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Meet the Recruiters: Meg and Laura

Meet the Recruiters: Meg and Laura

Author: Claire Jarvis

In the third installment of our ‘Meet the Recruiters’ series, we introduce Meg Wise and Laura Helmick. Meg is a Recruiting Partner and Laura is a Senior Recruiting Partner at Sci.bio.

The Winding Road To Recruiting

Meg and Laura joined Sci.bio in early 2021, both coming to the world of biotech recruitment after successful careers in other fields. Meg returned to the workforce in 2017 after taking time off to raise her children, starting as a specialist in general accounting and finance. However, the world of biotech held a particular interest for her, and inspired her move to Sci.bio. She currently specializes in director-level accounting and finance recruiting.

Laura’s first job was a data manager for clinical research organizations. She spent 8 years leading her own recruitment agency, then moved into biotech business development. “But I missed recruiting,” she admits. After connecting with the CEO of Sci.bio Eric Celidonio, Laura felt inspired to make her return.

At her own small recruitment agency, Laura felt restricted in the range of solutions she could offer potential clients. She finds working for a more dynamic agency like Sci.bio, with its capacity and resources for business development allows her to better help clients. “Having different options available to present to clients is nice,” she says. At Sci.bio Laura specializes in clinical development and medical affairs recruiting. She credits her prior experience with helping her understand client’s needs. “Having worked at two large CROs, I got to see how all of these different departments and positions worked together, which makes me understand recruitment better..”

The Modern Biotech Recruitment Landscape

Laura sees the current biotech job landscape as a “candidate’s market”: there’s a shortage of people with biotech experience actively looking for work, and many clients are short-staffed. Candidates can be more vocal about their personal preferences for a job such as fully remote options and access to company shares. She encourages her clients to demonstrate the benefit they provide for candidates who could hold competing offers.

Meg also believes jobseekers are more selective and cautious when it comes to considering new jobs right now. She says these candidates appreciate honesty rather than hype when discussing a new biotech company’s prospects with them, and cautions other recruiters and clients not to oversell opportunities they present.

Building Networks

For Meg, her natural curiosity about the biotech industry helped her build a network of contacts and clients. “I enjoy keeping abreast of new companies – it’s not difficult for me,” Meg explains. She recommends other recruiters remain genuine and transparent in their motivations for connecting with people, and understand that recruitment is a long-game.

The other important point about networking as a recruiter, both Laura and Meg agree, is accepting that not every match works out, and remaining on good terms with candidates who decline offers. “There are plenty of jobs out there,” Meg notes.

 

‘Recruiter’ – A job title with a low bar?

‘Recruiter’ – A job title with a low bar?

Author: Claire Jarvis

For candidates plunging into the job market for the first time, the attention of recruiters on LinkedIn can often feel unwelcome: an undesirable consequence of the job search to be ignored or minimized while you submit job applications. Nearly every STEM jobseeker has stories of a recruiter contacting them about a job they weren’t qualified for or didn’t come close to matching the expertise they clearly articulated on their LinkedIn profile.

Fortunately, many successful job seekers now working in industry can also recall speaking to a recruiter who had read their social media profile with care, and connected them to interesting opportunities that suited their talents.

It may surprise the cynics, but a lot of biotech recruiters are trained scientists themselves: they obtained a STEM degree but moved into recruiting because they enjoyed people-focused jobs and waited to remain in a scientific environment.

The technical expertise necessary for biotech jobs at all levels means biotech companies will only engage with recruiters who demonstrate they understand these technical requirements and can match them to candidates with the necessary skill set. As a consequence, you’ll probably encounter more skilled biotech recruiters than unskilled ones.

Not sure if the recruiter you’re talking to has that scientific expertise? Here are some things to look for when interacting with unfamiliar biotech recruiters:

