1-617-500-6690 [email protected]
Working In Biotech

Working In Biotech

Introduction to Working in Biotech

This bird’s-eye overview explores the attitudes, approaches, and actions that will make it happen.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Actually, it’s both—and a whole lot more. Whether you’re new to the biotech industry or a veteran between jobs, a plum position in this red-hot sector is unlikely to fall in your lap. To get the biotech job of your dreams, or even that steppingstone position, you need patience, perseverance—and above all, a methodical approach.

This overview puts all the must-have information at your fingertips, from the prep work you need to do before starting the search to the extra touches that will help you stand out before and after the job offer. Follow the links to dive deeper into specific areas of interest or challenge. If any questions or concerns remain, Sci.bio is happy to walk you through them.

CHARTING YOUR COURSE

First things first: deciding what you want to do and where you want to do it. Confronting these decision points early on will pay dividends in your job search and career satisfaction.

A Question of Degree

Do you really need a PhD to get a good job in biotech? That depends on the career trajectory you have in mind. If you aspire to the halls of academe, you’ll obviously need the credential. A doctorate also positions you for medical science liaison jobs. Leaving such specific scenarios aside, success in biotech does not depend on a PhD, and the years of toiling for the designation could even set your career back. The only thing a doctorate guarantees is that people will call you “doctor”—it certainly doesn’t entitle to you to a job.

Graduates

Think of a PhD as an adventure in personal and professional development: hop on board if it resonates with you, but don’t feel you have to get on—or stay on—the PhD track if it doesn’t appeal. Consider, too, that many biotech recruiters and companies put real-world experience on par with advanced qualifications. Biotech companies continue to hire many people with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and the time-honored pairing of an undergraduate science degree with an MBA still opens doors within the sector.

The Great Divide

Many PhDs see their colleagues transitioning to academic post-doc positions and conclude it’s simply the “thing to do.” But basic research and the grant-application machinery don’t suit everyone, and recognizing a poor fit can spare you years of frustration.

The academic life comes with an attractive package of intellectual rigour, collegial culture, and freedom to explore your own research interests. That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, responsibilities outside the lab can interfere with research time and the pressure to obtain funding can take its toll.

Opting for industry doesn’t mean giving up on your career as a scientist; the biotech industry produces a steady stream of research, often with a more clinical bent. If the lab bench doesn’t call to you, however, industry offers almost limitless opportunities to rise through the ranks and experience the high of working in teams. You’ll find more details about the pro and cons of each choice in this article about academia vs. industry.

Size Matters

There’s big pharma and there’s small pharma—companies that employ fewer than 500 people. Arguably the safer choice, big pharma will take you through a formal training process and give you access to a steady stream of learning opportunities. With size comes bureaucracy, of course. The red tape can slow down processes and create distance between the work you put in and the final result. Even so, consider going big if you value a mix of predictability and opportunity—and a good night’s sleep.

At the other end of the spectrum, a job with a biotech startup offers unparalleled excitement and collegiality, as well as a good chance of seeing a product going through a full development cycle. Or you may find your sweet spot in the relaxed culture and fluid roles of a small pharma company—the preferred option of an increasing number of biotech job seekers.

Off the Beaten Path

If you’re like many science graduates, you know a lot more about science than about science careers. Most post-secondary programs fail to educate students about the possibilities ahead, leaving graduates with a blinkered view of their options. If you’ve made it to the PhD level, you may see little beyond a postdoc or medical science liaison in your horizon.

The world of biotech is a lot bigger than that. Less common biotech careers that flow naturally from a PhD include market research analyst, business development manager, and medical communication specialist. And it’s not true that you need an MBA to snag a business consultant gig: the rise of technology-based business sectors has created a demand for consultants with STEM PhDs.

Then there’s the cannabis industry, a high-growth sector that rewards both creativity and business acumen. From extraction techniques to quality control, needs for scientific expertise in this area continue to grow. If you thrive on human relationships, you could find your niche in biotech recruitment, which combines uncapped earning potential with the unique satisfaction of helping other people launch their careers.

