12 Jun How Do I Find My Next Lab Employee
Laboratory Staffing can be challenging. Hiring the right person for your laboratory can play a pivotal role in achieving your research objective. The ability to spot the right hire in prospective employees is easier said than done.
As rightly said by the late Steve Jobs, “The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.”
Candidates with the right attitude determine the success or failure of any project or venture. You need to make sure that your lab staffing is accurate and goes down the right path.
Scientists look for the most promising talents to hire for their important projects. It’s imperative for your employment agency to find the candidates with the right skillsets and convince them to join your research team. To achieve this objective, you should know what exactly you want from the role you are hiring for.
Keep a Recruitment Mix
A study by the HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) accentuates the importance of differentiating between students and employees. Postdocs and lab technicians come under the “employee” category at most research laboratories and universities.
They join under a specific salary band and must adhere to the human resources policy. Students, on the contrary, come on board to fulfill their learning objectives and gain experience in the process, with or without stipend.
Managing these two sets of relationships need distinct management techniques and hiring processes. The hiring goal is to bring hard-working and intelligent people on board. While eyeing the right students, the researchers or scientists need to remember that they are hiring them as a teacher, not as a boss. These aspiring scientists need a strong mentor to guide them until they evolve as promising postdoc candidates.
Batchwise Hiring from Staffing Company
Instead of rushing to start hiring for your lab, your recruitment firm can adopt a step-by-step approach to get better talent. It is always an excellent idea to bring experienced lab technicians on board, who can help in training the junior staffs.
Graduate students should be brought under the umbrella, once the lab is fully functional with time and scope for mentoring. Postdocs should join the research bandwagon, once the small tasks of a big project can be successfully delegated to them. Undergrads need rigorous training and active mentoring before they are assigned importance responsibility in the lab.
Spread the Word
Giving a job description to the staffing company helps you define the role and makes the hiring process easier to find the top talents. It should be compelling and precise – outlining the exciting research aspects in addition to the mandatory responsibilities and required qualifications to drive them.
Once finalized, the job description should be up in the project website and shared and advertised through various other avenues. As per HHMI, recruitment for your lab through word of mouth may attract the right talents. Spotting promising candidates at seminars, conferences or in university classes can fill the position through an internal referral scheme.
Postdocs can also be sourced by posting job ads in online directories and news publications related to the research area.
At the time of speaking to the prospects and writing advertisements, it’s essential to share the vision and mission of the lab and the potential impact of the job role in achieving that. Candidates may want to know about work culture and environment to gauge their fitment.
Diverse Interests & Motivations
Every individual is driven by different ideologies and motivations. But, trends are available to understand how graduate students, technicians, and postdocs are seeking out positions. Students may aspire to get featured in the research paper for their contribution, which may subsequently bolster their resumes and education. Students may prefer temp staffing or project based job for a certain duration. Alternatively, a high salary can be a strong influencer for the lab technicians apart from an exciting job role. Here, it can help to maintain a mix of all candidates while staffing for your laboratory.
Once the applications are collected, the panel of scientists should shortlist the resumes based on the crucial hiring factors. The shortlisted candidates are then put through multiple rounds of interviews to measure them on the skillsets, experience, and several other traits essential for success in the job role. Getting published can be a strong indicator for a postdoc’s success, but HHMI reinforces to value quality over quantity. Preferably, a postdoc should ideally have one or two credits from lead authors apart from being published.
Interested applicants should spend quality time with senior staff members in the laboratory to understand their fitment. The recruiting agency can test them on small tasks to judge their interest level, attitude, and presence of mind. The scientists can ask post-doctoral candidates to present a research paper or seminar to the department, allowing colleagues to provide feedback on the critical success factors.