Finding candidates for such a high paid sales position isn’t necessarily hard. However, the problem is getting those who have the right expertise. Medical sales require someone with highly specialized skills. They need to be able to meet industry demands and perform not only in targets but be able to build long lasting relationships.
The medical device and pharmaceutical industry is big money, with not a lot of room for error when it comes to recruiting. Only the top performing talent will do in such a highly regulated industry. However, the competition for the best applicants is intense. Particularly, when wading in such a small pool of truly qualified candidates. Recruiting resources and tools are stretched to the limit and most cannot afford to do it wrong. There is an obvious aggressiveness and a desperate need to get the best available, even if they are already employed.
Here are four truths about the medical sales industry and why inbound recruitment doesn’t always hit the mark in this fierce candidate war…
1. Employee poaching
Employee poaching leaves the stench of solicitation in the air, and the medical sales industry in particular seems to be in the thick of it. Thanks to the highly specialised skills needed in a medical sales role, getting the top dogs often becomes at a price.
Many pharmaceutical and medical device companies have a hard time keeping their talent. A competitor trying to cherry pick your prized hogs can lead to an expensive tug of war. The competing for an employee is an undeniable headache for the home company in a bid to keep them from straying. If a good sales rep leaves your business for another, there’s a good chance he will take his connections with him; doctors, physicians, pharmacists, surgeons as well as hospital and clinic relations. All this can prove very expensive in terms of lost business.
2. The sales paradigm in medical recruitment
The fact that HR typically does the recruiting for medical sale candidates is risky. The people employed in human resources are often not equipped to know the complex selling environment of pharmaceutical products and medical devices. If you want a real sales recruiter, hire a salesperson. It’s best to remove the administration model of “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” approach. Not only does this reduce the chances of hiring and investing in the wrong candidates, but will ensure long term business growth and development.
Placing a sales manager and an industry specialised recruiting firm at the centre of hiring can improve the chances of getting the right candidates. HR is still a crucial part of the hiring process, especially to ensure the vetting of a candidate for stability and financial status. It has to be treated as a TEAM effort just like everything else.
3. Unfair applicant preferences
A biased and closed inbound recruitment process can leave a stale smell of deception when a wrong employee is hired. Applicants who score well may be moved to the side because of influenced preferences. A darker side of the recruitment process is that many hiring managers fix candidate scores. It often ends up being a case of getting who they choose, rather than those who may be the most suitable for the role.
The need for the right hire is not only necessary to justify the amount of time and money put into the hiring process but also to ensure the process doesn’t need to be repeated again unnecessarily. A poor recruiting process due to unfair applicant preferences is highly unethical and expensive.
4. High hiring costs
Since the medical device industry compasses of such a highly competitive market, hiring is expensive as well. Most companies have been known to reach an average of five figures to just put a new recruit on the road for the first year. Candidates who are well connected, experienced and knowledgeable about the industry are few and far between. Therefore, companies in the medical industry are under a lot of pressure to offer more enticing benefit packages. Otherwise, they risk losing the candidates to a competitor.
The cost goes further than just paying the cost of recruiting; a vacant position also leaves the company in a difficult position.
Jules Williamson of ProMed Recruitment specializes in recruitment in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.
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