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
- Key aspect of recruitment statistics. CVViz. https://cvviz.com/recruitment-statistics/
- 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
- Mobile recruiting. Smart Recruiters. https://www.smartrecruiters.com/resources/glossary/mobile-recruiting/
- 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/
- 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/
- 20 mind-blowing social recruiting statistics. https://www.careerarc.com/blog/20-mind-blowing-social-recruiting-statistics/
Author: Gabrielle Bauer
Streamlining the job application process pays dividends on several fronts
In the competitive life sciences market, high-quality candidates hold a lot of power. Knowing they’re in demand, they will naturally favor simple, elegant hiring processes. Indeed, 45% of job seekers view an easy application process as a top priority,1 and over two-thirds would avoid reapplying to a company that didn’t offer a positive hiring experience the first time around.2
To attract choice candidates, you need to remove barriers that may discourage them from applying—and pique their interest with meaningful perks.1 Here’s a tip list to keep you on track.
Cut to the chase: A survey by Jobvite found that nearly 85% of Fortune 500 companies were requiring candidates to register on their website before applying for an open position, losing potential candidates as a result.2 Is it really necessary for a candidate to open an account with your website? Does she need to fill out that generic form? Ask yourself whether your interview process has unnecessary steps that can be cut out—and then do it.
Keep it short: There’s no reason to require a complete application form before you even consider a candidate. To remove the hassle factor, create a bare-bones form that allows
candidates to populate fields with information from existing platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Google Drive.3
Text it in: Communicating by text—for example, to schedule job interviews—can help increase candidate conversion. In a 2021 survey, 69% of candidates who received texts as part of the hiring process reported a preference for texting over email or phone calls2—perhaps because texts feel more personal and less bureaucratic. Once you set up a texting option, you can keep using and adapting it to other positions.
Create a user-friendly mobile experience: a recent Glassdoor survey found that 58% of candidates use their phones to search for jobs, and 35% prefer applying for jobs from their phones.4 Be sure to pilot-test the mobile application interface and iron out any bumpy seams.
“Get rid of your [career site] log-in. You don’t need it. The platform SAIC uses doesn’t require a log-in to make an application. Therefore, it takes three to five minutes on average for people to get through, and we complete a huge amount of our applications.” Amy Butchco, director of talent acquisition, SAIC
Make it optional: Don’t require candidates to sign up for your newsletter or receive company updates as a condition of applying. Such extra steps can leave them frustrated. If you have a talent network, by all means give candidates the option to join it, but don’t force it on them: a mandatory registration process typically reduces the number of completed applications.2
Get them on camera: A quick video chat can give you more information about a candidate’s communication style and job fit than a pile of forms.5 Depending on the number of applicants and suitable candidates, you can schedule video interviews earlier or later in the hiring sequence.
Tag it as urgent: An “urgent” flag in a job description will attract candidates looking for fast action—and could motivate your organization to keep the wheels moving on the hiring process.4
Show your working style: In your job solicitation, call immediate attention to high-demand benefits such as remote work options and flexible hours. (In today’s market, you’d be unwise not to offer some type of flexibility: according to recruiters surveyed in 2021, inflexible work options led 54% of candidates to turn down a job offer or even an interview.6)
Bottom line: make it easy, make it enticing, and top-tier candidates will find you.
At Sci.bio, we understand the value of keeping it simple—and the biotech superstars we talk to don’t let us forget it. Bringing in a recruiter can be the first step in simplifying your hiring process, resulting in the quantity and quality of applicants you need for a great hire. Here’s a simple way to contact us today: [email protected]
- 2021 job seeker nation report. Jobvite. https://www.jobvite.com/lp/2021-job-seeker-nation-report/
- 2021 Fortune 500 candidate conversion audit. Jobvite. https://www.jobvite.com/lp/2021-fortune-500-report/
- Guide to hiring top talent quickly in today’s job market. Recruiter.com. https://www.recruiter.com/i/guide-to-hiring-top-talent-quickly-in-todays-job-market/
- 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
- Five steps to simplifying your hiring process. The Undercover Recruiter. https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/simplifying-hiring-process/
- 2021 recruiter nation report. Jobvite. https://www.jobvite.com/lp/2021-recruiter-nation-report/
It’s a common refrain among biotech recruiters and clients that right now we’re in a candidate-driven job market, which has made it harder for some companies hiring to fill technical roles. Attracting and retaining the best talent in these conditions requires clients to rethink established recruitment strategies.
