What Life Sciences Hiring Managers Are Really Looking For

What Life Sciences Hiring Managers Are Really Looking For

by Chris Atkinson in career
Many factors can affect your chances of a pharma or medical devices job offer, from your social profile to your CV. However, few things are more important than the impression you make on a hiring manager. 
Hiring managers separate the candidates with potential from those who won't fit on a team. When you're applying for the ideal job, it's up to you to make sure that you're ticking all the right boxes for your life sciences hiring professional.  

Although different companies may have different expectations, you can prepare for a more successful application process, by looking at the basic qualities all employers love. Here are some of the things that we see our clients searching for in their life sciences candidates.  

1. Can You Do the Job?


Before a hiring manager invites you to an interview, they need to know that you can perform in a role. This means that you need to tailor your CV to the position at hand.  

Don't expect a business to waste time trying to figure out if your experience makes you a good option for their position. It's up to you to adjust every point on your resume to demonstrate how you're the ideal fit for a specific job description. For instance, if you're applying to become a manager, show how you've excelled in similar roles in the past. Alternatively, you can share situations where you demonstrated exceptional leadership, motivational and organisational skills.  

Use the job description and any research you have about a company to determine the key competencies your hiring manager is looking for. Then, customise your cover letter and CV to highlight these skills.  

2. Do You Have the Right Attitude? 

According to one psychological theory, hiring managers make flash judgements based on two things. First, they want to know whether you're good at what you do (i.e. competent). Secondly, they want to see whether you're warm and likeable. 
Your CV and cover letter are an excellent way to start demonstrating your competence. When you get to the interview stage, you can also begin adding warmth to the mix too. For instance, when a hiring manager asks: "Tell us about a time when you lead your life sciences team through a complicated project." 

  • Get specific: Use details to paint a more vivid picture: "I brought my team together each day at 12 pm for regular coffee chats so that we could dive into the problem together."  
  • Show your human side: Talk about how you felt, as well as what you did. "Although I was a little nervous about introducing a new strategy, I felt that I had done enough research to make an informed decision."  
  • Take it step-by-step: Rather than just telling the hiring manager about the outcomes of your work, guide them through the process from start to finish. "When we began, we …… After that, I ….., in the end, we ……." 

3. Will You Fit with the Company Culture? 

Importantly, just because you're warm and likeable doesn't necessarily mean you're the right person for a team. Today's pharma and medical devices employers are highly focused on building strong, sustainable company cultures. This means that they need to hire people who share the same values and work ethics.  

While you're answering questions in an interview, think about the values that you know the company has. For instance, many life sciences employers look for dedication in their candidates. They want to see that you're passionate about the work you do. The pharmaceutical and medical devices field can be stressful, and passion keeps team members motivated.  

If you know your employer values passion, use your questions to demonstrate your immovable will and focus when tackling complex problems like improving budgets, or enhancing workflow. Speaking to a specialist recruitment company like Kinetic can give you a better insight into an organisation's culture.  

4. Can You Handle Conflict? 

As mentioned above, working in the life sciences sector isn't always easy.  

Conflict can arise in the form of tight deadlines, long hours, complicated production schedules and demanding clients. One of the most common things a hiring manager will look for is someone who can adapt to any situation - no matter how stressful.  

If possible, when planning your answers to competency-based questions, look for examples of your ability to overcome conflict. For instance, maybe you were the first to step forward and try a new artificial intelligence technology when other employees fought against it. Perhaps you faced an issue and came up with a creative way to overcome it.  

Even showing your hiring manager how you stay up-to-date with current trends in the life sciences space may help. An employee that constantly learns and expands their skills is more likely to adapt well to a changing environment.  

5. Are You Informed? 

Finally, according to a study by Glassdoor, 88% of hiring managers say an "informed" candidate is the main thing they search for when interviewing.  

Informed life sciences candidates are up-to-date on what's happening in their industry. However, they've also done their research into the company and the role that they're applying for. A few good ways to show a hiring manager that you're informed include: 
  • Asking pertinent questions about the business and your role  
  • Showcasing key competencies in your answers to questions  
  • Highlighting your understanding of the organisation's culture and values 

When you come into an interview fully-informed, hiring managers can see that you're passionate about the role, and not just filling a gap in your CV.  



About Kinetic  

At Kinetic we pride ourselves on being the leading regional experts in the full range of recruitment solutions for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices industries. 

Kinetic understands the niche requirements for all specialisms of this ever-increasing regulated industry. Wondering if your salary structure is correct in today’s market? Then download The Kinetic Salary and Employment Survey here.

To find out more about how we can support you in your recruitment campaign or help you land your next career progression contact us here.
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