15 Mar 2022

Hire for potential

Finding new employees in the life science industry continues to be a challenge, and there are no indicators that the talent war will cease anytime soon. 

 The talent shortage is a dilemma that needs to be resolved for your business to prosper.  In a recent blog post, I spoke of 6 unique techniques to hire life science employees.  This article will expand on hiring candidates who may not be a perfect fit but could excel in the position with some training.

Our firm, Connexis Search Group, places over 200 life science candidates per year, and the number of search assignments we are receiving is higher than any other time in our 21-year history.  Many of the searches we receive are challenging to fill due to the lower than needed compensation to attract candidates vs. the pool of available candidates.  Most companies are not aware that base salaries are increasing due to the shortage of candidates.  Candidates realize that they are in demand, and most of them will only consider opportunities that offer a 15-30% increase in their current base salaries.  The other factor that drives up base salaries is your competitors are willing to pay higher base salaries.  Companies that provide benefits such as stock options, medical insurance, and company cars have a better chance of securing candidates. 

Employers have a choice to make---increase compensation enough to attract the appropriate candidates or consider candidates that do not have the exact qualifications but with training, could be effective.  Most companies we work with have limited flexibility in compensation which means hiring a candidate with potential may be the best option.

Why do hiring managers want to hire a candidate with the exact qualifications?   That is easy—they want a candidate that does not require training and that can "hit the ground running."   Over the last 10-15 years, hiring candidates with the exact qualifications has become a trend.  But with the advent of candidate shortages, hiring managers need to be more open to hiring candidates that can perform the job with some training.  CEOs and presidents of life science companies need to support their managers by giving them the resources to train and develop new employees.   They also need to adjust the expectations on onboarding new employees—it may take a few more months to get a new employee productive.

A hiring manager often will have a position open for 3-6 months due to a lack of candidates with the desired experience.   A better solution than leaving the job open for an extended period is to hire a less qualified candidate and train them.  By hiring a candidate with potential, you could have someone performing the job in a shorter period rather than waiting for the perfect candidate.

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