Know What You Want Before You Start Recruiting

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Before beginning any important task or endeavor, preparation is essential. This stands true for pretty much everything, from professional sports to a presentation for your sales team and everything in between. Knowing what your objectives are before diving in is the key to success.

The alternative—not knowing or being able to articulate exactly what you need to accomplish—will only lengthen the process and may require continual adjustment along the way. Since your time is valuable, it’s in your best interests to do some of the legwork prior to setting out, that way, not a moment will be wasted.

This philosophy holds true for executive recruiting as much as it does for a press conference. If you are just beginning the recruitment process, ask yourself: do you know what it is you are trying to accomplish? What does your ideal candidate look like and what is the role he or she will need to fulfill relative to other employees and departments?

Articulating this role may necessarily involve bringing others into the conversation. Discussions need to be had with regard to skills, experience, culture, budget, and salaries prior to launching a recruiting initiative. You will need to include others from the team into which you are hiring and ensure that their needs are going to be met.

All this should take place before you speak to a recruiter. It’s a time-consuming and costly process, but the right preparation on your part will drastically narrow the scope of your search and allow you to focus solely on the candidates who are a good fit.

“I will know the right person when I meet them” and other self-defeating statements

If what it boils down to is the “I’ll know it when I see it” mentality, you’re already off on the wrong foot. If you’re counting on a hunch to guide your decisions, you may be unduly lengthening the process and wasting a lot of your own and others’ time and effort. The truth is, your recruiter can’t climb inside your head to understand what this ideal looks and sounds like, so you will need to make an effort to help them. Giving them some kind of basis from which to base their search always helps.

Arguably, one of the biggest issues in managing the recruitment process is that many employers first seek to replace like with like. When one employee leaves, you make an effort to replace them with somebody of the same or similar ilk. But, have you considered exactly what that person was doing? Were they taking on tasks outside of their “official” job description? Has the position evolved during their tenure, and is that job description still valid?

Soft skills, unseen attributes

Quite often, a high-level management or executive position requires a skill set beyond the actual job description. Depending on the individual, they may have evolved their job description considerably during the time they were in it.

Over time, you may have come to depend on their insight on specific tasks though it may not have been part of the scope of the job they were originally hired for. Being able to identify these details in advance will allow you to think outside the box when recruiting – and will give your recruiter something to run with. After all, a recruiter only knows what you tell them. The more you can share, the more efficient the process will be.

Actionable steps to a successful recruitment process

If we can now agree that preparation is the key to recruitment success, let’s look at some steps you can take to get that process off to a good start.

1. Seek the input of all stakeholders

Especially if you are filling a position that has already been vacated, you may not be aware of everything that person was doing. Speak to management and other high-level colleagues and find out what the real value proposition consists of. Are there others that are functioning in that role already? What are the gaps you are trying to fill?

2. What kind of person are you seeking?

Beyond experience and skills, you must understand the culture you are recruiting into. Culture often may include micro-cultures within the greater culture. Your new hire must mesh with the established culture, so the personality fit is going to be crucial. Who are they going to report to? Who is going to report to them? What are the issues or barriers, as you see them?

3. How will we evaluate each candidate?

Having a well-defined set of standards and criteria will help your recruiter more easily benchmark a candidate’s skills. It makes for a more streamlined process if everybody is using the same standards during the evaluation process.

4. What are we willing to offer to the right candidate?

The job market is very competitive in life sciences. Beyond salaries, you should have an idea of what you are willing to offer your ideal candidate. Are there areas in which you are willing to be flexible, or are there perks you can offer that would make your proposal even more attractive? Find out what your top competitors offer and see if you can compete.

Walk through these steps thoughtfully and you will be well on your way to a successful recruiting process. Your results will be more consistent and you will reach the finish line with a minimum of stress and wasted time.

If you have any questions or comments, call to speak to one of our recruiters today.

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