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How a German Pharma Company Built a Winning Data Science Team with Data Science Talent

A leading pharmaceutical company needed to quickly expand their Data Science team but were struggling to find the right candidates.





Company Size

Large corporate business

Hiring Manager

Head of Data Science

Positions for Hire

Multiple Data Science roles

At a Glance



The Hiring Manager couldn’t find the right people despite being sent CVs by incumbent agencies.



DST identified the recruitment issues and developed a new approach to secure the ideal candidates with a retargeted marketing strategy.



DST grew the team from 4 to 37, with the new hires comprising 8 Data Engineers and 25 Data Scientists.


The Chief Data Scientist (CDS) at a large German pharmaceutical company had already recruited four Data Scientists to his team.

The Senior Leadership team had also set an objective to increase head count to 30+ within a two-year period. Their plan was to find and recruit the top 5% of talent in the marketplace to fill both full-time and permanent roles.

Despite this goal, the team hadn’t grown. The company’s three incumbent recruitment agencies had only identified 22 candidates who progressed to interview, with none of these resulting in a hire.


Frustrated by the lack of progress, the Head of Data Science was worried that he wouldn’t meet the business objectives.

After meeting with the CDS, DST suggested positioning the recruitment campaign as a career-growth opportunity within the Data Science community.

To determine the lack of team growth, the CDS provided insight into why they weren’t attracting a high volume of candidates.

Reasons included:
  • The challenging location (as the office wasn’t in a major city).
  • The business was a traditional healthcare company and Data Scientists were not familiar with the brand.
  • The Chief Data Scientist had high standards and the recruitment process was lengthy and intensive.
  • The lack of quality and quantity of candidates coming through from the three incumbent recruitment agencies was problematic.
  • Time was critical. The team needed to grow, and fast.
To turn these negative reasons into positives, DST created a recruitment marketing strategy that consisted of two phases:
First phase:
  • Crafting engaging marketing campaigns to resonate with the types of Data Scientists the Hiring Manager wanted to recruit.
  • Introducing targeted marketing strategies (for example, running monthly webinars for small groups).

Holding webinars allowed the CDS to personally sell the career opportunity and build relationships with potential candidates. This strategy also prompted 30% of unsuitable attendees to remove themselves from the hiring process, saving time for both the CDS and the candidate.

The candidates were also given a bespoke online technical test. Adding this step helped to reduce the amount of time spent in the recruitment process.

The next phase of the marketing campaign involved segmenting the desired talent pool into four different buckets to create marketing campaigns from.

This led to a 12-month marketing campaign and a series of successful recruitment webinars.


  • Through the new recruitment marketing strategy,
    the company’s first permanent hire was filled by
    a candidate with a Physics PhD from Cambridge University. They were actually in the hiring process with Google at the time, but withdrew to accept our client’s offer. The Head of Data Science stated that the candidate “was exactly the type of person we hoped to recruit”.
  • 18 months later, the team of four had grown into a team of 37. Approximately 50% were permanent hires and 50% were freelancers/contractors.
  • The expanded Data Science team went on to
    design and implement solutions for areas of the business including Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain Optimisation, Drug Safety and Demand Forecasting.
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