For managers, the new year is typically a mix of emotions. On the one hand, it’s an exciting time as people feel more energized after the holiday break and are enthusiastic about the year ahead. It can even bring a sense of relief–the prior year is rearview and there’s an opportunity for a fresh start.
On the other hand, the new year can be daunting with new initiatives and budgets, and the pressure to make it all happen quickly. On top of that, there’s the stress of reviews and hiring that typically come this time of year. In general, the new year brings a renewed sense of pressure to keep everyone above and below happy.
With some preparation, the New Year doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. You can harness that New Year optimism by making resolutions that will allow you to start on the right foot and stay there. Let us help you get started. We suggested a few resolutions for managers and pulled helpful links.
Give effective feedback during performance reviews. In 2020, think of ways you can give your employees more effective feedback on their performance. If there is something your employee needs to work on, remember to focus on changeable behaviors rather than personality traits and work together to brainstorm a clear action plan for improvement. Even if your review is positive, try to be as specific as possible so that the compliments feel genuine and personalized.
Show your team you appreciate their hard work. Research shows that people do more for people who appreciate them. Everybody gets busy with the fast pace of biotech, so try setting a monthly calendar reminder to bring in a treat for the team or add a final to-do list item after a presentation to thank the team members who contributed.
Update your job descriptions. In 2020, try adding a sentence or two to your job descriptions that give it some flair. Most job descriptions are fairly generic and don’t highlight much of what sets your company apart or give job seekers an idea of the company culture.
Plan the recruitment cycle for the year. Don’t get caught scrambling to fill a role during the busy season. Start the recruitment cycle ahead of time so you can give some thought to who you are looking to add to your team. You will be able to find better candidates by thinking about things like cultural fit ahead of time.
Make time to review the accomplishments and the goals of the department. In the fast-paced world of biotech, it can be easy to get caught in maintenance mode where you are constantly executing. The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on all that your team has done, and plan for the year ahead.
Do any of these resolutions resonate with you more than others? If so, why?
Hiring is an extensive and rewarding process, but it’s not immune to stagnancy. From long stretches without any fresh candidates to getting turned down when using outreach marketing to advertise your role, many obstacles present themselves in the task of hiring new employees. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do and you need someone else to lend a hand. In these types of situations, it’s often wise to bring in the expertise and support of a third party staffing resource to get the role filled.
Selecting the right recruiter is extraordinarily similar to choosing the right candidate; there are aspects of both technical and cultural fit to consider. In a highly competitive market, many staffing agencies, firms, and companies will do anything possible to place themselves on a preferred vendors list. So, bringing in the right partner is a critical step to not only fill an open position but also to incorporate sustainable growth for your company. But, how do you go about doing so in an honest, efficient, and value-based manner?
Look for honesty.
We’ve all met recruiters who say, “Of course, I can get this filled for you in a week!” or “Everyone I send over will be perfect.” As enticing as these promises may be, accepting such temporary relief will often lead to more stress and long-term headaches. Sourcing for talent is not a step-by-step lab experiment but rather an abstract puzzle; since there isn’t one right answer, you’re often left with many alternate solutions. During the initial introduction call, poor recruiters will emphasize false beliefs so as to impress you and gain your trust. Not to invoke a cliché, but trust should be earned.
Talented and efficient recruiters often walk you through their methodology and approach and discuss how to integrate those with your preferences and your company’s process. Keep an ear out for questions such as, “What have been your pain points in finding competitive candidates?” and “To be frank, there is currently no one in my active pool who fits this role, but I will reach out to my network which has always helped point me in the right direction.”
Find out what their niche is.
Often times, a recruiter will state “Sure, I can work on any role that comes my way!” during their first conversation with you, and in some cases, this could actually serve as a huge benefit if hiring is across multiple departments. For more specialized circumstances, however, that same recruiter may not provide effective resolutions. So, don’t be shy in asking a recruiter specifics regarding their recent and related placements.
