Hiring in the pharmaceutical industry has never been easy, but biotech recruiters are especially challenged as more industries bounce back from the recession and face a more limited hiring pool. Many jobs created in the current economic recovery are grounded in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and finding people with the right qualifications requires time and effort.
If you’re a hiring manager or HR professional in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry, here are some strategies that can help you find new employees you won’t regret hiring.
Define the Problem the New Hire Is Expected to Solve
Job titles mean different things to different applicants, but what’s important is what the person is actually going to do. Essentially, you are hiring someone to solve (or help solve) a problem. Maybe that’s finding a new clinical application for an existing drug, or maybe it’s expanding your company’s sales territory.
In your job description, it’s important that you offer a detailed explanation of what the new person is going to do. What is the “pain point” you want them to address, and how do you envision them accomplishing this? Your job description should also provide key details about your company: what problems it solves, what it does for customers, and what its culture is like.
Look for Candidates with These Traits
Obviously, you want to find job candidates with certain qualifications so you can be confident they’re capable of the work. But you also want candidates with certain personal traits that make them more likely to mesh well with your company and its culture. Not only should job candidates be competent, their reach should exceed their grasp. Do they have a history of meeting challenges on the job?
Getting along with colleagues, clients, and partners is absolutely essential. Make sure anyone you hire demonstrates a willingness to work in harmony with co-workers and others he or she will encounter every day. Evidence of commitment to stick with your company long term is also important, since hiring mistakes can be exorbitantly expensive. And naturally you want someone with a strong character, who is honest, keeps promises, and is willing to work for the good of your overall organization.
Offer a Market-Based Compensation Package
The right employee compensation package makes a difference in the success of your recruiting efforts.
The salary and benefits package you offer to prospective new hires should be based on market conditions and competitive with other companies like yours. If it isn’t, it’s all too easy for a new employee to feel under-appreciated and expend effort accordingly. The person you hire should be satisfied with the compensation you offer and should understand completely if part of the compensation package includes things like stock options. Many pharmaceutical employees bring enthusiasm to the startup space and will work with you on things like benefits, but at the same time, they have to pay the bills.
Ask the Right Behavioral Questions
What do potential candidates know about your company and what you do? It’s important to ask during the interview process because it can reveal much about the candidate’s enthusiasm and willingness to tackle the problems the job will involve. Find out how the candidate learned about your business, and how he or she learned what your business does and how it benefits clients. Also, ask candidates what they admire most about your business and why. These questions may not relate directly to competence on the job, but they reveal important clues as to how the person approaches his or her career in general.
Work with a Specialty Recruiter
It’s not uncommon for pharmaceutical and biotech companies to enlist the services of specialist recruiters due to the competitive nature of talent management in the industry. Choosing the right recruiter is imperative, however. Learn about a recruiter’s fee structure (whether it offers retainer-based recruiting, contingency, or per-candidate fees) and think through some best case and worst case calculations before choosing. And of course you want to work with a recruiter with a track record that demonstrates high-quality hires and satisfied clients (and job seekers).
We offer specialization in pharmaceutical and biotech hiring, with flat fee, contingency, and pay-per-resume fee structures that help clients control costs. Most importantly, however, we offer recruiters with the specialty experience that’s required to meet the challenges of talent management in today’s pharmaceutical industry. We invite you to contact us at any time. Let’s work together and develop the perfect plan for filling your company’s talent needs.