By now you’ve surely heard of the Great Resignation, which refers to the record number of employees quitting their jobs in recent months. The biotech/pharma landscape for high quality candidates can best be described as frenzied, with most life science companies having trouble filling open positions.
How can you remain competitive in this candidate-driven market, especially if your talent acquisition staff is also stretched thin? See our tips below to gain a competitive edge by attracting more qualified candidates and adjusting your processes to hire candidates faster.
Almost every aspect of our working lives have shifted, yet some life science companies appear to be expecting that most candidates will be able to work in an office full-time. This expectation may even extend to the interview, requiring the candidate to interview on-site even before the staff has returned the office.
Flexibility on your on-site requirements, in other words offering more work from home and hybrid options, may speed up your hiring as it will lead to more candidates applying for and accepting your offers. Some employers are offering fully remote roles but requiring that a candidate live nearby or be available onsite for periodic meetings. Being more inclusive and flexible in your work location and interviewing requirements will lead to a more competitive talent acquisition positioning, as it shows that your company values work-life balance and personal or family care needs.
Similarly, consider the talent you have available in your geographic location and make adjustments to your expectations and candidate offers. COVID-19 changed the focus of a significant number of biotech/pharma companies, as the need for vaccines, diagnostic tests, and therapeutics surged, while other indications may have taken a back seat. You may be experiencing growth in areas that your leadership never anticipated when the company chose its location.
The good news is that many jobs can now be fully remote, such as bioinformatics, data science, legal, marketing, technical and customer service, and many individual contributors. Expand your thinking on who truly needs to be on-site, and who can work remotely.
If you have positions that must be on-site, there is also good news as candidates that quit their jobs at other companies may be looking for a change of scenery and a relocation as well. Consider being more generous with relocation packages, and list these perks in job descriptions to attract more applicants. The Great Resignation has also brought about questions of fair compensation and pay equity, so consider whether salary transparency, either in the job description or a pay range given (not requested) in the first interview, is possible.
While virtual meeting technologies have made interviewing easier, there are even more ways you can speed up your hiring process to win over top candidates. It may seem easiest to schedule interviews sequentially, for example, candidate must get the “thumbs up” from interviewer one before proceeding to interviewer two, and so on. This strategy draws out the process for everyone.
Instead, take time up front and try to schedule a candidate’s virtual interviews all in one day. The benefits are a faster process, giving you the competitive advantage to make an offer quickly, and a better experience for the candidate. You likely already know a lot about the candidate due to their LinkedIn profile and resume. If they’re a promising candidate, they’re worth the time to get the full perspective on them before making a decision. This practice is also more equitable as it ensures that no candidate is turned down due to one discussion that didn’t go well with an interviewer.
Consider also that every candidate’s experience is important and can have long term effects on your recruitment branding—positively or negatively. When dealing with a large number of candidates, there may be instances in which there is a drop off in communications about the position due to hectic schedules and demands placed on talent acquisition teams.
Communication with the candidate throughout the process and making sure they understand the steps and the outcome is key. In this competitive market, giving candidates the “white glove treatment” throughout the interview process could help you not only win the hire, but also help with referrals or future open positions.
Guest Author: Mary Canady has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is the founder of Biotech Networks, the leading resource for more than 50K life scientists to connect, learn, and grow. Dr. Canady has led marketing and communications teams to meet business objectives at large global life science companies as well as at biotech startups. A tireless advocate and mentor to life scientists, she offers presentations about networking and careers regularly. Canady is also a leader in advancing science communication, advocacy, and diversity and has led organizations and teams to further her life’s mission to empower every scientist to make a bigger impact.
Get our latest hiring and workplace insights delivered straight to your inbox