READY TO LAUNCH

Once you’ve established your desired destination, it’s time to lay the groundwork for a smooth and fruitful biotech job search.

Where to Look

Start by working backwards: make a list of companies where you’d like to work and check out the careers pages on their websites. You may be able to set up automatic alerts so the system notifies when suitable positions open up. Next, scour job boards that focus on the life sciences, such as the job pages on BioSpace or the Life Sciences Network.

Don’t discount general job boards, either. Many employers cross-post their vacancies on a number of job sites, including all-purpose sites like Indeed or Workopolis. A recent Indeed search for Boston-based biotech jobs turned up vacancies for a senior scientist in in-vitro pharmacology, a quality control analyst in microbiology, and a bioinformatics associate, among others. Even Facebook has its own job board.

There’s also the question of when to look for a job: while there’s no hard and fast rule, your odds of success rise and fall at certain times of year. More important than the season is the time between the job posting and your application: make it as short as possible.

High-Yield Networking

Start by making a list of networking prospects—friends, acquaintances, and business associates who may be able to offer advice or job leads. Ideally, this list should include people with positions you aspire to. Send each of them a brief email detailing your situation and your ask. If you get no response after a few days, don’t assume they’re willfully ignoring you. Far more likely is that they’re busy or disorganized, and everything less than urgent gets pushed into their “later” file. Follow up with another respectful call or email. Rinse and repeat.

Once you’ve heard back, aim to schedule a meeting over video (or in person, if/when Covid protocols allow it). Keep the meeting short and real: show interest in the other person, but get to your point. Seek advice about how to brand yourself and ask for new introductions or industry insights.

While looking for a job can easily become a job in its own right, consider breaking up your day with volunteer work. Not only does volunteering boost mental health, but the people you meet can become part of your informal network. Along similar lines, choose a couple of professional events to attend, either in person or virtually. Have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch so you can approach people with purpose and confidence.

smartphone

Leveraging Social Media

Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t avoid social media when looking for a job. As evidenced in a recent survey on career building, social media now plays a significant role in the hiring process: not only do employers use social media to research candidates, but nearly half have a bias against candidates without any social media presence at all.

If nothing else, you need a LinkedIn profile to be seen as a serious candidate. Take the time to list significant accomplishments, awards, and testimonials on your LinkedIn page. Regular engagement on Twitter, while not a requirement for a successful job hunt, can demonstrate knowledge of your industry. Blog posts showcasing your communication skills and interactions with a prospective employer’s social media accounts can add further credibility to your social media presence.

If your social media profile is less than squeaky clean, you’ll need to do some scrubbing. Revealing photos, discriminatory comments, bad-mouthing previous employers, lying about an absence could easily land you on an employer’s no-hire list. No matter how many likes you garnered from such posts, delete them.

Working with a Recruiter

On the face of it, there isn’t much downside to working with a recruiter: it gives you access to an inside track hidden from public view. But the wrong recruiter can do more harm than good—for example, by sending you on interviews for ill-fitting jobs. A strategic approach to finding a biotech recruiter will help you avoid this outcome.

Rather than simply contacting the biotech recruiters that pop up in a Google search, attend networking events in your industry, where many recruiters congregate to build relationships with clients and meet candidates. If you’re a woman, you owe it to yourself to check out the events run by Women in Bio, an organization dedicated to giving women more visibility in the life sciences.

If you have your eye on a specific company, you may be able to connect with internal recruiters (i.e. recruiters who work within an organization) by using LinkedIn to locate employees with such titles as hiring specialist or employee success manager. If you’d like to learn more about how Sci.bio can fast-track your job search, we’ll be happy to arrange a conversation.

laptop and resume on desk

RISING UP FROM THE CROWD

Whether you have an impressive track record or no track record at all, taking extra care with your self-presentation can give you a meaningful edge.

