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Managing Contractor Start Dates

Managing Contractor Start Dates

10 months ago by Alex Butcher


This case study demonstrates Next Phase’s ability to consult with multiple parties, in order to agree the best possible outcome to a problem beyond everyone’s control.


A leading global Pharmaceutical company (“the client”) offered contract IXRS positions to two contractors (“the candidates”) who were being represented by Next Phase. The client indicated that they wanted to onboard both of them on the same starting date, but the candidates themselves originally wanted different start dates – this was the first obstacle. Then, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company’s clinical pipelines were altered and they considered a 3-month delay to the contractors joining them. This created some challenges to organise an appropriate start date which would be agreeable to both candidates, as well as fitting in with the company’s changes in priority.


Organising a start date for a candidate can be complex at the best of times, but it became more complex here because there were two candidates to organise and there was the added uncertainty caused by the pandemic. As always, the best solution is reached through facilitating clear and open communication from all sides.

To address the first obstacle, we consulted with the two candidates (individually at first, then together) to discuss why it would be a good idea for them to start on the same day and with no further delay, and took on board the candidates’ thoughts on these points. When the agreed start date was then potentially going to be delayed due to the coronavirus, we consulted with the client, highlighting the advantages of the candidates continuing to start on the original agreed start date, rather than having this pushed back. There was a compelling argument to keep the original start date, to benefit the candidates’ onboarding process. They would have ample time to read and understand SOPs, get to know their colleagues and collaborative partners well, and establish systems and process in time for when the clinical studies started up again in earnest.

We also described the potential risk of one or both of the candidates withdrawing their acceptance, which would mean beginning the hiring process again, which could result in a delay of 4-5 months (including typical notice periods). We also highlighted the effect that a delayed start date would have on the candidates, given that they would potentially be out of work for 2-3 months if they could not delay their exit dates from their previous employer. This would have caused undue worry, which we were keen to avoid on the candidates’ behalf.

The Result

Despite all parties having different priorities and needs, we helped everyone to understand each other’s perspectives. The decision was eventually made by the client to keep the original agreed start date, even though the candidates would not be so busy during the first 2-3 months in their new contracts. We reassured the candidates that they would be welcomed into the team just as they would normally, though the workload would be different to what was portrayed to them originally. We also reassured the client that the candidates were still extremely keen to join them and get started, appreciating the fact that a lot of clinical pipelines have been affected by the pandemic and that everyone would need to adjust to circumstances beyond everyone’s control.

Next Phase is a specialist life science recruitment agency. Please call us on 01403 216216 to discuss how we can help you with your next recruitment project.