Myths about Contractors with Thomas McMann (Medical Device Regulation)



welcome to the medical device made easy podcast so today we will talk about human resource and we'll have for that a special guest who is Thomas McMahon from IBM scientific so Tomas will help us to understand what is the difference between a full-time employee a contractor and a consultant because there is really difference and we do the difference for companies to enterprises and also for a fully powerful employee so so let's welcome Tomas oh hi Thomas harmony I thank you for having me I'm it's a pleasure to be on the podcast and today so great so thank you for accepting the offer also for for being here and so as usual I'm asking my guests you introduce in sets of please introduce yourself and then we can go through questions yeah perfect I'm so yeah so my name is Thomas McMahon I'm from England from the north of England and pretty much as north as you can get and and I work for EPM scientific in Zurich which is a life science recruitment agency and I've been with the brand now for three years I spent a year and a half in our London office in our headquarters and then moved to Zurich last January and to really kickstart and our temporary contracts business from the ground here and in Zurich so I sniff it to myself yeah a lot different to London and I can say that it's actually a lot more like home and for me and I'm from quite a small city of North which is quite close to Newcastle and a lot of people or not Newcastle Football Club so moving to London was a bit different for me and I did it didn't gel as much as I thought so Zurich's more like my hometown of Carlisle so I feel a lot more at home here than I do in Batman I did in London can you imagine yeah and what is exactly your position or your role at you being scientific yes so and so I'm manage our temporary contracting business across EPM scientific for for Switzerland yes so that's pretty much my rule and we do have a correspondent permanence Department as well EP M and an EP M is a life science recruitment agency that will go through the whole product life style like life cycle of a product and from start to finish so great so we've talked to the city about some rules that you already know like consultants and specifically about life science business so medical devices and do you do also some pharmaceuticals yep so we do medical device pharmaceutical and biotech I'm across IPM in general the temporary function within within my team which I lead and does quality and regulatory and in medical device and pharma biotech so fitting quite well am I supposed to answer the podcast we're gonna say me for us here I wanted to ask you and to explain to the audience what is the difference between a permanent employee a prominent person working for a company a contractor and a computer because I think difference yeah definitely and might be a long-winded answer but we'll start with a permanent staff member so and a permanent staff member like yourself now like myself has a unlimited contract and doesn't have an end yet for it works for a company direct on their payroll has a fixed salary and has all the benefits of a permanent employee and mobile phone cars bonus X amount of holiday for example whereas if you look at a contractor it's a little bit different as they have a specific start and end it and to their their working time and typically within Switzerland and they use a payroll company so they're not on the headcount of the client that they're working for and we'll use companies Aiki p.m. scientific for example to work with with medical device companies and they are on a typically an hourly rate basis and will get will charge by the hour so however many hours they work that will determine on their salary and they don't have obviously the benefits I suppose as a permanent employee is and permanent on permanent employer will probably have more holidays pension you know cars the bonuses that I've said and the contractor I suppose they're more that both contractors in my eyes is seen as firefighters and a company would employ a contractor when they have a spike in in workload and they have issues problems that they need to fix and quite quickly and they'll employ a contractor to come in you know immediately and to fix the problem and once that problems gone the contractor will leave and a consultant and can be seen sometimes as a contractor and while going detail throughout and a consultant is the same as a contractor in terms of they have their start and end it and however I would attribute a consultant and somebody who would come in a more strategic managerial positions who can direct and lead a company and these people are typically have potentially had and really senior director level plus positions in permanent roles and have decided to go into consulting and typically not as hands-on of the type of roles because they can add more value on the strategic point of view and these guys what I found an experience with in Switzerland and they tend to have their own Swiss key on behalf they wrong companies and they cost a lot more than what a contractor traditional contractor would would have and they sometimes have a multiple clients and they require a lot more flexibility in terms of picking their hours and their work in different locations and I have a sweet spot for that you want to try and find and that would typically be there's a lot of contractors who will come in and do the firefighting hands on work and save the company but they can also give a consultative strategic level approach to the client if needed and these contractors who can flip between one of the other they're the sweet spot you know the you know I have a plenty of times in the past where a company's in need of a contractor and they've hired a consultants and it went terribly wrong and I've also had times where a client's need a really strategic type person to come in and they've hired not through rules but hired a contractor and it's not been it's not worked out and and I think a lot of companies especially between the contractor and the consultants they sometimes don't realize what they need and comes most the time caused more problems for them what before it's worth yeah if I can say I had the same situation that you described so once I hired I wanted to hire a contractor that's somebody that is just doing what I'm asking them to do apparently I hire the person that has more experience more seniority more knowledge on on the topic and at the end this person wanted to change the Oh company and change the old procedures and all things where at the end I want I didn't want that I just wanted them to do a technical fire remediation and not that to make kind of proceed your challenge and I mean this person was focusing more on anything else but what I was asking ask again for a contractor again so ya know it's um it's something that I think especially in medical devices and a lot of companies get wrong and it sometimes you know sometimes I feel sorry for the consultants or contractors that potentially get put in these positions and because the client obviously hasn't really read the situation of what they need and and you know if you hire a consultant to come in and do something and you want them to do the hands-on work as such and whose fault really is it you know is it the consultant for not being able to adapt or is it you know the client who's looking to hire this person and hasn't understood their actual own situation which has led to a pool I don't you know a pure hire of the contractor consultant type thing now it's clear so