Life Science Recruitment Strategies

The recruitment industry is not short of an acronym.

Like many specialist industries, part of the natural evolution of niche industry terminology can seem complex, especially to outsiders. This is very much the case with recruitment and a typical example of this is how employers understand the breadth – and limitations – of different types of recruitment, such as permanent recruitment services, contract services, temp hiring, contingent hiring, RPOs, retained searches and life science executive search.

Talent acquisition can be easily frustrated by simple misunderstandings of basic industry terminology, and the expectations around how those recruitment services are provided.

Why is this important? Consider the below:

  • “Life science employers in the north of England are facing skills shortages…45% of employers felt they lacked appropriately skilled applicants and…30% felt there were too few applicants”.
  • “100% of organisations we spoke to have experienced difficulties filling vacancies due to candidates lacking technical skills, experience or qualifications”.
  • “One of the greatest challenges…for pharmaceutical and life science companies is filling vacant positions and decreasing the time-to-fill for those positions”.

In my sector, speed of hire is essential. Quality Assurance candidates are high-value and in incredible demand, so understanding how to engage them – specifically, how you hire QA Professionals and on what terms – goes a long way in setting the right expectations for all parties.

I wanted to analyse the primary recruitment service I provide – contract recruitment, and why it serves my sector so well when compared to executive search recruitment and permanent recruitment methodologies.

What is contract recruitment?

Contract recruitment is the support of key talent into roles that have fixed-term, short-term, and time-limited expectations attached.

These are definitive placements, requiring talent for limited periods, often engaged and placed via rapid turnarounds and at short notice.

Within life sciences, the sort of talent who work in this flexible, high-demand sector are of a very specific type – they are self-starters, highly qualified, niche operators, with a long list of proven contract experience and fantastic references to boot.

The trick to contract recruitment is expectation setting: employers need to be aware that short-term placements of in-demand talent requires a flexible budget and agile people-management skills to engage the best talent available.

Also, coupled with rigorous expectation setting are new working regulations (IR35) which have significantly impacted contract recruitment strategies and approaches.

As specialists within the Quality Assurance industry, many of our contractors work within IR35 rulings. As such, we have incorporated off-payroll compliance advice and due diligence into our recruitment support processes. You can read more about IR35 and how we support our contract clients here.

What is permanent recruitment?

Permanent recruitment is what most people think of when they think of recruitment – a simple relationship between employer, recruiter and candidate that results in a single, long-term placement.

Perm recruiters often sit in the grey area between contract recruiters and retained models of recruitment – for all intents and purposes they are full-time members of your recruitment and HR team, utilising both the extensive referral and active recruitment network held by recruiters, and dipping into the passive candidate market to headhunt untapped talent.

However, perm recruitment generally covers one placement, and the recruiter works on a no-win, no-fee basis – ideal for single, important hires within niche requirements.

What is a executive search service?

Life Science Executive search services are more structured, long term, and discreet strategies of hiring – you retain a recruiter on your team to provide consistent, bespoke recruitment services and executive talent acquisition for an agreed time, often based on monthly, quarterly, or placement-by-placement fee structures and commitments.

This sort of rolling mid- to long-term arrangement suits companies going through growth stages or building new leadership teams, where the real work of recruiting is attacking specific, niche passive candidates across multiple candidate channels.

This form of retained executive search function does exactly what it’s meant to do – provides hands-on, longer-term recruitment services, over a long period, leveraging a whole suite of recruitment techniques like employer branding, direct employer marketing, jobs advertisement, social media outreach, executive referral network curation and more.

Assure Bio Recruitment & Consultation

The bottom line.

When factors like hiring timescales, seniority of hire and budget are critical deciding factors in what sort of recruitment service you need, you need a recruitment service that is flexible and agile enough to meet your demands.

I return again and again with my customers to “your needs” – whatever recruitment format you settle for has to be right for you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recruitment, so getting the basic recruitment process expectation right before opening the recruiting door is a vital step in curating a sustainable, efficient hiring culture.

For support on your Quality Assurance and QP recruitment plans for 2022 please Contact AssureBio.