Corporate culture hasn’t always been at the forefront of hiring processes. Nowadays, though, it can play a huge role. That’s right: corporate culture is all the rage in today’s recruiting world – and for good reason.
Employees are more than their skillset, and companies are more than a list of random requirements. Individuals and groups all have their own unique personalities, and a good match on that level can work wonders for employee satisfaction and productivity.
Exploring and defining your company culture will let you screen for a good cultural fit among job-seekers. Here we’ll outline what corporate culture really is – and how to hire candidates who fit into yours.
The Dimensions of Corporate Culture
What do we mean by “corporate culture”? It’s one part belief, and one part behavior. It’s both what a company stands for, and the decisions made about how it operates. Regardless of the specifics, one thing is consistent across all companies: corporate culture promotes employee happiness, which is great for business.
The culture you foster will depend on both the needs and the limitations of your business. For example, start-ups are known for corporate cultures that stack up as more informal, but less laid-back, than what you’d find at your average corporation. This is a natural by-product of being both small in size and extra-determined in mindset.
According to Investopedia, there are four different styles of corporate culture. Naturally, most work environments will incorporate elements of all four, and outside influences as well – but if you’d like a starting point, figure out which of these styles appeals to you the most:
Adhocracy culture: this cultural style values innovation and risk-taking above all else, and puts less emphasis on perfect organization or adherence to a rulebook.
Clan culture: within this framework, collaboration is paramount. Employees are encouraged to see themselves as part of a team, and actively value the work of every member.
Hierarchy culture: though it’s less up-and-coming, there is a time and place for this more traditional style of company organization. A large company with a complex structure will likely have to adopt at least some aspects of a hierarchical culture to function smoothly.
Market culture: to some extent all corporate cultures revolve around the marketplace. That said, the “market culture” we’re referring to is one that openly and aggressively pursues market targets, rather than focusing on more indirectly profitable projects.
Lay Out your Culture Cards Early
When screening for cultural fit, honesty really is the best policy. You can still frame your company in a positive light, but be open about the aspects of your corporate style that might rub some people the wrong way. Are you an ultra-collaborative, open-concept-style workplace? Maybe you encourage casual dress and even more casual deadlines. Whatever it is, let your interviewees know! This will encourage them, in turn, to open up about some of their own quirks. It’s not about finding the objective “best”, but rather the “best fit” for your company.
Screen for Flexibility
When assessing cultural fit, factor in the possibility that a candidate might naturally thrive in a certain kind of workplace – but not know it yet. How to investigate? Make sure your corporate culture is on display at every stage of the interview process. If they seem game for it, if a little shy at first, chances are they’d quickly feel at home at your company. But if they seem resistant or indifferent, it may be time to consider someone else.
A Critical Success Factor
It’s one of the “softer” qualities employers screen for, and can be overlooked for that reason. But cultural fit is essential – an employee whose personality, values and/or habits don’t align with those of their workplace will feel less satisfied in their job, and may struggle to perform as a result. On the other hand, a good cultural fit will feel inspired to contribute their best work.
Sci.bio recruiters understand how important cultural fit is to the success of a new employee. Check out our recruitment services if you’d like to learn more about what we offer.
Have you ever considered working for a start-up? It’s almost a buzzword nowadays – that’s how much the term “start-up” is tossed around. But what really is a start-up, and why is there so much chatter about working for one? In truth, working for a start-up comes with many exciting opportunities – but like anything else in the working world, it can be a trade-off. As always, the most important thing is discerning if it’s the right fit for you, your career, and where you are in your life.
What is a Start-Up, Anyway?
A start-up is any company that is still getting off the ground – indeed, “starting up”. Around 90% of start-ups are unable to expand past the start-up level, with 10% of these failures occurring within the first year.
Working for a start-up often entails irregular hours, a wide variety of job duties, and a sense of closeness with your team members. You’re expected to show up with a can-do mindset, and to prioritize growing the company above most else. You’re also likely to get interesting development opportunities that may never come your way at a larger company.
Biotech start-ups can be unique in that they allow you to develop a wide range of skills, and build connections to many different pharmaceutical companies. Even if you end up working at a start-up for a shorter stint, you may be able to leverage these skills in an unexpected context later down the line.
