5 Reasons Employee Referrals are a Great Resource

5 Reasons Employee Referrals are a Great Resource

As a hiring manager or recruiter working with a life sciences company, an employee referral program is an excellent source for locating talented candidates.

Employee referrals are a way of leveraging the existing employees in an organization to help identify and recruit quality talent. For many reasons, employee referrals have proven to be one of the best ways of sourcing.

Many life sciences companies have implemented employee referrals in their organizations – some using methods such as a referral program, and some are keeping it less organized. No matter how it’s set up, what matters most is to actively engage your staff through employee referrals.

Listed below are five benefits to implementing an employee referral program, and why it could be your best way to hire the most qualified talent:

1. Saves Time and Money 
Sourcing candidates requires a lot of effort, which means it can cost a company both time and money. It was found in one study that referred candidates are faster to hire. An advantage of employee referrals is that your current team member makes the connection and saves the recruiter the initial time of sourcing the candidate. Further, the candidate could be a better match compared to others who apply externally. This can help expedite the process and cut back on the need to find alternative options.

2. Receive Qualified Candidates 
Employees often want to work with someone who they know can do the job. With a referral, you can have much more confidence in the candidate’s ability to perform the necessary tasks, since they are “pre-sold.” In addition, a personal recommendation that is already within the company can instill confidence that the reference is in fact, valid and reputable.

3. Higher Retention Rate
Studies have shown that finding and retaining life sciences professionals is an ongoing challenge. The good news is employee referrals tend to stay around longer, perhaps because they are personally connected to their peers. That’s not to mention that the referrer themselves may feel more respected and valued after the company takes their recommendation. And when an employee feels respected and valued, they can become more dedicated in the long run. You may also want to give an employee referrer a bonus to show your appreciation!

4. Better Cultural Fit
A referred new hire will help alleviate the concern that a candidate may or may not be a good cultural fit. A successful employee referral program can help achieve this goal. Your employees are in the best position to understand the suitability of a referral to fit within your business.

5 Reasons Employee Referrals are a Great Resource

5. Improved Employee Engagement
Encouraging qualified referrals can be the best way to engage your employees in more meaningful ways. When a company asks staff members to find the next great hire in their organization, they feel more empowered. At the same time, it’s a feeling of accomplishment for them by helping their friends achieve their next career move.

Conclusion

When it comes to finding candidates with specific life sciences skills, employee referrals have proven effective time and time again. Referrals are a great way for recruiters and hiring managers to fill positions with “pre-recommended” talent that possess the critical skills and cultural fit you’re looking for.

 

Sci.bio is a leading recruitment and search firm based in Boston. We specialize in finding and hiring the best talent to fill temporary openings, long-term positions, and executive roles in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries. To learn more, visit our website today!

6 Networking Tips for Hiring Managers & Recruiters

6 Networking Tips for Hiring Managers & Recruiters

For recruiters and hiring managers, there comes a time when it makes sense to dust off your social skills and make professional connections.
Most recruiters know why it’s important to network – career growth, knowledge expansion, and gaining new business being the primary reasons. But why the hesitation? Maybe networking doesn’t come naturally to you. It’s okay – let’s face it, networking can feel weird, artificial, and awkward. Or maybe you tried networking and didn’t get that much out of it.
There are definite benefits to networking for recruiters and managers – and the following tips will help you gain confidence as you gain contacts:

1. Virtual Networking during COVID-19
Before the pandemic, the best way to the network was to attend industry events – or even host your own. But that’s changed – at least for now. As we all adapt to the new reality of remote work brought on by COVID-19, we will also adapt the social behaviors that enable us to stay in touch and forge new relationships with potential new hires. Creating and maintaining virtual relationships is now fundamental to maintaining mental health as well as business success. Search out online networking events, webinars, and chat rooms that will allow you to make new connections and foster existing ones.

