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Finding Talent

Finding talent for our life sciences clients makes up the majority of my work day.  At ASI we evaluate talent the old fashioned way; we talk to candidates, their peers, and their employers.  We look for knowledge of first principles, energy, drive, integrity, good judgment and good character.  In contrast, it seems many of our competitors have gone to a software based “keyword” method of finding talent.

Mr. Peter Cappelli, as he describes in his book, “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs,” details the frequency of complaints about the hiring process using a software/keyword driven methodology.  An excellent Wall Street Journal article details some of the more outlandish examples of this syndrome:


Mr. Cappelli’s favorite email came from a company that drew 25,000 applicants for a standard engineering position only to have the HR department say not one was qualified. One job seeker said “he had been told he was perfect for a given position—except for the fact that his previous job title didn’t match that of the vacancy,” a title unique to the prospective employer.


There is constant griping regarding American businesses not being able to find talent, yet these same companies routinely shoot themselves in the foot with highly restrictive hiring policies. Procedures that screen out anyone without precisely the right academic qualifications, job descriptions that include so many different roles that finding one person to fill the slot is practically impossible, and employers who aren’t willing to hire people without specific past job titles, even if those people are otherwise experienced enough for the job, are counterproductive. 

These practices frustrate me on almost a daily basis. I often know that I have a consultant who could get the job done, yet won’t be accepted by the client because she has a lack of keywords on her resume.  Intelligence, energy, drive, integrity, good judgment and good character are not resume keywords, yet these are the characteristics that I would want on my team in order to drive quality within any organization. 


Nels Hackl

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