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Winning the War for Medtech and Biotech Talent

You can secure elusive talent using a blend of recruiting techniques coupled with new lines of organizational thinking that identify and attract the right talent.

April 3, 2015

5 Min Read
Winning the War for Medtech and Biotech Talent

Michael J. Ruiz

Image courtesy of bluebay at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shifting trends in the dynamic medical device, diagnostic, and biotech markets have led to high-stakes competition among companies to recruit top-performing employees, putting a premium on qualified, capable, and competent human capital. When you consider that the medtech, biotech, and related markets in the United States are worth approximately $110 billion and that they are estimated to reach $133 billion by 2016, you would expect an ever-growing pool of talent to match this opportunity-rich environment.

Not so, however. As the global marketplace continues to grow opportunity, pools of qualified employees are not being replenished. Companies are experiencing difficulties in recruiting and attracting top talent in the key areas of engineering, quality assurance, and regulatory affairs, imperiling their ability to keep pace with product development and regulatory compliance. This deficiency, in turn, has stymied innovation and progress in an ever-evolving industry, leading to a dramatic transition in recent years from a company-driven employment market to an ever-shrinking candidate-driven market.

The result? Organizational teams are understaffed and overworked, projects are falling behind schedule, and—in some extreme cases—companies are suffering monetary losses because of unsatisfied customers and delayed responses to worldwide regulatory-agency requests and notifications. This scenario is directly impacting profitability and the bottom line in equal measure, ultimately impinging on manufacturers’ efforts to bring innovation to the market. Finding the right talent to play critical roles is fast becoming the greatest challenge facing the medical device, diagnostic, and biotech industries in 2015.

Wanna win the war for medtech and biotech talent? Here’s how.

1. Image Is Everything
Becoming an employer of choice and attracting the best talent requires progressive thinking that sets a company and a workplace apart from its competitors. Brand yourself as an employer of choice, develop a best practice reputation, and show the industry why people should want to work with you and for you.

2. Process Efficiency
Revamp your interview process, making sure that it’s streamlined, well defined, and built on a tangible matrix of qualifications. Ensure that everyone on the interview and decision-making team—including HR and the recruiters—is on the same page. Knowing that it is risky to make a move, candidates have more options than ever before and are being approached by hiring organizations every day. They will appreciate the climate of certitude.

3. Be Humble
Understand that the best candidates have numerous options available to them. When you ask the time-worn question, “What can you do for me,” they can reply, “Why should I leave my current employer and work for you?” While candidates rarely ask such a question, it is always on the top on their minds. So be prepared to proactively answer the unasked question.

4. Paradigm Shift
Hiring managers or teams must shift their views on how to interview and qualify candidates. Remember that a qualified candidate is no longer a commodity that can be bought easily. Rather than conducting an interview that is designed to determine why you shouldn’t hire a specific candidate, approach the interview with the objective of identifying reasons why you should.

5. Be Clinical
Use a clearly defined interview evaluation checklist that emphasizes data-driven decisions versus subjective gut feeling decisions. When sourcing technically competent talent for mission-critical positions, it’s crucial to use criteria that are blind to subjective influences.

6. First impressions
First impressions are a two-way street—every interview should start by showing candidates why they should want to work for your organization. Tell them about the company’s history, exciting projects, success stories, and the dynamic team they’ll be joining. This sales approach can induce a qualified candidate to go from testing the waters to making the leap.

7. Streamline the Process
The interview process should be as quick and focused as possible. It should consist of no more than three rounds of interviews per candidate, including the initial telephone screen. Each round should be scheduled as quickly as possible to keep the candidates’ excitement and momentum high and to avoid having to compete with other companies for the candidates’ interest. Even passive candidates that have been directly recruited for a specific position begin to put their feelers out once they have gone through the first interview.

8. Find Passive Talent
When in doubt, bring in medical device recruiters and talent-acquisition experts that specialize in the medtech and biotech industries, that have established conduits to qualified employees, and that can work directly on your behalf to bring qualified candidates out of hiding and into your recruitment process. For example, a LinkedIn study has found that at any given time, only 25% of the fully employed workforce is actively looking for new opportunities. At the same time, an additional 15% is “on the cusp,” meaning that while such employees aren’t aggressively looking for new opportunities or applying for jobs, they have put out feelers or have quietly asked their networks about opportunities. The remaining 60% is completely passive; such employees are not looking for new opportunities or even putting out feelers. In other words, 75% of the total candidate pool—consisting of passive and on-the-cusp candidates—will remain beyond your grasp unless you engage the services of a trusted specialist that can identify and reach out to it on your behalf.

Michael J. Ruiz is the CEO and managing partner of Global Talent Solutions Inc., a California-based recruitment and talent acquisition firm. Reach him via this link.

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