Let’s discuss job hopping. As a recent grad or job-seeker, you may have been spending some time charting out potential career paths. If that’s the case, you may have wondered: how long should you plan to stay at each of your positions?
On the one hand, you probably want to upskill in your field, experiment with what you like, and ascend as quickly as possible in your career. On the other hand, you may crave a sense of stability at work, long-term office friendships with coworkers, and a track record of loyalty to flex to your next employer.
As with many such quandaries, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. When it comes to semi-regularly switching employers, or declining to do so, everyone has their own style. A combo of personality, risk tolerance, and career goals will determine yours.
What is “job hopping” anyway?
Job hopping is the practice of moving from one job to another after a relatively short time – usually, less than two years. It wasn’t always the popular way to do things, but it’s increasingly normal in today’s fast-paced world. Whereas in the past, it wasn’t uncommon for employees to spend decades at the same position, today’s workforce is used to a far higher turnover rate.
If a chronic job hopper plays their cards right, employers will understand the value of their varied work history. In biotech specifically, job hopping is often seen as a net positive. It’s only natural that in such a multi-skilled industry, employees would want to hop around learning as much as they can. Smart employers understand that there are benefits to the practice, and will gladly consider hiring candidates who’ve jumped around a little more.
Shifting gears on the regular: what are the benefits?
Frequently changing up your employment situation may help to fast-track your career. For one thing, you’ll have the chance to learn new skills and to experience multiple different environments. As a frequent position-switcher, you’ll also have the chance to meet many more people – all of whom could help you out down the line.
You’ll also learn the rare skill of adaptability. Employees who have been in the same role for decades are likely to be more set in their ways – but the chronic job-hopper has learned how to quickly adjust to new settings. If you’ve made quick, smooth transitions in the past, employers will realize you’re likely to keep that pattern going.
And finally, a longer-than-average list of former employers can actually boost your profile as a potential hire. Naturally, employers love to know that the talent they hire is widely sought-after. Assuming you’ve been employed pretty consistently over the years, job hopping can highlight just how in demand you really are.
What are the risks?
Though they may have some doubts, many employers will still give job hoppers a shot at an interview. At that point they may ask for some details on previous stints, so some extra preparation may be in order on your end.
Then there’s the risk of giving up a good thing. If you regularly switch up your work situation, you may come to expect something better and better every time – but sometimes, a bird in the hand is a bird worth holding onto. If you score a position that checks 9 out of 10 boxes, consider staying there for longer, instead of defaulting to job-hunt mode at the first sign of imperfection.
If you’re considering job hopping as a career strategy, also consider the kinds of connections you’d like to make. If you’re frequently changing jobs, the size of your network will naturally increase – but on the other hand, its quality may suffer. So if you want to leave a lasting impression on your coworkers, you may have to make a little extra effort.
The takeaway on job hopping
So, should you plan to do some job hopping at some point in your career? If you’ve got stamina for the search, a knack for learning new skills on the regular, and/or an affinity for new environments, it just might be for you. Remember, you can always stop hopping when you feel like settling down a bit more.
Here at Sci.bio, we aim to help facilitate the best matches possible between talent and talent-seekers. We can help you find a position that will help to kickstart your career, and lead to exciting opportunities down the line. Check out our recruiting services for more information.
If you’re new to the biotech job market you may hold the following common misconceptions about recruiters (put your hand up if you’ve believed either of these things): recruiters are indiscriminate in who they reach out to, and they only care about meeting hiring quota.
In reality, biotech recruiters are often very familiar with the industry, because they have long standing relationships with pharma clients, and are trained as scientists themselves. Many recruiters are STEM graduates like yourself, and love talking about science with jobseekers and clients.
If you’re overwhelmed by the post-graduation hunt for a job, working with a boutique biotech recruiter will make your life easier. But if you’ve not worked with specialized recruiters before, you might not know how to build a relationship with one, or let them know you’re job-hunting.
If a biotech recruiter hasn’t reached out to you, here are proactive ways to reach out:
Attend mixers or networking events at events in your field (e.g. a Working in Biotech career panel, a young professionals mixer) – it’s likely you’ll find one or two recruiters among the attendees
After introducing yourself: your current role, when you expect to graduate or begin job-hunting, and the job positions you’re interested in – the recruiter will likely ask for an opportunity to chat with you on the phone to learn more.
What to expect in initial phone conversations with recruiters:
Don’t be shy – recruiters speak to a lot of people like yourself, and are familiar with conducting these types of conversations and putting you at ease.
Practice a brief couple of sentences’ introduction. E.g. I’m an Immunology PhD candidate at X university. Give the other person space to ask follow-up questions.