A candidate-driven market is one where demand for candidates outstrips supply, and qualified candidates receive multiple job offers during their search. It also means employees are regularly approached by recruiters with opportunities, even when they are not actively looking for work, and that an employee dissatisfied with their current company will find it easy moving into another position.
The onus therefore shifts to the client and recruiters to convince candidates to accept their offer, and to make sure their valued employees remain satisfied at the company.
There’s no ignoring the reality that candidates can afford to pick and choose between companies. Biotechs cannot afford to lose out on top scientific talent. For instance, while the majority of STEM jobseekers have the basic laboratory skills necessary to succeed in an R&D environment, a smaller proportion has the knowledge of industry standards necessary to bring a company’s product to market.
Bringing In The Best
How clients should make job offers appealing to candidates:
- Compelling company brand and vision. Not just an enticing offer package and company perks, but an attractive company culture and working environment.
- Match of values and aspirations between client and candidate. In a candidate-driven market, jobseekers care about matching their personal values with those of a company. Clients must pay attention to candidates’ values, emphasize their own values and identify alignment.
- Listen to what the candidate is asking for and tailor your offer. What will make your company stand out from the crowd – in addition to values and offer packages – is the attention you pay to your candidate’s priorities and career goals. Make sure you ask the candidate about their desired career path and demonstrate in the interview and offer stage that your company is able to align on.
- Fast and user-friendly job application process. With the rise of ‘one-click’ online applications, candidates are coming to expect a streamlined job application process. They also aren’t willing to wait weeks to hear back about another job offer if they’ve already received one. Clients therefore need to create a positive application experience for all candidates, and to make hiring decisions quickly.
Looking to recruit top STEM talent to your company? The recruiting and sourcing experts at Sci.bio are here to help. Reach out to us today and start the conversation.
Author: Gabrielle Bauer
To attract the best, your offer has to speak to them
You’ve found The One—the candidate who stood out above all others and promises to take your organization to new heights. The only thing left is to get your rockstar to say yes.
The STEM market has a talent shortage, with the best candidates in high demand,1 so expect your candidate to come to the negotiation table with a wish list. While you don’t have to grant every item on the list, this is not the time to quibble about the wording of the job title or the flexible start time on Wednesdays. Showing good faith keeps the negotiation flowing and brings that “yes” to your corner.
For starters, contact the candidate ASAP—ideally on the same day you’ve decided to hire them. The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood that another employer will snap them up.2 Pick up the phone, rather than sending an email: only through a voice exchange can you communicate your excitement and gauge the candidate’s emotional response to the offer.
Put on your candidate’s hat
“The employer-employee relationship doesn’t start the first day on the job. It officially starts with the job offer. Make that moment memorable for the candidate.” 2 -Jeff Haden, contributing editor, Inc. magazine
If your candidate is like most, they’ll prioritize five areas when evaluating an offer: salary, short-term incentives, long-term incentives, benefits and perks—and the job itself. If they’re already working, they’ll likely expect a pay increase of at least 10% to change jobs.2 But don’t just pick a figure based on salary history or industry standards: tailor your salary offer to your candidate’s knowledge, skills and experience 3 —and let him know how you’ve arrived at the figure. Transparency never hurts.
“Using past salaries to determine a future salary perpetuates the gender pay gap and shows an unwillingness to pay employees their true worth.” 3
-John Feldmann, Insperity
In addition to discussing base salary, explain the benefits, bonus plan (if any), and any other monetary perks in detail, following up with a written summary of what you discussed.2 By the same token, come clean about your constraints. If you’re a startup and have a limited cash flow, for example, explain that you can’t match a top-dollar salary right now but can make up for it with an attractive equity program.3
Don’t stop at monetary benefits: today’s jobseekers place a high value on the ability to work remotely, at least part of the time. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend, with many people discovering they enjoy working from home. Flexible hours and paid volunteer days can also help attract top candidates looking for employers who value work/life balance.3
As for the job itself, bear in mind that science professionals don’t usually seek out Easy Street. As revealed by a Talent in Science survey, they rate the opportunity to do challenging work as a key factor in deciding on a job offer.1 With this in mind, be sure to highlight the professional challenges and opportunities for growth. Working on a team that successfully commercializes a drug can galvanize a career, so let your candidate know if you have a big one in the pipeline.
When in doubt, ask
No two candidates have the same life circumstances, and a perk that means the world to one candidate may leave another one cold. Instead of guessing, ask outright: “What working conditions or benefits do you value most?” If you can meet these needs, even partway, you’re on your way to a deal.