Standout Resumés

Not sure where to start? This Science Magazine article about scientific resumés can help you decide between an experience- and skills-based approach. Whichever option you choose, you can’t go wrong with tried-and-true resumé-writing principles such as simplicity, lack of visual clutter, and logical progression. Resist the temptation to list all your accomplishments: while the assay you developed deserves pride of place in your resumé, you can probably leave out the time you took minutes for a departmental meeting. Less is more.

It goes without saying that you should adapt your resumé to each position you apply for, focusing on the experiences and accomplishments that most closely match the job requirements. When crafting the accompanying cover letter, avoid duplicating the content of your resumé. Instead, aim for a couple of short paragraphs that reveal something about what you want and who you are.

For still more detail about the fine points, check out this compendium of resumé mistakes to avoid, while this article on crafting a professional resumé can help you neutralize red flags such as a lack of experience or a gap in your employment history.

Phoning it in

Phone interviews are like the door to the waiting room: a mechanism to control the influx of candidates and weed out those who don’t meet basic requirements. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, phone interviews may enlarge their scope and replace some interviews that used to occur in person.

Have your resumé and a few key points at hand so the interviewer’s questions won’t catch you off-guard. It’s also a good idea to prepare some questions of your own, which signals seriousness of intent. Avoid bringing up salary—such conversations are best left for face-to-face meetings—unless specifically asked.

In addition to confirming your qualifications, a phone interview gives the interviewer a glimpse of your professionalism. Choose a quiet space for the interview (or ask a family member or neighbor to take the dog out) and turn off all electronic devices. During the interview, speak calmly and clearly and avoid jokes or sarcastic remarks—this is not the time to show off your edgy humor. And don’t even think of eating anything, let alone chewing gum. To make sure you avoid such gaffes, check out this list of 10 phone interview tips.

Acing the Interview

In the post-pandemic world, face to face doesn’t necessarily mean in the same room—it just means that you and the interviewer(s) can see each other. At this stage, consider “well groomed and well dressed” to be the price of admission.

Be ready to answer standard interview questions like “why are you interested in this job” or “where do you see yourself in five years.” To address the obligatory question about your weaknesses, focus on a deficiency you have overcome or are working to overcome. Think of the question as an opportunity to demonstrate both your honesty and your work ethic.

Most important of all, you’ll need to make a good general impression: fail at this task and you’ve lost the job. Fortunately, the key ingredients of a good impression—a positive and confident attitude—lie within everyone’s reach. If you’re unsure you can pull it off, rehearse with a friend or colleague.

worker on video call

Taking Setbacks in Stride

Learning you didn’t get a job after what seemed like a stellar interview counts among life’s most demoralizing experiences. While mentally steeling yourself for this outcome won’t take away the sting, it can help you recover more quickly and with your confidence intact.

It pays to remember that personal biases permeate all human transactions, and job interviews are no exception. That elusive quality called “fit” doesn’t always work in your favour. In some cases, a position may have been earmarked for an internal hire, but due diligence required it to go through a formal solicitation process. Of course, it’s also possible that you came off as more arrogant or boastful than you intended, and it never hurts to ask a friend for feedback on your self-presentation.

For further insight into “the job that got away,” check out this article on getting rejected for a job after acing an interview.

MAKING IT WORK

A job offer is only the beginning. What happens next can set the stage for you career.

Negotiating an Offer

You got the job! By all means convey your excitement to your new employer, but resist the impulse to immediately accept the terms of employment: the offer will not evaporate if you negotiate. When discussing compensation, don’t get stuck on the annual salary, as many companies offer bonuses and stock options to top up the base pay. If you come up against a hard compensation limit, ask for alternative perks such as flextime, option to work remotely, or support for continuing education. The fine points of negotiating an offer also include tackling one issue at a time and knowing who holds the decision-making levers.

If you’re already working but suspect your salary doesn’t reflect your worth, reach out to a recruiter to get feedback on industry norms. If you believe you’re being underpaid, you’ll earn your supervisor’s respect—and quite likely a raise—by stating your case. Presenting your accomplishments and knowing your boundaries will serve you well when negotiating a salary increase.

