Author: Tara Smylie
Motivated recruiting. Let’s face it – it’s hard for any of us to do our best work when we’re not feeling motivated. Sure, the work can still get done, but it won’t have that magical touch that comes naturally when we’re inspired to complete the project at hand.
Maybe you’re recruiting for a highly specialized lab position without many qualified candidates. Or maybe you’re trying to fill a key role at a biotech startup. Recruiting can be challenging – but when your team feels driven to succeed, they’ll be more likely to round up a roster of exceptional candidates. As their leader, knowing how to keep motivation high is essential.
Empower your team: Motivated Recruiting
An empowered employee is a motivated one. Employees feel empowered in their roles when they feel that their contribution is important to the success of their team, and that they have the power to make meaningful decisions in their jobs.
One tangible way to empower your employees is to offer training where possible. A little extra learning will help your employees feel competent and qualified in their roles. And of course, it’s an opportunity to give them new skills that they can use to level up their performance.
That said, in the present day, workplace empowerment extends beyond the office. Millennial employees particularly appreciate flexibility, which often means hybrid workplace models and customizable schedules. When your employees feel that they have control over their work-life balance, they will come to work happier and more motivated to shine in their roles.
Don’t skimp on communication
When you experience a setback – tell your team. When the scope or nature of a project changes – tell your team, and make sure you’re all on the same page moving forward. To that end, if you, as manager or boss, make a mistake… don’t be afraid to own up to it! If you’re willing to admit you missed something, your employees will likely follow suit when they make an error themselves.
And remember, good communication doesn’t just mean explaining what’s going on with a project – it means thanking your employees when they’ve been exceptionally helpful or professional in their roles. Acknowledgement of a job well done goes a long way!
Communication, good or bad, forms a huge part of a company’s overall culture. Consider this: a whole 47 percent of jobseekers cite poor company culture as their reason for wanting to leave their last role. It’s worth making sure yours is a good one.
Lively workplace, lively team
Whether your employees are remote or in-person, creating a lively workplace often comes down to the design of the work environment. Ask yourself: is your office furniture comfortable? Does your setup lend itself to easy communication between employees? Are your spaces and interfaces appealing and cheerful? These little details go a long way in livening up the work experience, which will make your team happier and more motivated.
Another way to liven up the workplace is to encourage friendships between your employees. According to research by workplace software company OfficeVibe, seventy percent of employees say that having friendships at work improves the quality of their workplace experience. And according to other data they compiled, work friendships actually boost productivity. That’s a win for everyone!
To encourage friendships between your employees, consider buying large tables for communal lunches, assigning groups for collaborative work, and/or organizing retreats.
Invest in the right tech
In the field of recruiting, the right hardware, online tools, and software subscriptions can all make a difference. Nowadays, AI and software solutions have a greater and greater role to play in recruitment – so don’t be shy! Letting the tech take care of the small stuff frees up time for your team to focus on the bigger picture.
Consider getting your team a subscription to a recruitment service like Linkedin’s Recruiter Lite subscription plan, and investing in a project management software like Asana or Monday.com to make team communication and strategizing as seamless as possible.
The secret formula
Growing a standout recruiting team is not just about assembling the group with the best credentials. It’s about consistently motivating your team so that they naturally become a powerhouse of superstar recruiters.
The takeaway is this: strive to listen to your recruiting team, and treat them like the valuable employees they are. As a result, they will be happier, more motivated, and better able to aid you in the search for ideal candidates.
- How to Recruit for Biotech Startups
- Top 8 Ways to Keep Your Recruiting Team Motivated
- Millennial Employees Want Flexibility & Benefits. Can They Have It All?
- How to Motivate Your Recruiting Team
- How to Motivate a Recruiting Team – 7 Proven Methods
- Workplace Happiness and Employee Motivation
Author: Claire Jarvis
Jobseekers and biotech hiring managers are in agreement: virtual interviews are here to stay. From the company perspective, virtual interviews are a cheaper and more efficient way of screening candidates than in-person interviews. They widen the available talent pool by making interviews accessible to remote/hybrid candidates further afield, and are quick to schedule. Job candidates also prefer virtual interviews because it gives them more control over interview scheduling, and causes less disruption to their day if they’re currently employed.
