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Recruitment Trends and Tips

In 2020, the expectations of candidates, hiring managers, and recruiters are evolving. Technology has produced recruiters who are savvy, strategic, and supercharged when it comes to choosing the right candidate for the job, and employers are more likely to prioritize employee experience.

While some of the recruiting developments have been leisurely, others have occurred at the speed of light, quickly embracing our age of technology. The acquisition of talent is moving toward video interviews and skills assessments—away from phone screenings and paper resumes. In short, reactive hiring has changed to proactive recruitment, and random choices have progressed to focused selection. Some of the trends you are likely to see in 2020 include:

Employer Branding Playing a Bigger Role for Prospective Employees
According to, a compelling employer brand is key to attracting the best talent, and businesses with excellent employer brands receive up to 50 percent more qualified applicants. Employer brand encompasses an employer’s reputation, particularly when it comes to how the company values its employees and whether the company is considered a good place to work. It is estimated that at least three-quarters of job seekers will research the employer’s brand and reputation prior to putting in an application. A business with a bad reputation will find it much harder to attract new talent and retain current employees.

In particular, small- to mid-size businesses face a number of unique recruiting and hiring challenges, making it even more important to create a robust, attractive employer brand. Another key element of employer branding is an employee value proposition (EVP), which is not as complex as it sounds. EVP refers to the rewards and benefits received by employees in return for workplace performance.

An organization develops an EVP that goes hand-in-hand with employer branding—a magnet that attracts highly qualified job candidates. EVPs are associations and offerings provided by a company in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience brought to the company by a prospective employee. An EVP must be both compelling and relevant. Employee branding brings in robust talent, which in turn builds a dynamic workforce, influencing the success of the brand.

Hiring for Soft Skills by More Organizations
The United States is experiencing a widespread deficit of employee skills—a deficit that is expected to increase to shortages of 29 million employee skills by 2030. It is expected that most of these missing skills will be “soft” skills, including collaboration, problem-solving, and communication. While a number of repetitive jobs may one day be replaced by automation, employees who possess these essential soft skills are unlikely to ever be replaced. Employees lacked about 1.2 of the skills employers considered essential for a specific position in 2010—today, employees lack a whopping 18 essential job skills employers are looking for. The soft skills considered most necessary to employers for a future workforce include:

  • Design mindset
  • Computational thinking
  • Social intelligence
  • Cognitive load management
  • Media literacy
  • Sense-making
  • Virtual collaboration
  • Trans-disciplinarity
  • Cross-cultural competency
  • Novel and adaptive thinking

Creating and Maintaining Talent Pools
Today’s recruiters know that top talent can be lost forever simply because a potential hire wasn’t right for a specific job. By building a relationship with these prospects and keeping them interested, you can build your own talent pool. A good starting point is to create When you create and maintain a talent pool, you significantly decrease your cost-per-hire, as well as the time it takes to hire. In turn, this makes your life much easier, giving you a “safety net” to fall back on when faced with a sudden employee departure. To create a talent pool:

  • Add sourced candidates
  • Build a landing page dedicated to these candidates
  • Re-engage unsuccessful candidates regularly
  • Engage those who come recommended
  • Include internal talent in your talent pool

Maintaining your talent pool is a matter of keeping candidates (who are not quite ready to apply) interested in your company, providing content to different candidate groups, and looking into the talent pool on a regular basis. Don’t forget to include former employees!

Key Recruitment Factor is Now Candidate Experience
The perception candidates have regarding an organization’s recruitment process is known as the candidate experience. The candidate experience includes attitude, behavior, and feeling during the hiring process. Candidates who have a positive recruitment experience are likely to refer other candidates, even sharing a positive experience on social media. Conversely, when the hiring experience is not positive, the company is likely to have adverse outcomes. In fact, according to, a negative hiring experience not only prevents candidates from sharing a positive experience, it can compel at least 50 percent of the candidates to refrain from purchasing the company’s services or products. To ensure a positive candidate experience, a consumer-centric candidate approach that aligns with corporate goals, culture, and values is essential. In the end, the candidate experience process should be similar to marketing to potential customers.

  • Proactive Recruiters on the Rise
    The role of today’s and tomorrow’s recruiters is changing quickly: Recruiters now actively search for talent both within and outside their company, while facilitating career development and internal mobility. Today’s recruiters are heavily armed with technological tools, allowing them to better engage with potential candidates, and to proactively source from internal as well as outside talent pools. It is absolutely a necessity that recruiters use every tool at their disposal, as today’s talent market is highly competitive.

    Consider the following five tips to ensure you recruit the very best talent out there in 2020:

    1. Add workplace flexibility as a core benefit for employees.
    2. Make sure to be transparent about pay and benefits during the hiring process.
    3. Practice skill-based recruitment.
    4. Make sure your company is properly responding to equality, equity, and anti-harassment in the workplace.
    5. Consider proactive help from specialized Executive Search Firms offering to create and maintain talent pools specific to your hiring needs, as a service.
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    Hiring in a Candidate’s Market

    According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, candidates have the upper hand in today’s job market, primarily because there are relatively few candidates compared to the number of job openings. And, in spite of the current pandemic, it continues to be a candidate’s market with a higher demand specifically in the life sciences, biotech and pharma sectors. Of course, the pandemic does bring extra challenges for organizations that need to hire managers quickly, without putting recruitment professionals or the public at risk.

    Technology Driving Hiring Efforts During Pandemic
    Technology continues to drive the effort to hire managers, with online applications, video interviewing, and online onboarding being effectively leveraged to enable quicker hiring methods. These technological tools allow managers to be recruited and hired, with the entire process being faster and more efficient.

