Mar 2, 2008

Experienced medical device personnel

Can a small company hire experienced device personnel? I've had this discussion with a couple coworkers in the past few weeks regarding our company- keep in mind we're in the bay area with lots of device companies. I think any company with less than 30 to 50 employees is going to have a hard time hiring medical device experienced engineers, quality, and regulatory people. From my experience these guys are in high demand and (in general) a small company has to throw a lot of extra cash at them to get quality candidates to consider working for a small company. Stock options may also work, but the person might still bail if they don't see them being worth anything soon. I say in general because there is some chance something may work out because of location or some other factor.

What is a small company to do? They basically have three options, (1) do without while you grow/train someone up, (2) get a consultant, or (3) throw cash at someone. IMO, doing without even while you train someone is more likely to get you in trouble than a consultant. At least make sure you are training the right person. Hiring consultants is the most popular way things are done, but again, in my experience, ~50% of them are a waste of time and money (part of this might be due to bad management practices). It also looks a little odd if your VP of Engineering or something along those lines is a consultant. Sorry medical device company owners, but my preferred option is throwing cash at someone, I believe it pays off in the long run. Of course, you also need to have an environment they can do well in, if you hire a experienced quality person, then constantly don't listen to him/her, you might as well have picked option 1 and just have your way with someone who doesn't know any better.

That being said, I enjoy working for a small company because you have an impact and feel more people should give it a chance. At one point my boss was designing a bracket as his entire project. At the small company I work for now, a bracket isn't something we'd spend a lot of time on, maybe a day.


Anonymous said...

The small med dev. company I work for hired three consultants before the hired me full time to do their job. The consultants were good but they only worked part-time. By part time, I mean either they worked hard but only worked 20 hours per week or they worked 40+ hours per week but were half as efficient as a "normal" employee.

Anonymous said...

I think generally you are right in terms of throwing money at experienced people. I left Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare/Covidien etc., etc. at the end of August hoping to be a consultant but haven't had much luck getting hired except by my old company. I think the best consultants are those you or close friends have worked with in the past so you know what they can do and how. It other words it's all in the network.

Good luck.