However, many hiring managers feel in-person interviews offer them a better view of the candidate, providing more helpful insights into the candidate’s suitability. To combat the drawbacks, here are a few best practices to ensure you hire the best candidates and get the most insights from the virtual hiring process.
Deliver all information to the candidate in advance
To minimize delays, email the log-in information to the candidate ahead of time. Provide an email or phone number for the candidate to use if they experience any last-minute technical issues. This reduces confusion and last-minute delays because the candidate needs to download unfamiliar meeting software, for instance. It also reduces the stress to candidates and interviewers alike, enabling everyone to begin the interview in a calm state of mind.
Plan your interview time and structure in advance
The hiring team should prepare a list of topics to cover in order, or questions to ask, with time allocated for each point on the list. Make sure everyone on the interview panel has access to the proposed interview structure/workflow ahead of time. This will ensure the interview flows smoothly, without running too long.
Give candidates enough time to answer your questions during the interview itself, accounting for connectivity lags or difficulty reading body cues.
Remember that candidate recruitment experience is an important factor in their decision making process, and perceived disorganization during the interview may present your company in an unfavorable light.
Give candidates a taste of company culture
One notable disadvantage of virtual interviews is that the candidate gets less insight into company culture and work environment than if they were invited on-site. A way to work around this issue is to arrange a less structured informational interview with existing employees, which will give the candidate an overview of the company from someone at their job level. Hiring managers can also offer videos or virtual tours of the company office or campus during the interview process. These extra steps can help job candidates visualize themselves working for your company, giving them a clearer idea of the benefits of joining your company and their suitability for the role.
Invest in software for online recruitment
Since virtual interviews will remain an important recruitment tool in the years to come, consider investing in dedicated recruitment software or upgrading your existing programs. For instance, analytics and AI tools can assess candidate suitability and sort through job applications. Chatbots on your company’s career homepage can address any basic questions jobseekers have and free up hiring team resources. Consider incorporating online aptitude or personality tests into the hiring software or portals to provide another level of insight into potential candidates.
Whether you’re hiring for remote, in-person or hybrid biotech roles, Sci.bio talent experts are here to help. Reach out and schedule a conversation with us today.
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
Author: Gabrielle Bauer
Explore these ideas, insights, and tips to help you live your best life, both on and off the job.
To stay sharp and to grow within the biotech industry, you need to look beyond the daily routine, to set goals, and to make connections. When you reach a fork in the road, you need strategies to help you choose your next steps with confidence. You also can’t ignore the rest of your life. No matter how inspiring you find your work in the life sciences, time away from the lab or the boardroom can help you maintain your zest for working and for living.
This backgrounder aims to inspire you to live more purposefully and creatively, at work and beyond. Use the ideas and tips below as a starting point, adapting them to your unique style and circumstances. Follow the links to dive more deeply into a topic, and keep an eye out for our blog and events for further insights into the science life.
A successful career journey includes both making and changing plans. While perseverance can get you through many rough spots, you also need to know when to cut your losses and regroup. Consider these approaches to help you chart your course.
Boosting Your Goal IQ
“I want to be successful in five years” may be an admirable goal, but it’s not a smart one. Smart goals are:
- Specific: To zero in on your goal, try answering the five W questions: What do you want to accomplish? Why is the goal important? Who does it involve? Where is it located? Which resources does it require? ●
- Measurable: How will you know when you’ve reached your goal or are partway there? Measuring your progress can help you maintain your excitement about approaching your goal. If your goal will take months or years to accomplish, break it down into steps that end with clear milestones.
- Achievable: By all means dream big, but make sure your goal matches your interests, aspirations, and aptitudes. The best goals are those that stretch your abilities without exceeding them. A word of caution: avoid setting goals that depend on someone else’s actions, like “getting promoted to medical director.” If that’s what you want, reframe your goal to something like “acquire the training and skills to be considered for a medical director position.”
- Relevant: The goal has to mean something to you. If it doesn’t align with your values and other life goals, it will lose its appeal. You know your goal is relevant if you can answer yes to the questions: Does the goal seem worthwhile? Is this the right time for it? Am I the right person to pursue it? Does it make sense in the current business environment?
