It's all about the science! At least it is in the beginning. Later, comes the money dramas, strategic decisions, clinical trials, patents, regulatory issues - and so on, and so forth.
But with all that growth inevitably comes team growth, and suddenly you go from subject matter expert to rookie recruiter. Where do you start?
When I ask founders about their first efforts to recruit, and which digital tools they have used, the answer is often - email folders, spreadsheets or perhaps a digital drive somewhere. Cheap from a cost perspective, but expensive in terms of time wasted and opportunity lost - you may overlook the best candidate.
There seems to be a perception that recruitment software is expensive and complicated, but this is not necessarily true. There is a host of varied options that suit startup needs and budgets, and the benefits are many, including:
I do not propose to endorse any one system here (though you can find an excellent list here), but it is useful to have a glossary of searchable terms and acronyms for founders to determine which might be best for them.
Job Board: a website where employers can post jobs. Some are generalist sites for all career types, while others are specialised for one industry or even job role. Some require payment, but many are free, especially those run by an industry representative body.
Job Board Aggregator: a website that captures jobs from many boards and re-posts them in one place. Your job ad can be picked up and spread far and wide by an aggregator.
Job Posting Software: a single website where you can post your job once and have it distributed to many job boards, which saves a lot of double entry.
Applicant Tracking System: An ATS is a software tool that combines job posting with the tracking and management of candidates through the recruitment process.
Candidate Management System: A CMS is like an ATS, but has additional functionality to facilitate an ongoing relationship with candidates, allows you to develop your employment brand and attract candidate enquiries between hiring assignments to grow your talent pool.
Vendor Management System: If you are already using external agencies, a VMS allows you to take control of recruitment procurement from outside providers. You can control which agencies you wish to work with, and direct them to present applications through a single channel to avoid duplication and unsolicited submissions.
So how to choose the right system for you? If you have no system in place, it is better to start with something cheap and scalable. Simple, intuitive systems save you external consultancy fees and time for setup.
As an additional benefit, when you organise your recruitment data from the beginning, even if you move to a more complex system in the future, the transition will be much less painful.
I recommend putting some of the terms above into your favourite search engine and see what comes up. Most systems these days are SaaS and cost are constrained by monthly rate and number of users, so they are easy on the budget.
Of course, I have my favourites, but every companies' needs are different. Feel free to contact me to talk through your situation, and I will recommend a selection to consider.
Dr. John Bethell has 28 years experience in health and life sciences recruitment. He is co-founder of two successful recruitment firms employing over 100 staff and delivers training on setting up recruitment systems for start-ups.