Author: Claire Jarvis
The recent years of the coronavirus pandemic have highlighted how fragile our supply chain infrastructure can be, with delayed shipments, worker shortages and resource scarcity. These logistical problems also apply to the recruitment, with many biotechs noting a shortage of talent and difficulty bringing in qualified candidates in time to meet demand.
To adjust to this new normal, biotech companies and recruiters must adapt their own talent pipelines and consider new recruitment models.
Building resilience into your biotech talent pipeline
There are several factors that, once addressed, reduce the likelihood of your recruitment drive falling short.
- Diversified sourcing of recruiters and talent pool. This is a lesson any supply chain expert will repeat, because it ensures companies are never reliant on one acquisition source for their hires.
- Scalable recruitment support. To maximize efficiency, biotech companies should seek agile recruiting agencies that can adjust to changes in client workforce demands.
- Lean recruitment models. There are several more cost-effective yet responsive ways to bring in talent, discussed below.
Post-COVID-19 lean recruitment models
There are different lean recruitment models companies can take advantage of, depending on their tolerance for risk and desire for efficiency..
The ‘just in case’ model has more buffers than other lean recruitment models, and involves taking the steps to build resiliency described above. While this approach is less efficient, it guarantees the supply of workers.
The ‘Just in time’ model is equivalent to hiring a freelancer or independent contractor to meet demand. The talent is only trained for responsibilities they need to perform, as opposed to more comprehensive traditional onboarding, which leads to quicker onboarding and more efficient use of training time. Part time work, full-time availability. Lower risk to client
Just in time differs from ‘ASAP’ recruitment, which addresses urgent gaps in the workforce, and is more reactive than proactive.
Unsure how your biotech company can navigate the new hiring normal? The recruitment and sourcing experts at Sci.bio have a variety of service options to meet your needs.
Author: Gabrielle Bauer
Streamlining the job application process pays dividends on several fronts
In the competitive life sciences market, high-quality candidates hold a lot of power. Knowing they’re in demand, they will naturally favor simple, elegant hiring processes. Indeed, 45% of job seekers view an easy application process as a top priority,1 and over two-thirds would avoid reapplying to a company that didn’t offer a positive hiring experience the first time around.2
To attract choice candidates, you need to remove barriers that may discourage them from applying—and pique their interest with meaningful perks.1 Here’s a tip list to keep you on track.
Cut to the chase: A survey by Jobvite found that nearly 85% of Fortune 500 companies were requiring candidates to register on their website before applying for an open position, losing potential candidates as a result.2 Is it really necessary for a candidate to open an account with your website? Does she need to fill out that generic form? Ask yourself whether your interview process has unnecessary steps that can be cut out—and then do it.
Keep it short: There’s no reason to require a complete application form before you even consider a candidate. To remove the hassle factor, create a bare-bones form that allows
candidates to populate fields with information from existing platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Google Drive.3
Text it in: Communicating by text—for example, to schedule job interviews—can help increase candidate conversion. In a 2021 survey, 69% of candidates who received texts as part of the hiring process reported a preference for texting over email or phone calls2—perhaps because texts feel more personal and less bureaucratic. Once you set up a texting option, you can keep using and adapting it to other positions.
Create a user-friendly mobile experience: a recent Glassdoor survey found that 58% of candidates use their phones to search for jobs, and 35% prefer applying for jobs from their phones.4 Be sure to pilot-test the mobile application interface and iron out any bumpy seams.
“Get rid of your [career site] log-in. You don’t need it. The platform SAIC uses doesn’t require a log-in to make an application. Therefore, it takes three to five minutes on average for people to get through, and we complete a huge amount of our applications.” Amy Butchco, director of talent acquisition, SAIC
Make it optional: Don’t require candidates to sign up for your newsletter or receive company updates as a condition of applying. Such extra steps can leave them frustrated. If you have a talent network, by all means give candidates the option to join it, but don’t force it on them: a mandatory registration process typically reduces the number of completed applications.2
Get them on camera: A quick video chat can give you more information about a candidate’s communication style and job fit than a pile of forms.5 Depending on the number of applicants and suitable candidates, you can schedule video interviews earlier or later in the hiring sequence.
Tag it as urgent: An “urgent” flag in a job description will attract candidates looking for fast action—and could motivate your organization to keep the wheels moving on the hiring process.4
Show your working style: In your job solicitation, call immediate attention to high-demand benefits such as remote work options and flexible hours. (In today’s market, you’d be unwise not to offer some type of flexibility: according to recruiters surveyed in 2021, inflexible work options led 54% of candidates to turn down a job offer or even an interview.6)
Bottom line: make it easy, make it enticing, and top-tier candidates will find you.