    Employers looking for managerial candidates should use this time to boost their LinkedIn branding and employer presence, ensuring their brand is visible, and that candidates can move through the recruiting and hiring process with ease and speed. Implementing purpose-built, on-demand text and video interviewing tools allows businesses to reach a much larger audience of potential candidates.

    These candidates are then quickly provided with the information required, resulting in positions being filled in an efficient manner. This is not to say that the technological transition from in-person to online interviews will be without bumps—many tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting, while convenient, are not designed to fit interviewing needs. This could impact the quality of the interview, and, consequentially, the quality of candidates being hired. So how can companies hire quality managers in a candidate’s market?

    Creating an Eye-Catching Job Description That Identifies Top Skills
    You might consider this common sense, but then you might be surprised at how many organizations fail to clearly specify required skills, motivations, and behaviors for a specific job. Real thought needs to be put into the job description, with more than one person in your company having input. First, identify your “must-have” skills—skills that are absolutely essential in your managerial candidate. Next, identify the skills that are “nice-to-have” and will help you bring an applicant to the top of the list. An accurate job description also helps the hiring process go more quickly by identifying the most qualified candidates.

    Companies Need to Be Fast and Flexible
    Let’s face it, in-demand talent rarely waits. These top performers can quickly lose interest in a company whose hiring process is clunky and slow. Companies who are behind the curve in technology could find themselves on the short end when hiring the best managers. Since these candidates have a greater ability to pick and choose, it is essential that you are competitive not only in salary and benefits but in your hiring process as well. Take a look at how other companies are hiring right now, then work to bring your hiring practices up to date as quickly as possible.

    Flexibility in Hiring and Flexibility at Work
    Companies who are trying to lure and retain top managerial talent—especially among younger talent—need to consider what these younger candidates are interested in, and that is workplace flexibility. In fact, workplace flexibility is actually a more desired employee benefit than healthcare for millennial and Gen Z workers. This means not only the ability to work hours beyond the traditional 9-5 but also the ability to sometimes work from home.

    Younger candidates want a company that fosters growth and career development and a workplace that is tech-enabled and accommodates all types of people, personalities, and work styles. As the largest demographic in the global workplace—as well as being “digital natives”—Millenials have helped facilitate a major shift in the way we all think about work. This shift makes work less of a destination and more of a state of mind. Companies that want to hire new managerial talent—or retain those they already have—need to remember that as people experience flexibility in their jobs, they no longer want to return to the traditional workplace.

    Highly Competitive Compensation Packages are Still Important
    Companies who are looking for top managerial talent need to be sure they are offering a compensation package that is hard to pass up. What is included in today’s competitive compensation package? At a minimum, the following should be a part of your compensation package if you want to attract top managerial candidates:

    • A salary that is “at-market” or above is competitive with other similar organizations. Bonuses and commissions factor into salary as well, and startup companies can offer equity in the company.
    • Health insurance is a huge part of a compensation package; a company can choose to cover 100 percent of the premium or a percentage. Businesses can also choose to cover only the employee, or the employee and his or her family members.
    • Other types of insurance, including short-term and long-term disability, dental, vision, and life insurance, make a benefits package much more attractive.
    • Vacation and paid time off are also important factors in a competitive compensation package. A company can choose to have one PTO balance, or separate accounts for sick, vacation, and personal days. Some companies simply award employees a specific number of PTO days, allowing employees to use those days as they choose.
    • 401(k) plans are offered by most companies who wish to be competitive. The baseline is no employer match, but competitive industries offer from 3 percent and up as a match.

    Your compensation package needs to meet employee needs, while also fitting in with your available budget, but remember that it is much easier to add compensation components to your package rather than taking them away when the budget gets tight.

    And Don’t Forget…
    One of the most important things you can do to find your ideal candidate is to offer meaningful work—a strong brand with a specific set of values. Remember that employees are looking to grow and learn on the job, so ensure the opportunities for growth are present. Since candidates have the power to choose between job offers, ensure your candidates feel valued—pay attention to their needs, and let them ask questions during the recruitment process. When you make candidates feel as though they would be an important addition to your organization, and treat them with respect, you are more likely to hire a great manager.

    Seek Professional Help
    Finally, if you are floundering, and feel as though you are not getting the best managerial candidates, consider consulting a professional. Reputable recruiters have the networks and resources in place to find your needle in the haystack. Further, executive search firms can save you the time spent filtering through piles of resumes, bringing you the most qualified candidates.

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    Board of Directors Roles and Responsibilities

    Do All Corporations and Companies Have a Board of Directors?

    Every public company is required by law to have a board of directors. Many private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors. Many people believe that holding regular board meetings and maintaining a board of directors are simply formalities. In fact, there are many important reasons to have a board of directors, including maintaining liability protection for the company.

    Smaller companies may designate the initial board of directors in their articles of incorporation. Larger corporations (including S and C corporations) are required to elect a board of directors. Although the precise rules and regulations for a corporation’s board varies among states, every state requires that the board of directors must hold at least one yearly meeting, have meeting minutes taken to document any discussions or actions, and that the shareholders elect the board.

    What Does a Corporate Board of Directors Do?

    A board of directors is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders, meeting at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and maintain oversight of the corporation. The board of directors makes such decisions as:

    • Hiring and firing senior executives
    • Determining executive compensation
    • Understanding the organization’s mission, policies, and needs
    • Setting broad goals for the corporation
    • Ensuring the corporation has well-managed resources
    • Attending and taking part in board meetings and other events

    What is the Time Commitment for Members of a Board of Directors?

