Rethink Recruiting

The Key to a Successful BioTech Startup? Hire the Right People for the Right Jobs

Quick question: How is a successful biotech startup like every other kind of startup? Answer: Success depends on hiring the right people for the right jobs. Question 2: How is hiring for biotech different from hiring for other industries? Answer: Biotech positions require competencies and skill sets that may complicate standard hiring practices and increase the likelihood that a bad hire will happen.

Why On-Target Hiring Matters

A bad hire costs money to replace, costs time and energy for HR staff, and sucks the productivity and morale of a team down the proverbial drain.


Are you throwing money away with poor hiring decisions?

The Money

While it is not always easy to quantify the total monetary consequence of a bad hire, there are some general statistics that highlight the potential damage to your bottom line. For instance, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the cost of a bad hiring decision can equal as much as 30 percent of the individual’s first-year earnings. For a highly specialized and well-compensated biotech candidate, that can be a whopping sum.

Considering the cost of recruiting and onboarding, both of which will have to be paid twice if you choose poorly, and the cost of a severance package to save your startup from the sometimes catastrophic influence of a bad hire, it is wise from a strictly monetary standpoint to get hiring right the first time.

Time Wasted

In many cases, a bad hire slips through your screening process because you are in a hurry to fill a critical position. However, it is important to factor in the time that will be lost in onboarding a bad hire, letting the bad hire go, and starting the process all over again. How far back will that push your projects?

Loss of Productivity and Morale

In addition to the outright monetary loss and time wasted when dealing with a bad hire, there is usually collateral damage to consider. In highly collaborative environments like the biotech industry, a bad hire can disrupt the productivity of an entire team.

Good employees saddled with bad co-workers find themselves in the unenviable position of having to compensate for poor work performance on the part of their colleagues. Stress and fatigue set in, and burnout follows.

Many companies have lost valuable employees in such circumstances, adding to an already untenable situation. The costs mount.

Finding the Perfect Fit

All these factors clearly demonstrate the importance of hiring wisely. That being said, what can you do to ensure that you are hiring the right people for the right jobs? There is much more to finding a truly good fit for your biotech startup than matching a set of credentials with your list of required technical skills.

In a recent SHRM article, Arte Nathan, a chief human resources officer for over 25 years, notes: “I’m a firm believer in hiring for attitude and training for skills. Most of the skills your employees need can be learned, so my first recommendation is to focus your recruiting efforts on finding people who will come to work every day on time, smile, be flexible and optimistic, work hard, and care a lot.”

While it is true that you must find candidates with the technical prowess to get the job done in the biotech industry, underestimating the value of a good attitude will likely result in some bad hiring choices.

Here is a to-do list for making the right hiring decisions:

1) Protect and strengthen your company culture.

When evaluating a potential candidate, you must remember the environment in which you expect that candidate to thrive. The most technically proficient candidate may not be the best fit for your existing staff. Unless you feel that a candidate will mesh well with your mission, purpose, and culture, it is best to look elsewhere. Ideally, you will find an employee whose attitude and work ethic actively support and promote your company culture.

2) Be proactive.

Often, the perfect fit for your biotech position is already working elsewhere. Be proactive in seeking out passive candidates who would match your needs and your wish list. They are out there, and if you keep your networking skills sharp and your doors open, they can be found.

3) Be slow to hire and quick to fire.

Take your time, even if there is pressure to fill a position quickly. Remember that choosing poorly costs additional time after a hire. On the other hand, if you do hire someone that proves to be a bad fit, do not let the situation linger. Protect your company culture, your business interests, and your other employees by removing a bad apple early on.


Working with pros can help you find the perfect fit.

4) Partner with professionals.

Every position in your biotech startup is mission critical. Considering the benefits to be reaped from hiring wisely and the negative consequences of failing to do so, it makes sense to work with recruiters who know the biotech industry well.

A professional recruiter will take time to understand both the position you wish to fill and your company culture. With a strong understanding of the biotech industry, HirePerfect’s specialty is matching top talent with the companies that need it. Are you ready to find the perfect fit for your team? If so, start your candidate search with us today.

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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