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Mistakes you’re making in your hiring process and how to address them

6 minutes

Finding the right candidate for a role in life sciences often takes time, patience, and a lo...

Finding the right candidate for a role in life sciences often takes time, patience, and a lot of planning. If you work as a hiring manager, in talent acquisition (TA), or in HR, implementing the best practices throughout the hiring process is fundamental to secure the best talent and remain a competitive force in the life science space.

So, what can you do to help avoid hiring challenges and reduce future issues?


Why is it so important to get the hiring process right?

In life sciences, candidates often juggle multiple offers, so the efficiency and appeal of your hiring process can significantly impact their decision-making. A seamless and respectful hiring experience can position you favourably and safeguard your reputation.

It’s important to keep in mind that even candidates who aren't ultimately chosen, or who decline your offer, will share their experiences. There are places on sites like Glassdoor that allow candidates to share their experiences in interview candidly, and memorable recruitment processes are discussed regularly amongst candidates and recruiters. So, it’s essential that you’re memorable for the right reasons.

A positive hiring process will help you attract rather than deter top talent. And in an industry where word-of-mouth and peer recommendations can influence your ability to secure the best candidates, your hiring process is crucial to get right.


5 hiring process mistakes that could be harming candidate experience.

1. Over reliance on tech

Over the last few years, we’ve seen rapid developments in digital transformation within hiring processes. There are now automated tools for almost every step of the hiring process, some of the most common include:

  • CV screening tools – can rank and grade candidates to prequalify those who might be most likely to succeed against the requirements in a job spec, sometimes with the use of AI.
  • Interview and assessment tools – these allow candidates to answer some pre-qualification questions ahead of a screening from a recruiter, occasionally through video.
  • ChatBots – which can be used to automate some of the top-of-funnel recruiting activities and do some simple pre-screening.

Automated hiring technology can improve time to hire and increase productivity, so it’s clear why some have been quick to implement it. But you need to be mindful of becoming over reliant on this kind of tech and understand how it can be harmful to candidate experience.

It’s more common than you think for candidates to apply for a role, receive an immediate rejection email, but then a few days later be contacted by HR asking for their ability for interview.

An over-reliance on tools to automatically screen candidates might leave you missing out on those that are actually qualified, and leave candidates confused as to why they receive a rejection for a role that actually suit their skillset—some candidates may be put off applying to an organisation again in the future, as they see the ATS as something to be gamed rather than feeling their skills are being appropriately assessed.

Put simply, poor application of tech leads to poor reputation among candidates.


How to avoid this hiring mistake:

When assessing tech, do a deep dive into what your current processes are, and assess what you really need to automate and improve with tech—don’t be led by the promise of a flashy tool or jump on a trend because it’s what you feel you should do based on what others are doing in the market.

Stress-test and walk through the recruitment process from the perspective of a candidate when exploring new tools. If you wouldn’t be satisfied in the process from the perspective of an applicant yourself, chances are something needs to change.


2. Poor interview handoff and etiquette

When it comes to interviewing life science professionals, there are often multiple stakeholders involved at different stages in the process. But if you don’t have a streamlined interview process then a common mistake you’ll find is repetition of the same interview questions by different interviewers.

Each interviewer might focus on certain aspects of a candidate’s experience or qualifications without realising that these questions have already been addressed in previous stages. This not only tires the candidate but also gives an impression of poor internal communication.


How to avoid this hiring mistake:

Improving your internal communication and coordination is crucial. Before the interviews begin, hold a briefing session with everyone who will be involved in the interviews to talk through the specific areas each interviewer should focus on. This will prevent overlap and ensure a more seamless interview experience for both the candidate and interviewers.

Creating a shared document for interviewers to record the topics discussed with candidates can also be really helpful. This allows all interviewers to stay updated in real time. If a topic one interviewer plans to cover is already discussed by another, they can adjust their questions accordingly before their interview begins.


3. Overlooking negative company perceptions

It would be pretty impressive if only positive feedback existed about your organisation, but it’s far more likely you’ve received the odd bit of criticism—especially if you’re a larger or more established firm. Often this will be discussed among candidates or former employees, or wind up on company review websites like Glassdoor.

75% of candidates look into your reputation before they even consider applying, so ahead of an interview you can bet that the candidate will have questions about any negative reviews that appear on your Glassdoor.

The mistake that hiring managers, TA, and HR make here is not preparing appropriate responses to these negative outside perceptions.


How to avoid this hiring mistake:

Start by reading your negative Glassdoor reviews and reading the notes from employee exit interviews. Collate the common themes and work to understand why this topic is appearing so frequently.

Use this information to pre-formulate an answer in case a candidate was to ask about it, make sure you include what your organisation are doing to rectify it in your answer. Make sure that every person involved in the hiring process is aware of the common questions that come up in relation to these points, and that they have suitable answers should a candidate enquire.


4. Making the interview feel like an exam

You’re entering a room where you can expect to be probed on your skills and professional accomplishments—it’s potentially nerve wracking for any candidate. Couple this with the experience some have, of feeling put on the spot and as though the interviewer is looking for a specific answer when questions are posed, and it can leave people with a negative impression of how they performed and how the interview was conducted.

If an interview feels gruelling, people might assume the job will be just as tough—there’s a common perception that a company will treat you best whilst in the recruitment process, so if the interview makes for an uncomfortable experience, it could lead to drop-outs due to a negative perception of the culture.


How to avoid this hiring mistake:

It’s important you take measures to make sure an interview, and the process leading up to it, makes the candidate feel valued and at ease.

Stress that that the interview will be a two-way evaluation, and give them with an overview of the types of things they should prepare for ahead of it. Being open about the interview format and the qualities you’re looking for can help reduce anxiety, and reflects well on your company—rather than an assessment, you’re positioning the interview as an opportunity for both parties to discover more about one another.


5. Contrasting the candidates

As a key player in the hiring process, you naturally aim to reduce the time it takes to hire. This might lead you to schedule multiple interviews in a single day, sometimes even back-to-back. But, conducting interviews on the same day can introduce a contrast effect, where evaluations are inadvertently skewed. For example, strong candidates might appear even more capable than they actually are when interviewed immediately after weaker ones, simply because of the direct comparison.


How to avoid this hiring mistake:

Space out interviews and take detailed notes. Being mindful of the contrast effect is crucial when scheduling interviews. Ideally, allow time between interviews to objectively assess each candidate's responses and reset your impressions. Recognising that contrasts between candidates could influence your judgment can significantly enhance your objectivity. Additionally, taking thorough notes and reviewing them afterward will give a clearer picture of how candidates truly compare in the running for the position.


As hiring managers, TA professionals, and HR teams, it's essential to continually refine and question your processes to make sure they serve both your needs and those of potential candidates. Avoiding these pitfalls requires a balance of technology, human insight, and proactive communication. By addressing these mistakes, not only can you enhance your hiring process, but also strengthen your organisation's appeal to high-calibre candidates, ensuring that you remain a competitive force in the life sciences field.

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