Growth Potential When Working for a Start-Up
When you work for a small company, the potential for growth is huge. Should the company succeed, you could profit in a big way. And truthfully, there’s not much that looks better on your resume than having helped catapult a little-known name to success.
But there’s a significant chance your company won’t become the next Facebook – or worse, will have to shut down. So if you do opt to work for a start-up, make sure it’s one that offers great connections, learning opportunities, and chances to prove your skills.
If the business does have to close up shop, you may feel like you’re back at square one. To mitigate this, come up with an action plan for if and when this happens. That way, if it (unfortunately) comes to pass, you won’t feel panicked trying to figure out your next steps.
Joining a start-up may in some ways feel like being vacuum-sucked into the most chaotic, most ambitious group of friends imaginable. Employees tend to be close, and leaders tend to be open to ideas from everyone – as long as it helps the business, it really doesn’t matter what your title is. You may also be asked to do things that don’t fall strictly within your job description – or feel inspired to, because you know exactly what the company needs.
We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the ambitious twenty-something busting their guts in the start-up world. That trope exists for a reason – clearly, said world can be demanding and unpredictable. Of course, you can join a start-up at any age, but if work-life balance is your top priority, the lifestyle may not be the best fit for you.
All that being said, start-up workers often experience higher-than-average job satisfaction. This isn’t surprising – working for a smaller business, you’re far more than just a number. Everyone knows your name and probably at least some of your story. And because the stakes are so high, your contributions are deeply valued.
Is the Start-Up Life for You?
The stress and uncertainty of working for a start-up can be worth it – if you’re willing to shoulder some risk.
Some people feel most comfortable working for a large corporation, where security is high and the path forward is clear. Others may prefer a more unpredictable, chaotic environment with a small but real chance of paying big dividends. Maybe you want something in between – a mid-size company still trying hard to grow, but with an established presence in its field. Different strokes for different folks, as they say!
Everyone likes to be rewarded for their efforts – especially when those rewards bring measurable value to their lives. And once rewarded, most people are extra motivated to keep putting out great work.
This is especially true when it comes to the modern workplace. Not only do job benefits attract high-quality talent, but they motivate employees to work that much harder at their jobs. If you’ve been looking for that extra little something special to inspire your team, you might consider adding a few more perks to their work experience.
As we’re all aware, the pandemic has radically shifted the kinds of benefits employers will consider offering. Some, like health coverage, have been standard since the inception of the modern workplace. Others, like the flexibility to work from the living room couch, are more of a hot new development. To give you an overview, here we’ve outlined some of the most important job perks to the workforce of 2023.
Traditional Benefits – The Indispensables
Health, dental and life insurance, sick days, vacation days… these benefits have been around for a while, and for good reason. Who wants to worry about where their next filling or pair of eyeglasses is coming from? And heaven forbid they should have a health emergency, candidates will want to know that you’ve got them covered. As for vacation days, it’s 2023 and we all value our leisure time. So the more of them you can offer, the better!
Another job perk never goes out of style: growth opportunities. Candidates won’t want to feel like they’ve hit a ceiling, especially not if they’re just starting out in their career. Make sure to have regular meetings with each team member in which you present them with options for how they can advance within the company if they’re interested.
Work From Home – How Important is it?
As of December 2022, nearly 30 percent of workdays were completed on a work-from-home basis. According to a recent survey, employees value part-time work-from-home opportunities (2-3 days per week) in a position at 8 percent of their wage. Flexibility is the currency of the modern workplace – so offer as much of it as you can.
Millennials, in particular, prioritize flexibility much more than previous generations. In fact, 67 percent of them feel that working on a remote and flexible basis promotes good work-life balance. If you can offer your younger candidates a schedule they jibe with, they’ll be likely to perform well in their roles, enjoy their work, and speak highly of your company to their peers.
The Fun Stuff – Job Perks
Office parties, work socials, group escape room excursions: these social perks might seem a little excessive to some, but others can really thrive on them. With workplace culture a more and more important driver of where quality candidates choose to work, it may be worth it to invest in a social scene for your employees.
If team-building retreats aren’t your style, though, you can focus your efforts on creating a positive workplace environment. Full-time employees spend a huge chunk of their waking hours at work – more than ever, they want the atmosphere to be pleasant. Luckily, there are tangible ways you can help to foster a friendly workplace.
