GTS Scientific is a niche search firm supporting its clients in Life Sciences.  They recruit for midlevel scientific and technical talent up into C-Suite executives. 

In this episode, President Robb Hoyle shares key things that make them unique including: 

  • They develop strong relationships with clients to deeply understand their needs 
  • Their teamoriented culture focuses on constant improvement of people and processes to provide better results for everyone 
  • They’re driven by the purpose of helping life-science companies succeed and contribute to society 

Read more about how to build a recruitment business culture that focuses on improvement.


The Transcript

Brad Wolff: 00:01            

Welcome to the “It Is About You Podcast”. Today I’m honored to have as my guest Robb Hoyle with “GTS Recruiting”. Robb, welcome to the show!

Robb Hoyle: 00:15          

After having me Brad, I appreciate being here.

Brad Wolff: 00:17            

Absolutely! So if you would share a little bit about yourself and “GTS Recruiting”.

Robb Hoyle: 00:24          

Sure! Robb Hoyle, the CEO and Founder of “GTS Scientific”. We are a Life Science and Executive Search Firm. A lot of the work that we do is in Pharma Biotech Medical Device working for our clients helping to support recruiting for everything from Preclinical Research through Scaling up and Commercializing, whether it be a lifesaving drug or technology.

Brad Wolff: 00:53            

Okay! So you’re really focused on that industry area?

Robb Hoyle: 01:01          

Yeah! A lot of the work that we’re doing is in Rare Disease and Cancer Research in general. Whether it be selling Gene Therapy or some sort of Biologics or even Companion Diagnostics with Drug patients.

Brad Wolff: 01:18            

Terrific! So Robb, if you would tell me a little bit about your journey that’s brought you to where you are today?

Robb Hoyle: 01:25          

Sure! So started, founded the company back in 2013 and here we are, just turned 7 years old and actually this week we’re officially 7 years old, so this is our Anniversary Podcast, if you will along the way we’ve grown from me literally having a computer and a phone in my home office to growing the company now to about 10 employees. And we had done placements in 28 States and concluding well outside of the U.S.. We’ve done Canada, Mexico and the UK and we’ve got over 120 clients now at this point. So we’re growing with you in the future.

Brad Wolff: 02:06            

Wow! That’s terrific! So what is it that excites you the most about your organization and what you do?

Robb Hoyle: 02:14          

Yeah! So I think there’s two parts that excite me a lot on the client and the industry side of the spectrum. A lot of the work that we’re doing you know, I go to conferences throughout the country different industry, association meetings and things like that. So I get to be kind of on the forefront of what companies are bringing them to market or what they’re trying to bring to market. So a lot of times I’m hearing about technologies and drugs that have never come to market before. And it’s just seeing what these brilliant minds throughout the country are doing and not even comprehend it because I’m not a science guy, but being able to sit there and say, “wow, you’re going to try and do this”. And then five years later we see it come to market.

Robb Hoyle: 02:57          

So it’s pretty, really interesting and just being able to be out there and see what they’re doing to save lives is incredible. And then internally here for me it’s working with my team. That’s kind of what drives me everyday of the week is waking up and knowing that, you know, when I started the company back in 2013, it was just about all right, I don’t have a paycheck anymore. I need to be myself somehow. Let’s get the company up and running. Well now, every morning we would come to work. It’s higher risk, right? Because you got 10 employees. These people have kids, they have families or they’re right out of college and they’re trying to make something on themselves with their career. So there’s a real sense of responsibility there.

Brad Wolff: 03:37            

Wow! And I get that you realize that everything you do has such an impact that you take that very seriously because it isn’t just about you anymore.

Robb Hoyle: 03:48          

Yeah! It’s you know, making sure that the teams well fed, you know, ever. And it’s funny because people ask me all the time, does it get any easier? And you know, in some levels it does. You know, knowing what to do with running a company, those types of things become more riding a bike. Although every month I get something new here but every time we hire a new employee, we actually just had a new employee start today. We have to make sure the computers here, we have to make sure that, you know, the first week set up for them. So things go smoothly. And then as we grow in the future, making sure that they’re, you know, trained properly and giving them the best opportunity to succeed that’s all on me and, you know, meeting my CLO but you know, everyday that’s those are the types of things that I’m thinking about.

Brad Wolff: 04:33            

And that’s a great point, Robb, that as we grow into develop the stuff that was difficult before it gets easier, but then it’s replaced by new stuff that’s equally or more challenging so some things get easier and some things get more challenging.

