Author: Tara Smylie
When an employee is finished with you, they’re gone for good, right? Not quite. The “boomerang employee” has existed since the dawn of the workplace and is alive and well today. In the wake of the pandemic and the associated Great Resignation, many employees who left their jobs started to have second thoughts about their decision – and many employers are open to rehiring them.
Here we’ll discuss why employees seek to return to their old workplaces, and some of the pros and cons of bring former quitters back into the fold.
Why do employees return?
In a study of people who quit their jobs during the mass exodus that began with the pandemic, job leavers gave several reasons for wanting their old job back again:
- Former coworkers (38%): workplace morale can make or break a job, so employees who don’t click with their new coworkers may soon find themselves missing their old work pals.
- Former customers (22%): if your employee had customers at your company, perhaps they found them easier to connect with.
- Familiarity with the old role (31%): your employee may have overestimated his or her ability to adapt to a different environment and seek a return to a familiar role they know they can perform well.
- Paycheck (19%): Often, employees simply can’t find a better deal elsewhere (though they won’t want you to know that!).
- Work-life balance (16%): if a new job demands overtime or gives little consideration to needs outside of work, people find themselves dreaming about a former position with more understanding management
As long as your former employee seems genuinely interested in returning and keen to keep performing well, you should at least consider taking them back. Feel free to ask what they preferred about their experience with you. That way, you can aim to keep them satisfied in those areas – and maybe gain some insight into retaining your other employees.
Advantages of rehiring previous talent
When training boomerangers, you’re not starting from scratch. They’re already familiar with company procedures and culture, so you won’t have to pour as many resources into training them. What’s more, their connections with former customers may encourage those customers to come back.
Rehires can also draw on experiences working elsewhere to bring you fresh insights into the current market. Maybe they discovered a more efficient way to manage lab inventory or learned new strategies for launching a cosmeceutical product online. Whatever they spent their time doing, they likely gained knowledge and experience you’ll want to hear about.
Rehired employees also tend to be more reliable than they were before. Having tested outside waters and found them less welcoming than they’d hoped, this time they’ll lean toward sticking around. They’ll appreciate that you took them back and feel a renewed sense of investment in your company.
Take a good look at your own motivations and see if they stack up. Are you overlooking more suitable candidates in favor of an easy rehire? Think long-term and resist the lure of momentary convenience. If many qualified candidates exist for the job you need to fill, you have a good chance of finding that fresh star who will more than make up for training costs.
Another caveat: depending on their experiences after leaving your company, former employees may come back with higher expectations or a different attitude. To get a sense of their mindset, ask probing questions during the re-interview and consider whether you’re still a good match for each other.
Trust your instincts
Rehiring a former employee can save time, costs, and headaches. Just bear in mind that the process comes with some risks. Bottom line, no two rehiring scenarios look alike, so take some time to consider the pros and cons of your situation. And don’t ignore your instincts: sometimes your gut speaks more clearly than any checklist.
If you’d like some guidance on hiring—or rehiring—the best talent for your company’s current needs, Sci.bio has the life-sciences expertise to get you started.
- ‘Boomerang employees’ who quit jobs during pandemic may soon beg for them back
- Resign, Resigned, or Re-Sign?
- Want Good Hires Who Stick Around? Make Their Careers Your Business
- Research: Business should embrace ‘boomerang employees’
- Pros and Cons of Boomerang Employees
Author: Tara Smylie
It’s not the easiest time to be a biotech recruiter: As you may know, biotech companies have been experiencing a surge in layoffs in recent months, and nobody knows for sure when this trend will ease up.
While an industry-wide dip in hiring may concern you, it also creates an opportunity to step back and take a look at your clients, your stats, and your marketing strategies. Here, we’ve compiled some ways to stay busy and hone your craft while you find yourself with a little more time on your hands.
Strengthen candidate relationships
If your stream of new talent is running thin, don’t despair – you can still reach out to your existing candidate pool and get to know them better. Find out how they’re doing, what they’re working on, and what their goals are. As you chat, be honest about what’s going on – and explain the action plan you’ll implement once the industry picks up.
At the same time, don’t limit your outreach to existing candidates. If you haven’t already, test out new talent engagement pipelines such as email, social media ads, and sourcing software. Experiment with different strategies and see which ones promise the best return on investment.