Fast-Tracking the Culture

Company culture, also known as organizational or working culture, refers to the attitudes and behaviors of a company and its employees. It encompasses ingredients such as work environment, leadership style, working style, and expectations. Figuring out the company culture as quickly as possible will help you fit in, feel comfortable, and work productively. To get a read of your new employer’s culture, look for the mission statement and client/employee testimonials on the company website. Most important, observe your co-workers: see how they dress, carry themselves, and interact. Figure out whether that happy-hour Zoom meeting is expected or optional.

Whether you’re working on-site or remotely, make an effort to build relationships with your colleagues. Showing the “real you” to people inspires trust. Even a single work buddy can help you integrate into the culture, and connecting with people outside your rank can help loosen the barriers between managers and employees.

There’s no shame in making strategic connections, either. Start with a focused “career talk” with your supervisor, which demonstrates commitment to your growth within the organization. Identify the key stakeholders in your new role and arrange to meet them. One of them could turn out to be the perfect mentor for you.

The Publishing Pressure Cooker

Scientific research has become a highly competitive endeavor. If you’ve chosen academic research as a career, sooner or later you’ll confront the “publish or perish” imperative. At the same time, rushing to publish can compromise the quality of your work. Indeed, a study of scientific publication determined that pressure to publish led to poorer-quality output and a bias toward positive results.

Fortunately, many experts have voiced concerns about the push to publish at all costs, suggesting the tide may be turning. As noted by Cambridge University researcher Kanad Mandke, “the slow science movement [an antidote to publication-oriented science]…is gaining a lot of traction among eminent scientists.”

While the pressure to publish isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, a focus on quality over quantity and will serve you well in the long run. A methodical approach to getting published in scientific journals, as well as a set of strategies to manage the pressure, will help you stay sane along the way.

books scientific journals

Graceful Exit

Even a dream job can lose its luster over time. New management, a new R&D direction, or even a new supervisor can tip the balance from great to not so great. Sometimes the whole work environment can turn poisonous over time. Signs of a toxic workplace include harassment, unaddressed conflict, and harsh top-down management that leaves employees feeling unheard and unappreciated.

If you’re wondering whether to stay or to go, consider these five reasons to switch jobs. At the same time, a vague feeling of dissatisfaction does not automatically signal a need to get out. A change of responsibilities, departments, or working conditions could help you recapture your enthusiasm. Respectfully approach your supervisor to explore such possibilities.

If you lean toward leaving, it may help you to contact a reputable biotech recruiter to gain insight into current market conditions. Aside from having deep industry connections, a good recruiter can alert you to career paths you hadn’t considered. Once you get a new job offer, your current employer may attempt to lure you back with a raise, a promotion, or all manner of promises. While flattering, such counteroffers rarely result in mutual satisfaction. Unless the counteroffer provides a clear fix to the problems that led you to look elsewhere, honor your instincts.

 

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!

3 Ways to Fix a Flawed Interview Process

3 Ways to Fix a Flawed Interview Process

As a life sciences professional, interviewing candidates is an important final step in what may have been a long hiring process. Getting the right hire can mean the difference between building a “good” team vs. having a “great” one.

However, at many companies, HR leaders and team managers haven’t updated their hiring procedures or taken the time to customize the recruitment process.  In the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” guise, many organizations go through the same basic routine they’ve done for years and fail to make the changes that would result in more effective interviewing and, therefore, stronger teams with less turnover.

While it’s not necessary to completely start from scratch when it comes to your interviewing techniques, it’s important to understand that markets shift, applicants change, and, especially during COVID-19, systems for interviewing and onboarding have become more flexible.

