What Makes a Candidate Stand Out in the Life Sciences Industry in the Gulf / Middle East?

What Makes a Candidate Stand Out in the Life Sciences Industry in the Gulf / Middle East?

by Rudy Bier in career
The Middle East and Gulf area are brimming with well-educated people, looking to start their career in the life sciences space. According to some studies, the region will expand its talent pool by 50% by 2030, giving employers plenty of great options to choose from. 

The life sciences sector is responsible for many of the breakthroughs in the medical world, and it's a huge economic driver for the Middle East. In 2017, the life sciences industry accounted for 1.73 million jobs. 
The question is, what makes a candidate stand out in this growing space? How can you make sure that you get the role you've been waiting for? 

How Life Sciences Leaders Assess Talent 

At Kinetic, our team specialises in life sciences recruitment. Over the years, we've learned what our clients look for first when they're searching for the best talent.  

Though different companies need specific skills and proficiencies, most hiring managers will look for three things when they're making the right employment choice: 
  • Competency   
  • Attitude    
  • Mindset 
Let's look at each area in closer detail  

Competency - Candidates Must be Science Savvy 

A life sciences candidate needs to have an academic background relevant to the role they're applying for. This means that biomedical scientists must understand the nature of disease, and how to analyse pathology, while a biochemist must understand the chemistry of life.  

However, employers looking to enhance their talent pipeline will search for more than just a basic knowledge of life sciences. The sector is growing increasingly diverse thanks to the development of new technology, and the best employees need to be savvy enough to embrace the changes. Beyond scientific knowledge, hiring managers also look for: 

  • Background in technology: Many aspects of biology are now linked with technology, such as artificial intelligence.  
  • Statistic and mathematical proficiency: This is particularly important for bioinformaticians.   
  • Data analytics: Today's life sciences experts must know how to work with a growing amount of social data.  

Competency - Soft Skills are Essential 

Importantly, when looking for competency, hiring managers in the life sciences, sectors don't just focus on technical skill. Soft skills can be just as critical when determining how well a candidate will thrive in any role.  

The most common soft skills necessary in life sciences include: 
  • Communication skills - the ability to share findings and ideas with others 
  • Research and writing skills - presenting accurate data to others  
  • Time management and organisational skills - candidates must work according to strict deadlines  
  • Problem-solving skills - life sciences employees face complex problems all the time, from finding a new drug to dealing with a potential pathogen  
  • Collaboration and teamwork skills - a great candidate knows how to thrive as part of a larger company culture. 

Attitude - Life Sciences Employees are Detail-Focused 

Hiring for the right technical skills in life sciences is essential. However, the genuinely stand-out employees are also those who can demonstrate the right attitude for success. While some technical skills can be taught, attitude is something that's very difficult to change.  

Promising candidates in the life sciences space show that they're right for the role by proving their dedication to success, accuracy, and detail. Hiring managers test for these characteristics with competency-based interview questions like: 
  • Tell us about the steps you took to accomplish something according to a deadline in the past. 
  • How have you dealt with high-pressure situations before?  
  • Explain a time when you had to bring your team together to achieve a goal.  

Attitude - The Right Candidates are "Likeable" 


As terms like "company culture" become more crucial to the hiring experience, it's important for any great candidate to be "likeable."  

From an employee's perspective, a likeable attitude means that you're more likely to fit in with your team and feel comfortable at work. From an employer's point of view, likeable employees lead to a more cohesive company culture and fewer chances of conflict between teams.  

As the leading healthcare recruitment organisation in the UAE, we frequently see how the likeability of a person can affect their hiring potential. Remember, your body language in the interview can have a big impact on how people perceive you. Keep your arms uncrossed, sit up straight and smile to put your interviewer at ease! 

Mindset - The Best Candidates Commit to Their Future 

Finally, in an ever-changing sector like life sciences, hiring managers will always be looking for candidates that are willing to go above and beyond. As new trends and technology enter the marketplace, the best employees will be those who are eager to learn about industry changes and expand their knowledge according to the needs of their role.  

No matter how hectic life gets, if you want to stand out to future employers, make sure that you commit to your future with constant training and personal growth. Find a mentor in the life sciences space that can take you under their wing. Look into night classes that will expand your education in certain areas that your employer is interested in. 

Committing to an ongoing education will both impress anyone looking to hire you and ensure that you're always one step ahead of the curve in your field.  

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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