When Surf Search begins the process for recruiting pharmaceutical candidates, that process starts with YOU and your hiring manager. We need to know your "must haves." Are you looking for process engineering candidates with sterile pharmaceutical experience? Are you looking for quality assurance manager candidates with a background in OTC oral solid dosage? Are you struggling to find candidates willing to relocate to your very rural manufacturing site? Our process starts with getting a strong understanding of what you've done, what you really need, and what hasn't worked so far. That's why you are coming to us. From there, we:

Your pharma executive search specialists

Headhunting in the pharmaceutical space is more than challenging in the current environment. As long time executive recruiters focused on life sciences, our pipeline of pharmaceutical candidates is extensive. We understand what it takes to convince the best passive candidates to make a move. Pharmaceutical headhunting isn’t for beginners. Look to Surf Search to fill your most challenging roles.

How to convince pharmaceutical candidates to move to rural Nebraska

Challenge:  Fill several process engineering, maintenance engineering and quality assurance manager roles at a large OTC pharmaceutical plant in rural Nebraska. Local and corporate talent acquisition could not convince candidates to make this move.

Solution:  Seek out candidates working in less desirable or more rural areas. Believe it or not, this did work. Surf Search filled these positions with highly qualified candidates from plants in rural Kansas, Texas, upstate New York and found a terrific director of manufacturing at a pharmaceutical plant in Puerto Rico. This candidate went on to grow his career at various sites within the company.

Our Clients

We work with clients and candidates at companies like these

typical roles we fill

Surf Search stays on top of our recruiting process

"I am challenged with difficult hiring managers. They have a lot of their plates and while hiring the best talent is a priority, doing the hard work of reviewing resumes and scheduling interviews often takes a back seat. The team at Surf Search knows how to move the recruitment process forward, to "nudge" things along while keeping candidates "warm." They know when they need to send out an SOS. We have an excellent partnership that's resulted in several key hires - top pharmaceutical engineers and scientists, despite our location."

- Liz T, HR Manager, rural manufacturing site, global company.

Partner with Surf Search


Frequently asked questions
about Pharmaceutical recruiting

Why use a recruiter?

A good recruiter will take the pain out of your pile of open reqs. Our recruiting process is seamless, utilizing state of the art executive search tools. We act as an extension of your internal recruiting team. Our deep knowledge of life sciences, including pharmaceutical, medical devices, biotech and healthcare mean we know where to find the best passive candidates. Other headhunters might throw a bunch of resumes at the wall and hope they stick. Surf Search does not. We value our close relationships with our candidates and they recognize us as recruiters who have their best interests at heart. We live to make perfect matches.

What exactly IS executive search?

Recruiter? Headhunter? Executive Search? What is the difference? Generally speaking, executive search refers to positions with base salaries over $100,000. Head hunter is mostly a “catch-all” term, referring to anyone working in recruiting. With the employment market as tight as it is, executive search recruiters can and do work on lower level positions.

How long does it take to find good candidates?

That depends on how narrow your requirements are. Our goal is to provide you with 3-5 qualified candidates within a week. Because the industries we work in are mostly scientific in nature, we are used to working on jobs with very focused skill sets. But we are only as good as our internal recruiting partners and hiring managers. Headhunting is all about strategizing! Candidate feedback is crucial in moving the process along. We know from experience, with every job assignment there are nuanced “must haves” and things change internally. This feedback allows us to pivot and fine tune our recruiting strategy. A solid recruiting partnership is critical to success. As life science headhunters, we are used to digging deep and finding what’s known in recruiting land as those illusive “purple unicorns.”

Why use Surf Search?

We are a niche recruiting firm, focused on life sciences. We have been in the headhunting business for a long time and enjoy a terrific reputation with our clients and candidates. Most of our clients have been with us through many company changes and take us with them as they move up their own career ladders. In executive search, you are only as good as who you know, and our recruiting pipeline is deep. Take a dozen headhunters, give them the same recruiting assignment and Surf Search always come out on top. Our knowledge and depth of experience in medical device, pharmaceutical, biotech and health care industries stands out in headhunting circles across the U.S.

What is the difference between an executive search firm and a recruitment agency?

Generally speaking, executive search firms work to fill high value, low volume roles while recruiting agencies focus on positions of high volume but lower value. Think CFO vs a process engineer. The best executive search firms utilize a deep “headhunting” knowledge base. When they take a recruiting assignment, they strategize on the best way to source candidates for that particular role. They may assign a team based on geography, or recruiters who have direct knowledge of competitor companies. The best head hunters know which factors are most important in the search and how to work those factors to recruit the best candiates and then convince them to make a move. Executive search is a fine balance between finding the perfect candidate and -- landing them.

Contingency vs Retained Recruiting

We prefer contingency search, though often times companies like to use executive search firms who specialize in retained recruiting. What truly IS the difference? Well, retained search means a company commits a certain amount upfront to engage in the recruitment of a certain position. Generally, a contract will specify a total fee for the search, once completed. The retainer goes toward that end fee. Many companies using the retained search model will require weekly search reports, including search strategy and metrics. We feel this takes time and resources away from our MISSION, to find the perfect candidate quickly.

What does “exclusive search” mean?

Successful recruiting is seen as a collaborative consulting process, and many executive search teams often work only on an exclusive basis. Hiring managers frequently give a search assignment to their top executive search group or team to “see what they can do with it” for a period of time before “putting it out” to other firms. Every recruiting firm wants to be “the one and only” for obvious reasons. Recruitment agencies usually operate on a high volume, lower level, transactional basis in which they compete in a “first in wins” race to see who can submit the best candidate first. Candidate “ownership” can be an issue for recruitment agencies whereas executive search firms own the process, not the candidate.

How big is our talent pool?

Huge! Over the years, With offices across the country, Surf Search’s executive search headhunting team has developed a pipeline of active candidates numbering in the tens of thousands. We work on recruiting searches across the country and partner with other top recruiting firms through the country’s leading executive search network, The Top Echelon Network. Last year, Surf Search was the highest grossing search firm in our network.

What makes a headhunter a true recruiting warrior?

They never give up!