One simple, easy to implement idea: creating a “social spot” as a designated area for employees to relax. This could be something as simple as a staff room, where team members can reheat their coffee, run into each other, and even sit down for important one-to-one chats when needed.
And speaking of fun: what about coffee? Turns out that when coffee isn’t offered for free at the office, 25 percent of employees will leave the workplace to get it for themselves. On average, these trips take 14 minutes, and probably longer when you consider their full impact on the flow of the workday. So keep in mind… coffee is always a plus!
Benefits That Work Both Ways
With the ideal benefits package, employees won’t have to feel burned out from too many days in the office – or lonely and isolated from their fellow team members. The right job perks will reassure your top candidates that if they choose to work for you, they will feel valued, heard, and fully equipped to deliver top-notch work in their roles.
Are you wondering what to expect at your biotech job interview? Before we get to that, congratulations on getting this far! Whether you are applying to your first STEM job after graduation, or re-entering the job market after a long time, the biotech interview process can appear intimidating. Fortunately, the recruitment process is fairly standard across the industry – with a few exceptions described below – and with a little bit of preparation you can shine every step of the way.
General Structure of Biotech Job Interview Process
The first step of the recruitment process is usually an HR screening call. The recruiter or HR representative will tell you about the company and the role in more general terms, and assess your basic suitability for the role: whether you have the right qualifications and experience. The next stage is a call with the hiring manager, followed by technical or panel interviews. Panel interviews will usually involve senior employers across a variety of functions who will interact with you in their line of work. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a bench position, you may be interviewed by your potential line manager, the head of your department, and someone from finance or operations.
These interviews will delve deeper into your experience, competencies, and what the role involves. Depending on the technical role you’re applying for you might be asked to present on a scientific topic (e.g. your thesis project), or complete a timed/take-home assessment.
A biotech job interview will often be via video conference (Microsoft Teams, WebEx or Zoom), though you may be invited for an in-person interview at the final stage if you live nearby.
If you found this job through a recruiter, expect them to follow-up with you after each stage to get your feedback. The recruiter will often do the majority of the interview scheduling, and talk to the hiring team on your behalf.
It’s a good idea to prepare for the interview by gathering basic information about the company you wish to work for. Look at the company website, its LinkedIn pages and read through recent press releases or news articles about the company.
You want to get a general idea about the structure of the company (how many employees it has, where are its offices, etc), and if it’s expanding or changing its business focus. During the interviews you could be asked “what do you know about the company?” and you want to be able to give a brief but accurate answer. Were there any big approvals or results from clinical trials? Most interviewers are prepared to talk about the company, and answer your questions, so don’t feel shy about admitting you don’t know something.
For the later interviews (e.g. with the hiring manager, technical, panel) think about scenarios in previous jobs – or during school – when you had to deal/work with a difficult person, work in a team to solve a problem, deal with multiple challenging deadlines at once, etc. You’ll often be asked basic competency questions to see how you communicate and work with others, in addition to assessing the technical skills you bring to the role.
The best way to demonstrate interest in the role is to ask questions and maintain a dialogue with the interviewers. In the last few minutes of the call, ask a couple of questions about the state of industry, any changes in the industry or company the hiring managers are excited about; or why they enjoy working for the company. It reflects well on you if you have thoughtful questions to ask.
Different Companies Have Different Hiring Procedures
This interview process varies depending on the size of the company hiring. At a small biotech start-up there are usually fewer interview steps. You’re more likely to interview with company higher-ups such as the CEO sooner.
At larger biotechs of pharmaceutical companies the recruitment process is more formal, with more interview steps, and a greater number of people involved in each interview. It therefore might take longer to move through the interview process, since there are more people to schedule around, more candidates, and more internal bureaucracy prior to approving a new hire.
Overall, though the biotech interview process can feel exhausting and repetitive, exposure to multiple people will give you a good sense of the company culture, and allow you plenty of opportunities to get your questions answered.
Nervous about applying for a new STEM job? The friendly recruiters at Sci.Bio will be with you every step of the process to help you prepare. Connect with us to discuss your needs today.
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.