Building Quality External Networks

Working with a variety of medical, biotech, pharma and life science companies puts Moonlight Strategic Search in a unique place to observe how hiring practices develop candidate pools outside the company. A company with highly developed, effective and clear hiring process with friendly managers develop a strong "queue" of people in the field who want to work with the company. These "external networks" are difficult to clearly define, and is almost synonymous with company reputation. How interviewing is done can make all the difference. 

We can tell right away how the company has handled interviews in the past when starting to headhunt. It makes our job exponentially more difficult when slow, indecisive hiring processes have created a soft, disgruntled external network of former interviewees and potential employees. Developing over years, this seriously hinders the hiring process, making it take significantly longer to find talent and keep talent, which has a direct line to the company's bottom line and long-term success. 

There are a few key dynamics that influence this external network around a company, and here is a short summary of what you can do as an HR leader to build a strong network to tap into down the road: 

From a talent acquisition perspective, there are 3 passive ways to build an external network

  1. Do not burn bridges. When interviewing, always treat interviewees with respect. Thank them for their time, communicate honestly throughout the process and do not waste their time. Conduct interviews and inform candidates within a reasonable timeframe. I can't tell you how many times we talk to candidates who will not interview with a company because of a bad interview experience. Interviews are a two-way street: you need to be trying to impress them as much as vice versa 

  2. Communicate with people outside of the field, even candidates who applied but never got an interview. Even here at Moonlight, we engage the recruiting community with tips & tricks and share our knowledge and recruitment technology. It doesn't benefit us one bit to do so, but it helps get our name out there and establish ourselves as a "nice guy" ethical recruitment agency. We try to set the bar high to improve the reputation of recruiters. This doesn't directly help us, but it helps show that we are different than most spammy, dodgy agencies.  

  3. Use external vendors to fill in deficiencies if needed. It's difficult to get a fast turnaround on candidates. We've seen so many companies spend months slowly looking for candidates, and drawing out interviews as they search for more candidates, and then finally turn to us. We get the job done in a week, but they've already done so much damage to their external network by drawing out interviews over months and being indecisive on B level candidates. If you are not fully mapped in the field and can't find 100% of possible a+ Blue-chip candidates in under a couple weeks, find an external vendor that can (like us ;) ) 

With an estimated 40% of companies unable to find critical talent they need, developing a strong external network is critical for future needs.