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How to Evaluate the Right Staffing Firm for Your Next Pharma Job

Searching for your next job in the pharma industry can feel like another full-time position in and of itself – it’s time consuming, requires organization and drive, and can leave you feeling downtrodden if things don’t go the way you’d hoped. Working with a recruiter who specializes in the pharma industry can take some of the weight off your shoulders and provide a trusted resource to help you through the process. 

Of course, not all staffing firms are made the same and partnering with the wrong one could leave you feeling more frustrated than before. To make sure you’re choosing the right fit for your unique needs, consider these tips when evaluating pharma-focused staffing firms.


Check Out Their Job Openings

It seems too simple to be true, but looking at the job postings on the firm’s website is one of the best ways to get a feel for the different types of roles they can help you find and how broad their reach is—even if you don’t see a specific job you’re interested in at the moment. One key benefit of working with a staffing firm is that they have connections and can put your resume in front of hiring managers—and get it the attention it deserves—at companies that might not have seen it otherwise. 

Ask yourself:

  • Do they have the job titles that I’m looking for?
  • Do they represent a variety of companies (well-known, large, small, startup, international, etc.)?
  • Are the majority of the job descriptions appealing to me? 

Maybe you’re looking for a large Biotech company or contract research organization (CRO)—or maybe you want to join a startup with lots of opportunity for growth in a fast-paced environment. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s important to find a staffing firm with a diverse client portfolio to ensure that you find it. 

Snoop on Their Social Media

By now you probably know that employers will look you up on social media before they hire you, so why shouldn’t you do some social media research of your own? Looking up staffing firms or even your specific recruiter on social media gives you a feel for:

  • Are they staying up-to-date on current trends, drug therapies, and trials?
  • Do they share articles relevant to your industry and role?
  • How do other companies and consultants talk about – and to – them publicly?
  • Does their tone and attitude resonate with you?
  • What kinds of jobs do they post?

Looking up staffing agencies on social media provides good insight into what working with their team will be like, and how knowledgeable they’ll be about your industry.

Browse Employee Reviews

Remember the California Happy Cow commercials? “Great milk comes from happy cows?” The same concept applies to recruiters. Staffing firms that prioritize the candidate experience will just naturally have happier recruiters. This means that recruiters are more likely to be focused on finding the right job for you rather than pressuring you to take something you don’t want in order to hit their quota. 

After all – people move into the field of recruitment because they want to help people find happiness in their jobs, whether they’re contract or permanent. Find where the happy recruiters work, and you’ll find a firm that prioritizes your needs. To start, check out their website and search for company values, in particular. 

Look for Signs of “Repeat Customers”

The ideal staffing agency will stick with you for the long haul. When you accept a 12-month contract position, for example, it’s important to know that your recruiter has your back and will be thinking of you when those 12 months are coming to an end. This means that they’re starting to send you new opportunities before your current contract ends. Talk about job security!

That’s why you want to watch for signs of “repeat customers” as you’re browsing sites like LinkedIn, Google Reviews, and Glassdoor. Keep an eye out for people talking about how their recruiter is engaged and responsive and has found them multiple positions.

For example, a colleague of mine recently placed a consultant that had been with his previous company for the past five years. The new position is a 12 month contract, and while the consultant is hoping that will morph into a permanent role, the recruiter is already planning to reconnect in nine months to start looking for his next role, just in case. That’s precisely the kind of recruiter you want in your corner.

Take Your Research Offline

In addition to your super-sleuthing online, getting on the phone with a recruiter can really illuminate some important things—like if they are focused on actually helping you and will be a true partner in your job search journey. Recruiters aren’t doing their job right unless they’re putting you in a position to thrive.  

Pay attention to the kinds of questions the recruiter asks when you get them on the phone. Does the recruiter seem genuinely interested in you, your career, and your goals? Are they trying to understand what you’re looking for and what would make you happy? Are they pressuring you into a position you don’t want? 

During this conversation, be sure to scope out:

  • How they manage long-term relationships with contract workers
  • How they match candidates and companies
  • Whether this is someone you can trust and would like to build a relationship with
  • Whether they see themselves as working on your behalf or are just using you to hit their monthly goals 

 At the end of the day, candidates have endless choices about which staffing agency to work with when looking for a new pharma-centric job. Spending some time getting to know the agency you’re evaluating and the recruiter you’ll be working with through online research and real conversation ensures that you partner with a firm that has your best interest in mind and can find you a great match.

Photo credit: Canva

by Scott MacKenzie, National Recruiter, Planet Pharma

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