Review your process
Now that you have fewer day-to-day details to worry about, take a step back to look at the big picture. How is your overall strategy working for you? Any weak spots that could use some tweaking? Take inventory of four key metrics: average cost of hire, average time to hire, typical sources of hire, and employment acceptance rates. Are these stats where you want them to be? If not, use this time to make adjustments to your recruitment process.
You can also change or expand your strategy for attracting new clients. Assess your engagement rates, conversion rates, and the profitability of your advertising channels. Does your branding convey a cohesive message? All your social media should work synergistically and let prospective clients know exactly what you’re about.
Start planning now
When the hiring freeze ends, which may be sooner than you expect, you want to be ready to get back in the game immediately. To get into position, look at your databases of both candidates and employers. Take advantage of this time to reach out to new potential candidates and explain your services.
As you prepare for the next hiring surge, stay on top of hiring trends. When the economy booms again, demand for both traditional and non-traditional science roles will surge. A keen eye for upcoming trends, from health informatics to rare oncology, will give you an edge. Find out what’s hot and tailor your strategy to that.
Remember, you’re still in business
Companies rarely stop hiring entirely – even during a hiring freeze, you can reach out and ask what kind of roles potential clients are looking to fill. In uncertain times, businesses often place special emphasis on the quality of their new hires, while trying to cut down on the quantity. You’ll earn employers’ gratitude and loyalty if you can deliver top talent in trying times, so spend some extra time and energy finding hand-in-glove matches for clients who are hiring. By the same token, don’t forget about your existing candidate roster. In a frigid job market, candidates will need all the support they can get.
\When you’re a recruiter and there’s little recruitment to be done, it’s easy to get bored or restless. On the other hand, if you stay busy by investing in long-term relationships and business strategy, this hiring freeze may turn out to be the proverbial blessing in disguise. Before you know it, work will pick up – and you’ll be grateful you took this time to stay relevant and connected.
- Fierce Biotech Layoff Tracker
- Why Social Media Is Now So Important For Recruitment
- Qualified job candidates per hire: recruiting metrics that matter
- Hiring and Recruitment Trends To Expect In 2022
- The Hiring Freeze – What Is Happening? And What Can We Do?
- What is a Hiring Freeze? 7 Smart Things That a Recruiter Must Do During One
- How Recruiters Should Spend Their Time During a Hiring Freeze
- Biotech Layoffs: What’s Really Happening in the Industry and What’s its Market Outlook?
If you’ve been relying on job-ready candidates to acquire new talent, you’re missing some valuable opportunities. To widen your net, be sure to build a talent-sourcing and -training pipeline into your company’s DNA so you’re never strapped for qualified candidates when you need them most. That’s where an internship program comes in.
Benefits of Internship Programs
In today’s competitive job market, an internship program makes it that much easier to secure a good match: you’ll broaden your network of potential hires, and you’ll have a greater idea of their strengths and goals than you can get from a regular interview process. Once your internship program is up and running, you’ll have a steady flow of candidates to consider the next time you have an unexpected hiring need.
The price is right
Most interns view their position as a temporary yet highly valuable personal investment. Because they are just beginning their careers, they’ll be highly motivated to perform well in their roles even at a lower pay grade. Of course, you should pay your interns for their contributions – but because they’re still learning, you can pay them less than what you’d pay full-stack employees.
Many hands make light work
Interns can help check off some of the less complex, less skilled tasks on your company to-do list. With the smaller stuff taken care of, your full-stack employees can enjoy uninterrupted focus on larger-scale projects.
That said, don’t deprive your interns of hard-hitting projects: a good internship program builds the skills needed to take on greater challenges in the future. Nowadays, only 8 percent of interns’ tasks involve clerical, unskilled work. The other 92%? High-level skills. Bottom line, prepare your interns to become your employees.
Implementing Your Program
Consider your needs
Not all internship programs need to follow the same template. While considering how to structure your program, ask yourself the following questions:
- What role will the intern have within the company?
- What skills and qualities do they need to have to be successful?
- Who is available to mentor them?