Even if the candidate doesn’t push back on any of your terms, resist the temptation to ask for a firm commitment right away: giving them the time and space to reflect on the offer signals respect. That said, it may be useful to probe them gently to gauge their interest in moving forward. You can simply ask: “I understand you need time to think about this, but how do you feel about the offer?” If you sense hesitation, you can ask further questions or provide information that could move the needle.
What you don’t want is a lukewarm, half-hearted acceptance. A new hire who starts out with an undercurrent of dissatisfaction won’t give you his best. When you finally seal the deal, you want both parties to be smiling widely.
1. How can we attract engineering and science talent to life sciences? LinkedIn, Oct. 21, 2019.
2. How to make the perfect job offer: 9 tips. Inc. magazine.
3. 10 tips for making job offers to top candidates. Forbes expert panel.
Searching for your first biotech job? Much of the career advice for aspiring scientists focuses on creating and polishing tangible documents: CV, cover letters and a LinkedIn profile. Less discussed, but perhaps more important than anything else when it comes to job hunting success, is the creation of your personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is composed of the qualities, values and strengths other people associate with you. It is both the image you actively promote, and the impressions of you people get from your online and in-person presence. The author Cynthia Johnson identifies “personal proof, social proof, recognition, and association” as the four pillars of a personal brand.
Why does my personal brand matter?
The biotech job market is competitive. A biotech company may receive hundreds of applications for every entry level scientist position advertised. Not only will a clear personal brand help your job application stand out, but it will give time-pressed hiring managers and recruiters an immediate sense of who you are as a candidate and what you can bring to the role.
How do I cultivate and market my personal brand?
1. Be authentic
Although it might take time to discover your personal brand, you should never pretend to be something you’re not, or misrepresent your accomplishments. A ‘strong’ personal brand is not a reflection of how impressive your accomplishments are, it’s about the consistency of your messaging, and whether the broad strokes of the brand you promote matches the evidence showcased in your CV, website, etc.
2. Identify your strengths and accomplishments
When starting their career, scientists are often taught to be modest about their achievements and present work experience in a ‘neutral’ fashion. In the world of personal branding, you are allowed to brag a little! Your wins and your talents should take center-stage on LinkedIn and your other professional websites and social media accounts. If you win a research award…post about it online. If you’re great at working in cross-functional teams…point that out in your job application.
Once you’ve written down your technical and personal strengths, it’s easy to translate the former into your area of expertise. Recruiters and hiring managers definitely want to see your achievements, but even more important is a demonstration of cohesive expertise in your research field. That expertise is what will get you an industry job.
3. Focus your brand
There are two meanings of the phrase ‘focused personal brand’ – and both are important. You want your personal brand to be concise: it should boil down to a couple of sentences and adjectives. An example might be “Creative microbiologist who specializes in E. Coli.” It shouldn’t take you five minutes to explain to a recruiter who you are and what you do.
In the other sense, your personal brand should be focused into a sub specialty, with a defined target audience. While it’s understandable that you don’t want to narrow your career opportunities down to nothing, your personal brand can’t be so broad that nothing about you stands out to recruiters and hiring managers. For instance, saying you’re “a medicinal chemist” may be true…but it’s less helpful than saying you’re “a medicinal chemist who specializes in oncology drug development and has experience using solid NMR.” Now you’ll attract the attention of recruiters seeking to fill oncology and solid NMR-based medicinal chemistry roles.
4. Build an online and in-person presence
Once you’ve decided upon your brand, it’s time to market yourself. Update your professional website, job application materials and LinkedIn profile to highlight your core skills, values and career objectives. When you aren’t posting about yourself on your professional social media profiles, you should be sharing and interacting with content that reflects your personal brand (e.g. breakthroughs in your area of expertise, news from the kinds of companies you wish to work for). You don’t have to produce a lot of content or be active on LinkedIn 24/7: but you should make a commitment to posting or sharing content on a regular basis, be it once a week or once a day.
Of course, you can also publicize your personal brand through in-person and virtual networking [insert link to networking blog]. When networking with recruiters and peers within your field, your elevator pitch should encapsulate the strengths and expertise already outlined in your personal brand. Once developed, consider engaging in professional activities that reinforce and publicize your personal brand, such as presenting at conferences or taking on leadership roles in professional societies.
When looking for your first industry role, the biotech job market can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Fortunately, the experienced specialist recruiters at Sci.Bio are here to help. Get in touch with us to discuss your career goals today.