Not a Quick Fix
Staffing firms are relied upon to understand the trends and business drivers facing biotechnology companies and thus locate candidates with specific skills. Recruiters with science degrees at staffing firms develop relationships directly with hiring managers and prequalify candidates. In addition, staffing-firm recruiters save companies on administrative costs, understand current employment laws such as co-employment, and have higher retention rates for the candidates they place.
CROs should bring in an outsourcing partner early enough in the process so the client and provider can co-develop success criteria and define strategies for fulfilling the client’s needs. By bringing in the staffing partner early on, the company can develop a proactive, rather than reactive, strategy. A reactive strategy can negatively impact outcomes and also hinders the relationship-building process, whereas a partnership built early on can benefit from the experiences and knowledge base of both companies.
Once a drug is ready for preclinical testing, CROs must staff up quickly. However, locating qualified and experienced talent on short notice may pose a problem, as traditional job postings may take several months to fill. It is important to note that job growth is highest within certain geographic regions. Specific areas with the highest demand include Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland in the east; Irvine, Orange County, and San Diego in the west; and Madison, WI, and Chicago in the midwest.
As a result, CROs may need to look outside of their geographic region to find a larger pool of qualified professionals. Proactive relationship building increases the opportunities to identify potential obstacles and remedies before they are necessary. For example, a staffing firm with a national distribution of offices can pull talent from a broad geographic area and relocate people from coast to coast, quickly filling a job opening.
Reactive strategies on the other hand, such as attempting to identify a partner in a time of performance panic, yield only increased frustration and stress. Such strategies could negatively impact timelines and deliverables. With no time to adequately co-develop a strategic plan, the focus will be on getting the job done as quickly as possible because the timelines have already been severely compromised. This approach could result in a decrease in quality and efficiency and will add to the overall financial burden.
Staffing firms also offer an advantage to CROs who hire staff on a contract basis. Many CROs have temp-to-hire positions, which allow companies the opportunity before making a permanent hire to see the quality of a person’s work and how well they fit in with the company culture. They can also simply staff talented people for the length of a project but avoid the sizeable search fee that accompanies direct hiring. Candidates often find this option appealing because it affords them the opportunity to gain experience with multiple companies and sometimes various industries.
One of the most important factors in developing an optimal relationship is to choose a staffing provider whose corporate values match those of the CRO. Understanding that both companies conduct business with the same underlying values helps the relationship succeed because both sides enter the arrangement with a level of trust.