Finally, think big picture: what is your long-term vision for your company, and what skills will future employees need to make it a reality? This is perhaps the single most important aspect of developing an internship program. Say you’re looking to build a patient information website in the near future. This means you’ll need tech-savvy employees who can handle its creation and maintenance. If you train interns in these skills and they return to work for you full-time, they can hit the ground running.
Recruit and hire
To get your program off to a good start, begin recruiting interns several months before your program launches. Consider posting advertisements on job boards, asking around, and working with a university to begin your recruitment process. Schools like Northeastern University have co-op programs that supply interns to biotech companies.
As you consider who to take on, think of interns as future employees, not just temporary assistants. Even if they don’t end up working for you, they’re likely to tell their peers about their experience with you, which can make or break your reputation among potential hires.
Onboard and train
If possible, assign every intern a mentor at the beginning of the program. This helps orient the intern and gives your existing employees a built-in leadership opportunity. As your interns integrate into your company dynamic, include them in company brainstorming sessions. They’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll benefit from their outside ideas and insight.
Also consider conducting exit interviews to ask your interns what they appreciated about the program and what you could improve the next time. If you’re serious about your internship program, the learning experience should go both ways.
If all goes well, make them an offer
Recent interns make great employees – they’ve already integrated into your company culture and know the basic ropes of the job, making the training process easier for everyone. Once your interns have wrapped up their programs, discuss their contributions with your managers, mentors, executives and program directors. If you were all generally satisfied with their performance and trust that they can continue to learn and grow, make them an offer. If they’re like 79.6 percent of interns, they’ll eagerly accept it.
Internships bring long-term value to your company
Implementing an internship program is a long-term investment that can cut down on a lot of hiring risk and training time later down the line. In the short term, it’s the classic win-win: they need the experience and you need the help. Over the long haul, it makes your hiring process more efficient and broadens your talent pool. Another big win.
If you plan to start an internship program, but would prefer to payroll them through a third-party company instead of adding them to your payroll, Sci.Bio is available to offer payroll services. Sci.Bio will manage the employee and employer liabilities associated with contract/contingent hiring. We offer payrolled contractors benefits to help keep them satisfied in their role so that they could turn into long term hires once they graduate! And our payroll fee is remarkably reasonable. Find out more here..
- 5 steps to a successful internship program
- 14 Benefits of Starting an Internship Program for you Company
- Hiring During a Biotech Boom: The Talent Challenges Facing Companies Across All Markets
- Want good hires who stick around? Make their careers your business (Sci.bio post)
- The Benefits of Hiring an Intern
Author: Claire Jarvis
Why we’re in a summer slowdown
Every year recruitment slows during the summer months, as employees go on annual leave, and travel to conferences. However, 2022 promises greater difficulties filling roles within the biotech sector.
For one, the American economy faces job growth slowing, rising inflation and the return to “normal” as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. Many of these factors are a continuation of pre-pandemic trends. Increased inflation is leading to a demand for higher wages to compensate for rising consumer prices, and many startups are unable to compete.
After a period of sustained job growth in the biotech and pharma sector, the rate of layoffs at these companies is increasing, with some companies making drastic cuts to their workforce. Many of these cuts are due to disappointing clinical trial results or FDA decisions, though the pandemic also created additional hurdles for clinical trials.
How to reverse hiring slowdown
Despite the uncertain outlook, even smaller biotechs can work against the greater economic forces by implementing small changes to increase their rate of hiring.
With fewer candidates available per position, recruiters and hiring managers should lean into referrals during the slow summer months from current employers and recruiter’s connections. Former job candidates who performed well in late-stage interviews are another group to consider reaching out to again with new opportunities. These personal connections and words of recommendation are likely to carry greater weight and increase the likelihood of a successful hire.
The summer is also when new STEM graduates enter the workforce for the first time, giving hiring managers the opportunity to focus on filling entry level positions.
Companies can also use the summer lull to experiment with new hiring strategies and revamp their professional social media accounts and recruitment webpages. This is also the time to improve the candidate’s recruitment process experience, since the process itself plays an important role in the jobseeker’s decision to work for a particular company.
Need to fill technical roles at your startup? For many years Sci.bio has matched the best biotech candidates to the job. Contact us to learn how we can help you.