    Those considering being a member of a board of directors may wonder how often the board meets. Each state sets the minimum number of board meetings. Beyond that, it largely depends on the size and scope of the company or corporation. Small companies may meet only once a year, while larger corporations could meet on a monthly basis, with additional meetings any time a crisis situation arises. On average, boards meet four times a year—once a quarter. The chairman of the board or CEO may also want to have access to each board member via phone on a regular basis.

    How Many Members are on a Board of Directors?

    A board of directors can include from three to 31 members, although many analysts believe the “ideal” number is seven. Ideally, the board of directors should represent both shareholder interests, as well as management, including internal and external members. An internal member has the interests of shareholders, officers, and employees as a primary goal, while an outside director is less likely to be involved in the day-to-day inner workings of the corporation. Outside directors can bring more objective, independent views as far as corporate goal setting and disputes.

    What Positions Make Up a Board of Directors?

    The primary positions which make up a board of directors include a chairperson, a secretary, and a treasurer. The chairperson is the highest-ranking officer on the board and is considered a facilitator and a guide. The chairperson is responsible for such things as:

    • Keeping tabs on the performance of other directors
    • Ensuring the board implements strategic plans
    • Ensuring the board receives proper, timely information and setting the agenda

    The chairperson is generally the “face” of the corporation—the person who explains the aims and policies to the outside world.

    The board secretary handles legal and regulatory compliance issues, ensuring legal filings are made properly and on time, keeping the board minutes, setting agendas, making disclosures to shareholders, and keeping up to date with regulatory changes. The board treasurer provides oversight on the corporation’s financial strategies, ensuring compliance, and creating in-depth financial forecasts for shareholders. The treasurer may also develop the annual budget, invest extra cash, and develop policies and procedures related to the corporation’s finances.

    What is the Average Pay for Board of Directors Positions?

    According to, the “average” pay for a director on a corporate board was about $36,000 in 2016. That being said, pay for directors varies widely, depending on the size of the corporation. found that the average base pay for directors at Fortune 500 companies was about $245,000 in 2016. In addition to cash compensation, independent board members could be offered equity in the corporation. According to, a start-up company might offer its director between 0.5 percent and 2.0 percent equity.

    How are Board of Directors Members Chosen—and Removed?

    Members of the board of directors are elected by shareholders, after being nominated by a nomination committee. The terms of directors are usually staggered to ensure only a few directors are elected in any given year. Removing a board member comes with challenges of its own, usually including a contentious split among board members.

    Further, the contracts of many directors include a golden parachute—a disincentive for removal of a board member, which requires the corporation to pay a bonus to the director if they are removed. “Typical” reasons for removal of a board member include misuse of directorial powers, using proprietary information for personal gain, or making deals with third parties to sway a board vote.

    New Laws and Trends for Corporate Boards of Directors

    Due to a lack of female presence on many corporate boards of directors, some States (like California) are taking measures to ensure more diverse boards. By enacting Senate Bill 826, which required all public companies headquartered in California that were traded on the NYSE or NASDAQ to have at least one female director by December 31, 2019, the State is making an impact. By December 31, 2021, these companies must have at least three female directors for boards with more than six members. Companies who are not in compliance will be fined $100,000 for a first offense and $300,000 for a second offense.

    According to, the trends that will primarily impact boards and directors in 2020 include:

    • A greater focus on environmental and social issues;
    • A challenge to directors to put shareholders at the heart of every corporation’s purpose;
    • Increased board oversight of “culture” of the corporation;
    • Increased board diversity, including ethnicity and race; and

    Increased levels of corporate activism in areas such as climate change or the “me too” movement.

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    Executive Search Firms Remain a Valuable Resource

    With the rumored threat of an economic recession not likely to take hold in the very near future, the talent shortage continues to greatly impact companies attempting to increase their workforce. The longer it takes to fill an open position, the more costs increase. Not to mention the cost of a bad hire — which is particularly expensive, especially for senior and executive level roles.

    In the recent article 10 Recruitment Trends for 2020: Latest Predictions You Should Be Thinking About,  the biggest recruitment challenges companies are currently facing are identified as the following, in order of greatest concern:

    1. Finding qualified experienced talent
    2. Identifying talent with the correct skills
    3. Finding qualified entry-level talent
    4. Articulating accurate talent brand
    5. Onboarding employees in a timely fashion
    6. Ineffective recruiting technology
    7. Constructing appealing job offers

    The good news is that with the right external recruiting partner, many of these pains can be greatly reduced. Companies find that this investment far outweighs the cost of using internal time and resources.

    An Executive Search firm is not a Staffing firm (which generally focuses on filling lower level/junior positions, and has different techniques and methodologies for doing so). A company seeking to fill a senior level role has a lot at stake in terms of hiring the right candidate to produce the greatest success for the organization.

    Executive hiring is difficult: Executive search can improve the odds of a successful hire.

    As Jason Starr, CEO of Dillistone Group so eloquently stated, “At senior levels, the real cost of a bad hire is damage done. Strategic damage. Reputational damage. Cultural damage. CEOs and senior executives are paid to make big decisions. Just six months of poor leadership can have an impact on an organization that can be hard to quantify. However, a bad hire given more time can cause real damage.” 

    For those reasons alone — time, savings and importance of sourcing the right senior level candidates —  companies recognize the inherent value in partnering with a top-notch Executive recruiter. That’s not to say the benefits end there. Executive recruiters are embedded in the employment market and recruiting industry day in and day out. They use proven, strategic search tactics and approaches to source top level job seekers and uncover desirable “off the market” talent (i.e., passive candidates).