2. Be Prepared
It may be a virtual get together, but you should still have a game plan to help approach potential job candidates during networking events. Take a look at the guest list and identify some key people you want to chat with. Depending on the scenario, you can message them before and plan to meet or approach them with knowledge of mutual contacts and interests.

3. Prepare your Profile
Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date, including a recent (that means within the last three years) profile picture and accurate work information so people can easily find you.

6 Networking Tips for Hiring Managers & Recruiters

4. Build a Rapport
When meeting people online or in person, it’s crucial to set yourself apart from other recruiters and organizations. Make sure you’re actively listening and showing your engagement by asking follow-up questions. This should allow the conversation to flow more naturally, and help you get a better idea of how this potential hire would fit into your company culture.

5. Debrief
Be sure to debrief yourself after the event and, if possible, organize any information you may have brought back with you. Add contact details to online address books and pencil future events into your calendar – anything to ensure you’ve got all the information you need.

6. Practice Makes Perfect
Remember that the more time you spend doing anything, the better you’ll get. Try to make it your business to check out as many industry networking events and recruitment conferences in your area as possible – and put everything you have into practice. Slowly, the fear should start to lift, and networking will seem like second nature.

Summing Up
Making professional connections can be challenging – especially during extraordinary times like these. But with some preparation and research, you’re sure to find success and get the results you need. As a recruiter, building and leveraging a specific network of professionals should be an ongoing effort to ensure growth, leadership, and retention. The above tips will help you get there.

 

Sci.bio is a leading recruitment and search firm based in Boston. We specialize in finding and hiring the best talent to fill temporary openings, long-term positions, and executive roles in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries. To learn more, visit our website today!

Writing Job Descriptions to Attract Biotech Talent

Writing Job Descriptions to Attract Biotech Talent

For HR managers, recruiters, and hiring managers, it’s important to remember that the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and Life Sciences fields require very specific skills. This means job descriptions targeted to biotech and pharma talent need to work hard to outline the exact abilities, background, and experience. Writing job descriptions to attract biotech talent is so important. However, it’s easy to miss important aspects of crafting a job description to attract top Biotech talent. The language used in many job ads can prevent candidates from understanding the job!

Well-written job descriptions do more than help you recruit effectively. They also communicate the organization’s deepest cultural values – thereby attracting the right people for the right reasons. They also lead to long term employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction.

Here are some suggestions on how a detailed job description can make that happen:

Provide the Job Title

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the job title will set the tone for both the job description and the kinds of applicants you get. If you say “engineer” or “technician,” you could get people who may or may not be suited for the open role. If you say, “Biomedical Engineer,” you get a winnowed-down pool of applicants looking specifically for that kind of job.

Offer a General Overview of the Role

How does this job fit in with the organization? Are there direct reports? No personal details, but this quick one- or two-sentence overview would let the reader know that the newly hired Microbiologist reports to the VP of Biomedical and Industrial Products.

Roles and Responsibilities

A hiring manager doesn’t need to provide a minute-by-minute breakdown. But it’s okay to provide some highlights that cover the most important aspects of the job. By including this information, candidates know what to expect and can match up their own skills and experience before applying.

Give a Salary Range (if Possible)

This item can help avoid wasted time with candidates who are qualified but are seeking a higher salary. It can also set reasonable expectations if an entry-level employee is somehow thinking about senior-level compensation.

Level of Experience

If you’re hiring someone for a mid-career role, it’s important to note that a certain level of experience is necessary. This is especially true when listing required education levels. If it’s more of an entry-level position, specify that as well. This can help weed out applicants that are either overqualified or under-qualified.

List Benefits and Perks

Part of attracting candidates is showing what your company offers outside of the day-to-day work. A general overview of the benefits a good way to flesh out a job description. Examples include types of insurance offered, HSA savings plans, retirement savings, flexible hours, paid vacations, and education reimbursement. A quick benefit list (nothing too detailed) is a way to add some quick selling points to the job description.

