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​Uncovering the Top 3 Pain Points in Recruitment That Can Undermine Your Hiring Success

23 April 2024 by L. Ashworth

Uncovering the Top 3 Pain Points in Recruitment That Can Undermine Your Hiring Success

One of the greatest challenges facing the life sciences industry today is attracting and retaining suitably skilled and experienced personnel. Funding is tight, venture capital investors are wary, and opportunities for innovation are limited by the financial and political uncertainties in our operating environment.

In order for both established and early stage European biotech companies to progress ambitious growth plans, launch new products, and undertake the research, development and trials that will see the UK's biotech industry maintaining its position at the top of the global scientific superpower leader board, it is essential to overcome the top three pain points that can challenge your recruitment campaigns and jeopardise your hiring success.

Pain point 1. Attracting the right candidates.

Life sciences candidates, particularly those applying to start-up and scaleup organisations, must not only possess relevant experience and qualifications but must be proactive, technically proficient, able to work alone and as part of a team and self-motivated.

Finding specialist biotech talent with excellent soft skills and whose aspirations align with the goals of the hiring organisation can be a challenge, particularly when competing against larger organisations with deeper pockets.

It is vitally important that hiring organisations think outside the box and do not unnecessarily discount candidates with relevant skills and experience that has been gained outside of formal life sciences environments or that is not supported by a formally recognised qualification.

Many talented candidates will have the requisite skill set and can pursue formal training opportunities once they are established in post. Indeed, offering to fund an individual's career development is a significant selling point for organisations and can be the difference between attracting suitable candidates and failing to secure the necessary talent.

It is essential that life sciences organisations create and nurture their brand, engage in professional forums and generate excitement about their plans and mission. They need to highlight the excellent opportunities that they can offer talented candidates and promote the well-being and development initiatives that are offered to their workforce.

It is important that life sciences organisations advertise their vacancies on the right platforms in order to stand the best chance of attracting the right talent for their roles, so it is always worth spending some time performing market research to identify which platform is most frequented by the target talent pool.

Pain point 2. Complicated recruitment processes.

Although it is necessary to ensure that candidates who progress through the recruitment process are suitably skilled and experienced to perform the duties of the role on offer, this process must be as streamlined as possible to maintain the candidates' interest and minimise the risk of drop-outs. Drop-outs are frustrating for recruiters as they represent wasted time and effort, extra cost and they can also have a reputational impact.

Lengthy, complicated or convoluted recruitment processes are inefficient and ineffective. To secure the strongest candidate, it is necessary to move fast to avoid losing them to a competitor. When a recruitment process is overly long, the risk of strong candidates dropping out to accept a job offer from your competition is high. To reduce the risk of drop-outs during the recruitment process, you must implement agile hiring methodologies and flexible processes that accommodate a candidate's needs whilst delivering the information that the organisation needs to make effective decisions.

To do this, you must review your hiring process and identify any pinch points that exist. Use data from previous recruitment campaigns to identify the points at which candidates typically begin dropping out and use this to inform future campaigns. By eliminating needless barriers, increasing communication and using AI technology to perform a first pass of candidate application forms and CVs, it is possible to accelerate the process and increase the chances of securing the best candidate for your role.

Pain point 3. High attrition rate among new starters.

Once you have secured your new starter, you need to keep them. Too many new starters resign within their first few months when their expectations do not align with the reality of their new role, when they are left feeling unsupported or when their salary and benefits offer insufficient compensation for the workload that they are assigned.

To overcome this challenge, it is essential that biotech organisations are transparent in their job adverts with regard to the salary and benefits package the successful candidate will receive. They must explain their expectations with regards to working hours, location, holiday allowance, travel and workload. They must be honest about any flexibility that they can accommodate during the application process and not make promises that they cannot keep. Not only will this cost them staff, but it will affect their reputation as trustworthy employers.

Organisations would be wise to prioritise and formalise an onboarding process which ensures that new starters are adequately supported for the first few months while they establish their own network and understand where their role fits into the organisation's hierarchy. They should also be provided with the necessary pastoral care to embed them into the organisation and to help them become productive members of the workforce.

This can begin from the point at which they are notified that they are successful by sending a personalised welcome letter that includes details of a nominated point of contact who will support and integrate them into the organisation. They should be invited to attend formal and informal events to raise their awareness of current issues, challenges, projects and future plans. They must be provided with details of escalation routes for any problems that they encounter, such that they are not left adrift and can learn from the experience of those more established personnel.

By overcoming these three pain points, you will be set up for hiring success in your future recruitment campaigns.

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