    Search firms can effectuate candidates that a company might not be able to reach on its own. They know what candidates are looking for in a new role. They have a finger on the pulse of current market value across their respective industry roles they search, and they are able to provide valuable market intelligence to their client companies. 

    And do not underestimate the relationship value between a company and an external recruiter, who is in fact an extension of the hiring company. He or she joins forces with the hiring company by partnering closely throughout the entire process — from genuinely taking the time to learn the company’s pain points, needs and culture, to thoroughly understanding the full scope of the open position, including both hard and soft skills requirements needed to effectively recruit the right candidates. 

    A professional Executive recruiter prides themselves on only presenting the best of the best to their clients. They remain a partner throughout not only the initial sourcing and candidate submission process, but they often play the role of “middleman” in assisting everything from setting up interviews (which can be a tricky task in and of itself) to extending offers, handling negotiations and introducing new hires to the onboarding process. 

    If that’s not enough reason, here are a few MORE reasons to engage an Executive Search firm:

    • You are seeking a candidate with a rare mix of skills, the proverbial needle in the haystack. A dedicated, experienced recruiter has the ability to find the unicorn.
    • You have to replace an underperforming executive while they are still in the role. Discretion is key and search firms are able to abide by this much-needed request as they work in a world of confidentiality.
    • You see a looming future need; as in an important role could soon be vacant as there is a sense the current employee may leave/retire etc. Your recruiting partner can fill the pipeline to avoid potential catastrophe. 
    • You tried internal resources first, but for any multitude of reasons it did not produce the results you were seeking.

    The article How Do Top Executive Search Firms Find Candidates? found that less than 10% of Executives are found via job ads. As a matter of fact, 26% are found by using Executive Search Firms versus only 6% being found by in-house recruiting resources. That is not to say that internal recruiters are bad, not by any means, but using external search firms for tough fills and higher-level positions makes sense to many organizations.

    In a time when unemployment remains at an historical low, and the number of open roles far outweighs the number of on-market job seekers, companies will continue to struggle to effectively grow their workforce or make the changes in leadership needed to improve overall organizational success. Fortunately, Executive recruiting partners provide the services needed to substantially improve the likelihood of sourcing the qualified talent to ease this challenge. 

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    Recruiting Non-Local Life Sciences Talent in 2020

    70% of employers in the Life Sciences industry expanded their workforce in 2019, according to a BioSpace Life Science Community Survey. This means that recruiting and hiring talent within that space is increasingly challenging and competitive.

    Unemployment is at an historic low. We are currently in one of the longest economic expansions in history. As a result, finding the right talent is harder than ever. Many organizations have exhausted their local talent, especially in hotbed areas such as Biotech Bay, Genetown, Biotech Capital, and Pharm Country. And although most companies would prefer to hire local talent, that is becoming more and more challenging as a result of supply and demand.

    In order for companies to add new roles and have the ability to fill those roles, they must entertain the somewhat less favorable option of relocating candidates. It is no surprise that when considering the opportunity to relocate for a new job, candidates list salary/compensation as their number one deciding factor.

    However, as companies try to lure the best of the best to a new geographical location, there are other surprising factors that may give an edge over the competition.

    Here are 4 areas that matter to candidates (in addition to salary):

    1. Location: This is where your inner salesman must shine. Not only are you selling your company and all it has to offer, you must also sell its location. Consider spending some time at your local Chamber of Commerce sites. Put yourself in the shoes of a new resident. What are the highlights within a 100-mile radius?
    • Speak to the climate; hot, cold, wet, dry. It doesn’t matter. List some advantages associated with whatever it may be.
    • Mention any Life Sciences funding opportunities within your region, such as Venture capital, National Institute of Health (NIH) or others. This shows your city is supportive of their work and indicates stability.
    • Is your area known to have an excellent education system? This can be very attractive for candidates with families.
    • And if, by chance, your city has a lower cost of living than that of the candidates’ current home, mention that as well.
    1. Healthcare: These days, healthcare benefits are much more than the ever-escalating cost of insurance. Clearly identifying healthcare benefits can be a significant factor in attracting candidates.

    Winston Benefits, a benefits administration, enrollment, and communications company, found that—as in many other competitive industries—biotech companies stand out by offering strong health benefits to their employees. This means that to be competitive, Life Science companies are upping the ante on healthcare benefits.

    Other non-traditional wellness perks can set an organization apart from the competition, with offerings such as:

    • On-site gyms or gym discounts
    • On-site cafés with healthy eating options
    • Retiree health benefits
    • Pet Insurance
    1. Flexible Work Schedule: 36% of respondents selected this answer as extremely important in a recent BioSpace survey. This took precedence over options like bonuses, retirement plans, and PTO. The trend of offering employees some level of flexibility is not going away.

      As a matter of fact, 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely. And those who do work remotely are 29% happier than on-site workers. Of course, “flexible” is subjective and means different things to different people. A few of the common approaches companies are implementing include:
    • Non-traditional hours, meaning outside of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Freedom to work remotely anytime, anywhere
    • Flexibility to plan around weekly targets while managing personal commitments
    • Ability to make your own schedule if performance metrics and deadlines are met
    • Ability to set your own hours
    • Summer hours—half-day or entire days off on Fridays during the summer
    1. Flexible Move/Transition: Moving out of an area will always be a major life change and quite stressful. Keep this in mind when constructing your relocation package. Does your company have the ability to go above and beyond to make this process as smooth as possible for the new hire? Consider a few of these ideas:
    • Is it possible to adjust the start date that takes into account school schedules?
    • Is there an opportunity to work remotely while the move is being coordinated?
    • Can the company pay for temporary housing while the candidate looks for a place to live?
    • Will the company cover moving expenses including transportation and packing/unpacking services?
    • Is it possible to cover storage expenses until the candidate gets settled?

