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Hiring is challenging for all Life Sciences businesses right now, even those with extensive resources and the best brand recognition. There are many reasons for this, including a significant national talent shortage in the US, and a skills gap in the Life Sciences sector specifically.
However, for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) talent acquisition is even harder, mostly because they don’t often have the advantages of large budgets and a widespread reputation. At Michael Page Life Sciences, we regularly see that one of the most important factors for smaller companies looking to bring on top talent is having a streamlined hiring process.
Here, we’ll be telling you what transparent hiring means and how it can help you get ahead of the game as a Life Sciences SME.
Utilizing a transparent and streamlined hiring process is the key to hiring top talent in Life Sciences. Often, a candidate’s decision on whether to join an organization or not can come down to how smoothly the hiring process goes. Steven Houben, Executive Director at Michael Page, describes this as “the crucial element” in hiring right now.
But what does a smooth hiring process mean, exactly? You want to have a thorough process that allows the candidate to learn as much as possible about the company (and vice versa), but the interview stage should also be concise. We’ve found that a three-to-five step process is optimal for both parties, allowing them to gather the information they need to make a decision about moving forward to an offer. Doing this successfully requires both transparency and authenticity on both sides.
Daniel Ferzoco, Associate Director at Michael Page, tells us about an instance of this working very well:
We're partnering with a startup working on cancer treatments that is hiring oncology pharma representatives and field clinical representatives all over the country. They’ve had a very fast-paced process, starting with an initial call with the CEO. The next meeting is with the VP of Sales, who is the hiring manager, and their final interview is either with a peer in the organization or the VP of Marketing. So, they’re usually doing three separate hour-long interviews with key decision-makers in the business. It’s thorough, but quick; the whole process can take two weeks and candidates appreciate how agile and maneuverable they can be.
It’s important to note that for some more science-based roles, the process may include a topical presentation of past work and a thorough interview, so your average process may be close to two or three steps before you extend an offer. Whatever the specifics may be, it’s key to be up-front about what the process will look like and condense the timeline as much as possible.
While transparency and agility are of utmost importance to the hiring process for Life Sciences SMEs, there is still more that goes into an effective strategy.
Here are a few ways to give yourself the best chances of success when hiring:
We’ve often found that the key decision drivers for these candidates are the exact science, projects, and research the organization is conducting, as well as the team and company culture. Specifically, we see that organizations which are patient-centric and science-driven are most successful when hiring. This, of course, exists in the DNA of an organization, so should be communicated effectively.
It’s also important to show that people thrive at your organisation. You could use social media to promote case studies demonstrating the success people have achieved at your company, or other marketing assets to showcase your growth. This is especially important if you are launching a new presence in the US market from abroad.
Creating an open and welcoming environment for potential and existing employees is also key to not only attracting the best Life Sciences professionals, but also retaining them. So, ensure that you are also promoting this side of your organization.
When extending an offer, always ensure that the salary (and benefits) you are presenting to a potential employee are attractive and meets the realistic expectations of the candidate. An organization should be making an offer that is commensurate with what the candidate is worth, or at least on par with the average market rate for the position.
Offering the appropriate compensation package to top talent from the start will increase the likelihood that they accept the offer quickly with very little negotiation. It will also minimize your chances of losing out on them because a competing offer was more attractive. This will also demonstrate that you value and invest in your employees.
Whether this means taking the time to have weekly internal meetings about your hiring plans and strategy, or providing thorough feedback after an interview, making an effort throughout the hiring process is key to success. Candidates notice if an organization is invested in this journey, and it does make an impact.
“The clients that are engaged with us the most always yield the most engagement from the candidates,” Ferzoco says.
Be thoughtful in your feedback about interviews, take the time to sit with a resume and evaluate it, and ensure that stakeholders take the time to answer important questions and meet with candidates. If an organization shows that they are making these efforts, it will make a positive impression on the candidate and keep them engaged.
Finding balance in all of this and figuring out how to be transparent and efficient in your hiring process can be a challenge. That is why working with an expert recruitment agency like Michael Page could make all the difference. Not only do we have the expert knowledge and extensive networks to find you the best talent, but we also know exactly how to navigate this process.
Because we are looking out for the best interest of both parties, we can help to facilitate transparent feedback, set appropriate expectations, and even condense the timeline to ensure the process is as thorough, but quick, as possible. We can partner with you to ensure that all of the above boxes are checked and your hiring process is running as smoothly as possible, which will help you to bring the best Life Sciences talent on board.
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