When a recruiter has built up a talent pool with direct contacts, they have a natural jump start, which often lends to impressive referrals – a jackpot in our industry. For example, let’s say you have a Senior Medical Science Liaison role that targets an individual with not only a doctorate degree and at least five years of experience, but also hands-on research experience in epilepsy and the flexibility to travel to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Recruiters who have never worked in Medical Affairs roles may have a tough time stepping in and efficiently sourcing for this position. Don’t write them off yet! Rather, inquire about their background in neurological Medical Affairs and their approach for this search. If they mention referring back to a previous search/pool or colleagues who have a related network, then that’s a good start and a potentially good partner for this position!
Set expectations up front.
Possibly, the most antagonizing aspect of hiring is not during ruts, but when issues arise in the contract/agreement phase that puts everything to a grinding halt. When a problem crops up so late in the process, it can be related to a misstep or oversight during early communication efforts. Again, look for honesty. You need to find recruiters who not only value, but also practice it. In the initial call, such issues can be deftly navigated before it proceeds to review. Even after the discussion, ask for paperwork regarding agreements and contracts to be sent over and have your legal team review it.
Moreover, to avoid constant rescheduling and unqualified or non-ideal candidates, be sure to set up a weekly meeting with your recruiter. Hiring will always be an addition to your day-to-day responsibilities, but ten minutes each week of clear communication with your recruiter could save hours later.
At the end of the day, do not let hiring create an unwarranted burden on your business. Staffing resources are vital because finding the right addition to your team will impact how the company grows and even how you develop as a leader.
So, why was GDPR introduced?
Prior to GDPR, laws were written for a world without smartphones that could collect massive amounts of sensitive information for companies such as Google and Facebook. GDPR now provides companies guidelines on how they may utilize personal data, while giving users clarity on how their data is being used.
Legislators in the United States are working on regulation that would be similar while also monitoring GDPR’s effects. No matter where you are located, however, GDPR impacts companies and users everywhere. Although it’s only law in the EU, it’s become a de facto world regulation.
But, what exactly is personal data under GDPR?
GDPR was designed to protect the data of European users, but because the “cloud” is not on one computer and software services have a global reach, GDPR takes into account all EU users even if they work internationally. Any business hosting personal identifiable information (PII) – any data that can identify you such as your name, email address, social security number, picture, phone number, username, location, and internet protocol (IP) address – falls under GDPR’s supervision.
Well, how did the US react?
Similar to the GDPR, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 – which will go into effect on January 1, 2020 – affecting how personal data is collected, processed, and shared in California.
The CCPA was designed with three major themes: ownership, control, and security.
- Ownership gives users the right to know what personal information is being collected and whether that personal identifiable information is being sold, or disclosed, and to whom.
- Control gives users the right to say no to the sale of personal information and the right for equal service or price; so if you opt out of a sale, you will not be penalized. If the principle of control sounds similar, it’s because the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) put into place rules to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from selling your data without obtaining an opt-in. CCPA reinstates this legislation at the state level, requiring the ISP to ask you before they can sell or market your personal information.
- To uphold security, a business that suffers a breach of their system will be penalized up to $75,000 for each violation for each affected user. Although this isn’t as strict as GDPR, it’s more than just a slap on the wrist.
Even though that CCPA is only in one state right now, it may be the most impactful start to a GDPR-like act in the US.
Ultimately, where are the ethical lines?
When data is used in ways that benefit others while adversely affecting you, ethical problems will arise. Complying with changing privacy regulations is stressful for companies, as well as a drain on resources, but many are embracing it as an opportunity to increase trust and transparency.
As we enter into the age of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and facial recognition, your data profile stems from your social network activity. When it comes to our data, many Americans see this as a black-and-white issue. In fact, an overwhelming 63 percent of Americans believe that social media platforms have far too much power.
But, how can data collection be immoral when it serves as the backbone of so many of these services we use every day? How many helpful job recommendations have been given by software that matches job seekers’ skills and attributes? How many human connections have been built through recommendations on social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn?
Social media, particularly with Facebook and Twitter, has been found to reflect people’s personality and intelligence as well as characteristics such as sexual orientation and political views. So, could it be ethical to mine this data for hiring purposes when users typically used these online applications with a different intent – and therefore, without consent for data analytics to draw conclusions from their social media postings?
Federal legislation was recently passed, via the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019, which intends to prevent inaccuracies, bias, and discrimination in automated decisions – particularly in the hiring process. So, as the adage goes, “great power does come with great responsibility”. Data and its collection is not the issue – but rather the improper use of it is.