Robb Hoyle: 04:49          

Yeah! Exactly! The, you know, the payroll goes up you know, the more employees we have to have more business on the board, you know, so some things go away. Like I don’t worry that much about the physical act of doing payroll anymore you know, I know how to do it at this point, but, you know, now it’s onto the next thing. What happens if we lose a big client and you know, 15 positions go away or you know, if the market dries up or all of those things are kind of out of our control and gonna make sure that we can do everything we can do to make sure that they we’re given the opportunity to our a team.

Brad Wolff: 05:25            

Exactly! So, Robb, in terms of GTS, what are the key things that you feel differentiate you from your competitors?

Robb Hoyle: 05:39          

Yes! So there’s a quote that I like to use and it’s revolves around our clients. I don’t claim to be the best recruiting team on the planet. I claim to be the best for our clients that allow us to partner with them. So we have some clients that we’ve been working with for seven years and inside of those clients, I have people I’ve known for 15 years that I’ve built a relationship with. And you know, now they’re friends of mine at this point, right. But I’m working with them and being able to partner with them. When I say partner, I mean literally a Friday afternoon we were on the CO or on a call with the COO of a gene therapy company and they’re one of the top funded gene therapy companies in the country. And recruiting for them, it’s very specific.

Robb Hoyle: 06:25          

But on top of that, knowing the inside of what their organization has to offer aside from the culture, aside from the cutting edge work and they’re doing really incredible work over there. But you know, we jumped on a call to CLO just to find out exactly what their equity Packwood package is all about. And what does that mean? Because you say equity and it could mean, you know, 15 different things and what does that mean to the, you know, to the candidate. So it’s knowing their company, it’s knowing their team inside of now and knowing why that opportunity is going to be the right fit for the candidates that we’re working with. Because at the end of the day, just because they have the right skill set and maybe they’re right for the company, that doesn’t mean that the company is right for them and where they want to move with their career.

Brad Wolff: 07:10            

So yes, you can do a much better job for everyone involved when you have that relationship and you can really understand and explain what each has to offer, both the candidate and the company.

Robb Hoyle: 07:24          

And it’s not just about me knowing it, right? It’s the whole team here knowing it so that they can communicate it with you know, their candidates along the way. And it’s being transparent and setting expectations upfront with everybody was the client and with the candidates, just let him know, Hey, I’m going to walk you through every step of this process. And we do that with a client on the front end to make sure that they’re ready and they understand what we need in order to be successful for them. Because if not, you know, we’re just wasting everybody’s time if we don’t have the pieces to the puzzle that we need.

Brad Wolff: 07:55            

But what else are things that differentiate GTS from competitors?

Robb Hoyle: 08:00          

Yes! So I think that, you know, the other part of it is our internal team. So our culture is based around not just training and development, but also continuous improvement. So we’re constantly trying to find ways to internally whether it be how do we find the right candidates more quickly? How do we you know, fine tune our screening process. And by the way, a lot of our process, it’s been updated over the past seven years was through learning what we failed at, learning what didn’t work, and then updating it and doing it in real time. And the really cool thing about our organization is that, you know, Sam or Parker here could say to me, Hey, Robb, this doesn’t work and there’s no bureaucracy. It’s, you guys are doing this day in, day out.

Robb Hoyle: 08:50          

I’m not. And if you think that there’s a better way to do it, then let’s do it or, you know, we’ll say, Hey, you know, we used to do it this way and here’s why we do it this way now because we figured out that that wasn’t the best way to do it. So we kind of had that open dialogue, transparency here, just everybody saying, “Hey, here’s a better way to do something. Let’s go and do it and I don’t care if it is your first week here and you found something that we can do better. It’s not about seniority, it’s about just making us all better team”.

Brad Wolff: 09:21            

And I want to call attention to that as someone that worked my first 10 years in recruiting, I worked for 2 different firms, 3 different firms. And that culture to help people develop, to become more effective and to have more fun and really enjoy what they’re doing is so important. And every organization doesn’t offer that. So that really is a big deal for someone that wants to be in the recruiting field.

Robb Hoyle: 09:47          

Yeah, I agree! Because I think at the end of the day, recruiting is not an easy business, right? There’s a lot of competition to be good at it, you need to you need to learn the industry. You need to learn recruiting. And then you also have to drive for results and make sure you keep everything organized. And I don’t get emotional about it and realize that just because someone didn’t take the job, it’s not your fault but at the end of the day we look back at that and say, Hey, where can we improve? But that’s the thing that, you know, the attitude is a lot in this business because you can sit here. And when I started, I was working 70 or 80 hours a week when my first recruiting job. And also when I started this company, I was doing it as well. Right? But if you’re not good at it, it gets frustrating to work that hard and you can make not a lot of money and not be successful, but still have to work that hard versus having fun and being successful and doing, you know, the things you want to do with your life.

