By Vincent Masat
Global Account Director

There are still too few candidates to fill Britain's job vacancies. The pharmaceutical and life sciences sector is no exception, due to various factors that include a scarcity of sufficiently skilled personnel and a recruitment model that takes too long to capture the ideal candidates.

Technology has had a great impact, with new and advanced methods leaving some people lacking relevant skills. Advances in molecular genetics and gene editing, computational biology, and many other medical sectors demand increasingly complex skills in areas of IT, engineering, and life science technologies. This is a niche marketplace where hiring tactics can be ruthless, so speeding up and streamlining the hiring process offers a real competitive advantage.

Gallup studies show that in the UK, an average of only 10% of personnel are actively engaged in their work. This is compared to 33% engagement in more people-focused parts of the world like the U.S. A faster hiring process enables interviewers to focus more closely on the applicant, allowing both parties to get to know each other better and ensure a better fit. Industry-specific recruitment issues affect the speed of the process, however, such as the complexity of roles and the extremely niche skills in areas like biometrics and medical techtronics. The structure of some jobs can be very heavily based on a particular project or matrix, and candidates often find themselves enduring too many rounds of interviews to get to the final point. Technology itself is developing at such a rate that sometimes there are few recruiters who are sufficiently knowledgeable to assess the candidate's skill, or simply no candidates adequately qualified to deal with the new systems.

Streamline the hiring process

Many steps in a traditional hiring process can be modernised, such as replacing traditional paper trails with technological solutions. Some of the interim levels of the employment hierarchy may also be condensed, so that candidates go straight to the key hiring personnel. A dynamic and forward-thinking talent acquisition leader can implement these changes, someone who is open to change and able to simplify and speed up the recruitment process.

Take advantage of recruitment technology, automation

Technology can also play a great part in the hiring process, with dedicated recruitment applications eliminating time-consuming paperwork. Automated platforms can supply all the necessary procedures in one place: identifying and attracting top talent, publishing job descriptions, processing applications, referrals, etc. Candidates and recruiters alike can log in and get results instantly, making it much faster to select potential candidates, arrange interviews, and review performance.

Technology can acquire, store, and disperse information for instant access anywhere in the world. This helps keep hiring managers up to date, and they can be trained to provide clients with niche-knowledgeable hiring tactics. It is critical that users are trained in the technology and understand the benefits of the process to negate the feeling of wanting to switch back to the traditional principle of more in-depth assessment.

Be flexible, use mobile

75% or more of candidates use mobile devices to find and apply for jobs, and can respond instantly to interview calls or change of circumstances. Messaging applications and recruitment chatbots greatly speed up interaction between recruiters and candidates, making response times almost immediate. Video conferencing is also a valuable tool, allowing interviews to be conducted remotely and at short notice.

On-demand and self-service access to HR services provides candidates with the autonomy to manage their own application procedures, wherever and whenever convenient. An automated platform can cut time to interview by almost 80%, impressing candidates with the efficiency and tech-savvy style of the hiring process. This is an important influence when it comes to choosing an employer.

It is critical to also streamline the number of stakeholders in the project to ensure that candidates don’t feel that they run the gamut of a direct manager, the overall project manager, the nebulous dotted line responsibilities, HR, etc. This procedure can be narrowed by examining the hiring ownership, identifying the key stakeholders, and determining how the process can be improved without jeopardising the hire.

Learn through trial and error

When instituting any new procedure, it's always wise to conduct a preliminary trial. Pilot schemes can be tested on a limited basis to start the ball rolling. The process should be monitored and assessed with data analytics and by experienced HMs to identify the pros and cons of the new scheme. The more dynamic hiring managers can act as promoters and front-(wo)men for the new techniques, while the process as a whole can still be audited by those with more traditional styles of recruiting.

We live in an instant world, where technology is our aid to rapid decision-making in all aspects of life. Recruitment is no stranger to the trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and can be the HR manager's friend in making faster and better hiring decisions.

Connect with Vincent Masat on LinkedIn.