By Jim Rudman, CEO, Ashton Tweed
The use of retained search is an exceptional tool for companies in the life science industries, especially when attempting to find top-quality talent with industry expertise. Retained search saves companies both time and money when trying to locate senior-level candidates to hire:
When filling senior-level positions, obviously it is critical not to make hiring mistakes. The risks are simply too high and the results could be detrimental. Situations of this nature must be handled with care. By taking advantage of retained search firms, you eliminate a lot of the risk involved during the hiring process. As opposed to contingent placement agencies or in-house recruiting departments, retained search firms offer meticulous research, extensive talent banks, and thorough investigations of candidates. Instead of working on many projects at a time, their recruiters work on only a handful of projects, giving your placement the proper attention it deserves. In addition, their work is guaranteed. This promise acts as a safety net when the stakes are high.
Retained search firms have a wider reach of potential employees than other resources. Why? Not only do they have a continuously growing database of networking contacts, but they also have access beyond people who are actively looking for jobs – what they call “passive” candidates. When trying to fill a placement without a retained search firm, you typically have access to candidates who are currently looking to leave their job or who are unemployed – basically only people who come to you. However, retained search firms extend their search to currently employed candidates as well, ensuring that you hire the best possible employee, not just the best of who is available.
In the life sciences, companies are often looking for very specific talent in extremely narrow fields. Searching for a senior-level employee with a rare therapeutic focus, for example, would take a lot of time and energy. It often can’t be done without the expert help and industry knowledge that specialty retained search firms provide. Additionally, recruiting is a learned art. The people who work for executive search firms do this for a living, and therefore, their experience surpasses what others can do. Recruiters have excellent researching skills and people skills, making it easier for them to determine whether a person is qualified and if they fit into your company’s culture.
Professional executive search firms deal with all of the communications between a company and a candidate. They are experts at handling delicate situations and negotiations, which is an essential skill when speaking with senior-level candidates. The relationship they create and nurture between the three parties is extremely important when developing trust and navigating through any difficulties or complications. Their ability to read a situation and gauge how to move forward accelerates the process and ensures a better chance at finding the perfect candidate for your team.
Filling high-level positions takes a lot of time, and time is money. Executive search firms produce better results, offsetting the cost and guaranteeing that you get more for your investment. Turnover cost has been estimated as high as 150% of the position’s annual salary, which is a lot of money for a senior-level role. So the longer the position goes unfilled, the more money is lost. In the long run, executive search firms will complete the search more quickly than others and provide more highly qualified candidates, at a lower price.
Searching for mid- to senior-level candidates is time consuming. By giving this responsibility to current employees or HR departments, you are taking time away from their daily workload, often only to produce lesser results than a retained search firm. These firms already have a ton of resources and a talent bank of excellent potential employees at hand. Filling this job position will be their sole task, ensuring that all of their energy and enthusiasm can be directed towards your project. Their search tactics and knowledge also allows them to be more efficient. By allowing them to take care of the hiring process, it saves you the time you would spend searching for and interviewing only mediocre candidates.
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