Poor recruitment practices cost the United States pharmaceutical industry millions of dollars, warns a leading US biopharma recruitment agency.
Speaking at the AAPS trade event in New Orleans last week, Mary Driscoll, president of PharmaLogics Recruiting highlighted the hidden costs of badly designed recruitment plans and hiring the wrong person.
"Months of time and millions of $ are wasted on poor recruitment plans," Driscoll told in-Pharmatechnologist. "A common mistake is failing to identify and prioritise key skills at the beginning of the recruitment process."
Only about half of managers in the biopharma sector really understand how to plan and to manage a successful recruitment plan, she added.
“They are the ones who take the time to consult with colleagues about the key skills required for the role and then to complete a full and accurate job description. It's vital to build a skills profile of the type of person the company is looking for at the beginning of the recruitment process - not three months after it has started and apparently failed.”
Distinction should be drawn between essentials skills, experience and characteristic and those which are desirable but not vital.
But too often hiring managers do not accept personal responsibility for their recruitment campaign, said Driscoll based on her 12 years experience of recruitment top, middle and junior positions in the biopharma sector. Often hiring managers will delegate too much responsibility to colleagues, such as human resources executives, rather that leading the recruitment themselves.
That sometimes results in managers having to redefine their search criteria more precisely months into the recruitment campaign.
It also risks appointing the wrong person to the job which can have expensive consequences, said Driscoll. She highlighted research from Watson Pincher Resource Management Group which estimated the cost of appointing the wrong candidate at 24 times that person's salary.
"Think of it this way," said Driscoll. "If a company chooses a new vice president earning a salary of $114,000/year, who proves to be a bad choice, it could ultimately cost the company $2.7m."
As senior personnel become more difficult to recruit, it is even more important to select the right candidate for the vacant role as soon as possible. So review job applications as soon as they arrive; don't wait for a month before reviewing all the candidates together, she said. Any delay risks losing the best candidate who may find a new role elsewhere before they receive your email or phone call.
Another recruiting tactic advised by PharmaLogics Recruiting is to base the hiring plan on finding the two best candidates not simply one person. That minimises the risk of the one individual rejecting the job offer for a variety of reasons once it is made. At least then, the company has a second preferred candidate immediately available and is not forced to begin the recruitment campaign from the beginning.
"Recruitment is too expensive to be left to chance; so plan and carry out your campaign effectively," said Driscoll. "Any other approach is likely to prove an expensive mistake."