Evolving commercial recruitment in pharma

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As Covid-19 continues to shift and shape the landscape of commercial recruitment, Pf talks with Andy Anderson at Evolve about its impact going forward.

How has Covid-19 impacted commercial recruitment since its onset?

2020 has most definitely been a year of change in recruitment. Covid-19 has obviously hugely affected the industry, with a number of companies initially taking sales forces off the road when the pandemic started. Because of this, recruitment has understandably not been a priority in some cases, with companies focusing on upskilling existing sales teams to work in a more virtual environment. In more recent weeks, we’ve seen an uplift in organisations starting to recruit for vacancies. As the industry continues to reassess skillsets required to effectively re-engage with the NHS, the type of vacancies that will exist moving forward is yet to be fully determined. It will most likely vary between organisations and will depend on factors such as access to different customer groups in specific therapy areas.

How are clients adapting their recruitment processes since Covid-19?

We’ve seen a mix of reactions to the situation. Some clients have an appetite to move to a more virtual recruitment process long-term. There are also those who wish to retain a face-to-face method of recruiting. Clients are including more ‘virtual skillset’ competencies when interviewing and assessing, owing to the fact that virtual selling has, of course, become one of the main channels of customer interaction. Some clients have put recruitment on hold altogether and are awaiting developments in the market before hiring again. In short, there is no definite answer to this question and it depends on the requirements of an individual organisation.

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How are candidates adapting to the potential changes in the industry?

Candidates are conscious of the potential changes in their roles becoming more home-office or office-based in the longer term. For some, this is a positive shift and for others, a source of potential concern. For those who enjoy daily face-to-face customer interaction, they are questioning how the virtual environment will suit their skillset and personality. From a senior management perspective, candidates have flagged concerns around the long-term feasibility to manage teams remotely. Many organisations have provided robust training around virtual selling and remote coaching to support their employees. From a recruitment perspective, job seekers have also taken it upon themselves to upskill their competencies in order to remain relevant and ensure success in their job search. Amidst any apprehension from candidates, the overall response has been positive and proactive.

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How is Evolve adapting to the changes which Covid-19 has caused?

Evolve has invested a vast amount of time working with customers to understand how Covid-19 has affected them, and what challenges they now face moving forward. In doing so, we’ve learnt a huge amount, which has enabled us to develop solutions to support their future needs. For clients, we’re helping organisations move towards virtual recruitment processes, which assess competencies required for new ways of working. We’re also talent pooling individuals from industries that haven’t previously been considered, who already have skills to work in a more virtual environment. For candidates, we’re providing education programmes to assist them in understanding changes in recruitment methodology and supporting them to maximise their chances of success when being interviewed and assessed.

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This article was previously published in Pf Magazine.