Author: Claire Jarvis
Is there a Biotech Recruiting Slowdown?
Workforce statistics from the past two years paint a concerning picture of the biotech recruiting sector in 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a boom in hiring and growth, but now that the initial biotech demand is leveling off, many companies are ‘right-sizing’ to pre-COVID-19 levels. Statistics predict the growth of the biotech sector slowing in 2023, in part to rising inflation.
The overall trend means biotech companies are slowing down their hiring. It’s not clear how much growth will slow in 2023, and hiring managers might wonder whether it’s worth adding more workers to the payroll if layoffs are coming. Due to its ability to consolidate and diversify their portfolio, Big Pharma is in a stronger position than agile biotech start-ups, but industry experts still urge caution.
Attracting Biotech Talent in 2023
Despite an economic slowdown, the biotech sector is continuing to grow, and companies are still looking to hire top talent. Here are a few ways biotech recruiting is filling positions and attract candidates.
First, it’s important to understand candidates’ motivation for switching roles, because there are many professionals considering a job switch, even if they’re currently employed. A lot of candidates are seeking appropriate salary increases to combat inflation. Or, perhaps instability at their current company has created a threat of layoffs.
As a recruiter, there are several ways to appeal to these candidates and fill your client’s vacancies.
- Highlight remote, hybrid and flexible working options. Thanks to rising gas prices, commuting is expensive, and many employees don’t like feeling pressured to come into the office. Flexible working remains a high priority for jobseekers as they explore new roles.
- Emphasize supportive work culture for new hires. Work culture is not just about throwing money at employees, but thoughtful initiatives to support new hires and integrate hybrid teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many workers feeling adrift from their colleagues, and they want to better integrate into their teams, virtual or not.
- List opportunities for career growth and developmental opportunities within the company. The new hire is more likely to make long-term commitment to the role if they think they can progress in their career without needing to switch companies again.
With over ten years’ experience serving biotech companies in the Boston area, Sci.Bio knows how to guide your company through economic changes. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.
Author: Tess Joosse
In the last couple of months, you’ve probably heard about ChatGPT. Launched in November 2022 by an artificial intelligence company called OpenAI, ChatGPT is a chatbot that answers questions, responds to prompts, and gives suggestions. Its backbone is a natural language processing model that was trained using text from across the internet, and upon its release it quickly drew attention for its conversational skill, creative abilities, and the depth and detail of its responses.
AI isn’t a novelty to recruiters – many have been using AI recruiting software to source or screen candidates for years. But ChatGPT is a different beast, and you might be wondering if it could be used in recruiting. The answer, as with most AI-based tools, is yes – with caveats. As a chatbot, it can’t do everything on a recruiter’s to-do list (and as such, it isn’t equipped to replace recruiters outright). But if you know how to harness it, ChatGPT can help a recruiter brainstorm and generate ideas, fill in gaps in their knowledge, and generally speed up certain processes in recruiting. Read on for some ideas on how to use this chatbot to your advantage, and for some limitations you should keep in mind.
Use ChatGPT to create job descriptions
When creating eye-catching, informative job descriptions, ChatGPT can provide a starting point to build from. For example, I asked ChatGPT to “write a job description for a bioinformatics scientist at a proteomics company.” It gave me a description that was, overall, pretty nondescript and basic. But the description included some important and relevant qualifications like “Strong experience in proteomic data analysis, including the use of mass spectrometry data” and “Experience with bioinformatics software and databases, such as R, Python, and ProteomeXchange,” and it hit all the necessary points of a job description.
These results can provide a great framework for you to edit and add to depending on the specifics of the position at hand. But you don’t have to stop there. When I asked ChatGPT to “rewrite that job description requiring 5 years of postdoctoral experience and experience with Matlab,” it added those qualifications seamlessly into the description. When I asked ChatGPT to “rewrite that job description to be more exciting and compelling,” the chatbot threw in some adjectives like “dynamic” and “innovative” and verbs like “revolutionize” and “harness.”