    1. Does their agency specialize in placing biotech candidates? Some agencies work across a lot of industries, from hospitality to tech. They are more likely to hire recruiters without a background in the field(s) they recruit. A niche recruiting agency who exclusively fills biotech roles is likely to hire recruiters with a science background.
    2. Does their LinkedIn profile list a STEM degree, or the kinds of candidates/companies they work with? The closer the recruiter’s education profile to the candidates they are placing, the higher likelihood they will understand your technical capabilities and how you might fit in to the client’s company.
    3. Does their initial email/phone call demonstrate an understanding of your qualifications and the kinds of job you are looking for? Listen and look for keywords or phrases in those early conversations that indicate the recruiter has read your social media profile and speaks to your strengths. A very generic LinkedIn message might indicate the recruiter is casting a wide net and approaching a lot of potential candidates.
    4. Fill out your LinkedIn profile. The recruiter bears some responsibility if they don’t properly read the Experience and Skills section of your LinkedIn profile. However, you can help good recruiters find you by listing your technical skills and expertise, and stating the kind of opportunities you are open to. Remember, if you need to conduct a discrete job search this section can be kept private so only recruiters can view it.
    5. Update recruiters you’re in contact with. If you have a positive relationship with a recruiter, it’s helpful to update them with major career news (e.g. a key promotion or new job in a different field) during your job search. It’s important to keep good recruiters supplied with the information they’ll need to connect you with the right opportunities, and it helps remind them of your skillset and job preferences in case new positions open up.

At Sci.bio, we believe scientists make the best biotech recruiters. Our team of STEM graduates understand the biotech industry and look forward to connecting you with your dream job. Reach out and schedule a conversation with us today.

 

Looking for Success as a Recruiter? Develop your Personal Brand

Looking for Success as a Recruiter? Develop your Personal Brand

Developing and promoting your personal brand isn’t only an activity for job seekers. It’s an important tool to distinguish yourself after finding employment: even if you’re happy in your current role, a strong personal brand will help make your job more fulfilling.

As a biotech recruiter, clients and job seekers want to work with someone who understands the biotech job market landscape. Biotech job candidates trust recruiters who are familiar with and appreciate their existing technical skills; biotech clients don’t want to explain what they see as the fundamentals of any technical role to a new recruiter, or have the recruiter bring them ill-suited job candidates. Therefore, a recruiter with a strong personal brand will find it easy to attract the right clients and job seekers, and convince both parties of their ability to close the deal between job candidate and company.

When you start out as a recruiter, you won’t necessarily have a strong or compelling personal brand. It takes several months to figure your personal brand out, and longer to strengthen and promote it to the point where it pays dividends.

Here are some questions for recruiters to think about as they develop their personal brand:
What kind of positions do you most enjoy recruiting for?
What kind of candidates are you most successful in finding and connecting with?
What kind of roles have you accumulated the most experience on?
What kind of projects and subject matters fit best with your education and previous work experience to date?

Ideally, all your answers will overlap – and that’s your recruiter’s personal brand! Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers yet, or if your experience, successes and enjoyment don’t seem to have a common theme. Come back to these questions later, or ask your mentor for guidance.

Once you have the initial outline of your personal brand, hone it into 1–2 sentences that will become your elevator pitch at networking events. For example: “I’m an executive recruiter who specializes in placing mid-level leadership candidates into agile biotech companies.”

Now you have a personal brand, your LinkedIn and other social media posts should tie into your brand. For instance, if you specialize in recruiting Medical Science Liaisons to large pharma, you should state in your posts and bio that you help connect MSLs with jobs, and share the latest news from big pharma companies. This helps establish credibility in your niche, and attracts potential clients.

If you’re worried that a focused personal brand will scare away too many potential clients and job candidates, remember that you’re going to enjoy a higher success rate with the opportunities that do seek you out because they appreciate the specific value that you offer. The people that connect with you already know how you can help them, and if they approach you, it’s because they already see themselves as a good fit for your services.

Are you a scientist looking to get away from the bench? Have you considered becoming a biotech recruiter? We are always looking for great talent! Sci.bio would love to meet you.

Meet the Recruiters.  Sandra and Mike.

Meet the Recruiters. Sandra and Mike.

In the second of our Meet the Recruiter series of blog posts, we’d like to introduce Mike Cordaro and Sandra Tramontozzi, two seasoned Recruiting Partners who have played a large role in building out Sci.bio’s business development and contingency recruiting team.

Mike handles medical affairs recruiting and business development for Sci.bio. Sandra also works on the business development side, and specializes in filling HR and talent acquisition roles for biotech companies.

Journey to Sci.bio

Mike graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Biology, but, though he enjoyed science, he didn’t see himself working in a laboratory. After several years as a recruiter with other staffing agencies, he joined Sci.bio in 2019.