If you’re here, you’re probably on the hunt for a job. And if you’re on the hunt for a job, there’s a secret you should know: according to a study by CareerArc, “Almost 40 percent of employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to screen candidates for job openings.” Alarmingly, “62 percent of employers who use this software admit that some qualified candidates are likely being filtered out of the vetting process by mistake.”
The name Applicant Tracking System is somewhat misleading. ATS doesn’t track your application status or where you are in the recruitment process. Instead, the purpose of these systems is to sift through resumes, separating the “strong” candidates from the “weak.” This ultimately saves companies valuable time and manpower.
It is estimated that ATS reject 70 percent or more of the resumes submitted because (1) the documents don’t reflect the desired job qualifications and/or (2) are formatted in a way that doesn’t make sense to the system. This means that your resume could be rejected solely based on the formatting and word choice, rather than the information and experience it contains.
Companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are most certainly using this software, which means that you’re going to have to do more than follow the basics for crafting a professional resume. That’s why spending time to carefully format and compose your resume can increase your chances of moving past this initial screening process. So, we put together a list of tips to help you beat the system and increase your chances of getting an interview:
Keep it simple.
Although Applicant Tracking Systems are becoming more advanced every year, they still have limitations. Most systems can’t read tables or non-standard resume sections like “What I’ve Done” vs “Work Experience,” so it’s best to keep formatting and word choice simple and traditional. Microsoft Word documents are the safest file option, however, many systems will tell you what other file types are compatible.
Your font may also be working against you. Some ATS have trouble reading serif fonts like Times New Roman or Cambria—serif fonts have little marks or “feet” on the ends of the letters, sans serif fonts do not. Play it safe and use Calibri or a similar sans serif font.
Resume SEO matters.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is what writers, marketers and website designers use to move their content up in search engine rankings. SEO is important in applicant tracking systems, too. Experts recommend rewriting your resume every time you apply for a new job and incorporating keywords from the job posting’s expected duties, responsibilities and skills sections. Those keywords are what the ATS uses to assess your resume.
However, not just any keyword will do. Applicant Tracking Systems will only find what they’ve been told to look for—a list of keywords from the hiring manager. So you need to use the exact same keywords and punctuation found in the job description. For example, some systems can’t distinguish between front-end and front end, or Master of Business Administration, Masters of Business Administration and MBA.
Don’t overdo it.
If SEO matters, adding in tons of extra keywords is a good idea, right?
There is a fine line between resume keyword optimization and “keyword stuffing” and overdoing it will likely cause the ATS to red flag your resume and sort it into the “weak” pile. If your resume does happen to get through the ATS and in front of a human being, it probably won’t land you an interview. Overdone resumes are often poorly written and tend to sound awkward, which won’t impress the recruiter.
Play it safe and follow the general rule of thumb, which is to use a keyword two to three times.
Previous job titles should mirror the company you’re applying to.
This one may feel wrong, but stick with us for a second while we explain…
Your job title matters in an applicant tracking system (remember SEO keywords?) and small changes can make a huge difference. Professional resume writers fine-tune job titles all the time to fit the position their client is applying for.
Consider this example: Your current title is Business Advisor, but at the company you’re applying to, the comparable position is called Business Consultant. Tweaking your title to fit the new company can make a world of difference when your resume is processed by the ATS.
Keep it human.
Congratulations! You optimized your resume and you were flagged as a strong candidate by the ATS. Now your resume will be reviewed by a real person. Keep this in mind when you are writing your resume and ensure that it will impress a human reader who knows proper grammar and not just computer software.
Optimizing a resume to impress an applicant tracking system and a human requires careful planning, but the time invested is well worth it when you land that dream job. If you are concerned about how your resume will perform in an Applicant Tracking System, check out this handy tool from Jobscan.
Setting goals, whether short or long term, is an ongoing and effortful process. Many people tend to set personal and professional goals with a to-do list mindset and superficial consideration. Goal-setting is adeptly illustrated by Aesop’s “The Tortoise and The Hare” fable. When we rush to set goals and consistently compare our progress against others, we become the hare who eventually loses the race. So, let’s take a look at the tortoise’s strategy. And find out how you can begin to set smart goals.