The following are three danger signs to watch out for – with suggestions on how to remedy your processes:

     1.      Your Interviews are Too Short and you’re all asking the same questions

A short interview – of 20 minutes or less – is not only insufficient to learn all of the necessary information about a candidate, it’s also disrespectful. Candidates spend weeks researching organizations, filling out applications, and doing their due diligence. To arrive at an interview only to walk out of the door less than half an hour later is anticlimactic at best, and harms your company’s reputation at worst. Adding to the insult of a short interview, interview teams are often not assigned to focus on areas of competence or skill and default to redundant, predictable, questions that fail to uncover a candidate’s true capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Solution: Try not to rush things. Learn a little bit about them and their interest in the role before you dive into prepared questions. Candidates should have time to ask questions throughout the interview, not just as it’s wrapping up, and you should ask follow-up questions to gain a deeper understanding of their background and skills. You’ll learn more about the candidate and be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Develop a Behavioral Based Interview format where interviewers are assigned competencies and values that resonate with the role. This will allow useful assessments that can be benchmarked against other candidates.

 

     2.      The Interview is Your Only Hiring Tool

Interviews should not be the sole basis of a hiring decision. An interview shows managers how candidates behave in a professional setting, but they provide little evidence of what each individual brings to the table. Some people may interview well and be a great fit on paper, but they may not fit in with the team culture. Others may interview poorly, but have great technical skills that your team needs. This is especially true for highly skilled positions in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences industries.

The entire application and interaction process from first interaction through references should be used as an opportunity for evaluation of candidates.  Attention to detail, timeliness can be assessed through email interactions as an example. Carefully worded reference questions can reveal weaknesses that may have not been apparent: ”Is there any additional training or development that candidate name  could benefit from in his/her development?” or “Why do you think candidate name wasn’t promoted, or left?” both allow opportunities for the reference to supply details you may not have uncovered yourself during the interview process.

Solution: Once you’ve narrowed down your selections to a handful of qualified individuals, you should find multiple ways to assess their skills and experience.  For example, if you’re hiring a life sciences writer, it doesn’t make sense to judge them purely on their personality or conversational skills. Examining each candidate’s portfolio of work or asking them to do a brief writing example would demonstrate if they’re right for the job. Similarly, if you are hiring a lead Scientist who will need to present data, ask them to prepare a short presentation and Q&A session.  Assess written follow up emails for both timeliness and attention to detail. Don’t ask cookie cutter reference questions that “check the box.” Instead ask questions that probe at the heart of candidate competency.

 

     3.      Only HR Personnel Conduct Interviews

Counting on only the HR department to interview and recommend the final candidate could lead to a poor hire. As capable as they may be, HR won’t know as much about the job as someone who has hands-on experience.

Solution: While HR can do the initial screening, hiring managers should conduct the follow-up interviews since they have the best understanding of the position’s requirements and the current team’s strengths and weaknesses. Most human resources professionals recommend that at least three company stakeholders become part of the  interview process, including the position’s direct manager, the manager’s boss, and the team’s relevant members.

 

Conclusion

Not every interview technique and process works for every company.  No two job applicants are the same, and no role is identical because a company’s needs change over time and so do roles and responsibilities. By being willing to look at your systemic flaws and adapting to what works and what doesn’t will help you attract and hire the best employees.

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!

Taking the Confusion out of Working with a Recruiter

Taking the Confusion out of Working with a Recruiter

If you’re a candidate looking for a career in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and Life Sciences industries, recruiters can help you locate and land the position you’re looking for. They can match you with employers and roles that are perfect for your skills, interests, and values. They also have access to open positions that you won’t find on job boards and can help prepare you for the interview process.

But did you know there are many types of recruiters – and recruitment firms – out there? Knowing the right one to engage with can be confusing, and understanding their roles can go a long way toward ensuring a successful and timely job search. One thing to keep in mind: you should work with a recruiter that understands and is experienced in the type of position you’re looking for.

Here are four types of recruiters to consider depending upon your specific need:

  • Contingency Recruiter

When a job candidate gets hired, the recruiter gets paid. That’s how it works for contingency recruiters. Their fee is “contingent” upon one of their candidates being successfully hired. So if a contingency recruiter finds you a job, he or she is paid either a flat fee or a percentage of your first year’s salary by the company that hired you. Normally, you don’t have to pay a fee.