6 Networking Tips for Hiring Managers & Recruiters

Conclusion

As a hiring professional, you know that if you want to fill a position well, you have to get the best possible candidates to apply (or you’ll find yourself staring down this same job description a few months from now). Crafting a clear, concise, and attention-getting job description will go a long way toward making your hiring process as efficient and successful as possible.

Sci.bio is a leading recruitment and search firm based in Boston. We specialize in finding and hiring the best talent to fill temporary openings, long-term positions, and executive roles in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries. To learn more, visit our website today!

Does Pre-Employment Testing Help Prevent Bad Hires?

Does Pre-Employment Testing Help Prevent Bad Hires?

In the ultra-competitive life sciences industry, there is a lot of pressure to avoid making a bad hire. A bad hire is a costly mistake that can slow down the research and damage the ever-important team dynamics. A bad hire also means a missed opportunity with the right candidate, who has likely gone on to another company by the time the bad apple is weeded out. And with the waning life sciences talent pool, companies can’t afford those missed opportunities.

So how do hiring managers, recruiters, and HR teams avoid a bad hire?

Research shows that a multi-pronged recruitment approach is the best way to avoid a bad hire. Instead of just relying on resumes and interviews alone, companies should include other components such as pre-employment testing. The general idea is that these tests can help employers predict how well a candidate will perform in a role and/or if the person is a good fit for the organization. There are quite a few types of pre-employment tests. The most common type is psychometric testing, which can provide information on behavioral traits and personality that are hard to capture from more conventional screening techniques. A skills test measures a candidate’s present level of job knowledge.

In the groundbreaking paper, “The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology,” Frank L. Schmidt and John E. Hunter analyzed decades worth of talent selection data and proved the validity of these tests. The paper was first released in 1998, then updated in 2016. Their research shows the best predictor of job performance is general mental ability, which is measured through testing. Other predictors include work sample tests, personality tests, and structured interviews. Combining several of these methods only increases predictability of job performance. On the other hand, the research shows that a resume is a very low predictor of job success.

According to Joanna Bondin, director of a market research firm in Malta, psychometric testing is “an affordable and effective way for companies to ensure maximum ROI.” Bondin says that studies have also shown that psychometric analysis can improve outcomes by up to 24%. No wonder more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies use some sort of pre-employment assessment. This trend has led to the rise of third-party talent acquisition technology providers, a market that’s estimated to reach $113.9 billion in 2021.

Yet, there is still some concern about using testing in the recruitment process.

In Emma Goldberg’s New York Times article “Personality Tests Are the Astrology of the Office,” Darshana Narayanan, a neuroscientist, explained her skepticism of psychometric testing. “My impression of these kinds of tests is that they don’t work,” Dr. Narayanan said. “Human behavior is multifaceted and complex and dependent on your environment and biological state, whether you’re depressive, manic, caffeinated. I’m skeptical of what you can learn from answering ten questions or observing someone’s behavior for just 30 minutes.” She says this after having worked for a company that designs psychometric tests for human resource purposes.

Goldberg points out that Dr. Narayanan is a scientist, therefore she is trained to draw conclusions only after ample testing has taken place. This is quite the opposite to psychometric testing, in which a onetime test dictates the results. A onetime test that is often not monitored, which leads to another commonly cited pitfall of testing. There’s no way to know if a candidate has cheated if the test is administered ahead of time. Other articles have questioned the fairness of these tests, and whether they favor certain ethnic groups. Not to mention, many of these tests have scaled at rapid pace, leaving little opportunity for reassessment.

This rapid scale has led to what Ithaka S+R researchers call a “wild west” scenario in pre-employment testing, where regulation is minimal and validity and legality are in question. Schmidt and Hunter’s research was grounded in decades of scientific data reported on psychometric testing, but that’s not the case with many of these newer assessment tools. In their paper “Mapping the Wild West of Pre-Hire Assessment: A Landscape View of the Uncharted Technology-Facilitated Ecosystem,” the Ithaka S+R team explains that these new tests “have not yet demonstrated the validity of traditional assessment methods, and, even more problematically, they seem to eschew the grounded theory backing analog tests.” The team goes on to explain that “there is little to no peer-reviewed evidence for the predictive powers of many of these new tools.”

