We were incredibly fortunate to sit down with the Talent Acquisition Manager of a post Series C Drug Discovery business, who are looking to scale by 75 people over the next 18 months. In this piece we discuss not only how AI is going to transform the world of talent acquisition, but also what agencies should be looking to do to diversify their offering and stand out in a crowded market.
So, can you give us an overview of your background?
I came from a Life Sciences recruitment background, specifically within Board and Executive Search. I now work as a Talent Acquisition Manager for a post Series C Drug Discovery business. My experience moving from an agency to an internal environment was very different to what I anticipated; although the skillsets are very similar and there is a lot that I’ve been able to transfer over, the pace was something that I had to adjust to.
In an internal role you spend your time managing external partners as well as internal stakeholders, but in comparison to the agency world my role internally is focused on quality, strategy and delivery rather than working to a particular target or metric. My work now is focused around not just hiring the right people, but analysing interview processes as well as onboarding, diversifying our talent pools and ensuring that everybody has the same experience overall.
What does an average day look like for you?
It really varies; so far there’s been three elements: learning and developing processes, looking at the opportunities and threats they pose and observing the changes that we then make. We’re lucky that we already have a strong brand, so the applicants that we get are usually of very high quality. Another part of an “average day” for me is largely headhunting, but also figuring out exactly which roles we’d need to partner with agencies for.
As we’re hiring over 70 people, I can’t do that completely on my own so it’s understanding my strengths and what I can lead but also partnering with the right agency, and that in itself is incredibly hard. Although I worked in an agency environment I didn’t realise when working in a) a well known company in the industry and b) in an internal role just how many approaches would be the same.
The most impressive approach that I’ve had so far is someone taking the time to research our hiring data, but the rest of the approaches do blend into one.
What do you look for when partnering with an agency?
If I’m being completely honest, I do receive a number of approaches and some of them are awful, but a lot of them are very similar. To stand out in today’s market, particularly if you’re trying to win roles from a fast-growth business like ours you need to research as well as understand exactly how you can add value to our organisation.
It’s not just my eyes that need to be caught it’s the executives as well. A lot of approaches I get also just want a conversation with no real purpose behind it, spamming the Executives and I unfortunately will result in us not partnering with those types of agencies.
It’s about knowing your space, understanding how you can add value to us and communicating that either through a call or an impressive email pitching yourself. Another huge value add is whether you can advise us as well, because that consultative piece is really invaluable.
Do you think technology has improved or hindered your recruitment process?
I joined the company at the beginning of lockdown, so virtual onboarding and technology personally has been incredibly helpful, but given we are an AI company we can’t exactly say that technology hinders us – it does the complete opposite.
We’ve had a lot of good feedback from candidates so far using Google Meet, as it’s a smooth, streamlined process and it has given both us and the candidate a good experience. There are naturally frustrating things that come with any piece of technology, but overall I do think that it has improved our recruitment process so far. The only thing that is difficult is filtering agencies and identifying good ones, so a piece of tech that allowed for that would be helpful.
How do you think the recruitment industry will shift and develop as time progresses?
I’m confident the recruitment landscape will move towards an AI platform and rely on technology more than we would have done even five years ago. In my current company we recruit a number of PostDocs, and not everybody has LinkedIn so there needs to be some kind of algorithmic system that can find people online easier.
I believe advertising roles will also be based on an individual’s behavioral patterns and traits online (even more than they are now). I know some search firms that are already using algorithms and AI in their sourcing methods, so in a way I think the recruitment industry will need to evolve with the pace of technology and be open to trialling new things.
To hire the best talent in the market, recruitment companies need to use technology creatively to support their clients and ensure a smooth hiring process for all.