DIY Recruiting for the Bio Sciences

If you’re going to conduct a search for a top-level person without using outside resources, here are more guidelines:

1. How to find good candidates for your job openings:

— Using employee referrals and networking can fill some proportion

— Posting to your website and to social networks may also fill some

— Sometimes you may have to ask specific people at specific companies if they would like to come work for you.

But which companies do you consider? A limiting factor is how much you can spend to relocate the right person. Will the budget allow it?  From how far afield? Anywhere in the U.S.? Your state? Your region? Would you recruit from outside the U.S., with the attendant visa issues? It’s considered “relocation” if the prospect would have to move fifty miles or more.  (Jolyce Ledvina of Suddath at is a good person to talk with about this issue.)

How far afield you look depends on the position you are recruiting for. A controller can do her job in any company, but a Director of Biology is a very different role in, say, a cancer therapeutics company vs. a life science tools company, so you may have to seek more remotely.  And the number of companies in your area that are working in the same therapeutic or life science area that you are may be limited.

Once you have decided the geography of the search, you must determine which companies within that area are likely to employ the people with the experience you need. The best tool I’ve found for this is BioPharm Insights ( but they are rather expensive.   The old reliables are Hoovers, followed by OneSource, but both of these do all industries, so be careful about the details.  Free sites are BloomsbergBusinessWeek and Forbes, but again, they are not specific to the biosciences world.

Since most of the people currently employed doing what you need to have done are happy where they are, you will need at least fifty companies.  Be sure not to include any with which your company currently has agreements or collaborations.  But do include companies that are not doing well.  Their people may be more ready to leave.

Don’t feel that you must have someone from a major pharmaceutical company. As a company gets larger, the responsibilities of a particular role may narrow, and small companies usually need someone who has broader experience.

Now you have a list of the most promising places to find the person that you need.

Cost-to-Hire, HR and Hiring Managers, Networking , , , , , ,

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