September 30, 2016 – To say the healthcare sector is 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.
In the following interview, Jesse Klein, a managing partner with Horsham, PA-based Klein Hersh, a leading search firm serving the healthcare and life sciences industry, discusses his entry into recruiting — and his passion for working within a sector that is helping to change lives. Mr. Klein addresses how and why his firm has expanded into other areas within healthcare, including biotech, pharma and industry services. And finally he explores the nuances of healthcare sector recruiting, the important role of life sciences and he looks ahead to the future impacts and challenges.
Jesse, Klein Hersh was founded 17 years ago. What decision led you to forming a search firm and why did you focus on healthcare and life sciences?
Klein Hersh was born out of a mix of good fortune (right place at the right time) and a strategic eye towards the future. Much like today, 17 years ago there was no denying that the healthcare industry was evolving at rapid speed and it was, therefore, an industry with enormous potential. Between an aging population that not only expected to live longer, but live with better quality, combined with a technology revolution leading the way for scientific innovation, there was no doubt that the healthcare industry was here to stay in a BIG way. I have always had a passion to help people and create organizational change. The search industry gave me the opportunity to couple those together. There is an indescribable feeling when you can positively alter the direction of a person’s life. It only gets better when understanding that the individuals we are interacting with on a daily basis will play critical roles in the growth and formation of scientific advancement. The butterfly effect we create is something we think about frequently and serves as a main motivator for our company to continue to evolve, grow, and create positive change.
The healthcare industry, though, is very broad based. Has the firm’s focus been equally broad based or are you focusing on specific disciplines within the sector?
We realized very early on that we couldn’t be all things to all people. This was the impetuous to why we built teams to exclusively focus on specific areas within the overall healthcare industry. These areas include life sciences (biotech, pharma), healthcare (managed care, health plans), and industry services (CROs, CMOs, CSOs, software companies, consulting organizations). Then we took the business structure within our largest sector, life sciences, one step further to even better serve the intricacies of the industry by creating teams within discovery, clinical and commercialization. This industry-customized set up allows for critical relationship development among talent, deep industry knowledge, and strategic insights shared strategically across the organization to better, more efficiently serve clients.
Discuss some of the nuances of recruiting in healthcare. Are there certain talent acquisition challenges that do not necessarily exist in other industries and, if so, how are you positioned to address those?
Like any rapidly evolving industry, talent recruitment across the healthcare industries is unbelievably competitive. Healthcare is not only a complex industry featuring a number of different verticals and touch points, but it has and will continue to experience tremendous growth. Because of this, we frankly see more opportunities than there is talent. This was the reason that we built the customized structure within Klein Hersh, featuring functional area specialties that optimizes the extreme demand. Being at the top of our game, sitting side-by-side with key players at every level, and staying on the pulse of real-time market conditions are all critical ingredients to our recipe for mastery of the healthcare executive search industry.
Life sciences seems to be a sub-discipline of healthcare that is expanding rapidly. Why is this and has this created challenges to you as recruiters in identifying qualified senior talent for your clients? In short, can you maintain a solid pipeline?
At Klein Hersh, we are constantly proactively recruiting ahead of client needs. By tapping real-time intel across the industry and amongst our functional teams, we are able to act as one cohesive organization allowing for greater efficiencies, tighter turnarounds, and, in the end, tremendous sustainable value for our clients. This insight and efficiency plays out on a regular basis to benefit our clients. The more we know across an organization, the better we can be at finding the right talent. Within life sciences, the clinical development and the overall lifecycle of a drug have significant impact on job opportunities and available talent. Because of this, it is critical that we stay engaged with all areas of these organizations, and remain ahead of the curve on industry and regulatory developments.
Looking ahead five to 10 years, what will be the most significant changes to the healthcare industry that will affect senior level hiring?
As we all know, technology has forever changed the course and the speed of innovation across every industry. But, technology coupled with the boundless search for ways to live longer, ultimately in a world without diseases, sets up the healthcare industry (across the board) to truly continue fueling itself. The developments within the new world of big data and jaw-dropping advances within scientific technology and platforms (e.g., gene-editing, cell therapy) are beyond extraordinary. It’s an industry that keeps us on our toes every minute and we are thrilled to be in the front row. Building leadership teams and better companies that impact lives, plus helping individual leaders meet their future, is what brings me to work everyday.
Contributed by Christopher W. Hunt, Publisher, Hunt Scanlon Media and Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media