Author: Gabrielle Bauer
These days, it can be especially hard to hire at the entry level.
The next time a recruiting firm boasts about their superior ability to attract senior leaders, don’t be too impressed. Instead, ask them how well they can attract the next generation of talent. It may seem counterintuitive, but today’s market economies have made good junior people as challenging to find as corner-office-ready VPs.
It starts with a basic supply problem. For several years now, observers of the recruiting scene have noted the shortage of qualified junior scientists. A 2018 article in Recruiting Daily anticipated that the global shortage of new talent, already in evidence at the time, would become worse over the coming years, especially in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] fields. Indeed, a report by the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte estimates that the US will have 3.5 million STEM jobs to fill by 2025—but will struggle to fill 2 million of them because of the lack of appropriately skilled candidates.
Much has been written about the root causes of this drought, from lack of encouragement for women to pursue STEM careers to university course content that doesn’t match the highly specialized requirements of today’s biotech employers. What’s more, events such as the OxyContin and Vioxx recalls have tarnished the industry’s reputation in the minds of some people. This “branding problem” may lead young people to turn away from the field.
Add a new influx of biotech seed money to the mix and you end up with a marked imbalance between the number of job opportunities (a lot) and the number of qualified candidates to fill them (a lot less).
“STEM has a branding problem with younger generations. [They] don’t understand how STEM skills translate into real-life applications.”
The COVID conundrum
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t exactly made things easier. Throughout the world, the pandemic has pressed pause on young scientists and science students’ formative activities. An article by CBI, a business association representing 190,000 firms in the UK, reports that, while the volume and calibre of junior applicants was higher than ever in fall 2021, applicants may have “COVID-19 skills gaps” that may escape recruiters’ notice. Issues that may impact the “pandemic generation may include:
- No formal exams: With widespread cancellation of exams over the course of the pandemic, candidates have not had to perform under the usual pressures.
- Gap in transferable skills: After sheltering at home for so long and missing extra-curricular activities such as team sports or theatre, many young adults have not had the usual opportunities to build up such transferable skills as cooperation and leadership—and the confidence that goes with these skills.
- Lack of interview preparation: With career fairs and mock interviews much harder to organize during the pandemic, new graduates may lack awareness of how to behave during interviews.
As an employer, you may have trouble differentiating these pandemic-related gaps, which a candidate can presumably surmount over time, from more fundamental weaknesses. Can you trust that the A+ in organic chemistry signals true competence? Does a candidate’s awkward interview style reflect a pandemic-related skills gap or an inherently poor communication style? While there are no easy answers, questioning a candidate about how the pandemic has affected them may offer useful insights.
Bringing junior talent on board
In this scarcity environment, attracting and retaining the best young scientific minds—or reliable back-benchers—calls for some strategy. Employers must understand that the perks that mean the most to older generations, such as salary and stability, mean a lot less to millennials, who fully expect to switch jobs several times during their careers—and even welcome it.
In a series of three surveys, which garnered a total of 236 responses, researchers sought to gain insight into the values espoused by young scientists and engineers. Dominant themes in the responses included the ability to work on innovative research and freedom to set research direction.
- Start ups too focused on technology and not enough on cultural underpinnings
- Huge delta in pay, i.e. overpaid senior leaders and underpaid new associates
- Harder to find building blocks but easier to place them in the base of the pyramid. At the top is where it is easier to find but harder to place candidates in position.
Base of the pyramid
While your senior hires may accomplish great things, they depend on a team of juniors—the base of the pyramid—to get the job done. Today’s environment has made it especially difficult to source out the right building blocks for that base. There’s no lack of bricks: it’s finding the solid ones that poses a challenge.
At Sci.bio, we understand that life sciences superstars cannot accomplish great things without solid shoulders to stand on. We put the same effort—and science—into recruiting at the entry and senior levels. Talk to us to find out how we do it.
1. Why the US has a STEM shortage and how we fix it. Recruiting Daily. Nov. 6, 2018.
2. John G. The unique challenges of recruiting for entry level positions in 2021 and beyond. The CBI. May 17, 2021.
3. Northern TR et al. Attracting and retaining top scientists and engineers at U.S. national laboratories and universities: Listening to the next generation. Electrochemical Society Interface 2019;28.