Sandra has been with Sci.bio since 2020, having spent many years in business sales and recruitment at other staffing firms. She has a M.S. in Administrative Studies from Boston College. After taking a career break to focus on her family, she decided to re-enter the workforce during the pandemic as the risk of an economic downturn loomed. Sandra knew Sci.bio founder Eric Celidonio from her previous role, and knew his company was entering the pandemic in a strong position.

Building meaningful and productive client relationships

Mike and Sandra both work in business development, reaching out to and building relationships with potential biotech clients. They stress establishing rapport with clients is vital to their business, even though it’s a process that takes time. Sci.bio has always focused on relationships first, knowing that clients become candidates and candidates become clients, so building connections with people is supported from the top down.

In Sandra’s experience, business relationships are difficult to build by email, so it’s important to get on the phone with clients. “In a pandemic world where we’re not meeting face to face, a Zoom meeting with clients is even more powerful, because they’re also getting a sense of your presence and professional demeanor.”

Mike and Sandra agree that for a client-recruiter relationship to be successful over the long term, there has to be a personal connection. “Not every conversation and not every single message has to be sales focused,” Mike explains. Sandra notes that not every client is comfortable sharing a lot of personal information, so the recruiter should avoid prying or oversharing themselves. However, she cautions, “if you’re strictly transactional with clients — even if you deliver great results — you’re not building a professional friendship with them, you’re just a vendor,” and the partnership is unlikely to last.

Advice from recruiters to their clients

On the other side of the equation, Sandra’s advice for clients looking to build productive relationships with a recruiting partner is to always give the recruiters feedback on the candidates presented, especially when they weren’t quite what the company was looking for. “Even though it must be very time consuming, just sending one line in an email that says, ‘hey, none of these candidates have XYZ,’” can help recruiters refocus their sourcing to better meet client’s needs.

The Sci.bio advantage

Having worked at Sci.bio for several years, Mike and Sandra know clients appreciate working with an agile, specialised biotech recruiting firm. “Sci.bio offers a lot of service at a small scale,” says Sandra. “We can really be a partner and a total staffing solution for our client. And we can scale with them as they grow, which is beautiful.” Many of Sci.bio’s clients are biotech companies in the preclinical or early clinical stage of development and only need a contract recruiter in the beginning. As the company expands, Sci.bio can help them scale their in-house team by sourcing senior and executive hires.

Mike sees Sci.bio’s roster of recruiters with science degrees as crucial to the firm’s success. “The biotech industry is very different from any other industries. Biotech roles require the cream of the crop.” However, many suitable job candidates lack detailed LinkedIn profiles — or aren’t on LinkedIn at all — so it’s harder for recruiters without science backgrounds to find them and identify key technical skills. Sourcing candidates to match the client’s needs requires a good grasp of scientific concepts, something Sci.bio is able to provide that larger, less specialized agencies struggle with. “Maybe I’m not producing 10 resumes 24 hours after receiving a requisition,” says Sandra, “but I’m producing three resumes that are very specifically tailored to the client’s needs. And that’s a better use of his time.”

COVID-19 and the changing biotech recruitment landscape

The pandemic has had an impact on recruitment and hiring patterns within the biotech sector. Some of those changes may shift as COVID-19 abates, others could last longer. For instance, Sandra has noticed candidates balancing family care and homeschooling with remote work are requesting part-time roles at the moment, leading to a lack of candidates for full-time roles.

Mike finds potential candidates becoming more risk-averse and less willing to consider moving out of their current jobs. “I’ve even spoken with a lot of candidates who — when I was in contact with them before — were open to a conversation about new opportunities. Now if they have job security, they’re not letting go of that.”

Although COVID-19 hasn’t stopped hiring in the biotech sector, uncertainties about clinical trial results and future revenue means biotech companies are hiring more contract than permanent staff right now, and leaving in-house HR and talent acquisition roles unfilled. Sandra predicts there will be an uptick in permanent HR and talent acquisition roles available next year when the pandemic recedes and a sense of stability returns. Mike notes that clients are much more open to offering remote positions, and are not just recruiting biotech candidates from within the Boston area.

Despite the changes COVID-19 has wrought on the biotech sector, both Mike and Sandra feel Sci.bio has adapted well to remote and flexible working, and that the future looks bright for biotech recruiters.

So You Want To Be A Recruiter? Do You Have What It Takes?

