Author: Tara Smylie
Ah, the job search. Universally hated, and unfortunately also necessary for almost everyone at some point during their career. If you’re a recent grad in the middle of the hunt, you might feel a little stressed out or overwhelmed. That’s totally normal – and luckily, there are several ways you can manage your anxieties as you continue casting your net.
Contact and Connect
Friends, family, old mentors or professors… chances are, you know a handful of people who’ve been through the same thing and have some words of wisdom to offer. If possible, reach out to peers who are in the same boat – you will all feel less alone if you have each other to confide in. Connecting with other recent grads also has the advantage of strengthening your professional network.
Take a chance and connect with people or organizations you’d really like to work for, perhaps even offering to volunteer for them. For example, if you’re interested in a medical research environment, email a lab coordinator in that field and ask them if they have any opportunities for an ambitious assistant who is willing to work hard and eager to contribute. When it comes to life science and biotech, your connections are your strength – so never stop making them.
Work smart, not hard
Don’t pressure yourself to apply to exactly X number of jobs every day. Instead, focus on finding jobs that match your interests and abilities. For example, let’s say you excelled in all your statistics courses and have some field experience as a scientist. Perhaps you could put your skills to good use as a biostatistician – or possibly an environmental analyst for the right company. The ideal job will make use of your existing skills while offering you opportunities to cultivate new ones.
And remember: you don’t have to rush to the finish line. They say that looking for a job is a full-time job, but you don’t need to spend a full 8-hour day on the search if that feels excessive. While you are searching, be sure to read all job descriptions – you don’t want to waste anyone’s time applying for a job that doesn’t click for you. And when you inevitably face some rejection, try not to dwell on it and remember that rejection will happen to any job hunter who aims high.
Constantly refine your approach
Mass applying to hundreds of jobs at a time can feel productive, but you’re not as likely to impress any single employer. Find a balance between quality and quantity – and yes, that will mean writing cover letters. Over half of employers prefer candidates who attach them, and they can help you sell yourself if you maintain a professional tone.
As you search, you may notice that some components of your process need work. If you think your resume could use some fine-tuning, ask a colleague to look it over and give you some feedback. Or maybe you know your interviewing skills aren’t quite where you’d like them to be. If that’s the case, consider watching some videos or taking a course on the subject to brush up your skills. Your job-seeking skills will drive both your short- and long-term career, and the perfect time to invest in it is when you’re actively looking.
Relax your standards
There’s no need to find the “perfect” job immediately – you never know what an opportunity can lead to. Instead of chasing your number-one dream position, focus your efforts on landing a “good enough” job and consider where it could take you in the future. Nowadays it’s very common to end up working in a different field than the one you formally trained in, so stay open to the possibility of doing something a little unfamiliar.
As a final note: remember to enjoy the free time you have right now. You may not get the chance to take time off work for a while once you do have a job – so make the most of it while you can! Take this opportunity to polish your skills, reach out to old contacts, and get back in touch with the hobbies that fell by the wayside during your college days.
Keep calm and carry on
Finding a job is never easy. Realize that you’re not alone, and take the search at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Remember, you can’t control when you get an offer – only the effort you put into the process. If you’d like some assistance finding your next opportunity, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you take your next steps.
- It’s Who You Know: A Guide to Career Networking in the Life Science Industry
- How to Deal With Job Rejection and Move On
- 83 Must-Know Resume Statistics: 2022 Data on Length, Cover Letters & Valuable Skills
- Resume Writing for Life Scientists
- Managing Job Interview Questions
- Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major
Author: Claire Jarvis
Most seasoned recruiters and hiring managers begin job searches knowing the “perfect” candidate is unlikely to exist…but it doesn’t mean they won’t find a “successful” candidate.
Although the resume is sometimes the only source of information on a potential candidate, focusing too heavily on the match between candidate’s qualifications, technical skills and your job requirement means missing out on candidates who are perhaps more likely to flourish in the role.
Is the candidate coachable?