Despite the skeptics and the concerns, the use of pre-employment testing is not going anywhere. As the trend continues, experts will focus on creating and improving guidelines. In the meantime, there’s a few things to remember about pre-employment tests:

1. Use the tests in combination with other evaluation tools. The biggest mistake companies make is using these tests in isolation. Testing alone cannot measure every relevant aspect of a candidate. Schmidt and Hunter’s research proved that the best predictor of employment is a multi-faceted approach, such as using both testing and interviewing. The most important takeaway is that testing should be just one tactic of a comprehensive hiring campaign. The most common use is automating the initial screening process to filter out unsuitable candidates.

2. Do your research. There are thousands of tests out there, so it’s important to do your research before implementing any pre-employment testing. Decide what you’re looking for and consider how a test might help you achieve your goals. And, make sure you understand what the results mean. Human resources professionals are not usually trained in statistics and data analytics, which poses a challenge for optimizing the use of predictive and psychometric methods. Before pulling the trigger it’s important to make sure you know why you’re using the tests and how the data will help your business.

3. Track your success and adjust accordingly. As you use these tests in your hiring process, you should also evaluate how well they are working. When you are assessing job performance, consider how well that performance matches your predictions. Use that information to determine the effectiveness of the testing and decide what improvements could be made.

4. Leverage the data. Psychometric tests are commonly used for employee training and development purposes, yet there is much debate around this application of the test. Experts question if some of these loosely scientific tests should really be used to understand individuals. They also raise concerns about unintended consequences such as alienating or typecasting employees. However, the data could be useful when used in conjunction with other training and development measures.

In the fast-paced, highly volatile life sciences industry, there’s no time for bad hires. Pre-employment, predictive, and psychometric testing can be an efficient and effective way to alleviate such concerns. However, it’s important to remember that they do raise a host of their own concerns. So, know the limitations of these tools, but don’t let those scare you from implementation because pre-employment testing can be a worthwhile investment.

9 Steps to Protecting Your Workplace Against the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

9 Steps to Protecting Your Workplace Against the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As you well know by now, the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency in response to the rapidly evolving outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The CDC has requested that companies implement temporary preventive measures. In light of this request, companies have reached out to find out how others are implementing these measures. After talking with several companies and our onsite recruiters, we have pulled together 9 steps that companies are taking to protect themselves from the threat.

Most life sciences companies won’t face the same hurdles as customer-facing businesses but given the complexities of the industry they will face serious challenges of their own. For example, what happens if an entire team of bench scientists is quarantined? They can’t exactly bring their work home. The CDC provides a list of suggestions for labs, but it’s more directed at labs that might be handling specimens related to the virus. So, for research labs or manufacturing facilities, the best course of action is to follow the guidelines below and consult a safety professional.  The important takeaway is to be flexible and have plans in place. If you need assistance with temporary workers, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

  1. Modify Travel Plans

Suspend business-related travel to countries with widespread outbreak (Level 2 and 3 Travel Warnings). Discourage non-critical business travel to international and domestic areas with low threat. Require approval from Executive Team for critical travel. Encourage the use of video conferencing technology in place of travel. If employees have traveled or are travelling for leisure, they should notify their supervisor.

  1. Update Visitor Policy

Employees need to touch base with all visitors (vendors, candidates, clients) prior to any onsite meetings. They should inquire if the visitor has been to any countries with widespread outbreak, if they’ve been sick, or if their family has been sick. If the visitor’s answer is yes, then the employee should cancel the meeting and/or change to remote.