Robb Hoyle: 10:46          

It doesn’t seem like that much hard work when you’re having fun like that.

Brad Wolff: 10:50            

And those are great points that are really critical. So Robb, what else are things that are different about GTS that give you a real competitive advantage?

Robb Hoyle: 11:01          

Competitive advantage wise? You know, the other thing that I say a lot you know about our team here is that everybody’s competitive as an individual. So they’re all driving for their own results. And what that means is as a leader, it doesn’t really matter what I have to say in terms of if you’re sitting here with a team that is not motivated and the words that come out of my mouth are not going to motivate them. So kind of before they get here, they have the right personality that’s going to fit in this environment. And when I say the right personality, it’s more just about people who want to drive and grow their careers and continuous personal development. So that’s one of the things that we really preach here is that, you know, like me and myself, I read about 30 to 35 books a year just to make sure that I’m continually growing because I don’t want to be at the same point in my career. So we really encourage that year as a whole.

Brad Wolff: 11:58            

So what excites you or in your organization about the field that you’re in?

Robb Hoyle: 12:07          

Yeah! So I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but the, just the, the innovation and the technology that’s going on we’re seeing more investment and you know, we’re a Philadelphia based company, but really throughout the country we’re seeing more investment in this area which is leading to really great innovation in areas that haven’t been you know, saw before. Like for example different you know, leukemia and lymphoma you know, these types of cancers are being cured now, you know, where before there was just treatments and it’s, you know, the treatments back in the 90s or the early 2000 and 80s and all that were treatments that we’re just treatments and they weren’t right for the patient. Right? There were horrible kind of outcomes and you know, which will usually lead to the you know, bad thing anyways. But now they’re talking about new innovation that’s leading to curing not just treating. So that’s really exciting to see. And also with not just cancer, but other rare diseases that have never been tapped into before. A really seeing that type of innovation and what companies are doing. So that’s extremely interesting and I don’t see any part of it slowing down at least from my vantage point and everybody I talked to says it’s full speed ahead with you know, investment and bringing new technologies

Brad Wolff: 13:27            

And it’s clear that you’re pumped up about it and that really gives you a shot in the arm with what you do mattering.

Robb Hoyle: 13:34          

Yeah! There’s no doubt about that. I mean even with our internal philanthropy and initiatives that we do here like the end of this month, we’re doing a fundraiser with the local Biotech center for ALS, and I get to help with them. I’m like the sponsorship committee guy. So that for me is, is personally fulfilling because I see that, you know, for me, it, you can donate and do different things, but if I’m able to help organize it and make a bigger impact that’s what I like to do and then we have a team that’s doing cycle for survival which is rare cancer research so, and I don’t even organize that one. A team here does. So it’s fun to be a part of, you know, a team that wants to do great things as well.

Brad Wolff: 14:21            

And you talked about the continuous process improvement that is part of your organization’s culture. How do you see that really impacting and benefiting your clients?

Robb Hoyle: 14:31          

Yeah! So our ability now to find the right candidates because we’re talking about, you know, not even sometimes it’s needle in a haystack, but you know, we had, we’ve had clients come to us with some of these crazy skillsets. And one of our guys, Sam here found a guy one time who he’s a world renowned self-therapy scientist. He’s patented and published in many different scientific journals. Sam found this guy, I don’t know how he found them, I think it was, you know, through one of the publications or something like that but we sent the resume over to the client and they said, we know this guy already. He’s, you know, he’s famous. We’d love his work so that was a match made in heaven on a skill set that we never thought would be easy. And it was the first or second candidate that he sent to them. So things like that, working our process inside of our, you know, we have an African tracking system that feeds in with LinkedIn and career builder and all these other things but being able to know functionally how to work that the best way so that we’re not taking a month to find that candidate, we’re taking a week or two weeks to find them so it’s the speed to market, but then also the speed to market gives our client a better opportunity to hire that person versus their competition. So it’s not just about…

Brad Wolff: 15:49            

Big deal for your clients. Absolutely. The better job you do impacts your clients. Robb, what’s the greatest success story that you’ve been part of in your business?

Brad Wolff: 16:02            

It’s okay if it’s the one you just told me.

