Medical device and MedTech insights, news, tips and more

Confessions of a Medical Device Recruiter: The Reality of Executive Search

October 14, 2015

Hand sketching Myths or Facts concept with white chalk on blackboard.

At A Glance: Being an Executive Search recruiter for Medical Device for 30 years has been rewarding and, today- as busy as ever; now working 70-80 hours a week in the office, it is still nearly impossible to open and communicate with every candidate who sends a resume. But there are a number of actions you as a candidate can do to get your message out, and seen by your favorite recruiter, some include: register for a job online first before making contact, make sure your resume is pristine, use social media, and most important, be patient with us- we love placing dedicated candidates like you!

With 30 years in the medical industry, I’m still like a junkie. Eager and excited to hear about the newest “Gee-Whiz” device or “inside scoop” into what’s going on in Medical Device companies. And in the past few months, I have noticed a paradigm shift of sorts within the industry; an ever-increasing, and oddly strong need for fearless and unflinching leaders in our Client companies is becoming the hiring trend. But I find myself struggling to keep up with staying in communication with the viable professionals I’ve known for years, but moreover the same executives who are among the thousands unfortunately being laid off through no fault of their own.

My daily email drawer has swelled to 400 messages a day – not counting the Viagra and WOW ads, nor the roundabout 1,000 or so emails that route to our general mailbox, or to just one of my staff members. It’s daunting to open up Outlook and see 329 emails have come in since I left the office… at 8pm the night before. Incoming phone calls have increased at a dizzying pace, and –what’s more overwhelming- I hear the urgency in the voicemails of many of my candidates.

To combat this, I’ve increased my average number of telephone appointments per day to up to 40 calls, but only by decreasing the average time on each call, and tacking on an extra hour or two to my work day overall. My team is super-charged, ambitious to reach out to 50-80 people per day, atop their other responsibilities which include: research, marketing, staying current on industry news, emailing, and writing up whatever final 2-5 candidates they plan to submit for all their open positions. As not to waste their valuable time, I try to talk fast and listen faster- I feel like I’m an “auctioneer-in-training” half the time due to the sheer velocity of our interoffice conversations.

Like most, I’m now working 70-80 hours routinely in the office despite having added two more employees to my team in an attempt to alleviate the candidate crunch and stay responsive to my clients who have built our company into the influential industry player that it is today. So as you can imagine, I feel bad when I can’t get to my candidates as quickly as either of us would like; I really do try (and want) to help, there’s just not enough hours in the day.

Most good recruiters – and all the great ones – are out to create that “Perfect Storm” of consistent business and growth; habitually matching the right executives to the right companies, and Legacy is no different. But in addition to our pursuit for that professional perfection, there are a number of actions you as a candidate vying for our expert input and attention can do to get your message out (and seen!) to your favorite recruiter. Grab a pen and read carefully, these insider tips are straight from the source:

1. Be Concise in Communication. Recruiters do care. But please don’t leave a rambling 8 minute message. Ideally, leave a quick, 15 second voicemail stating your basic information and purpose of the call; then I can (and will) get back with you much faster. Be sure to include in your voicemail messages: your name, most recent company or current company you are working for or with, your phone number, and the general purpose of your call. When leaving your message, speak clearly and leave your number twice to eliminate any guessing (or me having to replay your whole message). Be prepared upon phoning; if you are targeting a specific job position on our Legacy MedSearch website, have the job title or Job ID number available so I can pull the information more quickly, and ultimately speed up the process.

2. Email is Ideal. We can answer emails late at night, even when we cannot phone you.

3. Register for a Job Online First. If possible, always take initiative to register for an open position that you’re interested in first via our Legacy MedSearch website, rather than asking me to take the time to look over your resume to see what I have available that may be a fit. When you express an interest in a specific position, it “flags” one of my recruiters, and places your candidacy at the top of our list to be contacted – generally within a day or two. If I receive a general “please let me know what you think” query, I save it for the weekend and then assign it to one of our administrative staff for general processing. And for insight, as of this month there are 1713 resumes in queue for general processing. So take a hold of your future, apply online and tell us what you’re interested in. By doing so, you’ll generally get a response (either phone or email) within a few days per most positions.

4. Search Our Online Forum. At our online forum Medical Device Guru, there are nearly 5000 articles, resume tips, news stories, and tons of ideas (that we update often) to supplement your job search.

5. Make Sure Your Resume is Pristine – Before you apply, make sure your Resume is pristine and descriptive; include your current/most recent company, a brief description of your responsibilities, and embed your company’s website page describing your division or role into your Resume. If you list your company as “Covidien” or “JNJ” rather than the division or SBU, I can’t as quickly assess where we might have a spot for you, but by embedding the URL that best reflects your role, or describing the functional areas of responsibility you managed, my staff and I have a greater understanding of your career, relative to your total organization.

6. Use Social Media: Link to your favorite headhunters on LinkedIn.

7. Be Generous in Recommending Others. As recruiters, if a position we present to you is not a fit, we welcome confidential referrals, and we will certainly honor it. Interestingly, you should know that the single biggest referral source we have for the most senior level positions is your boss. If you’re talented, but have no room for promotion in your current organization, your boss will confidentially share your name. Remember, there’s a lot of good people in medical – and it’s such a small world.

8. Be Patient with Us. Be patient with us and any recruiter you work with. The Medical Device industry is in a strong hiring pace, and we’re fortunate to have more opportunities today than this time last year. But the bar is higher, and candidates that are difficult, uncooperative and demanding are not getting in front of our clients. There’s a great saying in my business: “People are hired for what they do – but fired for who they are.” In this environment, as everyone is trying to do more with less, your workplace demeanor and ability to work well with others will be assessed throughout the interview process. Right or wrong (though it doesn’t happen often) I’ve pulled candidates that were egregiously rude to my administrative assistant, simply because they could be an HR nightmare to my clients- and that’s a real confession.

9. It’s OK to “Touch Base.” If you are in active consideration, it is acceptable to intermittently follow up with us every week or so as to stay top of mind. We’re not perfect, and sometimes things do fall through the cracks – especially when the hiring manager is taking a few weeks to set up interviews. We do try to communicate the process, but so much of the process is out of our control. By the same token, give us a little breathing room; no one wants to place you more than WE do.

10. Do Your Homework. Once we have an interview scheduled for you, while we are sure to conduct a verbal prep and send you materials on our client, you can exponentially increase your odds of making a good impression by doing your own homework on the company. And to help our candidates like you even more, we’ve created the Interview Prep Guide for Medical Device Careers. This invaluable candidate assist hiring guide is packed full with medical career interviewing ideas and tips- check it out, it’s free!

Finally, every day – many times a day matter of fact – I am asked how the job market looks. The short term answer: the job market is very strong in many niches within Medical Device, and the smaller companies seem hungry to add top talent. Even some of our Fortune 500 clients are planning responsible additions in Q1. But the long term answer is: no company is going to grow without smart, dedicated, and creative talents. And at Legacy MedSearch we are excited, humbled, and eager to search, find, and help the great and dedicated candidates like you find long-term career satisfaction within the great and equally as dedicated companies like our clients.

Other Motivated Professionals also Read:

  • How will Hiring in Medical Device Change in the Future?
  • Legacy Reports: Labor Stats for the Medical Device Industry
  • The First Failures of Leadership

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