  1. Emphasize Preventative Measures

Remind people to stay home when sick, get a flu shot, wash their hands, use tissues, cover their mouth, use hand sanitizer, wipe down surfaces, avoid touching their eyes/nose/mouth, and avoid shaking hands. Make sure employees know to self-report and self-quarantine if they’ve been to impacted areas or have concerns.

  1. Be Flexible with Sick Time and Offer Remote Work

Employers should be flexible with their absence/sick policies. Do not require medical notes, as healthcare facilities may be too busy. Employers should provide employees with remote access when possible. Employees may need to stay home to care for a sick family member or may not have their regular childcare so being flexible is key.

  1. Clean and Disinfect Regularly

Wash door handles 2-3 times/day. Wipe down tables, chairs, phones, and computers in conference rooms 2-3 times/day. Encourage employees to regularly clean their work surfaces, phones, and computers. Work with facilities or the cleaning company to perform regular disinfectant cleaning for all common surfaces. Make sure you’re stocked on tissues, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer.

  1. Keep in Constant Communication

Place posters throughout the office to remind employees about precautions and updated policies. Send out a companywide email as soon as there is a policy change. Inform employees about CDC updates; acknowledge you are in compliance with the recommendations. Make sure managers are prepared to answer questions and know how to assist employees that self-report or self-quarantine. Remind staff about sick time, short-term disability, and time-off policies.

  1. Implement a Task Force

Create a task force of team-members from different departments/teams/locations. The group should come up with a plan in the event the CDC determines the severity of the threat has increased. Employers should be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed.

  1. Consult a Safety Professional

Some companies, like those with a research lab, may want to take extra precaution and consult a safety professional. You may also consider bringing on a temporary worker to manage the process.

  1. Use Common Sense and Don’t Panic

This list is based off information found on CDC.gov and input from several Massachusetts life sciences companies.

Is Outsourcing Talent Acquisition Right for your Company?

Is Outsourcing Talent Acquisition Right for your Company?

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve been hired or done the hiring at some point over the last decade. So, you’ve probably noticed that the field of Human Resources is constantly changing and developing. For example, what was once simply staffing or recruiting is now called Talent Acquisition—a suite of services and processes intended to attract, source and hire new talent into an organization. There’s also been a major shift in employee benefits—ones that were nice to have are now expected. Factors that were once an afterthought—confidentiality agreements, diversity and inclusion programs, professional development—are now front and center of most HR teams.  Because of all these changes, another shift has been the outsourcing of many HR functions that were once exclusively done in-house.

While some companies wholly outsource HR to a single outside firm, it’s a more common practice to divvy up functions to a range of outside providers. This approach is a common occurrence in fast-paced industries like biotech and high-tech, but the trouble is using multiple vendors negates volume discounting and leads to a lack of synergy.

Utilizing a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Model is an ideal way of consolidating vendors for cost reduction. However, for many hiring managers and staffers, the thought of outsourcing the recruiting function can feel intimidating. This is understandable. There are many benefits, but there are also some risks both financially and legally.

However, the real risk is not mobilizing quick enough with the requisite support to bring in top talent.

RPO is often a better means for companies to effectively and quickly scale their recruiting needs based on demand and complexity. It allows companies to focus on their core business operations and provides service through a defined set of processes and activities as outlined by the client company.

RPO providers usually include back-end resources that regular full-time or contact recruiters can’t offer. In addition, RPO providers can more easily bolt-on services such as additional recruiting support, job marketing support, sourcing, scheduling, etc. An added benefit is that these services are oft included at a nominal price or as part of their service provision, resulting in a lower cost-per-hire and the ability to scale quicker.

The types of RPO include:

  • Enterprise RPO: a company-wide outsourcing of most or all of the sourcing and recruiting processes to an RPO provide
  • Project Based RPO: relegated to a smaller, contained effort, generally a specific scope of time and/or number of positions.
  • Specific Service RPO: outsourcing of specific parts of the recruiting process to increase for example, the quality of candidates, the efficiency of the process and/or other parts of the process.