- Time-bound: A time-bound goal has a deadline. If you decide to pursue an advanced degree in bioinformatics, you can set your deadline at (for example) three years from now. You can also set deadlines for completing prerequisites, if needed, and for applying to bioinformatics programs.
While you’re working on SMART goals, take the opportunity to step back and consider your long-term career trajectory. Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist who teaches at Duke University, suggests you begin by clarifying where you don’t want to go. “Get clear on what you don’t want, and then take steps to avoid that,” she writes in the Harvard Business Review. “It’s much easier to identify things you know you dislike, rather than ideating about a hypothetical future.” Perhaps the pandemic years have made you realize that you don’t want to spend all your time in an office environment. Or perhaps it’s the opposite: you’ve learned that working from home doesn’t do it for you. Or you’ve realized that you don’t want to spend the rest of your career in a laboratory or on the road.
Next, flip the exercise around and make a list of scenarios that instinctively appeal to you. Maybe the entrepreneurial lifestyle calls to you, and you can picture yourself launching a boutique skincare company with a small lineup of clinically active products. Maybe you’re an avid hiker and you’d like to live closer to the mountains. Such “visioning” exercises will keep your long-term aspirations alive in your head, so you’ll be ready to turn them into SMART goals when the right time comes.
The Biggest Decision
If you’ve recently completed your schooling, you’re probably staring down the scientist’s biggest fork in the road: academia or industry? Or maybe you’ve already made your choice, travelled some distance down that path, and are now wondering if you should backtrack and take the other road.
It never hurts to lay out the pros and cons of either choice, as we’ve done here. For extra inspiration, check out videos such as this one, targeted to scientists and engineers.
When reviewing such lists, be sure to check in with yourself. Are you listening to your inner promptings, or are you trying to please a colleague or professor sitting on our shoulder? If that’s the case, refocus your thoughts on your own mental picture of yourself—the only picture that counts. Nobody knows you as well as you do, and what works for your mentor won’t necessarily line up with your needs.
Finding Your Career Sweet Spot
Ever heard of Ikigai? This Japanese path-finding exercise, which roughly translates to “reason for being,” can help you zero in on a career path that speaks to your heart and your mind. As illustrated below, Ikigai invites you to ask four questions:
- What do I love?
- What am I good at?
- What can I get paid for?
- What does the world need?
Once you’ve answered the questions, see where they overlap: that’s your ikigai, or career sweet spot. For example, if you love biology, you’ve always been good at drawing, you’re comfortable around computers, and you’ve noticed many new digital health communications companies popping up, you may find your sweet spot as a digital medical illustrator.
The Ikigai Intersection
Tweaking Your Career Path
If you’ve hit a mental wall in your career, you’re certainly not alone. By age 50, the average person has held 12 different jobs in search of the right fit. People change not only jobs, but careers: in 2016 alone, about 6.2 million workers left their roles for work in a different field. If you recognize yourself in these signs, it may be time for a change.
- You’ve lost your mojo: You don’t feel connected to your job and you have trouble faking enthusiasm. You’re underperforming and letting deadlines slip past you.
- You don’t feel like you’re making a difference: Your role doesn’t play to your greatest strengths, and you don’t feel your accomplishments make the world a better place.
- Your job is affecting your personal life: You come home exhausted, you take out your frustrations on those who live with you, or your body shows signs of chronic stress, such as headaches or digestive problems.
- You fantasize about a new job or career: You feel jealous of your friends’ careers or find yourself browsing job boards. When people ask you what you do, you don’t take pride in the answer.
- You dread going to work: This clue needs no further elaboration. If you feel this way consistently, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Perhaps you don’t need to step out of the life sciences field, but to find a new career under its large umbrella. If your job as a lab technician doesn’t fulfill the performer in you, maybe a biology teacher will do the trick. Or if you enjoy working on science projects but feel like an outsider in the lab, you could find your groove as a regulatory writer. Don’t ever think of such lateral moves as steps backward: success is measured in personal fulfillment, not in a CV.
