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The executive interim community calls for a ‘conscious coupling’ of RPOs and interims specialists

A voice of choice is emerging from the executive interim community and this is as encouraging as it is concerning. Online forums are rife with gripes about volume-driven, poor quality recruitment service – ask any independent professional how appreciated they feel when the first question tabled is one of price!

Critically, pressure for change can be seen from the executive interim community of candidates and providers.

One recent such conversation with an executive level interim highlighted a conscious desire to avoid being represented by a recruiting firm whose brand was aligned to junior, volume recruiting.

Right project, wrong agent. Client unknowingly misses out on a stunning candidate.

Partly to blame is the emergence of the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider field, which has seen a downward shift in the quality of the talent acquisition process, often criticized by expert recruiters and candidates alike. RPO services are first designed to drive down cost per hire without addressing how quality of hire will be maintained or improved in the new process.

Executive interim provider firms therefore avoid positioning their services alongside an RPO for fear of a branding disaster. Most importantly they do not want to lose sight of what matters – direct discussions with senior management to understand exactly what the client needs from the interim, what success looks like, and how an executive interim will add value.

Interim candidates mirror these sentiments; they appreciate honest and knowledgeable discussions and interesting projects to discuss their skill sets against – something that is lacking in standard RPO setups.

Partnering with dedicated interim provider firms will see an uplift in quality and value, represented overall as better hits on target and a reduction in time to engage.

The pharmaceutical industry is in an ideal position to drive change by demand the utmost from current and future RPO providers. Require the inclusion of specialist firms alongside generalists, as there is strength in variety. There will be differences in how to engage the two, but the model will evolve through client demand, pushing for value-led conversations between specialist recruiters and RPO firms to create valuable outcomes for all involved.

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