So You Want To Be A Recruiter? Do You Have What It Takes?

”I want to be a recruiter when I grow up!”

Okay, chances are you never uttered those words as a child. As Allison Ellsworth, Sr. Recruiting Partner and Director HR at Sci.bio, says “The vast majority of people don’t go to school to become a recruiter. You kind of fall into it through different choices you make on your career path, as you follow and develop your skill set.”

So let’s assume that over the years as you either considered options for starting your career or have contemplated a career shift, you decided that recruiting might just be the job for you. After all, you like interacting with people and think you’re a good judge of them; you can see yourself enjoying the prospect of conducting interviews on a daily basis and think you might even be pretty good at it.

But there’s more to being a great recruiter than just an affinity for talking to talk to people. Of course, that’s a necessary trait; if you don’t like interacting with people recruiting is likely not the job for you. But there’s also much more involved than the interview alone; a number of different types of skills and attributes are necessary to truly stand apart as a great recruiter.

3 Types of Skills/Attributes

The skills and attributes required can be grouped into three categories: Interpersonal Skills, Personal Attributes, and Business Skills. Let’s take a look at what falls into each of these categories.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills could be considered the ante just to get into the game; any great recruiter has mastered them. When your job centers around interacting with and assessing people on a daily basis, things like communication skills and the ability to build and develop relationships are a must.

Great Communication Skills
The ability to verbally articulate is certainly important, but good communication skills go beyond speaking, or even writing. The ability to read body language to ascertain the real meanings, feelings, and emotions behind the words a candidate is saying, as well as the ability to use your own body language to put others at ease are just as important. And being able to actively listen to the nuances of what a candidate says – again, going beyond the simple words – can go a long way in making a thorough and accurate assessment.

Relationship Building
Some may say that recruiting truly is an art of relationship building. And this means not only building and nurturing relationships with current and potential candidates, but also doing the same with hiring managers and even fellow recruiters. Finding and placing that perfect candidate in the perfect role is a team sport and requires trust, reliability, and a strong connection with all parties involved.

Personal Attributes

If interpersonal skills are the ante, certain personal attributes are the things that refine your ability to be a great recruiter even further. The tricky thing here is that some of these attributes tend to be inherent in a person and might be tough to learn if you don’t already have them. That’s not to say that can’t be learned, but if they come naturally to you, it may make being a great recruiter a little easier for you to attain. Some of the most important include:

Resilience/ Adaptability – when you’re dealing with various people, numerous variables can come into play, some that can even be beyond your control. People can be unpredictable, schedules can change last minute, and priorities and needs of both people and organizations can shift without much warning. When things don’t go as planned, the ability to bounce back and/or change your approach is key.

Patience/ Professional Persistence – sometimes it might take multiple tries to find and recruit the perfect candidate; the ability to play the “long game” and not give up after a first seemingly failed attempt can serve you well.

Results driven – recruiting can be a competitive profession, especially in industries that are in high growth mode where demand for talent may outpace supply. The best recruiters know how to set goals, keep focused on those goals, and work tirelessly towards them until they’re achieved.

Integrity – having a reputation for operating ethically and with honesty, and with the best interests of all involved always front and center can really set you apart from those who might use more questionable tactics to achieve their goals.

Business Skills

In a profession that is hyper-focused on people skills and relationship building, this final group of skills can sometimes be overlooked, but can truly level you up and make you stand apart from the rest.

Industry/Job Knowledge – having strong working knowledge of both the industry in which you are recruiting and the specific jobs you are trying to fill will make you more effective in assessing a candidate’s fit for an opportunity. Knowing the job intimately isn’t necessarily required, but having a working understanding of some of the key responsibilities and skills/experience needed to accomplish them will help you dig a little deeper in your interviews. Additionally, different industries often have their own unique attributes, needs, and nuances, and having a solid understanding of those will make finding the right talent that much easier.

Sales/Marketing skills – part of your job as a recruiter is to “sell” your ability to fill the role to the hiring manager, then “sell” the opportunity to potential candidates and the candidates’ abilities back to the hiring manager. Having natural sales abilities or being able to develop them can take your recruiting skills to the next level.

Problem solving & technical skills – some roles can be much harder to fill than others; roles that are highly competitive or require difficult to find skill sets may require out of the box thinking to successfully find and recruit candidates. In addition, knowing not only which technologies are available, but how to use them to find those hard to come by candidates can set you apart as well.