    In a poll of U.S. workers by Robert Half, 62% of respondents said they would consider relocating for a new position. A separate poll found that, in the past five years, 34% of companies increased their relocation package offerings to attract top candidates from beyond their geographic area. For many organizations, relocating workers might be a necessary business expense.

    The bottom line is that to remain competitive in attracting top-level candidates in the Life Sciences space and convincing them to relocate to a new geographical region, companies will first have to accept that this is the current state of the recruiting market. And then companies need to review and revise their strategy to attract and ultimately lock-in relocatable potential hires.

    This is a great conversation to have with your trusted external recruiting partner who has insight to share on all of these areas covered, plus additional market intelligence.

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    10 Hiring Trends to Watch in 2020

    With continued record-breaking unemployment rates, increasing incomes, and more unfilled jobs than ever, the overall state of the employment market remains strong moving into 2020. Also, it is expected that the US-China trade war will subside, and consumer spending will continue, promoting overall economic and job growth. As sited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the Biotech space is projected to grow between 6-7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for other occupations.

    The demand of talent will continue to cause headaches for hiring companies across the United States. Here, we have compiled a list of recruiting and hiring trends we expect to see play out in the new year. Many are a continuation of tendencies we’ve seen over the past few years reacting to the candidate-driven market.

    1. Companies must embrace and improve mobile technology for job seekers. More and more job seekers will adopt this trend when looking for and applying to jobs. As a matter of fact, nearly 60% of job seekers look for jobs on their phones, and that is only going to rise in the coming year. A Glassdoor study found that mobile job seekers encounter many frustrations and challenges when entering into the application process on their phones. Employers need to make a mobile-friendly application process a top priority.
    2. Companies continue to improve “overall candidate experience” to convince them to become employees. As the War for Talent continues, companies are placing greater importance on reviewing and updating the entire interview process in order to keep their target candidates satisfied. Overhauling lengthy, disjointed application processes and moving quickly to make an offer are two areas that matter to job seekers—and companies are taking notice.
    3. Positive company culture will have even more significant impact on a company’s ability to recruit and retain top talent. With the new decade comes a “Culture First” emphasis, as demonstrated by the Business Roundtable, a prominent group of nearly 200 CEOs from the world’s biggest brands. They stated that, “shareholders were no longer the central purpose of today’s companies. The new mission states that employees are the focus of the modern corporation.” Understanding the correlation between positive company culture and satisfied employees is a trend moving to the forefront in retention strategies.
    4. Improving company brand image. Along with company culture, there will continue to be an emphasis on creating and improving company brand image. As candidates have choices, they are extremely likely to research any company they are considering working for. That means that often before even applying to a job opening, candidates spend time reading online reviews from Glassdoor or Google, as well as social media channels. Companies have to make a concerted effort to portray a good (albeit honest) brand image if they wish to attract top talent.
    5. Employers will begin to “recession proof” their hiring process by taking steps to separate the “good” from the “bad” job applicants when the tide turns, and they are suddenly inundated with candidates. This is a far cry from the current, nearly empty pool they are facing today. One way is for employers to shift to using more external recruiting sources to filter through and deliver the best matched candidates for the open roles.
    6. Companies will accelerate wage growth in 2020 to become more competitive and attract top talent. Employers are now looking at whether they need to adjust their compensation policies to attract and retain the talent they have developed. Candidates are often fielding multiple offers and will likely choose the greatest comprehensive offer.
    7. Contract staffing/gig economy will continue to infiltrate across most industries. Given the underlying changes in the structure of the workforce—and increasing difficulty finding qualified candidates—hiring managers will embrace the concept of alternative employees.
    8. Embracing Baby Boomers as the fastest growing workforce population. While the overall American labor force is projected to grow by 5.5 percent over the next decade, the 65+ workforce will grow by a whopping 61 percent! Given this, companies must begin viewing them with fresh eyes, as viable, valuable talent who may be the best new hires. Baby Boomers are not retiring at the anticipated rate and therefore must be given serious consideration in the recruiting process.
    9. AI and automated technologies continue to impact the recruiting process by using algorithms that synthesize data from a variety of sources to proactively identify candidates who have the interest and ability to fill a particular role. This is the next evolution from keyword rich resumes. The technology will accumulate the entire candidate digital footprint and process it accordingly.
    10. Hiring based on potential over pedigree. Organizations realize the importance of hiring qualified talent, yet also see the remarkable value in upskilling potential hires and current employees. With far more job openings than job candidates, companies are having to take serious look at their “hard requirements” and make adjustments when possible. Investing in a less experienced candidate or someone without an advanced degree may be the best option when the potential and motivation is apparent.

    Overall, the employment landscape looks good for 2020. Employers will continue to struggle to source and attract top talent, which is where partnering with a trusted external recruiter remains a viable solution. In addition, greater emphasis on looking within the organization to improve overall company image and culture and improving the hiring process are of the utmost importance. Embracing technology to attract candidates where they spend time (online) and becoming more flexible on skill requirements and experience will improve the odds of hiring the best candidates in 2020.

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    Startup Success Strategy: Hiring the Right Team

    In the past it was extremely challenging to open a successful business without a massive amount of investment/capital. With the advanced technologies and innovations accessible today, new organizations (startups) pop up every day all around the world. Unfortunately, for many of these new businesses, success is not in the cards. As a matter of fact, over 50 percent of them will go out of business by the fifth year and over 70 percent by the tenth year.

    There is, of course, a wide variety of reasons why this occurs. To see the top 20 reasons startups fail according to a CBInsights report, click here.

