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    As we approach the beginning of Q4, this can be a transformational time for the Life Sciences industry globally. We have had an incredible 2022, and the recruitment climate has shown that the war on talent isn’t slowing down – and neither should your hiring efforts. 

    However, Q4 can also be a time of panic when it comes to securing high-quality talent to enter Q1 strong. 

    We’ve highlighted the common mistakes that clients make whilst hiring in Q4, as well as some advice on how you can mitigate this internally.

     

    Don’t focus on talent pipelining for the new year

    Pipelining talent regardless of your growth goals is crucial to long-term success when it comes to hiring. In a market that is completely dominated by candidate demand (and has been since the end of 2021) your talent pipelining needs to go beyond simply having interviews set up for Q4 and Q1 of 2024. 

    Brand representation, marketing, and other attraction techniques should all form part of your pipelining strategy. From introductory conversations with excellent talent through to creating job briefs that are “ready to go” in the new year, talent pipelining is a multidimensional approach, more so now than ever before. 

     

    Rushed onboarding processes

    Onboarding in Q4 can be tricky, and we have seen time and time again clients attempting to onboard and induct employees with very little runway.

    From November onwards, regardless of your location – the majority of organisations across the globe are winding down for the holiday season. Although this shouldn’t be used as an opportunity to take your foot off the gas, it should be a period where you must be mindful of onboarding employees so close to the holiday season.

    Organisation size and reporting line should also be considered – so treat this as something nuanced and on a case-by-case basis. If you feel as though you’re unable to give the same onboarding experience because of said factors, then delaying this until the new year or even staggering the onboarding process should be considered. 

    Ultimately, employee onboarding and first impressions count, and a rushed process can impact your retention and of course, the candidate experience tenfold if you aren’t careful.

     

    Panic hiring to meet your annual hiring quota

    Even some of the most established organisations can fall into the trap of “panic hiring” – which can be categorised as impulsive, or often rushed hiring processes that don’t enable you to access the best talent. 

    Instead, organisations put themselves at risk of disrupting their culture and overall performance for the sake of headcount metrics, which is more common than meets the eye.

     

    What should you focus on instead?

     

    Business-critical roles and a solid go-to-market strategy that you can continue in Q1 of 2024

    As mentioned, Q4 shouldn’t be seen as a gateway to simply not hire due to factors such as holiday periods, business shut-downs and so forth. Instead, Q4 can still be an excellent opportunity to focus on business-critical roles whilst also creating a solid go-to-market strategy that can be executed for all other hires. 

    Whether you have a talent team, an external talent partner, or both – expecting your internal and external resources to carry out all hires to a high standard may not be possible. 

    So, categorising what is imminently important can enable your teams to stay laser-focused, without sacrificing quality or process. Then, the roles that are deemed less business-critical can have clear roadmaps created for them which can then be executed in the following Q1. 

    Review previous quarters and how you performed, use this to influence your 2024 hiring goals

    Data is key, whether this is for your internal talent team, stakeholders, or for your recruitment partners. Q4 should be a time for reflection, review, and tightening processes so you can learn and grow in Q1. Some insightful metrics to report on are the following:

    #1 Interview feedback

    Collecting interview feedback is part of many organisations’ hiring processes, but beyond this – what are you actually doing with the feedback? 

    Understanding interview feedback enables you to improve your candidate experience, whilst also tightening your processes and seeing what you can do better. Some organisations don’t have time to do this on a quarterly basis, so doing this annually and using Q4 as an opportunity to do this is recommended.

     

    #2 Exit interview feedback

    Along with interview feedback, what are you doing with exit interview feedback from individuals who have left your organisation? Is it being taken on board, and, how can your exit interview feedback be used to improve your retention and future talent attraction?

     

    #3 Hiring quota per quarter vs what was achieved/what wasn’t achieved

    This goes without saying, but comparing the numbers and seeing why or why not you achieved your hiring quota will enable you to create more accurate (or, more ambitious) hiring goals for the following year. 

    For some organisations, this will take less time due to the volume of hires, however, for fast-growth businesses, this is imperative to your future success.

     

    #4 Vendor performance (recruitment partners, external branding or marketing efforts etc)

    If you rely on external vendors such as recruitment agencies, search agencies, or branding agencies to help you with talent acquisition, reviewing their performance against agreed briefs and deadlines is a great way to ensure that you’re achieving tangible ROI, and that your partners are in alignment with your goals moving into Q1. 

    Whether it’s a preferred supplier list, RPO model, or a number of executed searches – holding external partners and vendors accountable is crucial. 

     

    To conclude… 

    Q4, although often seen as a dreaded month for organisations, should be used as a time for reflection and growth – particularly when looking at Talent Acquisition in isolation. 

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