Time Management/Multitasking – this may go without saying, but being a recruiter means juggling multiple schedules, interviews, and job requisitions at the same time. Without strong organizational/time management skills and the ability to multitask, there’s no way you’ll be able to stay on top of everything you need to manage.

Want to hear what actual recruiters have to say? Stay tuned for an interview series with some of Sci.bio’s recruiters: learn what makes them tick, what it takes to be successful, and discover if recruiting is a career path that is a good fit for you!

Meet the Recruiters – Madison & Kay

Meet the Recruiters – Madison & Kay

In the first of our Meet the Recruiters series of blog posts, we’d like to introduce Kay Chow, Madison Giunta, and Carla Yacoub. They are all recent science graduates who joined Sci.bio within the past year as Scientific Recruiting Associates.

Madison is a contingency recruiter and focuses on business development. Kay handles RPO roles and ad hoc recruiting projects. As the most recent addition, Carla is completing her training and jumping in on various sourcing and recruiting projects as she hones her skills.

The Pathway Into Recruitment

All three had a passion for science and valued their STEM education, but realized more traditional STEM career pathways — academia, research, working in a lab — weren’t for them.

Madison graduated in 2020 with a BS in Nutrition Science from Merrimack College. Although she was passionate about the subject, she didn’t want to stay in school to pursue professional qualification. As part of her job search, she shadowed at a recruitment agency and fell in love with the career.

Kay graduated in 2020 with a BS in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University. She joined a research lab as an undergraduate, but realized “spending five plus years of my life on one thing was really not enticing to me.” However, she found she really enjoyed recruiting volunteers for her lab’s clinical studies, and decided to look for STEM recruiting jobs.

Carla graduated in 2019 with a BS in Environmental Biology from Smith College. She didn’t like academia and wasn’t interested in research careers, but knew she liked working with people and doing scientific outreach. “I really liked bringing new forms of education to communities that may not have been included in that previously,” she explains.

STEM recruitment wasn’t a career they’d considered before graduating, but after applying to Sci.bio and going through the interview process, they all saw how scientific recruitment would be a good fit for their personal strengths and career needs.

Working as a Recruiter at Sci.bio

Although recruiting scientific professionals is a non-traditional STEM career, Carla, Kay and Madison enjoy learning about new areas of research through conversations with clients. Madison finds her STEM background helps her quickly understand new concepts and terminology.

At Sci Bio the first few months as a recruiter are spent in training, before they transition to their own projects. Most of their time is spent sourcing candidates and building relationships with their clients. Carla, who joined Sci.bio the most recently, enjoys working among a group of people who share the same values as her.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the working patterns of many people, including Sci Bio recruiters, who currently spend most of their time working from home, and go into the office once or twice per week. Madison enjoys the flexibility of remote working and structuring her day how she chooses.

On the flip side, Carla, Kay, and Madison found it easier to get distracted when working from home, or end up spending too much time on work at the detriment to their personal life. Kay has a “commute” to help her focus: she takes time after waking up to make herself a mocha latte and go for a short walk before starting work.  These are the details we like to share in Meet the Recruiters.

Combatting Stereotypes and Growing as a Biotech Recruiter

All three enjoy recruitment, but encountered pushback from acquaintances who held negative or uninformed stereotypes about recruiters and alternate STEM careers. Some of Kay’s friends and family wondered, “Why did you get a degree in neuroscience if you’re just going to be talking to people all day?” not appreciating that her degree informs a lot of what she does.

Since Carla’s mother worked as a life insurance recruiter, she thought she knew what recruiting agencies and recruiters did, but she realized many of those preconceptions didn’t apply to Sci.bio: “It’s not about meeting goals, or sending a certain number of emails each day — it’s more like match-making.”

All three look forward to developing as recruiters and finding their niches, becoming the ‘go to’ sourcing expert for their specialty. Madison intends “make my brand” as a recruiter. Kay hopes to gain insight into international recruitment.

Fun Facts: Hobbies Outside of Sci.bio

Madison was a competitive cheerleader in college, and recently resumed competitive cheerleading in the post-collegiate leagues. She also coaches her high school team. In her free time, Carla does environmental videography and candid photography. She also enjoys coding and video games. Kay likes taking dancing classes.