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Pharma recruitment: the impossible dream?

History and folklore are full of tales about people who are consumed by attempting to achieve seemingly impossible tasks, like the centuries-long search for the secret of turning lead into gold or Don Quixote’s quest to defeat the giants when he was merely tilting at windmills.

However, some seemingly impossible quests are accomplished. When physician David Livingstone disappeared in Africa for six years, Henry Morton Stanley set out on what many thought was an impossible mission to find him. After nine months, 700 miles through the dense jungle and many lives lost to tropical disease, Stanley found Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika.

Sometimes recruiting for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries can seem almost as difficult as Stanley’s search for Livingstone.

For this reason, many in our business don’t relish the job of recruiting. But that’s not our experience. Early on at Seuss Consulting we were asked to find staff for some companies we really like and respect. We had such a good time finding the right matches that we continued to grow that part of our business. Now we see why professional matchmakers enjoy their work so much!

Disclaimer: This blog was previously posted by Seuss Consulting and has been slightly modified for Seuss Recruitment.


To be a successful and efficient recruiter in these industries, the key is to avoid some of the pitfalls hiring managers and others tend to make. See if any of these scenarios sound familiar.


You know how some women go shopping and always need to “check one more store” to see if they can find what they’re looking for cheaper or better? Or how guys who fish for bass are always leafing through gear catalogs and adding more “sure fire” lures to their collection? Some hiring managers can fall into those traps. The “shopping” process begins to take preeminence over the “hiring” process. It’s important to remember that the candidate search isn’t the main thing; bringing a person onboard to successfully meet a need is the main thing…and the sooner the better.


Some hiring managers can’t stop questioning, either themselves or the candidates they are screening. We understand and sympathize with their situation. After all, they will be responsible for the hire and this can cause some to get a little “gun shy”; they are unwilling to pull the trigger.

The question that lurks in the back of their mind is, “Could there be someone more perfect out there?”


In this scenario a good candidate has been identified—perhaps even the ideal fit—and suddenly someone in the process wants “to see a comparison candidate.”

If we might do a little semantic quibbling for a moment: Every other candidate who has been considered is a “comparison” candidate! Once a candidate who would do the job well has been found, asking for a “comparison” candidate is like asking for something “exactly the same, but different.”

When a company identifies one or more tasks that the candidate must be able to achieve, then select the candidate that can definitely perform those tasks with excellence and fit the corporate culture.

And if we can bring the epic search for Dr. Livingstone back into this discussion for a moment, Stanley was being financed by a newspaper whose publisher guaranteed him unlimited funds. That’s not a luxury most companies can afford today. Efficiently identifying the right candidates is a requirement to remain competitive.