Use ChatGPT to develop interview questions
Just as the chatbot can provide the framework of a job description to work from, it can do the same for interview questions. For the example position above, I asked ChatGPT to “create a list of interview questions for a bioinformatician at a proteomics company. Be sure to ask about leadership, problem solving, and past industry experience.” The response gave me ten questions. Some were way too vague and awkward, like “How do you approach problem solving and troubleshooting in bioinformatics?” But others seemed like they could provide fruitful insight into a candidate, like “Can you give an example of a time when you had to present complex bioinformatics data to non-experts and how you effectively communicated the findings?” and “Can you describe a project you have worked on in industry and how it differed from your academic experience?”
Use ChatGPT to create emails, social media posts, and other text communications
Other tasks that require writing text, like creating emails and social media posts, could benefit from ChatGPT. For the hypothetical “bioinformatics scientist at a proteomics company,” I asked ChatGPT to “write a compelling summary of that job description to post on LinkedIn.” It gave me a paragraph that started with “Are you a Proteomics Bioinformatics Expert looking to take your career to the next level? Join our cutting-edge team at XYZ Proteomics and be a key player in revolutionizing the field of mass spectrometry-based proteomics,” then gave some details about the requirements and responsibilities. The response was a little wooden – it definitely read like a fill-in-the-blank imitation of what a post like this “should” look like – but it hit all the important points and could be good to go with a little tweaking.
Use ChatGPT to learn about roles
As a recruiter working in the biotech industry, you might find yourself dealing with roles that are highly specific or require certain obscure skills. Recruiters in this situation might typically turn to Google to ask “what are bioconjugated nanoparticles?” or “what skills does a surface chemistry scientist need?” But since ChatGPT combs the internet to create its response, it can sometimes provide a more direct and specific answer than Google.
Drawbacks and takeaways
Models like ChatGPT are only as good as the information they run on and the patterns they are trained to recognize. For this reason, it’s important to closely pay attention to what content you’re using from ChatGPT to make sure no discriminatory language or inaccuracies sneak into your responses. I’ve seen some recruiters say that you should treat ChatGPT like a “spunky intern” whose work you check over closely. I think of it more as a springboard tool that can save you time, help you brainstorm ideas, and fill in some gaps in your knowledge. Though ChatGPT and other chatbots have their limitations (and can’t approximate everything the human mind can do), most experts agree that this technology is here to stay — and is only going to improve with time.
- Revolutionizing Recruiting: How Recruiting with ChatGPT Transforms Talent Acquisition
- How to Use ChatGPT in Recruitment: Why It Won’t Replace Recruiters
- What is ChatGPT? How Recruiters & HR Professionals Can Leverage It for Hiring
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.
Looking to hire diverse biotech talent? Get in touch with Sci.bio today to learn more about our sourcing and recruitment services.
Author: Tara Smylie
Rallying a whole team to recruit just one employee? Craziness! At least, that’s how it once seemed. Nowadays, though, it’s very common – and increasingly seen as best practice. It’s been shown to improve hiring results, and can customize the recruitment process to a company’s department-specific needs.
Collaborative recruiting is a hot topic, and there’s no better time than now to learn what it’s all about.
What is collaborative recruiting?
Also called “team recruitment”, collaborative recruiting is the practice of representing multiple departments and roles on a company’s hiring team. Because it involves the input of many different voices, this recruiting model makes it easy for companies to choose a hire that aligns with their unique internal needs.
The process can be even more effective when a recruiter is involved. Working collaboratively, a recruiter can combine their own industry expertise with current employees’ insights about what their teams need the most from a new hire.
How it can help
If a single hiring manager is responsible for finding the perfect hire, they likely won’t be able to consider the subtle needs and dynamics of every department. Enter collaborative recruiting! Including current employees in the quest to find a new one naturally results in a much more holistic and tailor-made hiring process.
A good collaborative hiring process involves surveying employees about not only the skills but the personality traits and values that they’d like to see in a new hire. This will ensure that the hiring team can find someone who is a good match for a company’s existing culture. This aspect of recruiting should not be overlooked – cultural fit is increasingly well-recognized as being an important aspect of employee morale and productivity.