Think about when you are looking for a job and what skills you have. What analytical instruments do you work with? What laboratory techniques do you regularly perform (e.g. PCR, western blot)? Decide what you are looking for in a role, and if you don’t know, think broadly: do you want to work with people, are you interested in being a bench scientist? Would you like to work in a fast-paced start-up, or a more traditional large pharmaceutical company? These answers will help the recruiter decide which roles to put your name towards.
After your initial phone call and emails, don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t heard back within an agreed upon timeframe. Recruiters are busy, and clients can experience delays in their hiring process, so recruiters are unlikely to be ignoring you! Checking in regularly demonstrates your continued interest in the roles discussed, as well as your good organization skills.
At Sci.Bio, we’ve helped hundreds of STEM graduates get into their first biotech job. Get in touch to schedule a chat with one of our friendly, knowledgeable recruiters today.
Yes, you can improve your memory! We’ve all been there. Someone approaches you whose name you don’t remember. You’ve met each other a few times, but your mind goes blank… You manage to get through the interaction with a “hey, you!” and feel too embarrassed to ask for their name again, especially since they know yours. Whether they notice you didn’t remember their name or not, it is difficult to forge a strong relationship with the person if you don’t know their name!
Why does your memory fail you in moments like this? There could be a number of reasons. Research shows that the average American consumes at least 100,000 words and 34 GB of data per day! Given all of the information you consume on a daily basis, your brain cannot possibly store everything in your long term memory. Indeed, common reasons why you can’t remember something could be because it was never encoded into your memory in the first place, or you don’t have any “retrieval cues” to call the memory back into your mind.
Despite these challenges, remembering aspects about a person is essential not just for creating new relationships with people, but also for strengthening existing relationships. Forgetting someone’s name or an important detail can be a sign that you are not interested in the other person, which is the opposite of making a good first impression! Conversely, being able to remember details about your boss’ kids or a client’s favorite hobby goes a long way because it shows you genuinely care about them. What’s more, asking questions about recalling details and asking additional questions about them will cause them to associate positive memories with you, since psychologically, people love to talk about themselves.
Ways to Improve Your Memory
Try these techniques the next time you want to commit important facts to memory:
Repeat it to yourself. According to research, your short term memory only lasts for 20- 30 seconds, unless you try to repeat the information out loud or in your head. You can ask a clarifying question using the person’s name or restate what you just heard to make sure you understood correctly. After the interaction, try to repeat it again mentally to commit it to memory so you can retrieve it later. In fact, experts recommend “overlearning” the things you want to remember through repetition so that your new memory does not interfere with your existing memories.
Write it down. Studies show that your short term memory only holds about seven pieces of information. Since you’re not exactly in control of which seven pieces your brain will remember, a good idea is to write down important details in case you forget later. After a conversation with someone, make a note on your phone, on their business card, or on your laptop’s notepad with their name and any critical data. This is particularly important if you’ve offered to provide them with further information or connect them with someone.
Remove distractions. Don’t multitask when absorbing the new facts. Unless you’re using your phone to take notes about what you want to remember, put it away. If you’re juggling more than one task or multiple inputs, your brain has no choice but to prioritize one thing over the other. Another common distraction occurs when you’re not actively listening to the new information, and you’re thinking about something else or planning your next response. Instead, try to focus your complete attention on listening to the other person, and you’ll be more likely to remember what they say.
Make associations. To help yourself retrieve the memory later, make an association between the person and something easy to remember. This can help trigger the memory of the person and their name or important details. For example, if Sarah mentioned she’s going on a sailing trip, remembering “Sarah sails” will be easier to recall the next time you try to retrieve information about Sarah. Another example is comparing the person to someone famous or someone you’ve met before. If your new acquaintance Matthew has brown hair like your cousin Matthew, making this association may help you recall his name the next time you interact with him.
Remembering details about a person is a meaningful part of establishing a new relationship or strengthening an existing one. By failing to remember someone’s name or a significant aspect of someone’s life, it could be interpreted as you not being interested in them. Solidify important facts in your mind by trying these tips to improve your memory. You will reap the rewards in your relationships!
Where can you access top talent other than LinkedIn, a site where candidates are inundated with recruiter messages and your own email risks getting lost in their inbox? There are a few underexplored avenues to find biotech jobseekers, and with a bit of creativity you can expand your candidate pool.
Leverage Existing Connections
The most efficient way to find fresh job candidates is to ask your existing clients for referrals. Your clients will know who in their network is looking for new opportunities, or who is dissatisfied with their current job and could be persuaded to change companies.
Another source of talent is through auditing former candidates you worked with in the past: check in on those previously considered for roles to see if they’re looking for new opportunities. After all, just because they weren’t a suitable match for your previous vacancies, it doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit for your current openings.
