Life Sciences Recruiting: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Biotech Jobs (1)

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Life Sciences Recruiting: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Biotech Jobs (1)

By Meghan Williams-Pacini | February 4, 2021

Life Sciences Recruiter Shares Insights On The Biotech Job Market + Virtual Interview Techniques For Job Seekers

With a new year often come thoughts of personal change, be it spiritual, physical, or professional. While 2021 still presents many uncertainties, if you are interested in exploring biotech jobs – this may be your year!

Why? This has been a record-breaking year for biotech IPOs. In total, IPOs raised about $15 billion, almost tripling the amount from 2019, and healthcare investment was at an all-time high. For many companies, this means hiring and headcount growth is in full swing.

So, how have these opposing forces – COVID-19 chaos amidst a booming industry – played out in the biotech jobs market? As a recruiter with a unique vantage point into the minds of hiring managers and job seekers, I have seen several patterns emerge that may permanently change how people in our industry work, live and succeed. From interviewing to onboarding – and creating a sense of belonging with new colleagues – everything is tied together by a common thread. Video conferencing apps.

Enjoy a series of blogs over the coming weeks discussing some of these changes in the biotech job market and how job seekers can prepare for opportunities in this market. To start with, let’s take a look at how interview processes have changed.

Virtual “On-Sites”

Just look to Zoom’s meteoric rise on the stock market in 2020 or the emergence of Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts in our vernacular; these types of video conferencing apps have kept us connected while stuck at home. Many companies paused hiring when we first went remote but quickly realized that as the pandemic went on, they had to shift their interview processes to the virtual world. Equally, we encountered Hiring Managers who continued to postpone hiring until they could meet candidates face to face – voicing concerns about the accuracy a video call could convey a candidate’s character. 

Once the initial lockdowns were over and everyone became comfortable with new safety precautions, some Hiring Managers chose to set up socially distanced meetings towards the end of the interview process, especially for senior leadership hires. Still, of the hundreds of candidates our clients have hired since March, most have gone through the interview process entirely remotely.

Zoom and Teams interviews have become the norm through the pandemic. While candidates may have felt more pressure to adapt to the technology, as a recruiter, I was often more worried that my candidates would neglect conventional interviewing norms such as dressing appropriately and making eye contact through the camera. 

Interviewing while sitting at a computer can open up a whole host of distractions, which is why our recruitment team takes the extra step to help prepare candidates for this new interviewing medium. 

Consider the following video interviewing guide directly from a Recruitment Specialist:

  • Minimize or close windows on your computer to prevent distractions. While we’re at it, turn off your phone. 
  • Log in early to the designated platform and consider conducting a test run to ensure everything runs smoothly, such as your audio, lighting, and background.
  • It seems obvious, but make sure your video is on.
  • If you share a space with family members, roommates, pets, or any other living creatures, be sure to communicate that you need privacy for a designated time – lock doors if you can.
  • Lighting is vital – make sure you’re not sitting with a bright window or light source behind you. Remember, hiring managers are as interested in your non-verbal cues as they are in your verbal communication. Make sure they can see you. 
  • For a complete list of video interviewing tips, check out this guide.

Look out for the second installation on how COVID-19 has affected the biotech industry coming next week! I will cover the changes I’ve seen in the onboarding process and address the question, “Is this a good time to look for biotech jobs?”

See the second blog in this series.

 

Connect With Our Life Sciences Team

 

About the Author
Meghan Williams-Pacini

Meghan Williams-Pacini is a Life Sciences recruitment specialist based in New York. She specializes in research and development with a specific focus in the drug discovery space.

Meghan uses her subject matter expertise within drug development to help build highly engaged teams for the clients she supports. The candidates she works with develop everything from non-viral gene therapies and RNA therapeutics to immunomodulatory biologics.

She is passionate about supporting biotechs as they pursue their goal of improving patients’ quality of life.

Meghan grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia, and moved to South Carolina to pursue a degree in International Business and Chinese Enterprise at USC. Her program allowed her to spend more than two years in Hong Kong and China, where she honed her Mandarin skills.

In her time outside of supporting the candidates and clients she partners with, Meghan enjoys reading, being outdoors, culinary arts, and yoga.

“I would say I think that I don’t know how long Meghan has been in the field but I have a sense of trustworthiness that I don’t have with even more established recruiters. The Boston area is crazy with lots of agencies who can be quite fanatic inthe way they work. Meghan shows a lot of integrity and transparency. I am very pleased to be working with her and look forward to working with her again in the future.” – VP of Oncology at a preclinical biotech developing RNA therapeutics

Connect directly with Meghan if you want to understand how she might support you as a jobseeker in the research and development space or if you have hiring needs inthis market!

“GQR was amazing in the work they did for my company. Under unique circumstances and a high degree of urgency, GQR rapidly worked to fill a critical, senior position. They showed great flexibility and professionalism throughout, and they know their field. I highly recommend GQR.”
– CEO, Biotherapeutics Company

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