PharmaLogics Recruiting

 

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January 19, 2015 Issue

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Anti-Fee Bio-Pharmaceutical Recruiting

 


Megan Driscoll

President

 

PharmaLogics Recruiting

www.pharmalogicsrecruiting.com

  

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – January 19, 2015

 

CEOCFO: Ms. Driscoll, what is the concept at PharmaLogics?

Ms. Driscoll: We have taken a slightly different approach to the traditional method of recruiting. It’s not just a twist on recruiting in the biopharmaceutical industry, but really a change in the way recruiting is down across the board. Typically, a recruiting firm would charge a percentage-based fee for placing a candidate. For example, if a candidate is earning $100,000, a company would charge $25,000 upon placement. This type of model is called contingency recruiting, and we operated like this from 2003 until 2009. When the recession hit in 2008, it forced us to take a closer look at our business in order to stay afloat. After doing some research into how our firm actually conducted searches and what it cost to complete them, it became obvious that we could provide a solution that was less expensive, and came with a higher quality result. Based on that, we launched what we call an “Anti-Fee Recruiting Model”, which is an enhanced, collaborative recruiting program between PharmaLogics and the Human Resources Department at our client companies. We bill our clients on an hourly basis as opposed to charging a commission fee at the placement of a candidate, guarantee a placement and any additional candidates we develop in the process are given to the client for free. We also guarantee our clients that we will not charge them more than 25% of the placed candidate’s starting salary; therefore, our client’s will never pay more than what they would have paid with a contingency recruiter. Our average fee in 2014 was 13.8% of the candidate’s starting salary, so we saved our client’s almost 50% in recruiting fees this past year. Our ability to work transparently and collaboratively with the hiring teams at our client companies has resulted in the quality going up, and the cost has gone down, which has been our recipe for success and the reason for our 200% growth in 3 years.

 

CEOCFO: How does the collaboration work?

Ms. Driscoll: In a traditional contingency recruiting setting, an HR person would work with many different recruiters, all of whom would not get paid until they have made a candidate placement. This model fosters a cutthroat sales environment, where recruiters are motivated to send over as many candidates to increase the probability that one is a good fit for the role. Our recruiters are not working to earn a placement fee, so they are not motivated to push a candidate into the wrong spot. They are searching for qualified candidates who will be a good fit for the technical and cultural aspects of the role. Our goal as a company has been to pull the curtain back on recruiting, include our HR partners in the process and make it a collaborative project through absolute transparency. Every single candidate that we uncover during the process, all the market data that we come up with, this is information that we share on a weekly basis with our clients. They are able to see how the search is really progressing and any data we generate in that search is theirs to keep. In a traditional recruiting setting, if I submit two or three candidates to you and you like two of them, you actually end up paying me for two fees. In our model, you can hire as many candidates as we come up with for that search.


CEOCFO: Do most companies you work with want to be that involved in the process? Is it something they have been looking for in addition to the reducing cost side of it?

Ms. Driscoll: This approach is so exciting to the Human Resources partners that we work with that this year we were on Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies in the country. We came in at number 2077, with a growth over three years of 200 percent. The success of this process is why we are almost doubling in size in both numbers of clients and revenue. It is very refreshing, and it is unlike any other search process they have worked with before.

 

CEOCFO: When you are looking at candidates, what might you look at, given your years of experience, that others might not think is worthy of consideration?

Ms. Driscoll: People underestimate the importance of a cultural fit. I think most people understand that fit is a part of a job interview, but I think they underestimate the extent to which it is important. What we see is that more than 50 percent of candidates’ chances of getting a job or candidates’ qualifications for the role has to do with personality/cultural fit, even in an industry like science. You can find a candidate with the right technical expertise, but if that candidate cannot communicate effectively, or doesn’t show leadership skills, then it does not matter how strong their skills are. It goes without saying that if you are interviewing for a position in HR, marketing or sales, you clearly need to have emotional intelligence as a requirement for the role. I think strong EQ skills are harder to find in science, but they are equally, if not more, important than a candidate’s technical prowess.

 

CEOCFO: How are you able to assess personality?

Ms. Driscoll: We spend a significant amount of time working with candidates assessing both their technical fit for the role and the candidate’s communication skills and overall leadership style. Do they seem like they are interested for the right reasons? Do they have good judgment? Are they able to answer the questions articulately? Are they backing it up with supporting evidence as to why they can do the job? Do they respond in a timely manner to your calls and are they clear in their written and verbal correspondence? We need to ensure that these candidates will be able to stand up to the rigor of the onsite interview and fit in at the client. If they don’t fit in, everyone’s time has been wasted.