As a side note: leading companies like Netflix, Apple and Google have recently adopted the collaborative recruiting model. We can’t know for sure, but it seems to be working out pretty well for them so far!
How to collaboratively recruit
If you’re a recruiter or hiring manager in charge of filling an opening, ask an employee in a similar or identical position what qualities they feel are important for the role. Chances are, their answer will reflect their company’s unique goals, priorities and culture. Whatever their response, it will certainly be more useful as a recruiting tool than a generalized job skills database!
Generally, a recruiting team should consider which employees are going to be working most closely with the new hire, and set priorities accordingly. On the other hand, collaborative recruiting will ideally also involve employees who are both higher and lower within the hierarchy of a company than the position to be filled. This way, the recruiting team can focus on finding a hire who improves workflow and efficiency for the company as a whole.
The role of external recruiters
Both recruiters and in-house hiring teams stand to gain a lot from working collaboratively to fill a role. A recruiter might be very focused on the technical side of things, but can’t immediately know the full picture of how a business operates. Using the collaborative hiring model, a recruiter can combine their industry expertise and connections with an in-house hiring team’s specific knowledge of their own company.
As a recruiter, collaborative hiring doesn’t have to radically change how you operate. It just means that in addition to your usual methods, the process will involve a lot of discussion, communication, and prioritization of different employees’ needs. Chances are, it will help you learn everything you need to know to find the best fit possible for your client company.
Onboarding the right person to a company is no small task. As with most big projects, collaboration makes the process much easier – and sets the whole team up for success.
The collaborative model of recruiting can help a company find the best fit possible for a role, and luckily, it’s here to stay. If you’d like to learn more about how we recruit here at Sci.bio, leave us a message on our contact form here.
- 9 immediate benefits of collaborative hiring
- Guide for Collaborative Recruiting and Hiring
- Having Trouble Selecting a Recruiter? Start with these Questions
- Collaborative recruiting: what it is, how and why to do it
- How to Conduct a Cultural Fit Assessment
- Why Collaborative Recruiting and Hiring is the Future
- 9 Benefits of Collaborative Recruiting
Author: Claire Jarvis
Few people enjoy job hunting, and most job candidates have a story or two about bad application or interview experiences. For this reason it’s important for recruiters to make a good impression on candidates, and ensure they have a positive experience being guided through the application process. These days, there are plenty of communication tools tailored to help you stay in touch with candidates without increasing your own workload.
Communication Strategies: Automate What You Can
Calendly is a simple tool that allows candidates to schedule screening calls with you. It gives the candidate a feeling of control and easy ability to reschedule, while reducing the time you spend arranging (and rearranging) screening calls via email or over the phone.
Providing a chatbot (such as Mya or FlashRecruit) that addresses basic jobseeker questions is another way to reduce clutter in your inbox, by allowing the candidate to receive pertinent information about your opportunities and the application process at their own convenience.
Small and steady check-ins
It’s likely your job candidate is working with multiple recruiters and balancing a lot of job applications – all at different stages. For this reason, regular touchpoints with your candidate are vital. Don’t leave them waiting on promised updates, or wondering where their application is in the pipeline: if it’s with the hiring manager, if the hiring team is scheduling interviews yet. A candidate will prioritize applications where the timeline/anticipated next steps are clear, because it helps them plan the remainder of their job search and anticipate when offers might be made.
To help reduce your email inbox clutter, use personalized email templates sparingly. Job candidates don’t want to be on the receiving end of constant cookie-cutter responses, but email templates can be helpful when you have a range to draw from. Tools like Gorgias and Followup.cc allow you to manage customized email templates and keep on top of follow-up messages.
New software is constantly being launched or upgraded, and communication trends change quickly. Be sure to check your workflow and organizational tools are still meeting your needs. How many hours a day are you actually fielding questions from candidates, for instance? Don’t be afraid to try new processes and experiment with the levels of workflow automation.
At Sci.Bio, we specialize in finding top biotech talent and adapting to meet your recruiting needs. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.