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Are you losing promising candidates during the hiring process? 

The source of these problems may well lie within your recruitment process and interview feedback procedures, but the solution can be found there too.  

In the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences sector, it’s not uncommon to have lengthy recruitment processes with interviews consisting of multiple stages. However, it is important to remember that every single stage and communication with a candidate can make or break your image as an employer.  

Sounds obvious, right? But we are seeing more and more instances where companies are losing out on candidates due to simple mistakes in the hiring process. The good news is that these can easily be rectified. You can turn a bad situation into a beneficial one; candidates will fall in love with your business ensuring they don’t go elsewhere.  

For this to happen, it’s crucial to make sure your hiring process is as engaging as possible for candidates. Here, our consultants share their advice to improve your recruitment strategy and candidate retention:  

Pre-Interview: Ensuring a good candidate experience will enhance your talent brand 

It’s a small sector, and bad news travels fast. Matt Goldrick, our Associate Director for Market Research andjob applicants Market Access.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool in this sector, and it is up to you to make sure you are using that fact to your advantage.  

We have known many instances where candidates have turned down interviews because they have heard negative stories of neglectful and inefficient recruiting practices. It only takes one candidate to come away from an interview process with a bad impression of your company to potentially cause damage to your reputation.  

  • A poor candidate experience will not stay confined to just one individual 
  • It can very easily have a knock-on effect with other candidates down the line 
  • Bad reviews left on online platforms such as Glassdoor or Google can be very damaging  

Ensure that your candidates are shouting about their great experience in your hiring process. This will encourage others to apply for your roles, which can increase your reach for potential quality candidates.  


Interview Invitation: Woo your prospective candidate

There are way more jobs in the market than there are candidates. So, if a candidate isn’t being made to feel valued, they will simply go elsewhere. Hayley Shayestehroo, our Senior Consultant for Regulatory Affairs. 

In a candidate-driven market, engagement and first impressions are key. You must assume that candidates are being pursued by your competitors simultaneously. It’s time to woo your candidates.  

If it is a difficult task to attract quality applicants, keeping their interest can be even more challenging. Take some time to engage with the candidate before inviting them to meet you. Show them some love by telling them about your company culture, why you think they’d be a good fit, and why your current employees enjoy working there. We often advise clients to have a pre-interview call with candidates, an informal and friendly first contact to help them understand more about the company and the role whilst taking the opportunity to explain the interview process. This is a good way to get candidate buy-in early in the process and to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

First Interview: Avoid pushing candidates for commitment too early

“From my experience, the writing test is an incredible amount of unpaid work (about 2 days), which I am not comfortable doing without any commitment from the company.” Our candidate in Medical Communications.  

We understand that written tests or presentations are a common task and that they are designed to help find the most compatible candidates. However, expecting a large time commitment from the candidate in the early stages of the process may put them off, especially if the process has appeared one-sided to that point. 

Candidates regularly choose roles with a quicker and less demanding assessment process – the path of least resistance. Of course, assessment is vital, however, over-burdening applicants does push them away.  

  • Where possible, consider simplifying your hiring process 
  • Where possible, keep tests and tasks at a minimum & ensure they are relevant to the role 
  • Be mindful of time commitments 
  • Consider delaying tasks and tests until later in the process


In-between interviews: Keep your candidate touchpoints open 

“It’s important to keep the line of communication open.” Nicky Cura, our Recruitment Consultant for Clinical Research. candidate attraction 

The secret to keeping a candidate engaged is keeping the communication flowing at all stages. Look at the hiring process like you would the dating game. Captivating connections and regular touchpoints will help to keep the interest of your candidate. A breakdown in communication can quickly result in a lack of engagement and the loss of a good hire. Treat them how you’d wish to be treated. 

Post-interview: Fast decisions are definitely an advantage

“Most of our candidates are interviewing for multiple roles simultaneously,” says Zoe Pindar-Ark, our Senior Associate Consultant who recruits for Medical Writer and Editorial vacancies.

The quicker candidates can go through your interview stages and get feedback, the more likely they’ll stay interested throughout.

Candidates are more in demand than ever, so moving quickly internally is important.  recruitment process

It may not always be easy to coordinate the diaries of multiple decision-makers, but efficiency here is crucial.  

  • Continue to provide updates/further discussion during waiting periods
  • Be as flexible as possible with your interviewing staff
  • Don’t allow busy periods or absences to delay feedback/decision making 

As your recruitment partner, we can support in keeping communication open but feedback and transparency from you are essential to keep candidates excited about your role.

Offer stage: Win the heart of your candidate

Ultimately, candidates want to know their time and efforts are being appreciated throughout all stages of your hiring process. In most instances, we have candidates’ feedback firsthand so we can pass on any suggestions they have for improving your process, but meanwhile here are some general points of guidance: 

  • Review your candidate journey and fine-tune your processes 
  • Show your candidates why you are their perfect match 
  • Keep in touch with your candidates at all stages 
  • Move quickly and be flexible with internal decision making  
  • Give feedback where you can  
  • Create a positive, warm experience from start to finish, whatever the end result 


With these aspects well-covered, candidates will walk away with a great impression regardless of whether they are successful in securing a role. When you win the heart of one candidate, more will follow.  

That’s how you stand out from the fierce competition and give yourself a huge advantage in attracting quality candidates.  

Looking for support for your recruitment needs? We can help! Simply get in touch here:  


+44 (0) 1625 541 030 







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