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How to Implement a Successful Internship Program

How to Implement a Successful Internship Program

If you’ve been relying on job-ready candidates to acquire new talent, you’re missing some valuable opportunities. To widen your net, be sure to build a talent-sourcing and -training pipeline into your company’s DNA so you’re never strapped for qualified candidates when you need them most. That’s where an internship program comes in.

Benefits of Internship Programs

Steady supply

In today’s competitive job market, an internship program makes it that much easier to secure a good match: you’ll broaden your network of potential hires, and you’ll have a greater idea of their strengths and goals than you can get from a regular interview process. Once your internship program is up and running, you’ll have a steady flow of candidates to consider the next time you have an unexpected hiring need.

The price is right

Most interns view their position as a temporary yet highly valuable personal investment. Because they are just beginning their careers, they’ll be highly motivated to perform well in their roles even at a lower pay grade. Of course, you should pay your interns for their contributions – but because they’re still learning, you can pay them less than what you’d pay full-stack employees.

Many hands make light work

Interns can help check off some of the less complex, less skilled tasks on your company to-do list. With the smaller stuff taken care of, your full-stack employees can enjoy uninterrupted focus on larger-scale projects.

That said, don’t deprive your interns of hard-hitting projects: a good internship program builds the skills needed to take on greater challenges in the future. Nowadays, only 8 percent of interns’ tasks involve clerical, unskilled work. The other 92%? High-level skills. Bottom line, prepare your interns to become your employees.

Implementing Your Program

Consider your needs

Not all internship programs need to follow the same template. While considering how to structure your program, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What role will the intern have within the company?
  • What skills and qualities do they need to have to be successful?
  • Who is available to mentor them?

Finally, think big picture: what is your long-term vision for your company, and what skills will future employees need to make it a reality? This is perhaps the single most important aspect of developing an internship program. Say you’re looking to build a patient information website in the near future. This means you’ll need tech-savvy employees who can handle its creation and maintenance. If you train interns in these skills and they return to work for you full-time, they can hit the ground running.

Recruit and hire

To get your program off to a good start, begin recruiting interns several months before your program launches. Consider posting advertisements on job boards, asking around, and working with a university to begin your recruitment process. Schools like Northeastern University have co-op programs that supply interns to biotech companies.

As you consider who to take on, think of interns as future employees, not just temporary assistants. Even if they don’t end up working for you, they’re likely to tell their peers about their experience with you, which can make or break your reputation among potential hires.

Onboard and train

If possible, assign every intern a mentor at the beginning of the program. This helps orient the intern and gives your existing employees a built-in leadership opportunity. As your interns integrate into your company dynamic, include them in company brainstorming sessions. They’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll benefit from their outside ideas and insight.

Also consider conducting exit interviews to ask your interns what they appreciated about the program and what you could improve the next time. If you’re serious about your internship program, the learning experience should go both ways.

If all goes well, make them an offer

Recent interns make great employees – they’ve already integrated into your company culture and know the basic ropes of the job, making the training process easier for everyone. Once your interns have wrapped up their programs, discuss their contributions with your managers, mentors, executives and program directors. If you were all generally satisfied with their performance and trust that they can continue to learn and grow, make them an offer. If they’re like 79.6 percent of interns, they’ll eagerly accept it.

Internships bring long-term value to your company

Implementing an internship program is a long-term investment that can cut down on a lot of hiring risk and training time later down the line. In the short term, it’s the classic win-win: they need the experience and you need the help. Over the long haul, it makes your hiring process more efficient and broadens your talent pool. Another big win.

If you plan to start an internship program, but would prefer to payroll them through a third-party company instead of adding them to your payroll, Sci.Bio is available to offer payroll services. Sci.Bio will manage the employee and employer liabilities associated with contract/contingent hiring. We offer payrolled contractors benefits to help keep them satisfied in their role so that they could turn into long term hires once they graduate! And our payroll fee is remarkably reasonable. Find out more here..

