We sat down with Sarah to congratulate her on her promotion to Pharma Outsourcing Lead, and discuss working with clients as their business strategies shift to reflect recent NHS restructures.
Hi Sarah, great news on the promotion! What role have you moved on from at Star OUTiCO, and what will you be doing now?
I began my career within Star Medical ten years ago on the Pharma side of the Recruitment business and love the fast-paced challenges that it comes with! For the last four years I’ve been working as a Principle Recruiter alongside Jon Woodrow on the MedTech side, managing a number of varied accounts as well as managing commercial and clinical candidates in the West of the UK and Head Office roles.
My new role is managing the Outsourcing side of the business, which is much more strategic than my previous role. It involves working alongside the operational team of Employee Engagement Sales Managers, Client Account Managers, and the Business Development team internally, and ensuring that we are placing the right candidates into our new contract vacancies in a timely manner.
When we have a team build on the Outsourcing side, my job is to manage it to make sure that we’re ensuring that we source the best quality candidates for our clients. I’m not dealing with our clients directly as much anymore, but instead am working with the operational side of the business to make sure that we, as a recruitment team, are working effectively to fill our clients’ requirements.
I’m responsible for the re-deployment of our current contractors from a recruitment perspective so that we can retain true talent within the business. I also manage Sadia Akhtar, our Talent Acquisition Specialist, who is a real asset to the team.
How are things going, and what’s your key focus in this position?
Managing the Outsourcing team is super exciting! I’m currently working on several processes to streamline this business unit. The end goal is to ensure that we’re leveraging our internal and external relationships to create more opportunities for candidates, and to provide our clients with solutions that they may not have considered.
There’s a lot of mapping out the candidate required: delving deeper into their abilities, the requirements within the next role, and looking at where we can best place them in line with their ambitions and where they want to go next.
It’s all about being proactive around the team builds that we know are coming up as well, and so having those relationships with Regional Business Managers to understand where they’ve got gaps in their teams and what will be included moving forward so that we can be quick off the bat to fill those quickly, with the right people, in line with what they want to be doing.
As I mentioned, the process also involves a level of redeployment, so we need to make sure that we’re giving high-level care to anybody that is finishing a contract – whether it be a six-month, 12-month maternity cover, or anybody else, to ensure they’re looked after.
Candidates need confidence in us to know that we’re looking after them, and that a contract role with Star OUTiCO is the right next role for them. This best practice is also to ensure that we continue the great work being done by our wider teams as well, of course. We have a brilliant Ops team, and a BD team that work hard to secure us the opportunities to recruit for fantastic positions, so we make sure that we’re always finding top-quality candidates to fill those client requirements.
What are you seeing within Pharma clients’ strategies more recently, and how are you working with them to facilitate these?
With the recent changes taking place within the NHS structure, many of my clients are assessing their current workstreams and whether they are now fit for purpose.
Some are sitting tight as they want to see how things pan out with the ICSs et cetera, but then we’ve also had others who’ve completely changed the structure of how they’re working. That has created a number of redundancies, but as I said earlier, we’re working really hard from a redeployment point of view for those people impacted.
We have a huge number of candidates that are available on the market, but one of the most pressing issues for them – and by extension, for our clients – is that they do have choice. We’re seeing instances, for example, of a candidate who had three offers on the table within a week. It is a buoyant marketplace at the minute, and so if clients really want candidates they need to move very quickly.
There’s an element of re-education for some of our clients. You know, if we find somebody that you as a client fall in love with, then you’re going to have to make them feel loved as well and move at a pace that makes them feel that way, rather than sitting tight and preferring to have more traditional multiple assessment centres, because that isn’t how the market is working now.
It needs to be about going with your heart and just moving as quickly as you can with somebody if you feel they’re right for your business.
So that’s what’s happening with your clients – what are your candidates experiencing right now?
Some candidates are content with their situation, and some are wondering if now is a good time to move because of the NHS restructure. Several candidates that we have right now are available because of redundancy, rather than because they’ve thought “I don’t get on with my manager”, or “I’m a bit bored”.
That’s probably been the biggest shift in the last six months, because they’re all aware that there have been several redundancies because of clients adjusting their business plans for the next six to 12 months, so they’re wondering whether now is the best time to be moving.
For those that do want to move, I mentioned about the candidate with three offers on the table, and that’s happened several times recently. As a Recruitment team we don’t like to pile on the pressure in situations like this, but instead offer friendly, approachable advice where we put ourselves in our candidates’ shoes to help them make the right choice.