Recently I published the first installation of short blog series detailing changes I have seen in hiring for biotech jobs since the pandemic began. After covering the shift to mostly virtual interview processes, I wanted to discuss what comes next. Now you are reviewing your offer letter, deciding whether to accept the position – and if so – crafting your resignation letter. Then, you are ready to think about your first few days – or what we call – onboarding!
Onboarding In A Remote Environment
Starting a new job can be nerve-racking as it is. Starting a new job in a remote working environment can present a whole new set of challenges – but it’s far from impossible.
In general, working from home (WFH) has presented many new and wonderful benefits such as increased flexibility. The key to success in a remote environment is creating opportunities for engagement with your peers, effective communication, and sometimes a dash of patience.
But if you are a bench scientist or technician, you may not have had the same WFH experience as the rest of us. The same goes for some of the small teams I work with, where it’s all-hands-on-deck. Whether there’s plague or drought, vivariums need to be tended, cell cultures maintained, and data generated. To protect the employees who still had to be onsite, companies implemented new safety procedures in labs and buildings, established shifts, and ordered regular COVID tests.
Because of these safety procedures, many of the people we placed in 2020 were able to meet their new teams on their first day of work, albeit masked and socially distanced. However, before making assumptions that a new role would begin in a virtual capacity, I encourage you to look into whether it’s even an option. If it is, be sure to inquire with the HR team or the recruiter you’re working with – at the start of the interview process – what the organization’s plans are regarding remote work once things with the pandemic begin to normalize. From there, you can make the best decision for yourself and those who might also work remotely in your household.
Is This A Good Time To Look?
The biotech industry is characterized by adaptability and innovation. If anyone can apply the lessons from 2020 into something more positive, I believe it to be this industry. Despite delays in visa processing, disruptions to supply chains, and academic research and recruiting disturbance, I am amazed to see biotech continuing to flourish amongst the many challenges presented. As it stands, a large percentage of biotechs and pharma are carrying on their research, if not as usual, at least mostly uninterrupted. And there were billions injected into the industry through VC firms, the stock market, and Operation Warp Speed.
We all have personal losses to mourn, but we also have reason to be optimistic. The biotech industry is well-positioned for 2021, and I believe that it will land on its feet after all the upheaval. The same is true for hiring! Job seekers will find that many things are different, but the fundamentals are the same. Hiring managers are still looking for a person who brings technical expertise and a strong cultural fit. More than ever, there is a large emphasis across the industry on effective communication, teamwork, collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability. My biopharma partners are looking for candidates who will thrive despite the current realities. There is no reason that can’t be you!
The pandemic has put countless things on hold, from medical procedures to weddings. Still, suppose you’re one of the thousands of scientists in the U.S. working in biotech and pharma. In that case, there is no reason to put your career development and professional growth on hold too.
If you are interested in learning more about the current hiring landscape, connect with people in your network about what they’ve seen during this time. Or, you can reach out to me or any of my colleagues in GQR’s Life Sciences team. We support companies at all stages of the drug development process.
Look out for the third and final installment of this blog series, where I will summarize potential long-term changes within the industry and where things are ahead.