Steven Raz, CEO, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Cornerstone Search GroupSteven Raz, CEO, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
As the demand for hiring in the life sciences industry continues to grow unabated, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology firms are scrambling to fill open positions in the midst of a major talent crunch. Skill shortage a concern that existed even before the COVID-19 pandemic has only been exacerbated by the challenges of the last 18 months. To keep pace with the new normal, pharma and biotech companies have pivoted to fully remote or hybrid working models. Against this backdrop, CEOs, CMOs, and CHROs across the world are striving to onboard new employees and integrate them with their work culture. This is where Cornerstone Search Group makes a difference. As a global “boutique” life sciences executive search firm, Cornerstone Search Group helps pharmaceutical, biotechnology, generic and medical device companies with critical talent searches at the C-level, VPlevel, and Director-levels.

In an interview with the editorial team of Manage HR, Steven Raz, CEO, Co-Founder, and Managing Partner of Cornerstone Search Group, discusses at length how their company develops trust with leaders who are urgently passionate about hiring great talent.

Please provide a brief overview of Cornerstone Search Group.

I founded Cornerstone Search Group along with a business partner back in February 2000. Drawing on the experience we gathered by working with various executive search firms, we realized that there was a better way to search and recruit talent and help clients create a flexible, progressive work culture that lasts for decades or more. As one of the top firms exclusively focused on life sciences executive search, we help biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies hire talent for scientific positions in early development, clinical development, and commercialization. We call it a “bench to bedside” recruiting and service model. We have dedicated practice leaders to lead various divisions such as scientific practice, physician recruitment, health economics and market access, clinical operations, human resources, legal, accounting, and more. Be it department buildouts or hiring talent to fill a singular position, as a retained executive search firm, we offer customized service models as per the unique needs and sizes of companies

Our services strengthen their competitive advantage in the market and help them attract the right candidates

Could you shed light on various search services you deliver to life sciences companies and your approach for the same?

We truly understand our clients’ work environment and culture before beginning the talent search process and putting together project teams for an assignment.

We then focus on “blueprinting,” or the foundation piece that entails building a robust recruitment framework. We factor in various components like work location, the flexibility of employees to work on market-based compensation, title, position, responsibilities, and more to perform a successful search. Further, we weave in the most up-to-date market intelligence regarding the current market dynamics, remote work, culture integration, and rising salaries. We are able to provide the frontline data because we engage with candidates that companies are looking for every single day.

Following this, we propose a solution geared toward our clients’ present and future needs. Our services strengthen their competitive advantage in the market and help them attract the right candidates. All in all, we ensure a successful hire in a reasonable amount of time to help clients differentiate themselves in the marketplace
Could you cite a customer success story?
We helped one of our clients, a new biotechnology company focused on oncology, which was struggling to build an executive leadership and management team from scratch. They were encumbered by inadequate infrastructure and a lack of support for talent acquisition and other critical corporate functions. We helped the client build a senior leadership team of eight different individuals spanning across all the functions of the company in just seven months. We completed the project way ahead of schedule, and the caliber of candidates we hired was exceptional, which allowed the client to save significant money and time.

What, according to you, steers you ahead of the market competition?

We distinguish ourselves in the industry with a team of highlyexperienced employees and partners who have been with us for over a decade. As such, with longevity comes consistency of services. Backed by more than 20 years of experience, we bring to the table a wealth of institutional knowledge and professionalism to each and every client we serve.

As no two work situations are identical, we follow a collaborative, customized consultative approach. Whether a client works with us or not, we provide all the necessary information during the initial engagement. Our intention is to best educate our clients so that they can make the right decision for themselves and their firm. Our team of functional experts with an ingrained knowledge of biotech and pharmaceutical processes targets the right candidates. Our industry expertise and extensive proprietary database are at the heart of our success, helping us accelerate the talent search and hiring process.

The positive work environment that we have created for our employees further translates to happy clients. We believe in giving back to the community; we volunteer at soup kitchens and help people in need. Steering ahead, we plan to add more professionals to our team in the first quarter of 2022. We are also focusing on opening offices at additional locations by the end of next year.