Teachability is more important than possessing a certain set of skills. A candidate with all the requisite skills for a particular job at a certain point in time – may struggle to adapt when the industry shifts and new skills become necessary for the position. Whereas a candidate with fewer of the requisite skills but who learns quickly and is receptive to coaching will grow with the position.
Is the candidate self-motivated?
The ideal candidate’s motivation should go beyond what is necessary to perform their job: a strongly-motivated candidate will list experiences indicating a broader interest in the biotech industry, for instance they may have sought out leadership roles and additional responsibilities within their previous companies. This self-motivation ensures the candidate contributes to their immediate team and the company as a whole.
Is the candidate competent?
Possessing the minimum skills to perform the job doesn’t prove the candidate will be able to carry out their functions efficiently. Competency can be teased out in the screening process by asking the candidate questions pertaining to their usual workflow process, and requesting examples of how they performed tasks within their previous roles.
Is the candidate loyal?
Is the candidate likely to stick around in the role, or do they tend to hop between employment opportunities? Loyalty can be assessed by length of time the candidate spent in previous jobs, as well as their involvement in industry beyond the scope of their position.
Taking into account these qualities, you are more likely to find and hire a candidate who will remain an asset to your company for years to come.
Looking to hire more successful candidates? At Sci.bio we have almost a decade’s experience matching biotech companies with talent. Get in touch to learn more about our services today.
Author: Cliff Mintz
There are countless interview question anecdotes and horror stories on the Internet. Moreover, urban legend suggests that jobseekers should expect to be asked “off-the-wall” or ridiculous questions during face-to-face job interviews. While this may occur during some interviews, generally speaking, interviewer questions are usually carefully crafted and intentionally designed to offer insights into a prospective employee’s capabilities and future on-the-job performance. To that point, it is important to point out that an invitation to participate in a face-to-face interview typically means that a job candidate possesses the requisite knowledge and technical skills to perform a particular job function. That said, the real intent of a face-to-face interview is to determine whether a prospective job candidate has the personality/ temperament to fit in and excel in an organization’s existing work environment or culture. Therefore, it is imperative that job candidates anticipate and prepare for possible interview questions before taking part in face-to-face job interviews.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which questions will be asked during face-to-face interviews, jobseekers are likely to be asked some variations of the following questions.
1. Describe how you overcame a particularly disappointing time in your life
2. What are your greatest achievements?
3. Why are you looking for a new job?
4. Why are you interested in this company and not our competitors?
5. What are your strengths?
6. What are your weaknesses?
7. What can you offer this company/organization?
8. Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
It is apparent that none of these questions has anything to do with a prospective employee’s technical or job-related competencies or capabilities. They are intentionally designed and asked to help to gauge a jobseeker’s self awareness, interpersonal communication skills and the ability to think quickly on his/her feet. While some job seekers may not take these questions seriously—usually those who don’t get job offers—appropriate responses to them could mean the difference between a job offer and unemployment. Therefore, it is vitally important for jobseekers to carefully think about possible responses to these questions before upcoming face-to-face interviews. To that end, it is not unreasonable to write or “script” appropriate responses to these questions in advance of scheduled interviews. While this may seem unreasonable or overly excessive to some job seekers, experienced hiring managers can easily determine a job candidate’s level of interest in a particular job based on his/her answers to these questions.
It is important to point out that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to any of these questions. However, it is important to be selective with the responses that are offered—especially when asked about weaknesses. For example, a would-be customer service representative may recognize that he/she—like many other customer service representatives—has trouble dealing with unhappy or angry customers. Because dealing with unhappy or angry customers is part of a customer service representative’s job, it is probably not a good idea to mention it when asked about possible weaknesses. Instead, choose a weakness that can possibly be viewed as a strength related to a particular job. For example, while being a “pushy” person may be off-putting or viewed as a weakness by many, it may be a highly desirable trait for salespersons. In other words, be selective and strategic when identifying possible weaknesses to hiring managers. More important, be certain to identify possible weaknesses that are work related rather than personal in nature.
