Bea Perks looks at how to get the best out of a recruitment agency when you're looking for a career in the pharmaceutical sector

Bea Perks looks at how to get the best out of a recruitment agency when you’re looking for a career in the pharmaceutical sector

Before you start weighing up the services offered by recruitment agencies, it’s worth heeding the advice of the pharma portal Pharmiweb: ’If you are not sure, select an established agency with a name you recognise. Follow the link to their website and find a contact name. Email or phone them to ask for advice. If the website doesn’t give you information about their recruiters, maybe it is best to give them a miss.’

Selection criteria 

In an ideal world, recruitment agencies are there to help you find a job that suits your experience and interests, and to help employers find the employees they need. A quick Google search will turn up an enormous number of these agencies to choose from, but some are considerably more helpful than others. Selecting the one that’s right for you can present a challenge. 

’We recommend that the first step a job hunter takes when looking for a role in the pharmaceutical sector is to update their CV and send it to a specialist pharmaceutical recruitment consultancy,’ says Cat Gutsell, digital marketing executive at the well established scientific recruitment agency CK Science (even the job titles can be confusing here; a digital marketing executive’s job is to establish and manage the online presence of a company). 

CV keywords 

’It is crucial when updating your CV that you include lots of keywords that are specific to your industry. Don’t forget to tailor it towards each role that you apply for either - this will really help you stand out from the crowd,’ says Gutsell.  

CK Science is an established agency for careers in the pharmaceutical sector, but the sector is awash with less established, and some less than useful, organisations.  

’Don’t despair,’ writes Linda Eden-Ellis, director of recruitment at the UK-based clinical research organisation PRN. ’You have a voice and a dialling finger; there is nothing like making a personal impression in this age of electronic communication. Use those "interpersonal skills" you have noted that you have in abundance in your personal profile,’ she continues, in an article on the Pharmiweb site. 


Manage your agency 

Once you have selected an agency (or agencies), you will get the most from their services if you manage the situation carefully - do not simply play a passive role. ’Make sure you know where [the agency] is sending your details,’ writes Eden-Ellis. ’You should always be provided with the name of the company, details of the working environment, the job title and tasks involved, together with the qualifications and experience the client is asking for.’ 

Make the most of the expertise and industry knowledge that a recruitment agency will have, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. ’If you feel that the agencies you are dealing with are overly aggressive, repeatedly suggest inappropriate jobs and push you into making quick decisions - simply ask them not to contact you again,’ writes Eden-Ellis. 

It is remarkably easy to hand your CV out to numerous agencies online, but that sort of approach is unlikely to be successful and may harm your prospects. As a job seeker, you need to know exactly where your CV is being sent and who it will be seen by. An agency must work for you and not just for itself. 

For recruiters 

Recruitment agencies are there to help recruiters as well. ’When pharmaceutical companies are looking to recruit it is important they enlist the guidance and support of a specialist recruitment consultancy,’ says Gutsell. ’They will really understand your needs and have access to exactly the types of people you are looking for.’ 

In short, says Gutsell: ’A specialist pharmaceutical recruitment consultancy such as the CK Group have the specific expertise to help you recruit high calibre staff quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.’ 

Further Reading

CK Science
CV writing tips; CK Science
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
List of science recruitment agencies; University of Kent, UK, careers service