    Here are the Top 5 causes of small business failure:

    1. No market need: 42 percent
    2. Ran out of cash: 29 percent
    3. Not the right team: 23 percent
    4. Beaten by competitors: 19 percent
    5. Pricing/cost Issues: 18 percent

    Many times, unexpected things happen. Things that may be out of one’s control. Whether it can be blamed on an overall poor business plan or strategy, insufficient research, or bad luck, most startups are destined to struggle, and the vast majority won’t make it at all. So, what if there are areas that can be controlled? What if we look at the list above and focus in on point number three, “Not hiring the right team,” and taking it a step further to include the right leadership? Despite having a great business model, if businesses are not achieving their full potential, it can often be traced back to simply having the wrong people in place.

    According to the article Why Leadership Is Not Acknowledged in the Startup Industry, “The role and personality of the leaders is one of the most important determinant of the success of a company, besides the business idea.” Having a well-thought-out strategy for recruiting key employees is crucial in establishing success for any new business—which is especially true for startups.

    Consider this, as the CEO or Owner of a startup: You have the perfect idea, product, or solution to fill a market need. You’ve agonized and worked tirelessly to develop a strategic business plan. You’ve essentially got all your ducks in a row, but you’ve really not put a whole lot of thought into your recruitment strategy, even though these will be the people that you are trusting to build your business and ultimately make it a success! Now, reflecting back on that list of reasons why startups fail: Nearly ¼ can be solely attributed to this error. And logically, this point (lack of the right team) will inevitably spill over and affect ALL the areas causing failure. Hiring the wrong people for the wrong tasks—especially at the management level—can bury a startup before it even has a chance to succeed.

    Never lose sight that this is one area that is completely fixable. No business can succeed without a great team in place, period. Startups must be deliberate when hiring. After all, in a small company, every single position/person matters even more. Hiring mistakes are magnified. Business owners must stop underestimating the economic damage from weak recruiting. Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor and internationally known HR thought-leader eloquently stated, “When any position goes unfilled for a significant period of time or when a new hire in any position is weak, the negative impact reverberates throughout the organization. Most startup leaders fail to quantify (in dollars) the impact of weak recruiting on business results, new product development, organizational growth, and on gaining future funding.”

    From the very beginning, companies need to decide on short- and long-term hiring strategies. Creating structured processes for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring is a crucial function of ensuring the right team is hired. And then setting realistic budgets and resources must be allocated to make those processes work. This is obviously not an easy task. It requires a great deal of time (which most startup owners do not have a lot of, being spread so thin across all areas of the business). That’s not even considering the time it takes to recruit the perfect talent needed.

    As the unemployment rate remains at a historical low, finding key employees to hire has never been more challenging. Many startup companies find themselves unable to recruit employees for crucial roles for months, sometimes even a year or more. When a job goes unfilled, the impact can be devastating to a small business. One very real, very attainable solution to this problem is to partner with a professional external recruiter. This individual’s sole purpose/job function is to find the specific talent needed to make your business successful. As a business owner, the goal is to make the business successful. That being said, recruitment is only one piece of the overall puzzle, albeit a very important one.

    There are so many obstacles to overcome when starting any new business. Even those most successful would admit that they are probably not experts at every level, every area, every different component needed to pull it all together. If understanding the importance of hiring the right team would increase the likelihood of organizational success, why would you not consider investing in this key area? The saying “leave it to the professionals” would certainly apply here, and if it exponentially increases the odds of your startup being one of the few success stories, then it seems like a pretty good business strategy.

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    The War for Biotech Candidates Increases Along with Salaries

    Since its inception in the 1970s, the biotech industry has grown tremendously and made huge advances. The industry has gained even more momentum over the past decade and continues to develop. Sara Radcliffe, president and CEO of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), stated that “the life sciences sector has continued to grow jobs while other industries experienced significant decreases in employment.”

    As the expansion continues, Life Science professional salaries have increased an average of 4.4% over last year, according to a recent report by BioSpace. This trend is adding to the already difficult task (due to the other factors of a candidate-driven labor market) of successfully recruiting and hiring candidates within this space. Rivaling other professional industries such as chemical engineering and software system developers, the average salary among the biotech space now sits at just over $113,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Digging into the “hot spot” regions for this industry:

    Genetown: Boston and surrounding areas have seen an average salary increase of 5%, with bonuses hovering around $30,000. That places overall compensation at $123,600.

    BioTech Bay: Comprised of areas in Northern CA and San Francisco, this region is seeing an even steeper salary increase, averaging 5.7% with an average bonus of around $32,000. That places overall compensation at $126,957.

    When considering leadership roles industry wide, the average base salaries skyrocket to well over double the average, coming in as follows:

    1. CEO – $293,944
    2. CFO – $257,222
    3. Other C-suite – $249,192
    4. VP/Senior VP – $234,848
    5. Director/Executive Managers – $219,447

    This is important to address because of the Life Science professionals surveyed, 67% reported “a desire for greater compensation” as one of the top reasons for seeking a new opportunity. And, if relocating is necessary, salary becomes the number one reason for changing companies. As such, organizations within this space are paying more to attract top talent.

    As record investments are being made into biotech companies, the hot spots like Boston and San Francisco are especially feeling the crunch due to the depleting pool of available talent. This translates into candidates getting multiple offers while companies struggle to edge out the competition and win the talent.