References

  1. 5 steps to a successful internship program
  2. 14 Benefits of Starting an Internship Program for you Company
  3. Hiring During a Biotech Boom: The Talent Challenges Facing Companies Across All Markets
  4. Want good hires who stick around? Make their careers your business (Sci.bio post)
  5. The Benefits of Hiring an Intern
Want Good Hires Who Stick Around? Make Their Careers Your Business

Want Good Hires Who Stick Around? Make Their Careers Your Business

Authors: Tara Smylie and Gabrielle Bauer

To attract and retain the best, most life sciences companies offer such benefits as flex time, remote or hybrid working options, and year-end bonuses. Far fewer capitalize on a perk that virtually all employees value highly: career development support.1 This can take the form of professional development (PD) opportunities or individual mentoring.

A push up the ladder

Climbing up the career ladder, whether reaching for that tenured professorship or medical director role, takes years of hard work. By offering PD services, you make the ladder just a little less steep for ambitious new hires. Here are some options to consider:2

  • Career coaching services: These services are likely to attract ambitious and self-motivated candidates (i.e. people you want to work for you).
  • Leadership training courses: Such courses will allow your keenest employees to develop the skills they need to take on new and more challenging roles. When developing or selecting these courses, consider the increasing importance of soft skills in the life sciences.3 Leadership and emotional intelligence are hot commodities in today’s world.
  • Support for further academic training: Your employees’ career ambitions may depend on pursuing further university education or other relevant credentials. There are different ways you can help with these goals, such as providing financial sponsorship, granting time off work to complete schoolwork, and offering educational guidance.
  • Research opportunities: For employees whose positions involve research, provide chances to practice and refine research-related skills. Find out if they’re interested in a particular area of research, presenting research findings to others, or something else—and offer opportunities based on their answers.

The magic of mentoring

The dictionary defines a mentor as an experienced and trusted advisor. Within the context of a career, a mentor is someone who shares their knowledge and expertise to help a less experienced employee (sometimes called a protégé or mentee) achieve success.4

Just how much do employees value mentoring? The numbers speak for themselves: Nine out of 10 workers with a career mentor report being happy in their jobs, while more than 4 in 10 workers who lack a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months.5 Given that happy employees consistently outperform the competition,6 it’s fair to say that mentoring benefits not only the mentored, but the employer. The mentored employee performs well, which makes them happier, which further increases their performance, in a positive feedback loop that raises satisfaction all around.

When developing a mentorship program, start by creating a profile for every employee who participates. To get a sense of their strengths, weaknesses, and professional goals, you can give them a questionnaire with such questions as:7

  • What skills would you like to cultivate or improve on?
  • What skills do you feel proficient in already?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What qualities are you looking for in a mentor?

Provide your mentors with a similar list of questions to assess the areas in which they have the most to offer their future mentees. Ideally, a mentor and mentee will have similar backgrounds

and career trajectories, but the mentor should be farther along and thriving in their current role.

Hot tip: to ensure your mentorship program achieves its objective, periodically solicit feedback from mentees and be prepared to make changes based on what they say. Maybe they would like more networking opportunities from their mentor or maybe they don’t feel totally heard. You won’t know what needs improvement unless you ask.

Broadcasting your PD services

Start by mentioning your PD and mentorship services in your job description. This shows that you care about your employees’ success and will pique ambitious candidates’ interest. By the same token, mentioning your PD and mentorship services during an interview will invite a candid dialogue about a candidate’s career goals. Through these discussions, you can identify which talent will fit best into which projects—and which candidates have the greatest interest in advancing within your company.

If you’re working with a recruiter, be sure to inform them about your career development services, as these offerings will help the recruiter pull in high-quality candidates. The recruiter may also suggest adding other offerings to your current list. That’s another reason to work with a recruiter specialized in the life sciences: they’ve talked to hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates, so they know what motivates the best and brightest to come around and stick around.

It’s hard to overstate the benefits of offering career development opportunities to your employees—so don’t wait to get started.