The life sciences are as much about people as products. Whether you’re looking for a new job, want advice on writing research grants, or simply enjoy picking colleagues’ brains, you don’t have to be the life of the party to make meaningful connections. You just need to show up where your tribe hangs out.
Go to Industry Events
If you’re in job-hunting mode, networking will take you farther than just about any other strategy. It’s your ticket to the hidden job market—the 70% of jobs that never get advertised to the public. Not just that, but networking jumpstarts 85% of all job offers.
Start by making the most of industry events. The biopharma world runs on a continuous cycle of conferences and summits, many of which include after-hours networking sessions. Even if you feel tired after a long day, resist the temptation to skip them. Designed to help people relax and unwind, these events are networking gold: when people feel relaxed, they connect more easily and organically.
Which brings us to the big networking takeaway: focus on building relationships, rather than making transactions. It’s unlikely that your new connection has a job lined up for you, and a direct appeal may turn them off at this stage. Remember that both of you share the same goal: to build a network of people who can help each other over the course of your careers.
Within a day or two of making a connection, send a quick follow-up note. Avoid making a specific request: instead, thank your contact for the chance to chat and tell them you hope to speak more in the future. Next time you sign up for a conference, ask them if they plan to attend and can meet up with you.
In some cases, a connection may lie dormant for a while before coming back to life again—and sometimes the spark just isn’t there. If you feel you’re forcing it, step back and accept that not all connections will stick. Like many things in life, networking requires a mix of persistence, patience, and rolling with the punches.
Whether you love or merely tolerate social media, it’s a networking channel you can’t afford to ignore. Start with LinkedIn, recognized as a top choice for career networking. Make sure your own LinkedIn profile stays up to date, and post articles of interest to your network every few days. Join LinkedIn groups devoted to your area and become an active participant. Also engage on LinkedIn with people you’ve met at live events. Request a connection, comment on their content, and share articles that may interest them.
Hop on Twitter to get industry news and discover movers and shakers in your area. As with LinkedIn, engage with the colleagues you meet on Twitter: follow them, comment on their posts, and retweet blog posts and articles they’ve posted.
At the same time, avoid relying exclusively on social media to build your network. As Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, points out, “Sometimes social media tricks us into believing we have a strong connection with someone when, in fact, that connection only exists in that single plane of existence.” When an opportunity presents itself, Clark suggests taking the conversation off-line. “If you notice that your friend was just promoted or had some other success, celebrate her win by giving her a call or sending her a note.”
Want to volunteer? Do it strategically.
Strategic volunteering means choosing volunteering roles based on the skills you have and those you’d like to acquire. Yes, it’s calculated—and that’s a good thing. For example, if you’d like to boost your project management or business communication skills, consider volunteering for a hospital foundation. Want a crack at leadership or policymaking? Volunteer for a committee in a science organization. For the biggest bang in human contact, help out at a major conference.
Stepping Away From Toxic Relationships
Building your network doesn’t just mean making connections: it means severing those connections that cause more harm than good. If you sense that a colleague or friend is trying to sabotage your career, you could well be right. Not everyone has your back. Attitudes and behaviors like these should set off your alarm bells:
- Failing to offer encouragement when you clearly need it
- Questioning whether you’re qualified for a job you have in mind
- Revealing personal information about you to other colleagues or on social media
If the saboteur is someone you know well, a candid conversation may lead her to mend his ways, but don’t count on it. Sometimes your best course of action is to cut your losses, ideally before the tension escalates to animosity. If you keep getting sabotaging vibes from a friend or associate, step away without guilt. As the saying goes, life’s too short.
And what if the problem lies with your whole working environment? By no means rare, toxic work cultures can sap your performance and your spirit. Signs of workplace toxicity include lack of transparency around projects, passive-aggressive communication, and cliques within departments. If this describes your workplace, consider taking your concerns to someone in the human resources department (assuming your organization has one). A mediated group discussion could help people reflect on their contributions to the bad vibe—and realize that they’re being watched. If nothing changes, look for opportunities to move to a different department, or even a different branch. And update your resume, just in case.
