Matching people to jobs might seem an easy task in places like Grand Junction, where the unemployment rate hovers around 7 percent.

When the job is in the highly specialized field of biotechnology, however, and there are fewer qualified people than open spots, an expert, sometimes known as a headhunter, must often step into fill the positions.

After nearly 15 years as a pharmaceutical salesman, Dave Murphy, founder of The Alpine Group, 330 Grand Ave., saw a niche he thought he could fill and took the plunge.

Leaving behind the hectic urban lifestyle he and his family disdained, Murphy moved to Grand Junction and launched a recruiting firm.

In 1999, he purchased a franchise from Management Recruiters International and started a business that reaches across the globe to find high-profile biopharmaceutical, medical device and life science industry specialists needed to fill jobs on three continents.

“In our office, we work exclusively with biotech companies to help them attract and hire top level employees, so the positions we fill are rarely in Grand Junction or even the state of Colorado,” Murphy said.

More often, Murphy and his staff fill jobs with biotech firms situated in large metro areas in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

“I can tell you the biotech economy is smoking hot. There are not enough people to fill the jobs. In western Colorado, where unemployment is high, there are no biotech companies, but in San Jose (Calif.), unemployment is 3 percent,” Murphy said.

The work of a recruiter is done primarily on the phone and online, using email and social media, he said.

“This business is a great example of an emerging industry that is driven by advances in communications,” Murphy said. “This can truly be done from anywhere, including in small towns in relatively remote areas.”

Murphy’s firm is part of a network that has about 600 offices and 3,000 recruiters working in 35 countries.

Unlike an employment agency where an applicant who needs a job pays the agency to help him put a resume together and find places to interview, The Alpine Group acts as an agent of the employer.

“Novartis calls me and says, ‘Hey, we need to hire a director of marketing in the Bay Area. Can you help us?’ “

During his firm’s 15 years in operation, Murphy has built up database of about 90,000 candidate records that are categorized and coded based on what they do and what they want to do.

“So we, in a very targeted manner, go out and communicate with those people and kind of tap them on the shoulder to stop what they’re doing long enough to take a look at the job.”

If interested and qualified, something Murphy determines after a lot of discussions, he gets the applicant into an interview process. 

If the recruit interviews well and gets the job, only then does Murphy get paid by the employer based on a percentage of the recruit’s new salary.

Average recruiters, depending on the types of jobs they specialize in filling, will place about one recruit per month, 12 to 15 per year.”

“This year, we have a high-performing executive recruiter by the name of Michael Pietrack, who is currently tracking to finish the year as the number one recruiter in the entire MRI network, based on production and billings,” Murphy said. “He’s been in the business for six years and has reached the top level of achievement.”

The final rankings for 2013 will be released in January.

Murphy won the MRI Presidents Club Award for nine years in a row starting in 2001 and was named Billing Manager of the Year for the southwest region six different times, most recently in 2012.


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