Robb Hoyle: 16:05          

My favorite story of all time is working with a client of ours. You know, they’ve been a client almost since day one and they need an entry level position, and entry level positions we don’t get that often because clients are really, “Hey, we can find these candidates our own, why are we going to pay GTS to do it?”. Well, they ended up going with us because they’re having a tough time with some of their biology majors and there was a young lady who we ended up placing there. And I was actually the one who called and made her the offer. And she was the first girl in her family. She came from an underprivileged neighborhood and she was the first girl in her family, the first person, her family to graduate college. And so she was the first one to have a real career. And she literally cried on the phone when I offered her the job.

Brad Wolff: 16:52            


Robb Hoyle: 16:52          

And for me, It was just, it kinda took me back because here we are, you know, we’re running a business and we’re trying to progress ourselves. And then you get to have that exposure to literally changing somebody’s life and, you know, hopefully changing her family life for the better. So yes, stories like that, you know, they can, they can move you.

Brad Wolff: 17:12            

What you’re doing is really what recruiting firms do and really is impacting human beings. Many human beings that has a ripple effect. There’s no doubt. And I’m a big believer in, you know, failures and obstacles being the things that really make us better. Do you have any particular failure or obstacle you’ve overcome this been pivotal to your success?

Robb Hoyle: 17:33          

Yes!. So we, I think that the…

Robb Hoyle: 17:39          

We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I call it “The Rollercoaster Effect” in first, you know, four or five years of business where you have a great quarter and then the next quarter you’re down and then have a great quarter and this quarter you’re down where you have a great month. And we’re trying to get far away from that now. But if you don’t have the ability to bounce back from those things, then, you know, if you can’t be resilient as a company and as a team, then you’re going to fail and fail. Like, you know, it’s over kind of fail. And that’s, I think where we’ve been really good as a team. I mean, there’s hundreds of things that we’ve failed on and learn from but it’s that resilience and the attitude that has gotten us over that point to, to make us a better team all the way around. I mean, I could give you numerous examples of things we failed on but overall, it’s just the ability to stay resilient,

Brad Wolff: 18:32            

Right? So those failures are needed to keep getting better.

Robb Hoyle: 18:35          

Yeah! And it’s at every level, every single level, you know, we’re constantly trying to do new things and learning different ways to do them and you know, it could be as simple as a communication error between the team that, you know, we let somebody down or it ended up not working for a client and now we have to go in there and say, “Hey, we have to own it and say, look, you know, we screwed this up here’s what we’re doing to fix it and, and move on”.

Brad Wolff: 19:01            

And that honesty to take ownership rather than come up with excuses is a huge thing that makes a big difference to the client and the candidates.

Robb Hoyle: 19:11          

Oh Yeah! And then recruiting companies in general can get a bad name. And unfortunately I have to do, you know, I have to do damage control for things that I haven’t done just from, you know, the market at as it is.

Brad Wolff: 19:25            

Absolutely! But when you do it, you stand out though. That’s the other side of it.

Robb Hoyle: 19:29          

Yeah! I truly believe that.

Brad Wolff: 19:31            

So, Robb, as well as we’re closing this down, is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed?

Robb Hoyle: 19:40          

Yeah! I mean, in general for us you know, we’re just trying to continue to do good work for our clients and also for a team here where you know, we kind of have that mix of the work hard, play hard environment. So that’s what we’re, we’re trying to do in the future. It’s just make sure that you know, everybody here is growing in their careers and you know, continuing to do good work.

Brad Wolff: 20:06            

Terrific! So what is your website Robb?

Robb Hoyle: 20:10          

It is “”.

Brad Wolff: 20:13            

Okay! And last thing, is there any books or other things you want to tell your audience about that you think are really valuable for them to know about?

Robb Hoyle: 20:22          

2 books that kind of actually, there’s 2 or 3 books. It had changed my life throughout different levels of my career the first one would be most recently “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink. And then behind that this would be more for the private sales folks but “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. And then “The Millionaire Next Door” would be the other books that I recommend.

Brad Wolff: 20:50            

The last one, I’m sorry, say that again.

Robb Hoyle: 20:54          

“The Millionaire Next Door”.

Brad Wolff: 20:55            

Okay! Terrific! Robb, thank you so much for investing your time on the show today. I want to really let you know I appreciate it and that you’ve brought out a lot of specific things that you bring to the table, your organization and you that offer a lot of value for clients and employees and candidates.

Robb Hoyle: 21:16          

Yeah! Thanks for having me Brad it has been a pleasure.