Sources

  1. 4 Extraordinary Ways to Compete for the Best Talent in the Digital Age
  2. Professional Development Examples
  3. Soft Skills in the Life Sciences
  4. What is a Career Mentor
  5. Nine in 10 Workers Who Have a Career Mentor Say They are Happy in Their Jobs
  6. 11 Shocking Employee Happiness Statistics for 2022 That Will Blow Your Mind
  7. 4 Steps to Matching the Right Mentors and Mentees
How to Successfully Hire During a Summer Slowdown

How to Successfully Hire During a Summer Slowdown

Author:  Claire Jarvis

Why we’re in a summer slowdown

Every year recruitment slows during the summer months, as employees go on annual leave, and travel to conferences. However, 2022 promises greater difficulties filling roles within the biotech sector.

For one, the American economy faces job growth slowing, rising inflation and the return to “normal” as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. Many of these factors are a continuation of pre-pandemic trends. Increased inflation is leading to a demand for higher wages to compensate for rising consumer prices, and many startups are unable to compete.

After a period of sustained job growth in the biotech and pharma sector, the rate of layoffs at these companies is increasing, with some companies making drastic cuts to their workforce. Many of these cuts are due to disappointing clinical trial results or FDA decisions, though the pandemic also created additional hurdles for clinical trials.

How to reverse hiring slowdown

Despite the uncertain outlook, even smaller biotechs can work against the greater economic forces by implementing small changes to increase their rate of hiring.

With fewer candidates available per position, recruiters and hiring managers should lean into referrals during the slow summer months from current employers and recruiter’s connections. Former job candidates who performed well in late-stage interviews are another group to consider reaching out to again with new opportunities. These personal connections and words of recommendation are likely to carry greater weight and increase the likelihood of a successful hire.

The summer is also when new STEM graduates enter the workforce for the first time, giving hiring managers the opportunity to focus on filling entry level positions.

Companies can also use the summer lull to experiment with new hiring strategies and revamp their professional social media accounts and recruitment webpages. This is also the time to improve the candidate’s recruitment process experience, since the process itself plays an important role in the jobseeker’s decision to work for a particular company.

Need to fill technical roles at your startup? For many years Sci.bio has matched the best biotech candidates to the job. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

How to Recruit for Biotech Startups

How to Recruit for Biotech Startups

Author:  Claire Jarvis

Recruiting for a biotech startup, especially in the first few years after its formation, presents several challenges. The main hurdle is your young company probably lacks the name recognition or legacy that drives recruitment at large pharma. Your dream candidates may not even know your start-up exists.

Fortunately, with savvy marketing you can attract prospective job candidates and raise company visibility.

Cast an SEO-friendly net

Most start-ups use an inbound marketing approach to attract the right candidates, using SEO content to attract a large number of potential job seekers towards your company website or LinkedIn profile, before engaging with the smaller proportion of interested, qualified parties who explore further.

Build a brand that attracts your perfect job candidates

In today’s job market, the most sought-after candidates are free to choose positions at companies most aligned with their values. To attract these candidates your company website – one of the first things curious candidates view – should articulate your company values. A well-defined company brand and culture is the strongest recruitment tool you possess. Your website should also be intuitive for interested candidates to navigate, with careers information and openings displayed in a prominent location accessible from the home page.

Jobseekers respect transparency from recruiters, and you should be open and realistic about your company values when communicating with applicants. In a dynamic start-up where every employee contributes to the company’s success, an employee who isn’t aligned with company values is often more detrimental than a vacant position.

Personalize and streamline the recruitment process

Candidates see the job search and recruitment process as a preview of life as an employee…and with good reason! As mentioned above, your Careers website and application process should showcase your company at its best: can job candidates submit their resume and cover letter with one click, or do they have to copy everything on their resume into an online application program?

To overcome any disadvantage of poor name recognition your company might face, attend networking events to connect with potential candidates in-person. As a recruiter, you are the first and most important face of the company to prospective employees.

When recruiting via LinkedIn, don’t just share company content. Instead, engage with potential job candidates.

