Engaging The Ideal Life Sciences Executive Search Candidate

Sam Salomon & Phil Bainbridge


Like other industries, the life sciences sector is experiencing a period of transformation driven by technological advancement. Innovations in research, manufacturing and distribution are increasingly focused on addressing the precise personal needs of the end customer. The ideal life sciences executive search candidate will display an active interest in such advancements, so you need to demonstrate that you’re right there, on the cutting-edge of it all.

There has been a notable rise in the number of biotech startups, backed by keen investors with plenty of capital. With global healthcare spending expected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020, and pharmaceuticals forecast to reach £1,06 trillion by 2020, this is a highly attractive industry. Smaller-scale life sciences companies are typically the ones driving innovation, with 63% of approvals for new prescription drugs credited to them. Unsurprisingly, this blend of technological transformation and rapid growth is incredibly attractive to life sciences executive search candidates. Larger pharmaceutical companies must compete with these startups to attract the best leadership talent. The successful employer will be the one who is best able to engage the candidate.

Who is the ideal life sciences executive search candidate?

Obviously, a life sciences executive search candidate is going to need a scientific or medical background. They need to be able to comprehend, interpret and explain the company’s specialist processes, systems and materials. However, as a board level executive, they must also have a degree of commercial experience and acumen. They will likely be involved in decisions on how to position and sell a product or service on a heavily regulated world market. For this, they will require a strategic mindset.

In addition, they may also be required to make firm decisions in the face of geopolitical uncertainty, navigating changes in complex policies and responding to tax and tariff reforms. Good communication skills will be needed to accurately relay these decisions to the wider company and external parties.

Robotic automation has had a huge impact on the productivity of manufacturing and clinical trials, helping to reduce timescales. One major advantage of automation is the amount of data produced. The sorting and analysis of this data can be outsourced to technology companies but a life sciences executive search candidate should certainly be aware of the possible uses of big data and how it can be effectively utilised.

How do you engage the ideal life sciences executive search candidate?

Much like the service many life sciences companies seeking to provide, personalisation is best when it comes to recruitment. Depending on the background and present situation of a potential candidate, you will want to tailor your message to achieve the best response. Always keep their goals at the forefront of your mind during interactions, and make a point of demonstrating how they align with your own.

One of the best ways to engage a candidate is to provide them with solutions. Throughout the hiring process, try and establish their major pain points and consider how you could address them. For example, if relocation is proving to be a stumbling block, you could offer them support in finding a new home, schools for their children and arranging visas. Alternatively, you could negotiate a flexible working arrangement in which they work remotely at least part of the time.

If they’re at all concerned about the scope of the role, you could identify areas into which they could potentially expand. As life sciences companies increasingly breakdown departmental data silos, there is greater opportunity to share knowledge and collaborate.

Nobody likes to be left hanging so a swift response to any inquiries and prompt interview feedback will leave a good impression. The very best candidates will be courted by multiple life sciences companies. Linger too long on your decision and they’ll go elsewhere.

Finally, make it clear how the candidate could potentially progress within the company. Demonstrate that you’re committed to their future.


6 Group’s global search capability focuses on the appointment of outstanding individuals across the top third of an organisation including executive and non-executive Board appointments.

For more information about how we can work together, get in touch using the contact form below.

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