3 Lessons Learned From Recruiting In Biotech And Pharma

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3 Lessons Learned From Recruiting In Biotech And Pharma

October 20, 2014

By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com

While recruiting the best in the business can be difficult in any industry, securing new staff is particularly challenging for biotech and pharma employers due to the highly specialized skills most positions require, stiff competition for candidates, and the changeable nature of the marketplace. Fortunately, these obstacles are surmountable. Whether your company is in need of clinical research scientists or process development engineers, consider these three lessons every biopharma recruiter needs to learn.

1. Use the right tools to find specialized biotech and pharma talent.

From knowledge of GCP and ICH guidelines to experience with aseptic processing, SIP, and CIP, biotech and pharma jobs require professionals with a highly specialized skill set. If you want to find one who has everything your particular position requires, you’ll need to cast a wide net using an array of online recruiting resources from social media to job boards and your company employment website.

Job boards are particularly popular with both job seekers and recruiters. According to a study by Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm, 87 percent of Baby Boomers, 82 percent of Generation X and 77 percent of Generation Y professionals turn to job boards first when searching for opportunities online. Another study found that 45 percent of HR professionals have found candidates on job boards. That’s more than the number who have hired through their company website (18 percent) or employee referrals (17 percent).

While online job aggregators—such as Indeed—reach a wide audience, many of the professionals who see your posting will be in industries other than biotech and pharma. Niche job boards such as BioSpace, on the other hand, target the specialized talent pool you need. Their industry news feeds attract passive candidates in addition to professionals actively seeking new employers. That adds up to a large pool of potentials; according to the Randstad Pharma Engagement Study, 51 percent of biotech and pharma employees plan to seek new opportunities within the next six months.

2. Emphasize the advantages your biotech or pharma company offers.

Whether you’re located within a biopharma hotbed—including Biotech Bay, Biotech Beach, Pharm Country, and Genetown—with a higher concentration of industry opportunities, or in a geographic area with fewer biotech and pharma companies, there is always competition for the best professionals. If you want to secure them for your team, you need to emphasize the advantages your company offers.

When identifying these advantages, consider both the tangible and intangible. Tangible advantages include professional training and mentoring programs, internal advancement opportunities, and a competitive salary and benefits package. Intangible benefits include the quality of life in your geographic area: affordable housing prices, low crime rates, great schools, and plentiful recreation and entertainment resources. Communicate these advantages at every step of the recruiting process.

3. Prepare for fluctuating hiring needs.

Change is a near constant in the biotech and pharma industry. Product development can take decades, and internal and external factors frequently affect timelines. You must consider this when planning to address your hiring needs. If you hire too many new employees too soon, you’ll increase labor costs unnecessarily. However, hiring new employees too late is equally dangerous, as product launch delays are also detrimental to the bottom line.

It’s essential that you maintain open channels of communication with every department in your biotech or pharma organization as well as senior management. This will better enable you to anticipate business developments that may require a change in hiring strategy. Additionally, building a pool of qualified candidates and developing relationships with them can reduce your time to hire whenever you need to bring on additional staff.

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