Outsourcing of business functions has been made considerably easier by broadband technology and the worldwide interconnectedness of business today. In many cases, it makes sense to outsource, because it allows people to focus on core business processes and companies to sharpen their competitive advantage.
Just because outsourcing is easier doesn’t mean it’s automatic or requires no input from you.
The outsourcing of recruiting has increased in recent years as the jobs market has bounced back, and as hiring managers in highly specialized industries like pharmaceuticals run up against the many challenges involved in filling open positions. There’s no one “right” way to outsource recruiting, and in a field like pharmaceuticals, all parties involved have to have flexibility and maintain strong communication throughout the recruiting process.
If you’re a hiring manager in a competitive industry like pharmaceuticals or biotech, you can make outsourcing work wonderfully as long as you’re aware of some of the risks. Here are some of the most common pitfalls hiring managers face when they outsource recruiting.
Not Having Clear Outsourcing Recruiting Goals
You can’t really think of the specialty recruiter as you would, say, someone you outsource payroll to. If you hire a recruiter and say, “I need to hire three pharmaceutical sales reps,” and expect perfection, you’re in for disappointment. Go into your outsourcing decision knowing your exact goals and hammer out an agreement with your recruiter about what each of you expects from the other in terms of locating talent, developing interview questions, determining suitability, and how you will be paying for recruiting services. Even outsourced recruiting is fairly “hands-on,” so it’s critical that expectations are spelled out from the beginning.
Spending Too Much Under an Onerous Fee Structure
Some hiring managers believe that a retainer-based fee structure is counterproductive, but there are situations where it may be the best payment structure. Before signing a contract with a specialist recruiter, you have to thoroughly understand the fee structures they offer and which one looks like the best fit for your needs. In industries where competition for talent is intense, a retainer fee may be a good choice, but then again, paying for each interviewable candidate can be smart too. It will be necessary to run through a number of best case and worst case scenarios with the different payment structures you can choose from to ensure you pick wisely.
Not Working as a Partner with the Recruiter
Your relationship with a specialist recruiter should be tended like any business partnership.
Ideally, the hiring manager should have an ongoing relationship with a specialty recruiter, even when not actively hiring. By regularly communicating with “your” recruiter, you can learn about industry hiring trends early, communicate your hiring challenges as they arise, and be ready to sign a contract if an urgent recruiting need emerges. Once that contract is signed, regular communication is equally as important. If the recruiter sends someone who is quite obviously wrong for your needs, you need to be able to discuss the issue and learn where the miscommunication arose so that future candidates are more appropriate to your needs.
Choosing a Recruiter That Doesn’t Have Sufficient Experience
Just because someone calls themselves a specialist recruiter doesn’t mean they actually deliver results. When you outsource recruiting, one of your objectives should be to tap into a broad, deep, long-term network your recruiter has painstakingly developed and maintained over the years. The recruiter you want to work with knows not only how to craft ads for open positions, but also knows where the passive job candidates who might be appropriate for your needs are located, and how to approach them in a professional, acceptable manner. These are tasks that required specialized knowledge and experience, and when it comes to recruiting, choosing a recruiter with relevant experience in your industry is an investment that pays off.
As a hiring manager, you have to know when you can handle filling positions in-house and when the services of a specialist are required. It’s not always easy. And when the services of a recruiter are necessary, you can’t simply sign a contract and sit back and wait for a string of perfect candidates to show up to choose from. Working together is critical, and your relationship with a specialist recruiter should be maintained even when you’re not actively hiring.
If you’re a pharmaceutical industry hiring manager, we invite you to explore our recruiting options and get in touch if you’d like to talk. We have the experience and depth of knowledge required for hiring in challenging industries, as well as the networks that make it all possible.