    Employers must be prepared to consider all the factors that go into presenting a more attractive offer than their competitors. Yes, market research on national averages when determining the salary for a position is very important, but there are other additional issues to understand when developing the best compensation package, such as:

    Geographic location: Local cost of living can drive salaries up or down, as well as affect the available pool of qualified talent in a given area. This is a big issue for candidates considering accepting a new role outside of their current market location. According to the BioSpace report, “Life sciences professionals are not opposed to relocating to increase their compensation. In fact, 78% of respondents indicated they would consider relocating for a new opportunity, with salary being the primary reason for relocation.”

    Education/Experience: Many of these roles require candidates to hold advance degrees. Advanced degrees in this space usually translate to $20,000 more in earnings over those with only a bachelor’s degree. But even more impressive is that those holding a master’s or doctorate in their respective space are receiving very generous bonuses on top of the base salary. The more experienced and the more educated, the higher the pay—especially from top targeted programs.

    Benefits: It’s rarely just about salary. The desire for benefits typically applies across all industries and all position levels, so it remains an important factor when making a competitive offer. Presenting an attractive benefits package that enhances work-life balance, facilitates professional development, and includes added “perks” can add a lot of value to a compensation package.

    In addition to developing and extending the best possible offer to candidates, hiring decisions must be made faster than ever before. As we addressed in a previous article, “Don’t Let Good Candidates Slip Away,” candidates are removing themselves from the interview process because it takes too long. If your organization is interested in an individual, then it’s likely that other companies are interested in them as well. In the Time to Hire survey, when faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39% of respondents lose interest and pursue other roles, while 18% decide to stay put in their current job. Remember the saying, “Time kills deals.”

    As emerging technologies continue to evolve at a staggering rate and the rapid progress of research continues, the war for talent will persist for Life Science professionals. Staying abreast of current market conditions and continuous improvement in the recruiting and hiring processes will increase the likelihood of attracting and securing top talent to fill open positions.

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    Are Your Hiring Expectations Realistic?

    Hiring talent remains the number one concern of CEOs, as found in the most recent Conference Board Annual Survey. It’s also the top concern of the entire executive suite. Unfortunately, many companies struggle with the search for talent because their hiring expectations are not realistic: There is a big gap between what companies want and what they can afford. Many Human Resources teams have long suffered the consequences of working with unrealistic budgets, yet breaking the cycle continues to be a challenge.

    Today, the need to fix the budgeting process and setting realistic expectations when it comes to recruiting and hiring has even more urgency. As the trend of an extremely tight labor market continues, companies need to review and reevaluate processes when planning and budgeting to fill positions.

    First, let’s look at how things can go wrong and some tips on how to stay on the right track:

    Candidate Salary and Budget:

    Hiring Managers know what kind of candidate they’d like to hire. However, they frequently offer a salary range that doesn’t match the job description. For example, the job description speaks to someone at a VP level, but the salary budget maxes out at a Director’s level. This is a huge problem. Companies have to get serious about considering market intelligence on current candidate value.

    There are many resources available to make sure the job title, job description, and job location are all within range for a given role. This is also where partnering with an external recruiter becomes quite valuable as this is one of their primary responsibilities—staying up to date on candidate market value.

    Along with this issue, failing to create an overall, realistic recruiting/hiring budget can be detrimental to the entire scope of filling new positions. Well-seasoned HR professionals have likely learned this the hard way. In an effort to provide tips to earlier career professionals responsible for recruiting/hiring, here are a few expense areas to be sure to include when constructing a viable budget:

    • Internal time/resources
    • External recruiting partnerships
    • Filled position expenses (new employee; total compensation and benefits package)
    • Travel and relocation expenses for candidates outside of the area

    Finding the Perfect Candidate:

    In a perfect world, candidates would check off 100% of every desirable skill, requirement, and personality fit for the hiring company. Unfortunately, as the unemployment rate continues to hover at a record low, the talent shortage remains a major issue for companies. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that organizations are going to be able to find, attract, and hire a candidate within a reasonable amount of time and with every single looked-for requirement.

    When demand outweighs the supply of job seekers, companies need to make adjustments to the hardline skills, and even certifications/education requirements to fill a position. Understandably, hiring managers may have a difficult time agreeing to forego a desired skill on paper, and therefore end up with few or no people to interview.

    Being open minded, weighing all things involved and considering candidates that may not fit the profile 100% will greatly improve the odds of filling the position successfully. There are a few areas that can and should be considered negotiable. The bottom line is “what does it really take to do the job?”

    • If there are experience or skill deficiencies, what can employers do in terms of training and onboarding to close these gaps?
    • Is the salary too low for the role given current market data?
    • Is there wiggle room on narrowly defined industry background experience?
    • Can transferable skills from a role outside of the identified scope be considered?

    Having a Realistic Sense of Urgency or Timeframe to Hire:

    Most of the time, companies identify an urgent need to fill a role. Urgent is usually translated as “fast.” However, they often inadvertently set themselves up for a slow hiring process due to the aforementioned issues of having an insufficient budget and unrealistic candidate expectations.

    In addition to those items, there is the issue of a disjointed and overly lengthy recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. It is estimated that nearly 60% of job seekers lose interest in a job if the hiring process is lengthy. That is why it’s good to know exactly how long it takes to hire someone and for what kind of role.

    Identifying the time to hire can help you identify weak spots in your recruitment process and implement improvements. When setting a realistic time to hire (technically fill), companies should always work through the following:

    1. How long will it actually take to identify that you have the right candidate?
    2. How fast do you move when you find the right person?
    3. Where are the bottlenecks in your hiring process?
    4. How long does it currently take to fill various roles?
    5. How long does it take for candidates to move from one stage to the next?
    6. How does your time to hire compare with the industry average?

    By asking these questions and understanding the real answers, while keeping in mind budget constraints and realistic candidate requirements, organizations should be able to formulate a pretty strong timeframe for the entire process.

