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Industry Insights

Elevating Your Lab Director Position to Hire Top Talent

By: Tara Luellen, MA, Vice President of Laboratory Director Services, Lighthouse Lab Services

Click here to read Part 1 of our breakdown on how to approach hiring a Lab Director

Recently, we outlined the duties and importance of the Lab Director position and the myriad reasons why attracting a quality candidate can be difficult. As we explore this issue ahead of our Sept. 29 webinar on the subject, here are a few additional ways labs can set their Director position apart from competitors in order to hire top-level talent.


Be as flexible as possible with the role

While many industries shift to work-from-home or hybrid models of working in office, the lab industry is also adapting in this way to a degree. Lab staff running the testing and overseeing the lab’s daily operations require on-site presence, of course, but a Lab Director can complete many duties off site! At least some on-site presence is needed by the Director, and some states have requirements for the frequency and/or duration of said on-site visits. Those regulations must be followed, but work that can be completed electronically can essentially be done at any location now.

As a result, we’re seeing more labs shift to offering hybrid work-from-home options for their Directors, having them visit regularly but completing many activities remotely. This is especially helpful if your laboratory is not in an ideal location that may be attractive to top-level talent, as the ability to work from home to some degree is very attractive to this level of candidate.


Consider options beyond just your “ideal” candidate

Additionally, as mentioned in our previous article, the qualifications required to direct specialties performed in the lab can be very stringent. Many of the clients with whom we work have an ideal profile for the candidate they want to hire. While we work diligently to fill these positions to meet client preferences when at all possible, considering candidates that possess the minimum requirements for qualifications will allow you to review a wider range of candidate options who could meet your needs.

How many great candidates might you be eliminating from contention who don’t possess your ideal qualifications exactly, but are willing to learn? In our experience, these candidates end up being some of the best of the best with longstanding track records of working in the labs we place them in for years to come as they grow alongside the lab and company together. If candidates are willing to learn beyond their specific area of training and expertise, especially considering that training programs are becoming so specific and less broad, giving them a chance for an initial interview or brief phone screening with your team may open the door to a relationship from which your lab could benefit – what is there to lose in doing this other than 30 minutes of your time in speaking to them?


The benefit of hiring Lab Directors from a diverse candidate pool

I’ll use myself as an example of some of the benefits that can come from considering candidates beyond just your ideal choice. Across my career at Lighthouse and leading into my current role as Vice President of Laboratory Director Services, I have gained expertise in the realm of Lab Director qualifications and how those vary by state, accreditation, testing specialty, etc.

Should Lighthouse have only been looking for someone with prior experience or knowledge in this area, I likely would have been overlooked and not hired, given that my background is actually in Clinical Psychology and not lab related at all. However, I have grown our Lab Director Services division from just over 100 part-time Lab Director assignments when I joined Lighthouse in 2016, to now over 250 active part-time Lab Director assignments, quadrupling the number of full-time Directors/Pathologists we’ve placed in the past two years.


How nailing this decision can drive your success!

I know it seems like we’re asking labs to offer Director candidates a lot, and that’s not necessarily untrue. However, flexibility with regard to the search parameters and your compensation package for well-qualified individuals is the recipe to attract top-level talent in a time when supply cannot adequately meet the demand. Hiring the right Director for your company can be driving force behind future increased growth, profitability and expansion of your laboratory; the longer it takes to hire your Director and get him or her up-to-speed, the more money your company is losing in profitability or not fully capitalizing upon. Directors, while usually employees or consultants of the laboratory, can be thought of more like partners of the lab, as their job is to focus on the overall compliance and help to drive business in future. They can be the key to success!

So, how can Lighthouse Lab Services help you better your Director situation? We’d love to be the key to your success in hiring a new Lab Director for your team! We help you find the right full-time Director using some of the strategies outlined above. Alternatively, Lighthouse’s part-time Lab Director service offering can meet the needs of more small- to moderately-sized operations that don’t require a Director’s attention full time.

Our team of Lab Director experts is ready to help you in securing a qualified Director to meet your unique needs! Contact us today!


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