At Sci.bio, we understand the value of keeping it simple—and the biotech superstars we talk to don’t let us forget it. Bringing in a recruiter can be the first step in simplifying your hiring process, resulting in the quantity and quality of applicants you need for a great hire. Here’s a simple way to contact us today: [email protected]
- 2021 job seeker nation report. Jobvite. https://www.jobvite.com/lp/2021-job-seeker-nation-report/
- 2021 Fortune 500 candidate conversion audit. Jobvite. https://www.jobvite.com/lp/2021-fortune-500-report/
- Guide to hiring top talent quickly in today’s job market. Recruiter.com. https://www.recruiter.com/i/guide-to-hiring-top-talent-quickly-in-todays-job-market/
- The rise in mobile devices in job search. Glassdoor Economic Research. https://www.glassdoor.com/research/app/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/Mobile-Job-Search-1.pdf
- Five steps to simplifying your hiring process. The Undercover Recruiter. https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/simplifying-hiring-process/
- 2021 recruiter nation report. Jobvite. https://www.jobvite.com/lp/2021-recruiter-nation-report/
Author: Cliff Mintz
Looking for a new job can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. A vital first step in any job search is the creation of a carefully constructed and well-crafted resume or curriculum vitae (CV). While there are clear distinctions between resumes and CVs—the former is a one-to-two-page document whereas a CV has no page limit—the CV is the preferred document for life scientists. This is mainly because the shortened resume format doesn’t provide scientists with enough space to adequately explain their training, accomplishments and research interests to prospective employers. However, for non-scientists jobs like administrative assistants, pharmaceutical operators, and data entry professional resumes are preferred.
Too often, inexperienced job seekers will hastily craft resumes without paying much attention to format, style, content or grammar; and then wonder why they are not landing job interviews. The purpose of this article is to provide some advice and tips to help life scientists improve their resume writing skills. The terms resume and CV will be used interchangeably; but most of my remarks are mainly directed at crafting CVs.
Formatting and Writing Tips
Open, uncluttered and less densely-written CVs are visually appealing and more likely to be read by hiring managers. This is because these individuals scan hundreds (sometimes thousands) of resumes daily and unless an applicant’s qualifications, skill sets and
personal attributes “jump off the paper”—and are easily discerned in 60 second or less—the likelihood of a face-to-face job interview is remote.
Short descriptive and succinctly-crafted phrases are the best way for employers to quickly ascertain whether a job applicant is qualified (bullets are option). Avoid using paragraphs because they are dense and sometimes difficult for hiring managers to navigate and interpret.
Finally, powerful, action-oriented verbs and adjectives tend to evoke strong, positive impressions. The use of action verbs and superlative suggest that a job applicant is confident, self assured and has a “can do” attitude. Unfortunately, scientists usually don’t excel in this area but it is essential to be successful in a job search.
Constructing a CV
Generally speaking, there can be as many as eight different sections for a CV.
1. Summary of Qualifications
The Summary of Qualifications or candidate profile is the first section of a CV that a hiring manager will see. It represents the best opportunity for a candidate to convince a prospective employer that she/he may be the right person for the “job” It should not be longer than 4 to 5 lines and must be peppered with key words (gleaned from job ads). Many organizations use software programs to screen CVs for key words and if they are absent the likelihood of employment for a job candidate is low.
2. Professional Experience
The Professional Experience section lists a candidate’s work experiences in reverse chronological order (most recent to past). Three to four short descriptive phrases that detail a candidate’s professional experiences while holding each position is generally sufficient.
3. Professional Activities
Professional activities include things that are related but not part of a person’s official job responsibilities. Examples include, consulting, editorial duties, committee memberships etc.
Education credentials generally begin with the lowest degree first (associate or bachelor) and end with the most advanced degree or educational experience, e.g. postdoctoral fellowships or professional school. The name and location of the institution that awarded the degree and major area of study ought to be listed with each entry (Fig 1). PhD and masters’ theses title or a brief description of a research project (postdoctoral fellows) may also be included. It is perfectly reasonable to list the names of PhD mentors or postdoctoral advisors associated with PhD and postdoctoral training.
It is not necessary to list the dates that degrees were awarded. While this may not be a bad thing for entry level employees, it may hinder more experienced job seekers from securing new positions because of age discrimination.
5. Award & Honors
Awards and honors include any official recognition for outstanding service or accomplishments and include dean’s list, travel awards, scholarships etc.
6. Professional Affiliations
Membership in professional societies, organizations or clubs should be listed in a separate section entitled Society Membership and Professional Affiliations (Fig. 1).
7. Other Skills
When appropriate, it is okay to list (in a separate section) any extracurricular activities or specialized skills related to the job that may increase a candidate’s competitiveness.
All of a candidate’s authored publications should be listed on the last page of a CV in the in this section. Usually, this section is divided into three subsections: 1) Peer-reviewed papers; 2) Chapters, Books and Reviews; and 3) Oral and Poster Presentations (Fig. 1). Early career scientists need not include all of the categories if they lack the appropriate publications. Likewise, midcareer scientists may consider not listing oral and poster presentations. Publications ought to be numbered and it is appropriate to list papers that are “in press.” Manuscripts that are submitted should not be included.
