Closing the Deal with Candidates in the Life Sciences Sector

Klein Hersh International has just released a new report focused on key strategies that underlie the courting and closing process surrounding candidates. Let’s take a closer look.

May 10, 2018 – The competitive landscape of the life sciences industry is transforming executive recruiting. “Growing pressure to rapidly advance scientific discovery and expand market share is making the competition to attract top talent as fierce as ever,” this according to a new report authored by Dan Strauss, client partner and head of the pharmacovigilance and risk management practice at Klein Hersh International.

Raising the stakes even more for pharma and biotech companies is the current misalignment in the talent market, where demand for the most qualified professionals is outpacing the number of available candidates to fill key roles, the report said. Compounding matters further is the reality that the best senior executive talent is probably being courted by multiple companies. “When a top candidate hits the market – whether they are passive or active – they are more than likely going to receive multiple offers,” said the report.

These dynamics heighten the need for companies to improve the courting and closing process for attracting and hiring top professionals. “Through our deep engagement in the life sciences industry and experience in supporting hundreds of executive hires annually, my partners and I believe there are a few key strategies that underlie a successful courting and closing process,” said Mr. Strauss.

Set Expectations Early

Setting expectations is one of the biggest considerations in securing your ideal candidate, he said. Starting with the first conversation, you should establish a tempo of openness and mutual respect, the report said. Be transparent on the hiring process and communicate your company’s policies regarding interviewing multiple candidates, including existing professionals in the organization.

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For these top 50 executive recruiters working in the life science and healthcare sectors, the last decade has been one of transformation. Pressure on pricing, regulatory changes, emerging innovations, growth, and an uncertain political environment have all helped shape a new field of play.

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“Let the candidate know the anticipated timeframe to complete the hiring process and the touch points they can expect along the way,” said Mr. Strauss. “As executive recruiters, one of our roles is to keep both the client and candidates focused on the expectations that have been set, which helps ensure a more efficient hiring process.”

Engage and Educate

It’s important to start selling strong candidates on the company early and often as they move through the hiring process, the report said. “This involves not only explaining why your organization is a good fit, but also communicating information on real-time events and company news, such as product announcements, financial results and acquisitions and how they impact the organization moving forward.”

“We are extra sensitive in working with our clients to stay out in front of the messaging that will impact the courting and closing of candidates,” said Mr. Strauss.

Don’t Change the Rules in the Middle of the Game

With tough competition to attract and close top talent, it’s essential to avoid surprises that can derail the hiring process. If expectations are set on position level and compensation early in the process, candidates should not be led down a path only to be offered a lesser title and salary at the very end. Keeping candidates engaged in a lengthy hiring process is challenging. Surprises and course reversals in the final stages can set the process back to the beginning.

More Opportunities than Talent

To say the life sciences and healthcare sector are experiencing rapid growth and sweeping change would be an understatement. To meet these challenges, healthcare companies desperately need top flight talent. In the process, they (like everyone else) are grappling with which route is best: looking to the largest search providers with the most extensive global reach or turning to specialist boutiques whose talent pipelines often pinpoint senior-level candidates quickly and without restrictions …. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

Living Longer With Better Quality and the Right People
In this interview we conducted last fall, Klein Hersh managing partner Jesse Klein discusses his entry into recruiting — and his passion for working within a sector that is helping to change lives. He also addresses the importance of life sciences and its future impact.

Go for the Close

After finding an ideal candidate, some clients ask, “What if the next candidate is better?” While every hiring situation is unique, Klein Hersh International often advises its clients not to hesitate in making an offer to the candidate that best fits their needs. “Too frequently we hear horror stories from our partners who tried to slow-play one candidate while they make an offer to another candidate with a lower probability of accepting,” said the firm. “When their first offer is declined, and they come back to the backup person, that candidate is either turned off by the process or has accepted a different offer elsewhere.”

How your company courts and closes executive candidates leaves an impression, not only with the candidate community, but the broader marketplace as well. “By using the strategies described here, you can positively impact your company’s brand as an employer, putting you in better stead to achieve the outcomes you desire in your ongoing talent acquisition efforts,” said Mr. Strauss.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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