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Author:  Claire Jarvis

Today we’re learning a bit more about Janel Fields and Alexis Palazzolo – two Senior Scientific Recruiting Associates at Sci.Bio. They handle a mixture of contingency and RPO recruitment projects.

Entering biotech recruitment

Although relatively new to Sci.Bio, Janel and Alexis both joined the company with useful industry experience. Alexis spent several years as a physician recruiter. “I liked talking the lingo and having relationships with people out there saving lives every day,” she explains. Reassessing her career priorities after the COVID-19 pandemic, Alexis moved into biotech recruiting.

Janel’s background is in biochemistry, and she worked in a variety of roles within the pharma industry for over a decade. She sought a role that was more flexible than a traditional corporate position. “I wanted to lean on my transferable and soft skills,” Janel says. “I liked connecting the dots for people – so I decided to try recruiting.”

Difference between biotech recruiting

Alexis finds biotech recruiting a positive, smooth experience. She recalls that in her previous physician recruitment role it was often hard to form connections with potential job candidates. “A lot of physicians are really busy,” she notes, and not actively searching for work. In contrast, most biotech recruitment is mostly conducted through LinkedIn, and candidates with profiles there are more willing to talk to recruiters.

In addition to the flexibility afforded by a recruiting career, Janel enjoys the frequent client interactions. “In my previous roles it was me, my Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and my work instructions.” She also appreciates that recruiting allows her to bring more of her personality into the job. “Sometimes conversations with candidates require me to be empathetic if they’ve been laid off due to COVID-19 or company restructuring. People want to know that you care.”

Contingency vs RPO recruiting

Both Alexis and Janel handle contingency and RPO recruitment projects, and see the two as having distinct advantages. “I like the hunt of contingency,” says Alexis. “It’s gratifying because you’re finding the candidate and taking them through the whole process.” On the other hand, Janel likes that in RPO projects she can focus on finding amazing talent if the client already has a list of candidates in mind.

Outside of work

In her home office, Janel has set up her iPad and Chromebook as second and third screens to help manage her work. “I’m a stationary fanatic,” she says. “I need good pens and good notebooks.” On Janel’s main sourcing days, she often spends the day co-working in local coffee shops with her tech friends.

Alexis’ office essential is her noise-canceling headphones. However, she’s found some background noises are helpful for building new connections: “I have a dog, so sometimes if candidates hear my dog on the call we get a stronger interaction going.”

In addition to recruiting, Janel operates as a private chef for clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She sees entrepreneurship and recruitment as two sides of the same coin. “Recruitment is still business: we have to make sure we’re helping people, that we do a good job and we’re closing deals.” Janel says. “And if you’re not promoting your product or service, nobody is going to know who you are.”