Advantages of RPO:

  • Strategic Approach: RPOs utilize a team-based approach and an economy of scale to offer process improvements and better execute specialized tasks such as sourcing and on-boarding.
  • Industry Expertise: Knowing where talent is found, how it is evolving, and common industry challenges is critical to the success of recruiting efforts. RPO providers have the experience, bandwidth, and resources to provide and utilize industry insight to build effective recruiting strategies.
  • Attract More Talent: RPOs recognize that attracting great candidates is about effectively communicating an organizations goals, mission, values and the positive things that make it a great place to work.
  • Multiple Applicant Channels: A Contract Recruiter is only one channel – themselves, whereas an RPO can manage and measure different channels, such as job boards, job events, referral, or the corporate website.
  • Loyalty: An RPO provider is loyal to its client and is positioned to aid the success of the entire recruiting strategy. The contacts made during the recruitment process are assets of the company, not the recruiter, like with a contractor. They genuinely want to make sure a potential employee has the best hiring and onboarding experience.
  • Scalable: RPOs can scale to increased demands for talent, and they can do it quickly. Most RPO providers offer tiered services with a ‘pay for what you need’ model as well as the flexibility for onsite, remote, or blended approach.

With the benefits and flexibility provided by RPO, it’s easy to see why the market is growing quickly. Market Watch predicts RPO growth of over 20% by 2022.

What to think about when considering an RPO:

  • Cost: Cost per Hire ($) = [Total External Costs] + [Total Internal Costs] / Total Number of Hires.  Costs of hiring factors in advertising job postings, conducting background screenings, and investing in recruiting and applicant tracking software. In partnering with an RPO vendor, all these expenses are rolled into one cost that’s often lower than what you pay if you paid for these services individually.
  • Time: Is your team is working well beyond a 40-hour work week and yet, just never seems to have enough time to get everything done?
  • Process Quality: Are you cutting corners in your hiring process? This can be due to limitations in time and resources, but it can also be due to an approach that lacks consistency, focus and follow through.
  • Candidate Quality: Are you organically attracting the best talent for your organization? Are you using a full array of tools and measures to source, attract and vet manage candidate flow and advance your employer brand?
  • Vertical Expertise: Does your recruiter really know the industry? RPOs that know the competitive landscape, job types, compensation ranges will provide a better foundation for service and provide more sophistication.

What to ask an RPO:

  • What differentiates your firm from others?
  • What is the scope of your services? What resources do you offer?
  • Can you provide specific cost itemization so we can compare your approach versus others?
  • What measures will you take to ensure that we meet our goals and timelines in hiring?
  • Do you have any noncompete or non-solicitation specifics?
  • Are you working with direct competitors or companies that pose conflict, i.e. strategic partners and embargoed companies?
  • How scalable is your service if we need to ramp up? What level of flexibility do you offer if things don’t work out or if business conditions change?
  • Can you provide client references and insight on previous projects with other clients?
  • How will partnering with your firm strengthen our talent brand in the long run?

RPO Pricing Models:

  • Management fee (monthly, weekly or hourly): Fee for agreed-upon number of positions.
  • Cost per hire: Fee charged per each hire.
  • Management plus cost per hire: Combination of the above two.
  • Cost per slate: Fee for a set number of sourced, screened and qualified candidates for each open position.
  • Cost per transaction: A fee is charged for a specific process, such as initial screening or reference checks.

Summary

By partnering with the an RPO provider, organizations can offboard the entire application process from sourcing, brand promotion, the management of applicant channels, ancillary paperwork and pre-employment screening or simply one part of that process. The options aren’t binary, and an existing talent acquisition team can pair nicely with an RPO partnership. As with any strategic partnership, there needs to be specific goal outlined.

A good RPO partner can leverage focus and economy of scale in its operation. A great RPO partner can leverage expertise in search selection, technology and process efficiencies to truly elevate hiring operations and overall success.