Life science organisations face significant challenges in finding the right talent and frequently need to turn to external agencies for help.
Recruitment agencies and search and selection firms have both the expertise in finding life science professionals who aren’t active in the marketplace as well as deep and far reaching networks across the industry, often making them invaluable in order to not compromise ongoing projects.
So what role does the recruitment partner play?
The experience of working with a recruitment agency should be a rewarding experience, saving you valuable time to manage other aspects of you’re the HR role. In essence they should be able to deliver the following benefits:
- Access to specialist hard-to-find expertise not active in the marketplace
- Significant time savings, often being able to have a shortlist of candidates with you within five working days, sometimes sooner
- Full candidate and interview process management, minimising the workload for the client
- Transparent and timely feedback throughout the process
- Expert advice on a variety of HR and recruitment related issues, from talent attraction to remuneration packages
- Deep insight into the candidate market
How do you get off to the right start?
So once you have selected the agency to work with you need to focus on one of the most important parts to get right: the brief. In the ideal scenario the agency should work as a representative and an extension of your own organisation, and to achieve this, the recruiter needs to have a detailed understanding of not only the role itself but also your organisation, its culture, the team constellation etc.
Which recruiter should you work with?
It’s obviously down to preference but below are a few pointers to help you make the right decision.
- Are they specialists in your market?
- Are they recruiting for your discipline?
- How long have they been operating for?
- Who have they recruiter for previously?
- What’s their reputation in the market?
- What value added services can they offer?
- What evidence can they provide to demonstrate their track record?
- Can they commit to working to an agreed deadline?
- Are they willing to come to meet with you?
- What comfort do you have in their ability treat any assignment with confidentiality?
Always provide a full job specification
It’s of utmost importance that you provide a detailed job description from the outset to allow the consultancy to work effectively, finding the right match for the role.
Know your budget/have sign off
In order to not delay the recruitment process, it’s important that the budget is signed off appropriately at the time of releasing the roles to your recruitment partner. Doing all the preparatory work in a timely manner minimises the risk of delays and escalating costs.
Be realistic about the time it takes to review CVs and to carry out the interview process. Although it can be a smooth journey in many cases, there are several factors that can throw a spanner in the works. If you are aware of this and realistic with your expectations, you should be able to take any hiccups in your stride.
Focus on developing a successful relationship with your recruitment partner
In some cases the relationship between HR and recruitment consultancies can be a little strained. This can have its roots in a variety of different issues, none of which we’ll go into here. We do want to stress however, that having a good relation with your partner has every chance of producing better results for both parties.
Focus on building the relationship, establishing clear lines of communication and developing a framework for how the relationship should work. And be open and clear about how you would like the relationship to work. Most agencies are more than happy to fit around your process as it will save everyone time and more focus can be placed on the job in hand.
Communication is important
During the recruitment process considerable time and effort is invested in managing the candidate’s expectations and keeping the interest high. In a candidate scarce market, the competition for the best talent is fierce and candidates are often considering several positions simultaneously.
To not communicate promptly and to keep the recruitment partner posted on any development could mean that the candidate might be lost to a competitor.
Listen to your recruitment partner
The consultants you are working with are experts in recruitment in the areas they work in. Their advice on the candidates in the process, how they match up against each other, the salary / contract rate expectations, can make a considerable difference to your decision making and ultimately the success of the hire.
They will also try to keep you informed about whether you’re about to lose a candidate, what it was in the process that led to that and what could be done in the future to minimise the risk of it happening again. They will also be able to advise on remuneration bands for certain skill sets, how scarce they are in the current market and whether you are likely to be able to find what you’re looking for at the price you are prepared to pay.