At the seventh annual DIA conference in Funabori, Tokyo, one of my first introductions as president of my new company, Morunda KK, was to the global head of RA, who was looking for answers. I was introduced to him as someone who could solve his problem. As I listened, the director looked at me like a kid who had just broken his bike and expected me to fix it in no time flat.
He explained that the company’s Japanese subsidiary had been trying to hire an Regulatory Affairs Director for some time but could not attract top talent. What could be done? He explained the company’s approach thus far and it sounded like a drunken playing darts hoping to hit the bull’s eye. It was not so much a strategy as a blind hope that somehow, some way, he might be able to find leader to show him the way to NDA nirvana. Recruiting top talent requires a plan and a strategy; hope is not a recruiting strategy (Hope Is Not a Strategy: The 6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale, Rick Page).
I consulted with the company and suggested we follow 10 simple steps to find our star!
1. Meet with key stakeholders to understand what the position requires over the next 12–24 months. What is the person going to have to achieve in the short term?
2. With those key stakeholders, create a compelling message for candidates that highlights the company’s strengths, both worldwide and in Japan. Our experience shows that candidates are interested in reporting line, management responsibilities, the company’s pipeline and career growth. We will search for aspects of the business in Japan that are remarkable, unique and attractive.
3. Create a long list of potential candidates and, finally, a short list. The candidates’ comments on the company will be documented, giving us valuable market information. Determine the best people to interview candidates during the first meeting. We want to present the company to the candidates in the best possible light. First impressions count; we want to demonstrate the position’s importance to the candidates.
4. Determine who is going to meet the candidates and organize a 10–15 day window to conduct the meetings. We’ve seen many great candidates lost because of a slow and non-focused interview process. It is important that everyone who has “buy in” to make the hiring decision be on the same page. Our motto here is “strike while the iron is hot.”
5. Morunda will search the market for the best possible candidates and present to the company a target list and, finally, a short list of candidates. Morunda will meet and thoroughly screen the candidates before they meet with the company.
6. All the candidates will receive a consistent, targeted message. We will keep the position confidential until a candidate is interested in the opportunity. We want a limited pool of candidates to get the right message!
8. Morunda will guide the candidates through the process, troubleshooting and negotiating the conditions of the offer.
9. Once we have selected a candidate, we will present an on-boarding strategy.
10. Upon acceptance of the offer, provide the candidate with a copy of Michael Watkins’s The First 90 Days and work with the candidate to ensure a smooth transition. We will follow up continually with the candidate to ensure that he has the support he needs to succeed.
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Morunda www.morunda.com should be your choice of recruiting partner in Japan and Asia Pacific. Why? Because we live and breathe the pharmaceutical industry in Asia and the Pacific—we’re specialists!