23 Jan 7 Ways to Hire Top BioPharma Teams:
7 Ways to Hire Top BioPharma Teams:
1. Life Science professionals look for challenges and opportunities, not “skills required.”
One of the top recruiting mistakes people often make is to describe a laundry list of requirements. I understand that someone, some people, sat down and painstakingly came up with the perfect words to describe the ideal background. However, it doesn’t sell and people may disqualify themselves based on a skill mentioned that really isn’t imperative to excel in the role.
2. Use Performance Profiles, not job descriptions – what people will do with their skills and experience in the job
A Performance Profile, when done properly, tells potential candidates what they will be doing in the role. For example, what role would you be more attracted to?
- “Communicate with the regulatory bodies”
- Have direct contact with some of the top staff at CDER to discuss a novel pathway forward a NME that is entirely unique to any other products that have come before it.
The responsibility section of a job description only tells what the day to day responsibilities are. It’s boring and it only tells the reader exactly what they are currently doing. As in the example above, if you’re someone that is already communicating with agencies, then why leave and do the same exact thing or the company down the street? Unless they are entirely desperate to leave their current situation, then there’s no motivation to look into it. Do you only want to hire desperate people?
3. Advertise in a way that attracts top performers looking for jobs
After more than 15 years conducting search in the Life Sciences, we’ve discovered that there are 5 motivators that any top professional looks for when considering a move outside of their current company.
- Professional Growth/Challenge
- Quality of life
- Management and team
- Company direction
Make it a SOP to design your advertisement and your follow up discussions around these areas. Spend less time upfront discussing what the company “is looking for” and more time addressing the needs of the candidates in these specific areas.
4. Interviews – dig into accomplishments and career growth
If you’ve done what’s recommended in #2, then use those as a template for the interview process. Dig deep into the candidate’s accomplishments. What role did they play? Have them walk through their decision making. What was the final result for the company once that accomplishment was complete? Then determine if that is the level of impact you want for your company. Also, ask about career growth and don’t always use title as an indicator. There are a myriad of reasons a person’s title may not increase, or even sometimes decrease, over the years so never assume.
5. Look for competency and motivation
Although it sounds basic, when our firm debriefs candidates from interviews, we’re often surprised how little they are asked about their competency for the job they are interviewing for. Rarely are they asked about what they have done in the past that compared to what the company is looking to accomplish. In the simplest way possible, explain what you believe this incoming person will be doing and then for them to explain in detail what they have done similar. Simple, but very rarely done. As a wrap up, ask why. Why did they do it? What motivated them then and what motivates them now. Why do they get out of the bed in the morning and work on a project that, statistically, has a snowballs chance in Hades to see FDA approval. Sometimes the answers themselves are change your whole viewpoint.
6. Use and evidence based assessment, rather than emotion
It’s always a good idea to check your emotion at the door and force yourself not to pass judgement on a candidate in the first 10 minutes. Go into every interview looking for reasons why they would be a fit, and THEN focus on the reasons why not. Above all, you’re looking to see if this person across from you can help the company achieve its objectives. You’re not assessing whether they would fit in at the Friday social hour, how they would play outfield on the company softball team, or if their personal life would impede with their work. Focus on how what find evidence from their past roles that would dictate their future success for the company… not for you.
7. Utilize strong selling alongside great jobs, a strong interview process, and hiring manager involvement
Bring all of the above together. Know what motivates candidates and sell to those points. Educate everyone in the interview process on what objectives you’d like for this person to accomplish when coming on board and what projects they will be working on. Instruct them to ask questions surrounding those objectives. Lastly, hiring is not an HR function. A recent poll asked a cross section of managers, “what determines your success the most?” and the answer was their team. Without a great team, no manager can be successful. Take an active part. Your job is to hire the best and build an outstanding team, so it’s in your best interest to take an active part from the beginning and educate your recruiting team (internal/external) on the points above.