Further, when answering interview questions, be careful not to divulge more information than is necessary or required. Answer questions as openly and honestly as possible but keep responses short, to the point and do not overly embellish or improvise responses. Job candidates who improvise responses generally do not know the answer to a question and tend to drone on to cover up their lack of knowledge. If you don’t know an answer or cannot think of a good response to a question, sometimes it is better to say “I don’t know” or ask the interviewer for help with the question. Asking for help, signals to the interviewer that a job candidate, if hired, would not hesitate to ask his/her superior for help to solve a potentially deleterious or pressing problem for the organization.
Although most of the questions asked during a face-to-face interview are asked by an interviewer, job candidates are expected to have questions too! This shows a prospective employer that a candidate has prepared for the interview and is seriously interested in the company or organization that he/she may join. By asking questions, job candidates let interviewers know that they have done their “homework” and would likely entertain a job offer if proffered by the company or organization.
Finally, there is universal agreement among recruiters and career development professionals that being prepared for face-to-face interviews helps to reduce stress, improves interview performance and increases the likelihood of job offers!
Author: Gabrielle Bauer
Pre-interview screening helps you hire the right people faster
The hiring process is a pyramid: you start out with a platform of candidates, and stack it up with smaller and smaller platforms until you get to the golden egg at the summit. Effective screening can make the stacking process more efficient and productive.
Screening is a way to weed out unsuitable candidates early on. It ensures the employer doesn’t waste time on lengthy interviews with candidates who lack a deal-breaking requirement for a position. You can screen for criminal record, cultural fit, skills, and leadership qualities, among other parameters.
A well-thought-out screening strategy takes some of the routine aspects of hiring out of your hands, so you don’t need to waste time on basic questions during the all-important face-to-face interviews. Most importantly, a good screening process lowers the odds that you’ll hire an underperformer or chronic job-hopper—a scenario that could cost your organization both in dollars and reputation.
Why screen? The numbers tell the story
A 2015 survey by Aberdeen Strategy Research found that pre-screening candidates has significant benefits:
- Hiring managers who pre-screen candidates report 36% more satisfaction with their final decision than those who don’t.
- Screening lowers the employee turnover rate by 39%.
- Organizations that screen candidates are 24% more likely to have employees who exceed performance goals.
- Pre-hire screening cuts down on the time and cost of hiring.
Today, the search for new talent often begins with background screens, like police checks or drug tests, to minimize the risk of hiring someone who will act in bad faith or endanger others. Such background screening adds a layer of complexity to the hiring process, but an increasing number of employers consider it an essential step.
“The worker represents the employer’s brand; therefore, background screening—particularly when access to people or sensitive material is involved—is a critical risk mitigation tool.”
Melissa Sorenson, executive director
National Association of Professional Background Screeners
To screen candidates for skills and fit—the core of the screening process—you have several methods to choose from. Tried-and-true strategies include resume reviews, skills tests, personality tests, one-on-one phone interviews, or group panel interviews conducted virtually or in person.2 In today’s world, 92% of employers also rely on social media screens, as a person’s online presence can leave important clues about character.
Depending on your priorities, you can mix and match these channels in different ways. For instance, you can administer a skills test to ensure an assay developer can identify the organic chemicals she’ll be working with, followed by a panel interview to help size up personality traits such as detail orientation and adaptability. Phone interviews, meanwhile, could help you screen candidates for cultural fit.
In today’s ultra-competitive hiring market, with hundreds of applicants vying for life sciences jobs, the screening process may seem overwhelming. Indeed, unless your organization has a dedicated screening team within the HR department, you may not have the time or expertise to screen candidates without help.
That’s where a recruiting agency comes in. A reputable agency with expertise in the life sciences knows what works and what doesn’t. They’ll adapt the screening process to the position, using one set of tools to screen lab directors and another to screen lab technicians.