- The hare ran the race to ridicule and beat the tortoise. The tortoise ran the race to prove he could run. They both ran for the specific reason why, a reason that reiterated or added to their self-image. Similarly, start with why you want to set goals in the first place. By understanding the origins of your ambitions, you can discern in which ways your goals will set you up to succeed. When goals tie back into your long-term vision, even if they are short-term in nature, you are much more likely to adhere to them. By framing the why behind the what, you can better define what your goals are and develop strategies to maintain your commitment to them.
- The extract above from the fable dually serves as a reminder of how to effectively define our goals. For the hare to be successful, it mattered solely on the tortoise’s progress – not his own. He is not the main character in his definition of success. But, the tortoise established a firm, self-relying reason why he proposed the race. After creating a list of goals, evaluate if how you define success relies on you or others. When you define success in relation to your ability only, you are more readily accepting of difficulties as challenges you can overcome rather than setbacks you cannot surmount.
- The tortoise set an extremely effective goal following the SMART framework: run one marked distance (specific), timed by a judge (measurable), a task he knows he can accomplish (achievable), to prove he can run (relevant), starting as soon as possible (timely). When you adhere to the SMART framework of goal-setting, you provide an effective way to measure your progress towards a goal you know is both doable and supportive of your vision. The more ambiguous you are when defining your goals, the less likely you are in maintaining your drive to achieve them.
- As extensive as the process is in setting your goals, the journey to fulfilling them is equally as intensive. Unlike the hare, do not get complacent and procrastinate! The tortoise was able to achieve his goal because he remained steadfast in his pacing and his focus. Be sure to keep your goals in a visible area. In this way, you will be frequently reminded of your potential destination. Schedule reminders to check on the progress of your goals weekly or biweekly so you can evaluate if your current strategy is effective enough. Goals should not be viewed as something to achieve in the future. They should be seen as daily tasks. If the process of achieving your goal is embedded within your daily routine, then you will be that much more likely to stick to it.
With the holiday season around the corner, we all have the opportunity to get an early start on our goal-setting for the upcoming year!
Hiring “right” can be an expensive, time intensive process. a recruiter or recruiting firm can run the gradient of talent ‘ally’ to ineffective gatekeeper and from a cost perspective: tremendous value to incredible waste of money. It is crucial to fully qualify and be comfortable with the individuals, team or firms that are performing your recruitment as they are a direct reflection on your company(good or bad). so carefully consider the option you choose. With this in mind,
Regardless of approach, There are a number of things you can do to improve on the quality of your recruitment process so that you can recruit right the first time and avoid employee turnover which can cost as little as 20% for less senior roles and as much as 200% for Executive positions. As a manager, a personal list of the essential qualities and qualifications you want in your employee, and don’t compromise on them. Retention is the better half of hiring.
Thanks to technology, you can automate much of the application screening process. It’s a win-win situation. Programs can work around the clock pulling together a short list of top candidates with your required skills and experience and have it waiting on your desk when you arrive in the morning. By saving your time, you will also save your energy for more productive tasks. Undoubtedly, this will lead to higher quality work and thus, more success in your endeavors.
You don’t need to spend outrageous amounts of money to get your vacancy out to the masses. Social media is a fantastic free resource for finding candidates who are actively looking for work. So, get creative and think about where your top performers hang out! Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular platforms used by both job seekers and passive candidates. Take the time to connect with passive candidates as well because they may become job seekers tomorrow.
We don’t just use our cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices to access the web; we’re attached to them. So, if you want to bring in top talent fast, then make your application mobile-friendly. A one-click feature for candidates to apply with, such as a simple tap of the screen, will bring in more potential employees that you imagined.
Ask current employees for recommendations. Since they already work for you, your employees understand the value of bringing in contributing employees. Moreover, candidates who have been recommended by current staff have the added benefit of boosting overall workforce morale. We all enjoy going to work when we like the people we work with.
Find out how Sci.bio Recruiting can help your company take its scientific, clinical and technical hiring to another level. Our scaleable, recruiting services affords our clients maximum flexibility, uncommon value and a high level of scientific and business insight.