands for unique skills and experience in emerging fields. Rethink Recruiting provides insights about trends and strategies to maximize your talent potential.

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