Experienced recruiters also use technology to get the most out of screening. Items in their toolkit may include:
- Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) software to predict candidate outcomes
- AI-powered chatbots to extract basic information from candidates
- Mobile apps to communicate with candidates about next steps.
- Cloud computing to back up valuable data
If you don’t have such capacities in-house, Sci.bio can help. Our specialized experience and comprehensive screening toolkit take the guesswork out of the screening process. Contact us today to learn more.
Author: Cliff Mintz
Most job seekers understand that a job interview can be very stressful and emotionally draining experiences. After all, how you perform in a face-to-face job interview will likely determine whether or not you get a job offer. To that point, we provide below some tips to pull off a successful face-to-face job interview.
Professional Attire is Mandatory
In general, most scientists do not like to dress up. However, professional attire for both women and men is required for ALL face-to-face job interviews. This means suits and ties for men (no exceptions) and similar professional attire for women. First impressions do matter and a professional, well-polished appearance will help set a positive tone for the job interview.
Be Prompt or Arrive Early
Ideally, you should arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early for an interview. This allows you to relax and compose yourself prior to the start of the interview. Tardiness implies that time management—required by all employers may—be challenging for you.
Bring Extra Copies of Your Resume
Interviewers sometimes “misplace” or have not read your CV prior to the interview. Rather than spend limited interview time reviewing information that is readily available on your CV, hand the interviewer a copy of your CV. This will save precious interview time and signal that you are organized, forward-thinking, reliable and helpful; desirable traits that most hiring managers are looking for in new hires.
Be Personable and Always Remain Positive and Upbeat
One-on-one interviews are an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are socially-engaged, personable and have reasonable interpersonal communication skills.
Regardless of what is going on in your life, it is important to be positive, upbeat and outgoing during a job interview.
Eye Contact is Imperative
A lack of eye contact (or an inability to look directly at a person during a conversation) may signal to a hiring manager that they lack social and interpersonal communication skills, both of which hiring managers are looking for in right fit job candidates.
Answer All Questions Concisely and Honestly
It is not a good idea to waste an interviewer’s time with answers that are rambling, unfocused or irrelevant. Most interviewers expect direct, concise and well-thought-out answers to their questions. They are not interested in chit chat, professional gossip or who you may know in the field.
Never Interrupt an Interviewer
Interrupting anyone before they finish talking is rude, inappropriate and unprofessional. Therefore, it is imperative to never interrupt an interviewer and allow him/her to complete a question before you answer. This signals to the interviewer that you listen, can engage in a professional conversion and implies that you will likely fit in to the organization’s reporting structure.
Act Professionally at All Times
Job candidates frequently eat breakfast, lunch or dinner as part of the interview process for life sciences jobs. Viewing candidates in these settings offers prospective employers’ insights into a job candidate’s social skills and how he/she may represent the organization in future social situations. Remember, although it may feel as though you are in a social setting, you are still being scrutinized by your host for professional behavior.
Prospective employers expect job candidates to ask questions about their company or organization. This shows them that you have done your homework and are interested in learning more about the organization. Employers generally view job candidates as not being interested in a company if they don’t ask any questions during a job interview.
Never Criticize or Say Anything Negative
The scientific community is a small one and chances are that any negative, pejorative or derogatory comments made about an individual or organization will get back to them. Also, like it or not, it is simply unprofessional to say negative things about a previous or current employer, colleague or organization. Again, nobody wants to work with a naysayer or an indiscrete or inappropriate colleague.
Turn Off All Cell Phones
Surprisingly, many job candidates don’t remember to turn off their mobile phones or other electronics prior to the start of an interview. Nobody likes being interrupted during a conversation or a discussion by annoying, ringing or vibrating cell phones. While being connected at all times is de rigueur, a ringing cell phone during a job interview can certainly be a job killer.
While there is no way to eliminate the anxiety or uncertainty of a face-to-face job interview, making use of the tips and suggestions offered in this post may make your next job interview less stressful and hopefully increase the likelihood of a job offer.