A Start-up Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Top Talent Part 3: 3 Tips for Engaging a Professional Recruiting Service Provider Who Understands Life Science Start-ups

Attracting great talent can be a hurdle for start-up companies.  Life science entrepreneurs know that finding and retaining top talent is crucial to the success of their fledgling company.  Not only does the right talent help ensure that the work gets done properly, having top talent on your team is likely to generate approval from investors and board members and has the potential to assist you with obtaining future funding.  

In Part 1 of this series, We discussed that start-up life science companies need to have a position/role description to describe the role and establish the qualifications that candidates will have.  In Part 2, we discussed the importance of the applicant review process and the regulatory requirements to assess that a candidate has the education, training, and experience necessary to take on the role. 

In Part 3, we’ll provide 3 tips for engaging a professional recruiting service provider who understands Life Science start-ups. 


We’ll begin with a question:


My grassroots, networking approach to identifying candidates for my opening didn’t work, now what?


Tip 1: Think ahead

Think beyond the role you are trying to fill right now.  Consider other talent needs that you are anticipating so you can find a partner that can help you now and as your company continues to grow over the next-18 months.


-        What types of experience levels will you need? Senior executives? Entry-level workers? Something in between?

-        What subject matter expertise is needed? 

-        What types of workers are you seeking? Full-time? Part-time? permanent? contract?


Tip 2: Qualifying Professional Recruiting Service Providers

There are 3 guiding principles to consider when engaging professional recruiting service providers.


-        Experience

As the old saying goes, time is money.  You don’t want to spend your valuable time trying to explain the difference between regulatory affairs and clinical development to a recruiter.  Find a firm that understands the business and can provide references to attest to their success.

-        Flexibility

Many start-up companies start out with a handful of employees and a network of contractors and consultants to fill in the gaps in their talent pipeline.  Do the professional recruiting service providers you’re considering working with have the ability to source both contract and permanent employees? Will they support a contract-to-perm opportunity?  Can they act as a Functional Service Provider (FSP) employing talent and enabling those individuals to support projects at the start-up under a vendor services agreement?

-        Ability to Excel

The professional recruiting firm should have a database of potential candidates with the subject matter expertise that you’ll need, as well as the techniques and tools to target new talent. How does the professional recruiting service provider approach sourcing a role?  Can the firm provide you with examples of blinded CVs for a selection of candidates in their database?  Can they provide references from candidates? 

-        Customer Focus

The firm or firms you select will be providing your company with a service.  What is their approach to account management and customer service?  Will you have a single point of contact, a team of professionals working for you, or a blended approach where an account manager acts as the primary point of contact and provides accountability and oversight for the service provider’s team?  Will you be engaged with multiple account managers (e.g., one manager for permanent roles and another manager for contract roles)? Or can a single account manager handle all of your staffing needs? Does the professional recruiting service provider’s ways of working meet your company’s needs and style?


Tip 3: Create a Pilot Project

Once you’ve qualified a professional recruiting service provider you’d like to work with, identify a pilot project to be the first opportunity to work together.  Use this project as a way to engage performance and determine if the professional recruiting service provider has the ability to meet your future needs.



Don’t settle for subpar talent or a subpar professional recruiting service provider, Contact Unicon Pharma to learn more about how we do business.  We focus on finding you great talent so you can focus more on what you do best: growing your business in an effort to improve the quality of life for communities around the world.

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