4 Must-Haves for Talent Acquisition in CDMO


I just finished drafting a search and research plan for another CDMO role. I’ve done so many recently that it’s feeling like habit.

CDMO is hot right now. It’s where talent is wanted and top executives are going. You’ll see the proof on our website (check out the Current Projects/Openings section), in the news, almost everywhere.

I’ve heard predictions that we won’t have sufficient talent to meet the demands of CMO and CRO clients by this time next year. (You can read our report on CDMO hiring for 2019 here.) I personally don’t agree. If you’re doing everything right when hiring, you’ll find the talent and entice them to join your team. And that’s true no matter what segment of the life sciences industry you’re in. The key is, however, that you can’t simply do what you’ve been doing in order to get the talent you want.

5 Steps to Set Your Company Apart in a Tight Talent Market

  1. Shake things up.

    We’ve all heard the definition of insanity get batted around, right? In a tight talent market then it’s absolutely insane to think that doing what you’ve always done is going to do anything more than bring you the same people you’ve always attracted … except not as many of them. As an executive search firm, we feel the pinch long before most employers do so we’ve already implemented changes: first, we never wait for talent to express an interest in the roles we’re filling or find us. We dive into the project on day 1. Second, we’ve partnered with a search firm in the East Asian market to effectively reach another segment of highly experienced talent. And third, we’ve recently modified our online recruiting process to augment the tried-and-true (and overcrowded) sites like LinkedIn, and have adopted an executive-only platform offering far more insight into every connection, especially in life sciences.

  2. Move elsewhere.

    The talent you’ve been looking for may not be just around the corner. If you’ve been limiting a talent search to a single geographic area, now is the time to branch out. While companies may have borders, talent doesn’t have to. In some instances, you may find that the perfect person for your almost-perfect team is living across the country … or halfway around the world.

  3. Don’t settle.

    You’re not looking for someone to occupy a seat. You’re looking for someone to move the needle, exceed the goals. But when those people are already happy in their current roles, you need to get creative. We know. At my firm, we see this all the time because that’s who we’re seeking for our clients: the kind of executive who’s in high demand and is probably too busy to listen. For us, “creativity” comes only after we’ve spoken to the candidate, dug into their network, learned more about what really motivates them. Sometimes this may be an opportunity to be close to a family member or the ability to shape a treatment or work on a cure that will help someone close to them. These unique motivators are never listed on resumes, CVs or social media profiles. Instead, you have to get to know your top candidates personally to find out what’s going to make them stop and listen.

  4. Slow down.

    Stop relying on candidate databases that anyone can access for a fee. Start relying on your own, custom database of candidates and look for connections in them to other companies and people, too. A few years ago, we worked closely with a pharmaceutical company based in India to build a biologics team in the emerging markets. We placed several regulatory leaders in multiple countries, and each project required significant time and effort. Fortunately, we had the resources to commit our full effort to the project and it paid off for the client. Not long ago, we were asked by the same client to help with more projects, this time in the U.S. Because we knew the challenges, we started planning for the searches before they ever started by reviewing our networks and looking into new connections we could make from them. In a tight labor market, that’s what you have to do. These connections require more than a quick click of a button, and they’re the ones that matter most. I know -- I’ve been making them for more than 30 years.

Get more information about CDMO hiring in REPORT: Biologics and CDMO - Talent Outlook 2019

Category: Biologics | CDMO

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