Balance doesn’t look the same for everyone. To achieve a work-life balance that leaves you fulfilled, you need to know what you value most, both at work and elsewhere, and work toward it. If flexible work hours and creative control top your list, share these priorities with recruiters and hiring managers when you consider new biotech roles. Of course, flexibility works both ways: don’t automatically reject opportunities that meet most but not all of your criteria. Small details can be negotiated, either now or down the line.
As a rule, life science professionals bring a lot of passion to their work. There’s nothing wrong with working hard—or even to devote most of your waking hours to your work—except when your focus on work strains your personal life or starts affecting your health. A hyper-focus on work also puts you at risk of job burnout—a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that erodes your job satisfaction and even your personal identity. Symptoms of burnout also include lack of energy, poor concentration, and physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive problems.
While not (yet) a medical diagnosis, burnout is recognized by leading medical publishers such as the Mayo Clinic and WebMD. If you’re heading toward burnout, you need to insert a braking mechanism into your working life, even if it feels forced at first. Some burnout-busting ideas to consider:
- Keep one day per week free of meetings
- Designate certain hours of the evening off-limits for viewing and sending emails
- Schedule outside time into your day: go for a walk, sit by a lake, or stroll through a botanical garden
- Schedule activities with family and friends
- Show up for family meetings and emergencies
- Plan day trips to nearby towns or hiking trails
Attitude Adjustment: the Joy of Gratitude
Appreciating the blessings in your life doesn’t just feel good: practicing gratitude can improve your sleep and emotional regulation and protect you from stress and burnout. To get the full benefits of the practice, list a few blessings every day in a gratitude journal (or electronic file), post them on a gratitude mood board, or drop them into a gratitude jar. Don’t limit the blessings to big-ticket items such as a promotion or new friendship: the cherry tree you saw down the street or the joke you exchanged with the cashier count, too.
Recharging Your Batteries
In biotech and elsewhere, many jobs involve long periods of physical inactivity and engagement with screens. Over time, this workstyle can drain your energy and lead to health problems. If you recognize yourself in some of these habits, try the science-backed antidotes listed below.
For a more potent reboot, take that vacation you’ve been putting off. If you’re like four out of 10 Americans, you didn’t take all your vacation days last year. Don’t be that “hero”—today’s employers certainly don’t expect it of you. Successful biotech companies recognize the restorative power of a vacation and encourage their employees to take time off.
In addition to recharging your batteries, vacations can give you a new perspective on your life, including your career trajectory. If crowded airports are not your thing, book a week at a cottage or a campsite nearby.
Official holidays may not coincide with your vacation time, but they offer a further opportunity to disconnect from work pressures and stressors. When the next statutory holiday or holiday season rolls around, take the opportunity to reflect on your career accomplishments and challenges over the past months. Reach out to someone you haven’t seen in a while, whether a colleague or simply a friend. If it’s alone time you crave most, enjoy some guilt-free hours with a hardcover book—or surround yourself with the natural world.
Keeping the Juices Flowing
Have you ever pondered a problem for hours on end, glued to your screen or notepad, and then hit upon the solution after you’ve stepped away to weed your garden or walk around the block? We’ve all had this experience, and psychologists say it’s no accident. As behavioral psychologist Susan Weinschenck explains in a Psychology Today article, “if you keep your prefrontal cortex too focused on the ‘task at hand’ then it can’t go searching for interesting combinations of information you have stored in memory. When you take a break (the garden, the walk, the shower, the dishes) then your PFC is freed up to go searching and combining.”
To stay creative, you need to expose your brain to a variety of stimuli. Different creative activities stimulate different parts of the brain, contributing to its plasticity over the lifespan. For example, exercise increases growth factors that help the brain form new neural connections, and meditation helps preserve the aging brain. Completing a puzzle or playing a word game doesn’t just help you relax: it’s brain juice. To get the most from the activity, choose the right level of challenge—a bit of a stretch, but not too much—whether it’s the cryptic crossword or the daily brain teaser in your newspaper.
We hope you have found some inspiration in these ideas and will apply them to your own life. Feel free to pop back here to remind yourself of your goals and progress. If you’re wondering whether to accept or decline an offer, or whether to reinvent yourself entirely, keep your focus on your must-haves and your deal breakers. The fine points can always be negotiated. If you’re honest with yourself and with your recruiter, you’ll get what you need. Ω