5 recruitment challenges and HOW to overcome them

3 key takeaways from this blog:

  • You will learn about recruitment challenges
  • You will receive tips about identifying right fits for the company 
  • You will learn about feedback principles towards candidates


The Pharmaceutical industry is full of opportunities for candidates with a wide variety of experience, the majority of which are coming from the life sciences field. So how do we even start attracting the best talent from this pool?

You will find that post-covid times have seen companies adopt a more flexible approach to homeworking with the rise of “work from home” requirements. This makes it virtually possible to work from any city or even country, which gives candidates a lot more choice when selecting companies to work for. This, in turn, increases competition for companies to stand out even more. It’s harder than ever to find and attract top talent because, even though we have a larger pool of candidates to interview, they also have a larger pool of companies to compete for. Having that in mind, we will point out the top recruitment challenges we faced for 2022 and how we overcame them.

Providing the best candidate experience

One of the most important factors in a smooth candidate experience is to try and optimize the time required for them to go through the whole recruitment process and maintain good communication throughout. Recruitment is time-consuming because of this, so having a Talent Acquisition (TA) team of specialized individuals trained for recruiting specific job roles makes that possible for any company.

Company image is important, and the early recruitment process sets the overall picture of the company. A recruiter that does not get back to an applicant in time or has poor communication, to begin with, can set a bad tone from the offset.

The responsibility of a TA team is to be the main point of contact between the candidate and the Hiring Manager and ensure constant communication is there, so both parties are up to date with the feedback. Specialized individuals will lead the candidate through the responsibilities and the job description, go over the specific company benefits and explain the general culture of the company.

At the same time, they are filtering candidates by asking the right type of open questions to test the suitability and motivations of that candidate. A dedicated team of recruiters in a company is key to ensuring the best quality of hire, which, in turn, should reduce the overall retention in a company. It’s very important to have a person capable of guiding the applicants through the entire process, which should in general have as few steps as possible.

Feedback is key

Another important factor is feedback. Every candidate wants to receive feedback, whether it is good or bad, and they want it as quickly as possible and want to know the reasons. This is where a specialized Talent Acquisition team can help again because they will be capable of providing quick feedback. Just as candidates require feedback, employers should also seek feedback from candidates after the interview. It’s a good practice to ask for and receive feedback from candidates on the overall recruitment process, to be able to pinpoint what we’re doing well or should maybe change/add.

Don’t forget that the candidate experience does not stop at the offer stage – it continues through the onboarding and through the whole tenure of employment. Good candidate experience which includes open communication leads to good employer branding, as news about the individual experience travels fast. Also, positive candidate referrals really help recruiters too!

Gut instinct in hiring

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

According to Laszlo Bock, formerly the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Inc., and the author of “Work rules!”, making predictions from the first ten seconds of meeting someone is useless. These predictions create a situation where an interview is spent trying to confirm what we think of someone, rather than truly assessing them. Psychologists call this confirmation bias, the tendency to search for, interpret or prioritize information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses.

Past experience is everything in choosing between gut instinct and unconscious bias. As said above, gut instinct is like a divining rod – it’s a helpful tool but it shouldn’t be fully relied upon. One of the easiest ways to analyze your own decisions and suppositions is by asking yourself:

Why would I choose this candidate?

It may seem like a simple question, but it’s not uncommon to jump to conclusions and not trust our own decision-making process. By asking ourselves why we would choose this candidate, we can investigate where our gut feeling comes in and where bias takes over. As an experienced recruiter, you need to understand the energy and feelings of your candidate, you should get to know their interests and needs and then make a decision.

Attracting passive candidates

It is important to be proactive when hiring especially if you cannot see relevant applications for a position that is advertised. It can take a long time waiting for the magical “unicorn” of a candidate to come by, so internal recruiters should be headhunting “passive” candidates too. In our experience, a large portion of candidates who successfully go through the recruitment process were not actively looking for a job but would consider a new opportunity if it presented itself to them. Passive candidates are usually of higher quality when it comes to experience and as they are usually in no other recruitment processes, counteroffers are unlikely to occur.

To attract passive candidates, employers need to focus on employer branding, marketing, and talent searching strategies such as the use of the LinkedIn Recruiter to “sell” themselves as the company to work for. They need to ensure they are promoting their company values and employee experiences publicly, be it through candidate testimonials or sharing any company initiatives and charity socials for example.

We need to understand that “passive” candidates can easily turn into “active” candidates and also apply to jobs elsewhere once they have updated their CVs, so it is vital to ensure a quick and smooth recruitment process for these types of candidates.

“Job Hoppers”

A Job Hopper is someone who stays in a job for approximately 1-2 years and then switches employers. Hiring Managers can instantly disregard CVs because of this. This remains a challenge for Hiring Managers, and generally is something that is frowned upon. However, it is also something we are seeing more often, especially within the Millennial generation. Young professionals now are moving quickly on to the next position to obtain their salary and career goals, if promotions are not feasible in their current company, and we feel this may be the trend moving forward.

Job hoppers can bring skills such as being high-risk takers, the ability to adapt to new environments quickly, and having a more diverse background. On the flip side, there is a high chance of them “hopping” again if left unfulfilled, and could also signal that they are unsure of their future goals. It is always best to have a further discussion and probe into the reasons for the job hopping and understand the real motivations rather than dismissing the CV at the beginning.

Dealing with Counteroffers

Counteroffers are the biggest challenge recruiters face in a competitive candidate’s short job market.

Companies need to know how to handle this at the interviewing and the offer stage. The Talent Acquisition team will usually ask candidates about this scenario at the initial screening stage and have a feeling of whether a candidate is only moving for money or for a new challenge/experience. If a candidate is only moving for money, then that is a red flag and it most likely means these candidates will accept a counteroffer from their current employer when resigning.

All recruiters will advise candidates to think twice about accepting counteroffers. Why? Because accepting a counteroffer is likely to damage your relationship with your current employer and 9/10 people who accept a counteroffer from their employer end up leaving within 12 months anyway.


Niki Sansoy, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Ergomed 

Dora Santro, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Primevigilance

About the company:

Founded in 1997, Ergomed is a global provider of high-quality services to the biopharmaceutical industry, spanning all phases of clinical trials, post-approval pharmacovigilance, and medical information. Ergomed’s fast-growing services business includes an industry-leading suite of specialist pharmacovigilance (PV) solutions, integrated under the PrimeVigilance brand, and Ergomed Clinical Research, a complete, global Phase I-IV clinical development and trial management services with a strong heritage in the development of drugs in rare diseases and oncology.

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