At first thought, it may seem a little far-fetched to think that choosing a recruitment partner can mean life or death for your patients. Delve deeper however, and it doesn’t take long to realise just how much of a ripple effect the often polar-opposite methodologies used by recruiters can really mean just that….
If we were to split recruiters into 2 categories (outside of just “great” and “terrible” of course!), you would end up with something like “commercially-led” and “research-led”. Others may use the old term here of “Quantity vs. Quality” but I won’t go there!
Now, there is a place for both types in our industry and this article most certainly isn’t about right and wrong. Moreover, it is just a spotlight on what actually happens once you push the button on an agency instruction.
So, what is the difference???...
Commercially-led methods are typically number-driven sales exercises within KPI-led environments.
Recruitment consultants are focused on hitting basic targets such as call numbers, phone times, new vacancies picked up, number of CVs sent (targeted and speculative), interviews arranged and offers secured.
“Do the numbers and the money will follow” is the mantra.
So this leads to a “production line” approach; sticking up a load of adverts, making mass calls and sending mass copy-and-paste emails and LinkedIn messages to anyone and everyone who has a couple of matching key words in their CV/profile. We’ve all received them!!! The hope of this mass-message approach is that you will find candidates with a matching profile who also happen to be actively looking for a new position.
Now this approach isn’t necessarily wrong. When the target criteria for your new desired hire has a huge pool of talent ready to make applications like in “Big Pharma”, this approach will get the job done quickly and efficiently whilst still securing someone who ticks all your boxes. No matter how many people are alienated by this approach, there will always be more people to contact until the job gets filled – so go for it. No one’s life is likely to be at stake so hey, why not right?
However, if you are looking to hire from a small, fragile talent pool like within the Rare Diseases and CGT world – you may want to think again!
Instructing a commercially-led agency will very quickly lead to these extremely limited talent pools (which are also likely to be inactive and need some persuading to open dialogue) becoming alienated by such an approach and rejecting the opportunity to discuss your critical role in more detail. In Rare Diseases, a wrong or non-hire could mean the breakdown of your extremely fragile KOL network or cause major delays leading to otherwise avoidable product failures. This of course leads to your patients, often with no other hope other than your company, being denied access to your life-saving product…all because inappropriate recruitment methodologies have been adopted.
Research-led and (dare I say it…) “modern” headhunters however, will swap the KPIs for research time, allowing their consultants the space required to fully understand their client/candidate needs. This will then be followed by the design and execution of a detailed recruitment strategy, specifically tailored to them. This will then inevitably involve entering the relevant market space with extreme sensitivity to gain access and buy-in from the small number of identified targets. The recruiter will very quickly become a known name within the target community for all the right reasons, thus enabling them to source and secure some promising talent.
Aside from all that, you’ll also likely discover that the research-led guys have a genuine and ethical interest in the industry, your business and the lives of the “end user”…..
“Serve the patients, and the money will follow” is the mantra here.
So, whilst both methodologies have their place in the industry, the next time you are considering a Rare Disease or Cell & Gene Therapy recruitment partner, it may be worth understanding what type of company they are before pushing the button. Maybe ask yourself….. “Who would my patients choose in this scenario?”