The recruiting process is more fraught than most people imagine. It may sound like a hiring manager gets to pick among a large number of qualified candidates like choosing the best puppy from a litter, but in reality recruiting is difficult, particularly in pharmaceuticals and biotech.
Specialty recruiters understand the challenges of hiring in industries where demand for talent outstrips supply.
Most hiring managers use a number of different recruitment sources to find the right people for positions that are open. But the hiring manager who believes in the “perfect” candidate (sort of the non-romantic “soulmate”) is likely to be disappointed. In competitive industries like biotech and pharmaceuticals, it’s more important to ensure you don’t hire the wrong candidate, because hiring mistakes are expensive and bad for morale.
Truthfully, there may not be a single perfect candidate for the position you’re hiring for. Your needs are unique, and the idea that you could find the one perfect person for it and proceed to hire them is unrealistic. Here’s why you should relieve yourself of the encumbrance of having to find the perfect job candidate.
The “Best” Candidate Is Not Necessarily the Most Appropriate Candidate
How exciting it is to receive a resume from someone that hits all the points you listed in your hiring profile. Yet, the right person “on paper” may not be the right person in real life. There are simply no shortcuts, although you can use tools like pre-employment testing to help you narrow the field. Ultimately, if that perfect candidate on paper can’t function well in your specific organization, everyone could end up disappointed. Far better to hire the eager, well-prepared candidate who may not match every single qualification, but shows a willingness to learn and makes a great impression on the team he or she will work with.
It’s Better to Start by Being Objective
A certain amount of objectivity is important for the successful hiring manager. Nobody wants to be swept off their feet by the charismatic job candidate who is ultimately unable to perform the expected job duties. You do have to check off the important boxes: do they understand what functional expertise is required? Do they have relevant work experience? Do they have required qualifications and certifications? While you may have difficulty finding someone who has every qualification along with the experience level you want, it definitely gives you something to aim for. Once you satisfy objective requirements, it’s time to assess “fit.”
But “Fit” Is Incredibly Important Too
Team members spend a lot of time together, and personality clashes can make that time feel endless.
Sometimes a suit or a fine pair of shoes has all the bona fides you could want, but simply doesn’t fit you. It’s not a matter of good versus bad, but about what’s right for your particular needs. The same is true for job candidates, and assessing how well a person fits in with your company culture can be trying. Intuition plays into it somewhat, but so do evaluations from other team members. Introduce your candidate to his or her prospective team members during the interview and watch how the interactions go. Sure, job interviews can be stressful for everyone, but you can get a good idea of how quickly and how well the new person will fit in.
If You Insist on “Perfect” You May Never Hire Anyone
While every hiring manager lives in fear of making a hiring mistake, the truth is, if you insist on perfection you may never hire anyone. But you can, in most cases, say with some certainty which candidates won’t work out for whatever reason. Among the ones that look promising, you evaluate them objectively and try to determine if they’re right for your corporate culture. But at some point, there will be a leap of faith involved, because you just can’t know for sure until the person is on the job for real. Be diligent and conscientious, look at qualifications, follow up on references, and use your intuition, and you’re far less likely to make an expensive hiring mistake.
Many hiring managers in fields like pharmaceuticals and biotech enlist in the services of biotech recruiters to make the hiring process faster, and to have another “gatekeeper” who can make sure the candidates you end up interviewing won’t waste your time. A great pharmaceutical recruiter doesn’t take the place of the hiring manager, but makes the hiring manager’s work easier. If you’re ready to start your candidate search, we encourage you to get in touch. While perfection may be impossible, the right recruiter can get you much closer to it.