Broadening your recruitment sphere
After you’ve tapped your current network, you can broaden your reach through local opportunities. Get involved with regional biotech organizations: attend their networking or professional development events to meet other attendees who may be considering a career change. Reach out to conference presenters or hosts at these types of events – the people who participate in panels, conferences and high-profile volunteer roles are often looking to strengthen their resumes with an eye to new roles. Even if that’s not the case, conference presenters are usually well-connected and may be willing to refer candidates to you.
Make sure you’re not limiting your search to graduates of the local biggest universities, and recruit from historically black universities and colleges (HBCUs), small liberal arts colleges (SLACs) and local community colleges. At these smaller colleges you may find candidates with less conventional resumes, but who have acquired a valuable set of skills through different routes into the job market.
College faculty like having recruiters come to speak to their students about career paths, which allows you to connect with STEM graduates in-person before they start applying to entry level positions.
Other places to find hidden jobseekers
In addition to using LinkedIn, check expat forums and Facebook groups for professionals. Members of those groups may be receptive to new opportunities that are tailored to them, rather than being cold-called on LinkedIn about jobs that don’t match their skillsets.
The final way to expand your talent pool on LinkedIn is to note who is interacting with your job posts through likes, comments or shares. This kind of online engagement is often a sign of someone considering a career move or preparing to apply to new roles, even if they aren’t advertising the fact on their profiles. Reach out to those posters and offer to chat with them about their career goals.
As a recruiter you often go to the candidates, but it’s also possible to encourage candidates to come to you. Hold a recruitment agency Open House – make the event worthwhile for local job seekers to visit your recruitment agency, meet the recruiters, and learn about the companies you partner with.
Towards the end of the calendar year as personal commitments and vacations pick up, recruiting and hiring tends to slow down. But hiring during the holidays can give you a leg up when done right. Here we’ve gathered some pros and cons to consider and some tips to help you search for great talent during this most wonderful time of the year.
Holidays Hiring Pros:
You’re dealing with a highly motivated candidate pool. Whether because of vacations and commitments or because they’ve bought into the myth of the “holiday hiring freeze,” many candidates put their job search on hold this time of year. The ones that keep at it are highly motivated to find their next opportunity. This diligence will not only sustain a candidate through the interview and hiring process — it will also carry over into their job performance once they are on the team.
People take time to reflect and consider life changes towards the end of the year. As the New Year approaches, many people reflect on how the past year went and what they might want to alter in their life, including in their career. Now is a great time to attract these candidates who are ready for a change.
There’s less competition for candidates as others put their hiring on hold. While the holiday hiring freeze may not hold true across the board, it’s true that many companies cut back on recruiting during this time of year because of time off, vacations, and end-of-year wrap ups. By building hiring into your plans for the season, you will face less competition for candidates than in other times of the year.
Candidates have more leeway when scheduling interviews. If a candidate is currently employed while they’re searching for a new job, they may find it difficult or awkward to ask for time off for interviews without hinting that they are looking for greener pastures. Because most people are taking time off this season, it might be easier for these candidates to schedule interviews during the holidays without raising their current employer’s suspicions.
The holidays are a great time to garner referrals. Between family commitments, holiday parties, and school celebrations, you likely will be doing a lot of socializing during this season, and you might come across great candidates amid the merriment. Your employees and network are in the same boat. Ask them to keep your job openings top of mind as they celebrate, and to send any high-quality referrals your way.
Holiday Hiring Cons:
Candidates are more likely to be traveling or taking time off. Though some applicants will keep their nose to the grindstone, even the most committed will likely take time off around the holidays. Some might even be out of town and will not be available or interested in a long string of interviews. Tip: Implement a quick interview process. To spare a candidate’s valuable time (and your own), ensure that your job description is unambiguous and detailed, consider cutting pre-screening questionnaires and phone screens, keep interviews to the minimum number of necessary rounds, and clearly communicate your timeline to candidates.
Candidates don’t want to miss out on a holiday or year-end bonus. If a candidate gets hired in December to start in January, they might miss out on a holiday bonus – both at their new company, and potentially at their old company if they hand in their notice before the Christmas/New Year’s break. Some year-end bonuses also take into consideration an employee’s time at the company and previous year’s performance, which won’t apply for brand new hires. Tip: Consider offering a sign-on bonus to new hires. To incentivize new hires to join your ranks and to celebrate the season, a signing bonus can be a great idea.
Fewer candidates are actively applying, which could spell trouble if you’re looking for rare or specialized skills. The catch-22 of a smaller candidate pool is while they may be more motivated, sometimes hiring is all about volume. If you are looking for a specialized skill or a rare combination of skills, this might be hard to find if less candidates are applying. Tip: Bring on a recruiter to help fill the role. Sci.bio’s targeted, efficient, and scalable approach supports biotech companies of all sizes. Get in touch with us today and learn more.