The Mobile Hiring Experience

The Mobile Hiring Experience

Author: Gabrielle Bauer

If you want to attract the best, meet candidates on their phones

Today’s job hunters are on the move. With their phones as faithful companions, they want mobile versions of just about all life experiences, from making dinner reservations to buying track pants—and searching for jobs. And not just young people: baby boomers and Gen-Zers are equally liable to reach for their phones when searching for a job.1 If you don’t offer candidates a seamless and enticing mobile experience, one of your competitors surely will.

It’s no longer enough to post your job opening on LinkedIn: you need to mobile-optimize the posting so it looks good on the LinkedIn app. Ditto for the application process. Your star candidate may be sitting in a coffee shop when she sees the posting, without her computer, and you want to make it easy for her to seize the moment and apply. If you pique her interest strongly enough, she may even apply when not actively seeking employment. Such scenarios are by no means rare: a survey of US employees found that 25% weren’t looking for a job when they found their current one.1

By the numbers1,2,3 > 1 billion per month: job searches from mobile devices Almost 90%: job seekers who use a mobile device when looking for a new opportunity 35%: candidates who prefer to apply for jobs on their phones 84%: companies using social media for recruiting 73%: millennials who found their jobs via social media

Getting it right

A word of warning: simply tweaking your web-based application form may not provide the elegant mobile experience that high-quality candidates have come to expect. Indeed, only 22% of people who begin mobile applications complete them, attesting to the importance of getting it right.2 So what makes a job application mobile-friendly? This checklist will keep you on the right track:4

  • Keep it short: When it comes to converting candidates, less is more: 73% of job seekers give up on applications that take longer than 15 minutes.
  • In the job posting, promote the application process as mobile-friendly: Employers who take this simple step increase submissions by 11.6%.
  • Employ AI assistants to chat with job seekers—and there’s no harm in giving them friendly-sounding names like Ellie or Vinay. These “chat bots” can answer applicants’ questions and provide supplemental information.
  • Consider investing in mobile recruiting software, which can help you or your recruiting partner design mobile-first applications that have the single objective of attracting and converting candidates on their phones.
  • Put it to the test: Not sure if your mobile application form makes the grade? Try it yourself or ask a colleague to try it. If the process trips you up, it will confuse candidates, too.

The social piece

Mobile friendliness will take you only so far if you ignore social media. Indeed, the two experiences often overlap: In the US, over 97% of social media users get their fix on their smart phones, at least some of the time.5 With social media use showing no signs of slowing down, today’s employers can’t afford to ignore this hiring channel, called social recruiting. In fact, 84% of companies use social media for recruiting purposes1 and often rely on it for attracting passive talent (candidates not actively looking for a job).6 The fact that 73% of millennials find jobs through social media attests to the power of this strategy.4

Just as with mobile recruiting, social recruiting requires skill and tech-savvy. Investing in social recruiting tools can help streamline and automate the process. While you’re at it, consider

including testimonials on your social media sites: 41% of candidates look for this extra vote of confidence when researching companies in their job search.6

Sci.bio recruiters understand all the bases: traditional, mobile, social, and everything in between. We also understand that no two biotech companies are the same, and adapt our support to each client’s needs. Let’s get mobile and let’s get social—together. Ω

References

  1. Key aspect of recruitment statistics. CVViz. https://cvviz.com/recruitment-statistics/
  2. The rise in mobile devices in job search. Glassdoor Economic Research. https://www.glassdoor.com/research/app/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/Mobile-Job-Search-1.pdf
  3. Mobile recruiting. Smart Recruiters. https://www.smartrecruiters.com/resources/glossary/mobile-recruiting/
  4. How to create a truly mobile job application experience for candidates. ICIMS. https://www.icims.com/blog/how-to-create-a-truly-mobile-job-application-experience-for-candidates/
  5. Active mobile social media penetration in the Americas as of January 2021. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/308282/active-social-network-usage-penetration-of-the-americas/
  6. 20 mind-blowing social recruiting statistics. https://www.careerarc.com/blog/20-mind-blowing-social-recruiting-statistics/