yeah so may be better to have also some time to plan and to really think about what we really need and what competency we need before to to hire some time hi person for doing something that is low needed football to be done by a low experienced person yeah okay is there is there I mean as now we have a better understanding about difference between between those three are there are some myths or something that people think that is really interesting for being consistent or being contractor or being permanent afraid because a lot of consultants are also moving back to permanent sometime or what is the myth that maybe those people who are thinking moving to from one to another and well there's a lot I think from from all different angles and of different people's opinions I suppose and probably the we'll start with the most common myth I would say is they're probably on your minds as you've hired contractors and probably other hiring managers and other companies I'll be listening to this is that contractors are consult about consulting as well are really really expensive they're so expensive we can't get this person to come in and it's gonna cost far too much money and and elements of that statement is true you know if you're getting a consultant in a 170 francs an hour you know if they work you know to you know to a year contract you know you're looking at three hundred plus thousand francs obviously that is more expensive than a permanent person but for the traditional contractor I'm saying that potentially what you mentioned that you would hire coming to do a tech farmer mediation to come in do you know maybe you needed them for twelve months just to get you know a whole I've worked on then after that twelve months there was no need for them after that so that you weren't gonna you know prolong a contract and that was it done so when when you obviously have a permanent staff member within your team you obviously have their basic salary and and I think a lot of hiring managers just look at that's the cost for that employee you know if it's a hundred thousand for example they only see that as the hundred thousand and really there's so much more behind the back of that and the you know the employer contributions which is typically fourteen to sixteen percent in Switzerland that means the company will you know typically match the person's pension Social Security's accident insurance all the other taxes that the company has to pay for payroll in that company and that adds on top of it you've then got the permanent employees you know laptop home you know bonuses which can be anywhere you know ten to twenty thousand you know depending on what level that you're on and you know this holidays that you'll get sick leave and things and so there's there's a lot of hidden costs with a permanent person that I think a lot of hiring managers tend to forget and I think sort of a when I've looked at it and set off a hundred thousand you know you could easily add another 50 thousand Swiss francs on top of that person's salary with all the extra benefits and things that that person gets and if you break that down in compared to say you know a contractor yes a contractor mayor cost maybe 30 maybe even 50 you could say a 50,000 more two hundred thousand for a contractor for the year and it may cost more however you're getting so much more than the permanent employee you're getting someone who you can get rid of in a month if it doesn't work or maybe two weeks depending on a notice period you're having someone that is coming in to actually do maybe the work a permanent employee might not want to do they might find it boring and after that twelve months you know that contractors leaving they're not going to have a job and you know you can't do that with permanent people so yes they can be a little bit more expensive but not as expensive I think as what people tend to think about and when for me when you wear your that you know the benefits of having that contractors here for the the project specific work that you may have you know I I think the extra money if it's a little bit all the same is is definitely worth it and because you have so much more flexibility that you get with it and typically and they obviously can start immediately where and you've probably experienced it trying to hire a permanent person and typically in Switzerland can take you know three months plus and the final right person yeah so you have the hiring time you have also the training time sometime because you have to make this pursuit up to speed when you hire a contractor that already has experience so it's maybe easier for them to help you and to do the job immediately if it's a consultant maybe better because you will have more knowledge and you can speed up your project so maybe doing it in one year with a full-time employee and six month with yeah it can be a lot of advantages for I am and as you mentioned yet the cost is really I think the myth that people are obviously he costs too much but when you are really making the balance at the end yeah no definitely I think I actually had an example the two weeks ago I think and we had a couple of candidates in process and one was a lot more experienced obviously cost more and the other one was good consultant relatively market standard Piper area and the manager said to us that we want to take the more expensive Mycenae a person mainly because they can do the job in half a time so actually I'll save money on it so when managers are starting to think about how they can use a contractor to you know speed things up you know in the long run that should save money and the less time I think people spend on things it's really good thinking I mean since we seldom to have those kind of thinking in some companies so it's really nice to have that is there another yeah yes so this and this hello I think some companies not all I've not really experienced it much and but find the contractors or consultants are difficult and you know they're hard work they come in they don't listen they do what they do what they want type thing I'm sure were people listening have probably experienced that at some point and but again it comes down to how you in right you know if you and you know interview processing you you know have that good rapport with with the candidate and you know you ask the right questions they answer correctly you have that neutral standing of what's needed from the consultant and what's expected and you know you should you should hire correctly but that is something I think a myth that people think that contractors can tend to be a lot of hard work and can come in and not do as they you know as they told as such and which just sounds like a little bit what you had in your past experience yeah and I think I think the the the interview process is very important not assuming that the person will arrive and know everything and will be up to speed without really getting any guidance but yeah it's really important important to have I think another potential myth may be myth may be true I don't know is the the permanence and contract clash consultant divided within a company I know this potentially can be issues in some companies sometimes isn't it isn't and you know hiring a lot of consultants or contractors can sometimes create a RIF I think between staff and team members and you know if if that permanent person you know that you're doing the same job as a contractor that come in they sometimes think okay these persons getting paid more than me to do the same job but what they don't realize is again is the hidden costs and also that