As a rule of thumb, never send references to prospective employers unless they specifically ask for them. Simply indicate on the resume (usually immediately before the publications section; Fig 1) that references are “available upon request.” However, for most academic jobs it is customary for an applicant to send references at part of the original application package. For industrial jobs, references are generally not requested unless an employer is interested in moving forward with a possible job offer.
Tailoring a Resume
To be competitive, job candidates must routinely tweak and modify their resumes to meet individual job requirements. One convenient way to tailor a CV to a specific job, is to read the job ads created for the opportunity. Employers always list the skills, qualifications and experience that will be required by the successful applicant (typically what is mentioned first is most important). Once identified, a resume ought to be modified with keywords to show that a candidate possesses all or most of the job qualifications and requirements.
Finally, keeping a resume current is vitally important. Resumes that are not fully up-to-date may suggest that a candidate is lazy or not interested in a particular job. Also, some job opportunities may appear quickly and the time required to update an out-of-date resume may prevent a candidate from competing for a job.
Author: Cliff Mintz
There are countless interview question anecdotes and horror stories on the Internet. Moreover, urban legend suggests that jobseekers should expect to be asked “off-the-wall” or ridiculous questions during face-to-face job interviews. While this may occur during some interviews, generally speaking, interviewer questions are usually carefully crafted and intentionally designed to offer insights into a prospective employee’s capabilities and future on-the-job performance. To that point, it is important to point out that an invitation to participate in a face-to-face interview typically means that a job candidate possesses the requisite knowledge and technical skills to perform a particular job function. That said, the real intent of a face-to-face interview is to determine whether a prospective job candidate has the personality/ temperament to fit in and excel in an organization’s existing work environment or culture. Therefore, it is imperative that job candidates anticipate and prepare for possible interview questions before taking part in face-to-face job interviews.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which questions will be asked during face-to-face interviews, jobseekers are likely to be asked some variations of the following questions.
1. Describe how you overcame a particularly disappointing time in your life
2. What are your greatest achievements?
3. Why are you looking for a new job?
4. Why are you interested in this company and not our competitors?
5. What are your strengths?
6. What are your weaknesses?
7. What can you offer this company/organization?
8. Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
It is apparent that none of these questions has anything to do with a prospective employee’s technical or job-related competencies or capabilities. They are intentionally designed and asked to help to gauge a jobseeker’s self awareness, interpersonal communication skills and the ability to think quickly on his/her feet. While some job seekers may not take these questions seriously—usually those who don’t get job offers—appropriate responses to them could mean the difference between a job offer and unemployment. Therefore, it is vitally important for jobseekers to carefully think about possible responses to these questions before upcoming face-to-face interviews. To that end, it is not unreasonable to write or “script” appropriate responses to these questions in advance of scheduled interviews. While this may seem unreasonable or overly excessive to some job seekers, experienced hiring managers can easily determine a job candidate’s level of interest in a particular job based on his/her answers to these questions.
It is important to point out that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to any of these questions. However, it is important to be selective with the responses that are offered—especially when asked about weaknesses. For example, a would-be customer service representative may recognize that he/she—like many other customer service representatives—has trouble dealing with unhappy or angry customers. Because dealing with unhappy or angry customers is part of a customer service representative’s job, it is probably not a good idea to mention it when asked about possible weaknesses. Instead, choose a weakness that can possibly be viewed as a strength related to a particular job. For example, while being a “pushy” person may be off-putting or viewed as a weakness by many, it may be a highly desirable trait for salespersons. In other words, be selective and strategic when identifying possible weaknesses to hiring managers. More important, be certain to identify possible weaknesses that are work related rather than personal in nature.
Further, when answering interview questions, be careful not to divulge more information than is necessary or required. Answer questions as openly and honestly as possible but keep responses short, to the point and do not overly embellish or improvise responses. Job candidates who improvise responses generally do not know the answer to a question and tend to drone on to cover up their lack of knowledge. If you don’t know an answer or cannot think of a good response to a question, sometimes it is better to say “I don’t know” or ask the interviewer for help with the question. Asking for help, signals to the interviewer that a job candidate, if hired, would not hesitate to ask his/her superior for help to solve a potentially deleterious or pressing problem for the organization.
Although most of the questions asked during a face-to-face interview are asked by an interviewer, job candidates are expected to have questions too! This shows a prospective employer that a candidate has prepared for the interview and is seriously interested in the company or organization that he/she may join. By asking questions, job candidates let interviewers know that they have done their “homework” and would likely entertain a job offer if proffered by the company or organization.
Finally, there is universal agreement among recruiters and career development professionals that being prepared for face-to-face interviews helps to reduce stress, improves interview performance and increases the likelihood of job offers!