A decade ago, management gurus, the business media, and business schools chastised corporate executives and boards of directors for their
cavalier attitudes and, in some cases, complete lack of attention toward succession planning. Today, those same executives
and boards should direct their attention to candidate care—an even more pervasive and serious issue—to avoid another managerial
faux pas. This article will illustrate the importance of making candidate care a part of corporate strategy—not only to attract
and retain top talent, but also to augment corporate image, branding, and marketing efforts.
How to Interview
Candidate care is the process by which a company staffs a position, from the announcement of a job opening to the results
new hires deliver throughout the years of their employment. Multiply by several hundred, or several thousand over time, the
expense and effort that goes into finding, retaining, training, and maintaining that one hire, and the potential impact of
candidate care becomes clear.
Too often, candidate care is overlooked by a board's agenda. But, securing the flow of intellectual capital should be one
of the company's highest priorities. Today's environment is defined by global markets, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions,
quantum changes in productivity, mobile talent, and changing political climates—all of which has created an unprecedented
thirst for intellectual capital. The demand for talent will become even more intense and will continue unabated into the foreseeable
future. That is why candidate care must become a mandatory and ongoing segment of the strategic planning process, at the very
highest levels of pharma companies and their boards.
Just as a company's raw material supply is an integral part of the strategic planning process, so, too, are the supply of
human raw material and the sources of leadership. But, whereas there are usually substitutes for scarce raw materials, there is
no substitute for intellectual capital and leadership.
If a company is slow to recognize the strategic value of candidate care, its competition will do the job for them; they seek
the same skills and the same leadership qualities in many of the same people. Considering that the supply of intellectual
capital is finite at any given time and in any geographic area, inattentiveness to candidate care will place companies at
a distinct disadvantage.
"Individuals being recruited into an organization, whether successful or not, become ambassadors for that company for a period
of time," says William S. Poole, past president of Novo Nordisk (US) and of Biovail US. "As every sales person will tell you,
all it takes is one unhappy customer to undo the good of having 100 happy customers. To this point, I believe it is essential
for the hiring company to move quickly, methodically, and on time throughout the hiring process. Having candidates hanging
in limbo or being kept in the dark about decisions, meeting times, or feedback for weeks, or perhaps months, after first being
contacted is simply inexcusable and just not good business."
Pharma companies interview many people but hire only a few. "Companies turn down 98 percent of the people who apply," says
Lou Manzi, vice president of human resources at GlaxoSmithKline.
Manzi emphasizes the consequences of the "tell ten people of a bad experience rule." It's what happens when someone has a
bad experience; they tell ten people and then those ten people tell ten more people, and so on. Thus, many people are negatively
affected by one person's bad experience. Companies can avoid having to fix their images if they would take better care of
them in the first place.