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Executive search consultants that focus on life sciences recruiting have industry knowledge that has been developed over years of searches with different clients and functions. They’re able to provide clients with industry insight and act as consultants on challenges related to a specific search. In regards to candidates, they know who to engage qualified candidates and how to navigate the life sciences landscape.

Below you will find an overview of what a life sciences recruiting process looks like.

Search Onboarding & Client Analysis

This is by far the most crucial phase of an executive search process and involves a deep analysis and understanding of a client’s organization, challenges they’ve faced, and why they are an organization that an ideal candidate would want to work for. This analysis includes:

  • High-level overview of the clients organization and what it’s like to work there
  • What projects are in the pipeline on and what the future of the company looks like
  • Position details and the value this position adds to the clients organization, pain points and hurdles the client has faced while trying to fill this position
  • Key opportunities for the new executive, including: Salary, relocation, other perks and employment benefits
  • Defining an ideal candidate profile that fits into the corporate culture and organizational structure

Search Prep

After completing the initial analysis and terms are agreed upon, the search prep begins. This phase focuses on search preparations that include project plan and milestones, target companies and locations, verbiage and key outreach talking points, and internal resources that can be used to accelerate completion of the search.

  • Assisting clients in drafting accurate and compelling job descriptions to draw in a pool of qualified candidates
  • Creating a search strategy that includes target companies, target locations, search keywords, list creation, defining search timeline and milestones
  • Identifying core selling points and outreach scripts
  • Talent mapping and ongoing qualification revisions
  • Identifying leads, referrals, and network connections

Identify & Attract Talent

After search preparations are complete, the search can begin. This phase is all about momentum. A search firm will begin outreach to potential candidates, usually “passive talent,” and the qualification process begins. Every conversation contributes to refining a search and gathering new knowledge to target the best candidates.

  • Candidate outreach begins. This can be from internal leads, phone, email, social media, industry connections, and executives from other companies
  • Conduct detailed interviews and qualifying conversations
  • Using internal database to identify potential candidates from previous searches
  • Mapping organizations & gathering referrals
  • A shortlist of qualified candidates and leads is created

Candidate Presentation & Management

This phase begins when a short list of qualified candidates have been identified and are motivated to make a career change. A search firm will begin to present these candidates to their client for a first round of interviews, followed by a debrief and feedback on the submitted candidates. This feedback is used to further refine a search and narrow the talent pool.

  • Talent assessments are complete and thoroughly vetted candidates are presented to the client
  • A search firm will act as an intermediary, facilitating interviews and communications
  • Some of the best executive search firms services should include rigorous interview preparations for candidates
  • Once a client begins evaluating these candidates, the recruiter acts as an extension of your team in the decision-making process.
  • Client feedback and search revision

Offer & Negotiation

Once a candidate is chosen and a client would like to make an offer, a search firm continues to facilitate communications and negotiations. It is in everyone’s best interest to make sure all needs are met for the client and the potential new hire. Executive search firms don’t want to just make a placement, they want a placement that will be an asset to your organization for years to come.

  • Candidate is chosen and offer negotiations begin
  • Negotiations might include: salary, bonus and stock incentives, relocation packages, etc
  • When both parties needs are met an offer letter is presented to the candidate
  • When a placement is made the search firm will continue communications to ensure the new hires transition goes smoothly and that both parties are still satisfied.

Further Reading: A Comprehensive Guide to Life Sciences Executive Search

Anatomy of an Actual Life Sciences Search

Marcus & Associates partners with transformative biotechs, biopharmas, and pharmas to bring them full slates of highly-qualified, motivated candidates. To better understand our life sciences recruiting capabilities, please review the actual statistics and results of a recent life sciences search we conducted for a mid-sized oncology & hematology-focused biotech in the Maryland area.

Practice Area Leader: Ray Rodriguez, SVP, Marcus & Associates

Role: VP of Clinical Research, Oncology

  • Early/Late stage development, pipeline includes monoclonal antibodies, IO and small molecules

Please find the actual statistics for this search below:

Number Date Completed Comments
Search Agreements Signed: 8/15/18
Candidates Presented: 6 9/25/18 Client was surprised/impressed with the fact that none of our candidates were ‘known’ to their company- they had previously looked at 60 CVs over the previous 8 months
Telephone Interviews:  6 All candidates were selected to receive telephone interviews
Onsite Interviews:  4 Four candidates were selected for onsite interviews
Hireable Candidates According to our Client 3* *One of our candidates who was deemed too junior for the VP level is in the process of accepting an Executive Director level role with this client
Signed Offer Acceptance Letter  1 11/30/2018 Candidate of choice was recommended by one of our contacts within the FDA’s CBER organization

Bottom line:

In the above case study, this client, like many other organizations, grew tired of paying full retainers to firms that could not deliver results in a short time frame. They had previously received multiple turned-down offers due to improperly vetted candidates costing them time and money.