 

CEOCFO: What have you changed since you started this new approach?

Ms. Driscoll: A lot of it really worked well right off the bat, but as we developed, we had to tweak things along the way. Over the course of the first few years we mainly added process and procedures and oversight to our platform. This led to our being able to manage larger scale build outs and providing RPO like services and supported our branching into to new markets and as of today, almost 50% of our search business is overseas. We pride ourselves on the data. We make placements in six to nine weeks, we beat our clients’ own KPI’s by weeks and months, we take on highly technical roles, some that have been open for a year, and fill them with talent and we do this all over the world. The structural changes we made helped us attain this.

 

CEOCFO: Tell us a little about the structure of your organization.

Ms. Driscoll: Scaling up is hard. By hearing Bob Parsons, who started Go Daddy and Hamdi Ulukaya who started Chobani speak at the Inc. 5000 conference, I learned that as an entrepreneur, scale up is a struggle and completely normal. I am holding in my hand right now a book called “Scaling Up Excellence,” written by 2 professors from Stanford, and they talk about this idea of going from unorganized chaos when you first start your company to what then becomes organized chaos. It’s always messy, and over time it’s just a little less messy. When we first started, I could train every single person who worked here. I can’t do that anymore, so I need to delegate that, but then in delegating it, I need to make sure that the spirit of what we are trying to accomplish has the trickle-down effect. In the beginning, very little of what I thought was getting trickled down, actually did. So it’s about building process and organizational structure and with that, comes change. Moving people out or into different seats. Mediocrity is simply not an option at PharmaLogics. We cannot get to a 10 million or 20 million dollar company if we let that persist or exist at any level within our organization. There is no point in doing anything if you don’t do it excellently, and we all have to be held accountable to that standard. When you grow, sometimes you sense that you need bodies and people in seats. That works in a pinch, but we are at a point now where we need able bodies. We need people who are executing at a high-level and contributing to the organization in a significant way. We need to hire people who are born with leadership qualities, and we need to develop people into senior-level roles and be giving them more responsibility. The last 24 months we have focused on our employee’s development extensively and this has given us a great group of people, so I am excited for the future of my staff.

 

CEOCFO: How is competition? Are you finding others embracing you model?

Ms. Driscoll: It’s funny, I don’t think that it’s quite catching on yet, and I will tell you why. The only reason why we launched this model in the first place is because we were virtually facing extinction. 2009 was a horrible year for everyone in business, and closure was an option for many of us in our industry at that time. I remember reading an article about a statement Steve Jobs once made, “Cannibalize yourself in a recession.” The article talked about a recessionary period being the only time in your business where you can afford to do something totally out of the box, because the risk level is low. You have nothing to lose because you can always go back and do what you were doing before, and the low operating costs allow you to try something significant and different. We launched this model with that in mind. So now, in order for a company to transition from what they’re doing now to a model similar to ours, they would most likely have to start over and our sector is currently pretty healthy overall. There’s not burning need for companies to do it.

 

CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. There are certainly many companies in your industry although none quite with your model. Make the case – why choose PharmaLogics Recruiting?

Ms. Driscoll: For a company in science, it is the depth of our knowledge in the industry. We have only worked in the biopharmaceutical space and each member of our senior staff has close to 20 years of experience in this niche industry. Our technical acumen is the number one reason why companies should and do work with us. In my opinion, we are a no-brainer because you are going to get a high-quality product, a process that you really enjoy, a collaborative partnership, and on top of it you are going to pay less. One of the things that I always tell clients when I pitch our company is that we don’t make any money if you just give us one search. It only makes sense for us to work with you if we can partner for the next 5-10 years or longer. The quality has to be outstanding or that just won’t happen. Once you start working with PharmaLogics and you experience what it is like to be involved in a collaborative process, work with a technically experienced recruiting staff and save money on your recruiting costs, you stick with us and that has been what has happened. We have grown based on close to 90% of our clients sticking with us from one year to the next. Although our current roster is larger today, it still includes the firms that we first launched this model with 5 years ago.



 

“Our technical acumen is the number one reason why companies should and do work with us. In my opinion, we are a no-brainer because you are going to get a high-quality product, a process that you really enjoy, a collaborative partnership, and on top of it you are going to pay less.” - Megan Driscoll


 

PharmaLogics Recruiting

www.pharmalogicsrecruiting.com

 
Contact:

Samantha Peper

857-263-7835

sbpeper@pharmalogicsrecruiting.com



 

 



 

 


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