Remember, recruiters are NOT working for you – they work for the client with the job opening. However, if you’re the right fit for the position, they’ll work hard to get you in the door.

  • Retained Recruiter

A retained recruiter has an exclusive relationship with an employer. They are hired for a specific period of time to find a candidate for a job, generally for senior-level positions in a company or for positions that are difficult to fill. They are paid expenses, plus a percentage of the employee’s salary, regardless of whether the candidate is hired. As a job seeker, you don’t have to pay a fee. Retained recruiters work very closely with the client to find the best person for the job with exactly the right skillset and experience.

  • Corporate Recruiter

Corporate Recruiters work in-house for a company’s HR department and are paid a salary and benefits just like any other employee. They often have titles such as HR Manager or Hiring Manager. Their job is to find new employees for the company they work for – usually large companies with many hiring needs.

  • Temporary / Contract Staffing Agency

Temporary (temp) agencies find employees to fill temporary jobs for their clients. Temps are often hired when companies have a rush, short-term projects, or to cover vacations or illnesses. When a temp agency places you in a position, they pay your wages, taxes, insurance, and benefits and charge the employer an hourly rate for your time. Many temp agencies are set up so that if an employer wants to ultimately hire a temporary worker full-time, the agency can handle that as well.

Summing it Up

Working with the right recruiter, who’s experienced working with job seekers in pharma/biotech, can help take the stress out of your job search. By understanding your skills and experience – while also having a firm grasp of the job market,  industry, and open positions – a skilled recruiter could be exactly what you need to further your career.

How Science Grads Can Get Hired by Biopharma Companies

How Science Grads Can Get Hired by Biopharma Companies

A career in Biotech can be very rewarding. It’s an industry that develops cleaner energy sources, furthers medicine and cures, and develops higher-yielding crops to feed the world’s growing population.

Whether you’ve spent the past few years working on a Ph.D. or are about to finish your first degree, entering the biotech industry is an alternative to the more conventional life-science paths that lead through medical school or end in academia.

But it can be tough to know where to begin. And with the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, it can be hard to identify current job opportunities. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin your new career:

  • Do your Research

With any job, it’s important that candidates do proper research – not just about the job they’re applying for, but about the company they’re hoping to work for. Target companies you’re interested in reaching out to and check out their websites. See if you know anyone who may work at the companies and reach out. Get an understanding of what the organization does, their corporate culture, the leadership group, etc.

  • Find a Mentor

Whether it’s a professor or an established professional in the field, a mentor can go a long way toward helping new grads get their feet in the industry door. Identify one or two potential mentors that you feel you can build and nurture long-term relationships with. Mentors can be advantageous in advancing your career, providing sage advice and guidance based on their experience and expertise.

  • Build your Network

Just like doing good science takes collaboration, so does building your career.  Build a strong network for both career growth and increased learning.   A network of peers can be a valuable group to brainstorm with, glean best practices from and learn about new technologies.

  • Be Aggressive but Be Patient

It may be difficult for new grads to do, but not jumping at the first job offer can be the key to finding a great job. Students with STEM degrees are in the driver’s seat in the current economy and don’t need to settle for an immediate job offer. Pharma/biotech companies aren’t always the first on campus, so be patient and use due diligence to find the right role. When you arrive at the interview, ask questions about the job expectations and responsibilities to get a good feel for the position.

  • Accept an Internship

As a newly minted grad, what you’ve done (work experience) is often more important than what you know (degrees, awards, etc.). An internship that allows you to work in your chosen field will enable you to gain a practical understanding of what it’s like in the real world. It can also provide opportunities to build relationships and show potential employers that you have work experience – giving you a head start vs. the competition. Lastly, some companies hire interns once their term has been completed.

A Final Thought

If you know a biotech career is right for you but aren’t sure what type of position would be best, it’s important to reach out to the industry professionals. Creating a network of working professionals can help you decide on your career path. Also, working with an experienced biotechnology recruiter will remove a lot of the time and stress in finding your first job – and the right one.