Author: Tara Smylie
A week ago, you were scared you’d bombed every interview. Now, you’ve suddenly got too many job offers! This is a great position to be in – yet it can still be stressful. How do you choose between two, three, four different options? And if you’ve only got one nailed down, but expect another to come in soon… how do you manage the uncertainty?
With more than one offer on the table, you’ll naturally want some time to weigh your options. Here are some tips on how to address this situation with hiring managers – and ensure you end up making the right choice.
Buy yourself some time
Rule number one: always show enthusiasm! You can let an employer know you’re excited about a great opportunity without giving them a definite “yes”. Ask the hiring manager when they need to have your answer, then plan to make your decision within that time-frame. If you need more time than they’re offering, you can be honest about your situation and ask for a few more days. If you keep your tone respectful and reiterate your excitement about the position, they’re unlikely to hold this against you.
Once you know how long you have to decide, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Employers like it when you take initiative and want to find out everything you can about an opportunity.
A bird in the hand…
What happens when you get an offer for a perfectly decent job, but you’re 80 percent sure that the amazing position you just interviewed for is also going to work out?
In this situation, you can speed-track your mission to hear from your first-choice employer. Your first option is to create a reasonable delay. Perhaps you can ask your current offer for additional clarification on a point mentioned in the interview, or request to meet with employees at your level if you haven’t already.
Another possibility: let the other employer know that you’ve received an offer already, and you’d love to know when you can expect to hear back from them so you can make the right decision. This approach is a little riskier, but if handled with care, it can actually increase an employer’s interest in you – it shows them that you’re in high demand.
Think concretely about each offer
Say you’re deciding between two offers. Position one offers a snazzier office and builds on your previous work as a data scientist. On the other hand, position two boasts a generous benefits package and lets its employees work from home two days a week. Both positions sound great, and you’re at a loss to decide which one is “better”.
In this situation, you’ll want to look beyond the job descriptions and consider the specifics of each position. Imagine the layout of your space, what projects you’d be working on, and who would be on your team. Chances are, you’ll end up gaining some insight into which one is the better fit.
Additionally, keep the following factors in mind:
- Growth opportunities. If you accept this job now, where will you be in 5 years? Are there exciting advancement opportunities within the company?
- Corporate culture. This highly popular term refers to anything from work-life balance to how a company’s managers treat their teams. According to one survey, corporate culture is the biggest reason that candidates opt for one employer over another.
- Professional network. Are you going to meet people that can help you learn, grow, and reach new career milestones later down the line?
- Benefits. Does this company go above and beyond to ensure their employees are taken care of? Factor in what they offer in terms of paid vacation, health insurance and sick days.
On the other hand, there’s no need for an entirely objective approach. When all is said and done, your gut instinct knows better than any pros-and-cons list. Trust it to guide you where you need to go.
Keep calm and carry on
Even in the height of your angst, don’t forget that many would kill to be in your situation! And bear in mind that whatever you decide, every job has its pros and cons. That said, you should take as much time as you can to work out which job will suit you the best.
If you’re looking to level up your career in the life sciences, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you land a position that checks all the most important boxes.
- How To Handle Multiple Job Offers
- Tips For Handling Multiple Job Offers
- Why Corporate Culture is So Important
- Work-Life Balance in Biotech
- How to Trust Your Gut When It Comes to a Job Offer
”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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
When looking to hire senior executives in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences fields, it’s important to remember that most of the great candidates aren’t hanging out in a database or waiting to be contacted on LinkedIn.
While using your organization’s in-house resources (HR department, hiring managers) may work for less specialized job placements, neither likely have the combination of research skills and the extensive network of professional resources needed to identify and hire top executive talent on time.
Instead of spending a lot of in-house time on an executive hiring search and hoping for the best, many science-based companies are reaching out to executive search firms to optimize the process. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider this strategy for your next high-level hire:
1. A Search is Incredibly Important at the Executive Level
Searches for senior management positions that report to the C-suite are too important not to go out to a retained search firm. Executives at that level can make or break a company. A retained search firm can help mitigate the risk.
2. The Position Requires an Executive with Unique Skills
If you’re seeking someone with very specific knowledge and skills, a search firm can help. The best executive search firms will deliver candidates with the right mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, along with the requisite cultural fit you need.
3. Your Senior Leadership Team Lacks Diversity
Because women, Black, and Latinx candidates are not well-represented at the senior executive levels – especially at science-based organizations – search firms can help level the playing field by conducting searches that ensure equal opportunity for all candidates.
4. You’ve Just Created the Position
When an organization has a new executive-level role to fill, there can often be a lack of knowledge re: the kind of candidate you need. Search firms that specialize in the functions and sectors that are new to the organization can help fill that knowledge gap and identify the right talent.
5. You Have to Replace an Underperforming Executive While Still in the Role
Lining up a replacement while a senior executive is still on board, can be highly complicated. The last thing you want is for the individual to find out. Search firms offer a much-needed cloak of confidentiality. They can manage a confidential search and recruit candidates without even mentioning the name of the client company.
6. You’ve Exhausted your Personal and Company Networks
If you’ve burned through your network of connections for possible referrals, it’s time to access another network. Executive search consultants are among the most well-networked people in the business and can find the right candidates while you’re working on running your department or business.
Summing it Up
Executive recruiters who understand the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences fields can identify, contact, and engage executive talent beyond the reach of employers who go it alone. Before contracting with a hiring firm, be sure they understand your business, have access to the right talent, and provide communication throughout the process to ensure you’re meeting the best candidates.
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. We can also help you understand and improve your cost per hire numbers – so visit our website today!