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Dear Workforce Why Don’t Recruits Like Us

Our pharmaceutical company faces some difficulty in recruiting for technical/research positions. What are we doing wrong? How do we reverse the trend?
June 8, 2005
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Related Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Dear Workforce
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Dear Feeling Slighted:

It is not uncommon to blame either the lack of talent or a bad recruiting message when futilely trying to fill critical needs. Often, however, this is the least of your worries. Instead, think about:
Where are you and where are they? Industry centers develop over time. In the United States, if you are a financial-services professional, New York City is your epicenter. Software engineers like to settle in Massachusetts, Silicon Valley or Seattle. A six-square-block area in Boston encompasses the most intensive concentration of medical-research facilities in the world.
A concentration of talent in any one area raises the cost of doing business. Consequently, many companies decide to seek less expensive places to set up shop. This has a downside: although it lowers the cost of doing business, it complicates recruiting and raises the cost of hiring. Persuading potential candidates to move someplace with fewer opportunities is an enormous hurdle.
India, your home country, abounds with talented information-technology professionals. You have to start asking, Why won't they work for us?
Are you what you think you are? It may be that your company isn't perceived as one of the best and brightest. This can be a major drawback for individuals looking to advance their careers; they're more likely to look at your competitors, even in other regions. Knowing your company's street reputation is important to understanding this issue. Seek outside expert advice. Reluctance to face difficult realities makes getting at the truth internally difficult at best.
First, though, compile a checklist that asks key questions. Include the following:
  • How competitive are our salaries and benefits?
  • Do we lead the pack or remain stuck at the back?
  • Do negative management issues dog us?
  • Are we considered a financial risk?
  • Do we settle for hiring less than the best?
Once you gather this information, you'll need to craft a recruiting message to dispel any myths. This may actually require spending money in areas other than recruiting. Professional magazines, Web sites and industry associations are good places to start.
Are you looking for a ton of what exists only in ounces? Industries looking for rare and exotic technologies are always confronted with a "talent famine" if their only approach is to seek what already exists. Too few companies are willing to redefine hiring standards and levels to match the available talent pool. Be willing to nurture and train your existing talent. Invest in your own employees. This could transform them into that rare and hard-to-find commodity: topflight producers.
SOURCE: Ken Gaffey, principal, Kenneth T. Gaffey Consulting, Melrose, Massachusetts, July 27, 2004.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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