that person in six months will leave and potentially another job three months and so they're a huge risk having take on a lot of other elements of it and so I think that I've not personally experienced that where there's been a divide between permanent and contracts and but I know that is something that is a potential myth or could could happen and have you ever experienced anything like that yeah in your career we've never divided a conflict yeah not conflict it's more when we hire I mean it's more about the effect of group I suppose because I had a company where I hired only one contractor or one constant it was well well this person really melted with all the team it was really fine so it's worked well but in an oil company we hired a group of contractors because we had a big project and we had to some some some work and there was more a specific room for those people to be all together and they were not really melting or all discussing actually was this kind of riff as you mentioned between those two teams which was yeah but at the end the the manager wanted really them to be focused on the project and to be working and not to be disturbed by other employees I suppose it was the reason why we have this yeah it's an interesting point because I think it definitely comes down I think to the company's approach to hiring that contractor and how they see and how they think of that contractor and if they can add value and you know we have clients that we work with the on the contractors first week and they booked in meetings with different people in the organization so they can you know introduce them to new people obviously help them make friends and embed them into their culture and into their society as such within within the organization and I think that that's a fantastic way to you know on board a contractor and because the I suppose hiring anybody you want to make them feel at home and that they can be themselves and whereas if you're locking a contractor in a room or in a basement as such yesterday the specific job but you know it does potentially create that divide and people might you sort of look at them and be like you know who's that person type thing so it's it's it's engineer it's interesting okay so now what is exactly for you as you are working specifically with those contractors or consultants so what is your strategy to select them to then show them to the companies that are really needing a person that is knowledgeable for their project so what is your in terms of finding people or interests in terms of how we search for candidates and how we solve operate on a candidate basis I mean for me it's more about what is the relationship with the first the company that is giving you maybe the information what they need and you looking for for the right person and then well first and foremost I would say with the the client needs such and strategy our strategy main strategies to meet that person face-to-face and to get a full understanding of what they're really looking for understand the requirements understanding if they need a contractor or a consultant and what they really needs that person to do if they need to come in and firefight or if they don't and that helps massively with trying to select the right person and understanding yeah what they need and understanding the company and what type of person they would want in in their team and how the dynamics would fit I think a lot of people sometimes don't think of that when they hire contractors and but if you want the right contractor and you want that you know the no waves to be created as such and you know you need to keep that in mind and so I would say what once we've we've met the manager if possible or have a you know screening call as such for the position and we do things sort of backwards in the way that I sort of run EPM so we essentially do all the work before we get the position and by that it's more of tracking consultants and tracking talent in the market and annoying where they're working knowing when their contracts are finishing and and then you basically just play a game of chess or whatever game that you like to flavor you match things up and because when we get that position our first thought process is okay well let's go to our talent tracking lists our hot lists and who's available and within that first hour you know we should have you know three consultants contractors and we can send down straight to where or if not speak about on the call or if you're you know meeting that person face to face so we sort of do all the work backwards and our standards are that when we have that job and we should know someone straight away a couple of people three people and who could do it and and that fits into obviously why you would hire a contractor because you that person quick and so that is how typically we operate and within the client and then that the candidate as such and and that takes months potentially months and months to get the right people on tracking and knowing when their contracts are finished and keeping in touch with them building you know relationships and because you have to have you as a candidate as well as pause in this our industry you know you need to be able to trust people especially if you're working with them and recruiters recruiters typically get bad press home for how they operate and and you know we want to have a really good relationship with that contractor and before we send them and you want to know exactly what they want how they work the money you know and all that done and so it's a painless smooth quick easy process once we get that position on and that in turn and mix when we have the contractors I suppose working for clients they're happy him they stay you know that they were good fit and and you know obviously responding to was having positive feedback from from the client it's good I think as we said so being specific I think like IPM scientific will help also to really find the right candidates that are very specialized in this area and I think it's important really the relationship between the companion and under culture truly and they have the best the right understanding of the role of the of the the candidate of what they want just to not lose time to not because as we as you said the the process context notes and if at the end we hire somebody and it's not a good fit we have to be start from zero and the situation okay Thomas so where can people for I can find you then yeah so LinkedIn BPM scientific and you've got Instagram you know Twitter and yeah I say I think we do I might be wrong it might be under feared International which is our mother company [Laughter] but yeah just a TPM scientific and normally all the social media platforms and I think you'll have it in the the nonsense I will ask you to send me that all and I'll put that in the show notes so that people can go directly and and and see and see that great something else to add no not for myself just first of all suppose thank you for for having me on it's been a pleasure speaking with you and just yeah I think um if anybody wants to reach out to understand more or if they want if they don't know if they need a contractor or consultant and you know please reach out and obviously look to help anybody and it needs it great so thank you for that okay so thank you then for for joining this episode and I see you bye perfect thanks well see it thank you you

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Thomas for this good talk. Please tell us if you have some consultant stories.

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