    This process may seem time-consuming (and even overwhelming) to HR departments that are already too thin—and it can be. But, by spending time analyzing all aspects of what actually goes into the recruiting and hiring procedures—beginning with setting a true budget, and being realistic about expectations—organizations will experience a smoother process and more successful outcome.

    This is also a great place to use your external recruiting partner’s expertise. They can provide excellent strategies and industry insights that save companies both time and resources.

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    Why Are Candidates Rejecting Offers?

    Companies continue to struggle to attract qualified candidates in the current employment market. That is only half of the battle. The other half is being able to generate enough interest to get candidates in the door for the interview process.

    Once they do, companies are now facing another, unexpected obstacle: More and more candidates are turning down offers. This trend seems to be more commonplace as candidates are no longer desperate to accept. Let’s face it, in a tight labor market like today, where candidates have options, it’s not unusual for job seekers to turn down opportunities for a whole host of reasons, and easily move on to the next opportunity.

    There are many reasons why a candidate would choose to walk away after an offer has been made. But a recent study by the global staffing firm Robert Half, has identified the top responses provided by nearly 3,000 Senior Managers when asked, “What is the main reason candidates turn down a job offer from your company?”

    Compensation and benefits are lower than expected. 30% cite this as the number one reason offers are rejected. Unfortunately, companies are still not being transparent during the interview process. This could very easily be avoided by being upfront, honest and communicating effectively with candidates.

    Salary and the comprehensive benefits package are usually predetermined for open positions, so there is no reason not to disclose the details early in the process. Companies are doing themselves a great disservice by avoiding this piece of the conversation until the very end.

    Accepting another job offer or counteroffer. Tying with compensation, 30% identified this as the primary reason. Companies have the ability to prevent this from happening as well, by decreasing the amount of time spent during the interview process. Unfortunately, companies have such stringent procedures in place that the amount of time the interview process now takes has nearly doubled over the past decade.

    Keep in mind that top talent has options. Candidates are not going to wait around for months to be hired. The longer companies take to hire, the more likely candidates will entertain other opportunities, continue to interview elsewhere and ultimately jump on another offer. In terms of accepting a counteroffer, hiring companies have less control here.

    However, if they want to hire the candidate, they have to realize this could occur, and the best way to prevent it is to move quickly and come in with the best possible offer from the start.

    Limited opportunities for career growth or advancement. 13% of offers are rejected because the candidates do not feel they will have room for professional growth. Presenting a well-defined career path to candidates during the interview process is more important than ever as most career driven individuals are motivated to effectively progress their career and want to understand what that looks like within an organization.

    Job seekers are very likely considering a new role that allows them to take the next step. However, most are not planning on settling in on that role for the next 15 years. By strategically developing the role and allowing the individual to effectively progress, you establish yourself as a forward-thinking company.

    Even smaller organizations have the ability to do this and should not dismiss it as impossible. It’s important, and is as simple as being mindful of career goals, always encouraging growth and learning, and being open to continued education.

    Poor fit with the job description. 12% of the time candidates will reject an offer because at the end of the day, what they were told initially or gleaned from the job description wasn’t accurate. Again, this can easily be avoided. Companies must do a much better job of developing accurate job descriptions. It shouldn’t just be a list of skills/requirements.

    Of course, it is impossible to include EVERYTHING on a job description, but presenting a snapshot of the actual day-to-day goes a long way. Job descriptions play a vital role in attracting talent to an organization and should be truthful and transparent about both the role and the company.

    As candidates proceed through the interview process and get to the offer stage only to be blindsided by never before discussed job functions etc., there is a high likelihood that they will walk away.

    Poor fit with the company culture. 8% of managers surveyed feel this to be the reason candidates reject offers. This ties closely to the job description issue in that if companies present themselves clearly, honestly and transparently from the beginning, this can be avoided.

    Company culture is so important these days to candidates. When weighing options and looking to make future career decisions, candidates are making sure they fit an organization’s culture, or they do not want to work there. This is vitally important to Millennials. No matter how good a job looks on paper, if they do not feel comfortable in the environment, they will pass and keep looking.

    Limited employee perks. 7% cited poor company perks as the reason job offers are rejected. Again, a sign of the times. Candidates want to work for forward-thinking organizations where they feel valued. In this war for talent, companies are having to step up their “perks package” to compete in the market.

    It’s no secret to job seekers that companies are thinking outside of the box in order to retain top talent, and this includes unique employee perks. They are aware of what’s out there…game tables, “Free Lunch Fridays,” stocked beverage refrigerators, summer hours. The list goes on.

    This above list is not comprehensive and obviously there are many, many other reasons candidates reject offers. Such as:

    • Location: not having the option to work remote
    • Unpleasant candidate experience: the interview/hiring process is clunky, outdated or the candidate feels they are treated poorly
    • Negative Employer Brand: candidates research the company and find a bad reputation such as reviews on Glassdoor, BBB etc.
    • Personality conflicts/differences: similar to culture fit, but sometimes a candidate may just not like the hiring manager
    • Personal reasons: individual circumstances

    Presenting a job offer to a good candidate is exciting. By that point, the company feels confident and secure that they’ve found the right person. There is always a chance he/she will reject the offer for any of the reasons stated in this article. But, hiring companies do still hold some power in all of this.

    Consider each of the reasons identified. Companies can address every challenge we’ve listed except for individual circumstances and personality conflicts. If companies tighten up the interview/hiring process they will see a decrease in offer rejections.

    Furthermore, by discussing the process and procedures with an external recruiting partner, companies can receive an unbiased opinion and advice on what changes can be made, ultimately leading to greater hiring success.

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