By Andrew Wurm, PharmaLogics Executive Recruiter

Great on Paper

When looking for your next candidate, there are several different elements for life sciences organizations to consider. There are more obvious aspects, like looking if they have a degree and what school they went to or seeing what their most recent position or company was. But how can you know if this person is the right fit beyond looking great on paper?

I like to separate these things into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are teachable skills. Things you can learn, practice, and continue to develop, such as improving your typing speed or learning a new computer program. Soft skills or “people skills” tend to be much harder to mature, and in turn, often just come naturally to certain people. Examples of this include solid communication skills, flexibility, and even leadership.

Setting Up Candidates to Thrive

When looking for new hires and wanting to ensure your next candidate is the right fit, it is important that you take both hard and soft skills into account. Typically companies and recruiters will spend a lot of their efforts focusing on hard skills. Do they have this degree, can they run this program, or do they have experience working this quickly? These things are all important. However it is also crucial to think about the company culture and if this person will be able to thrive in the environment, can work well with the team already in place, and if they will be someone we can see moving into leadership positions.

Identifying Soft Skills

Identifying soft skills can be tricky, especially if you are trying to gauge the candidate’s personality and cultural fit over a brief phone screen. Due to the nature of this, soft skills can often be difficult to quantify. Asking questions regarding the candidates goals, motivations, and even past experiences can be great ways to get candidates to open up and allow you to gain a better idea of their fit. The goal of this is to gauge how the candidate would approach different situations relating to communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and more.Some example questions to help determine soft skills can include:

  1. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
  2. Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult colleague. How did you communicate with the colleague effectively?
  3. How do you respond to negative feedback or bad reviews? What is your process?

The Talent Balance

The main point of all of this is that there is so much that goes into deciding what candidate is the right one, and while technical, hard-learned skills are crucial, they often will not be utilized to the fullest if the candidate does not have the necessary soft, interpersonal skills to match. These are absolutely aspects of talent acquisition that every employer and recruiter should consider when working to build their teams.



About the Author: 

Andrew Wurm is a on-site Recruiter with two years of experience working in the life sciences industry.  Outside of work, Andrew is very outgoing, loves listening to music, and meeting new people. His desire to work with others and collaborate has been key in maintaining a successful career in Talent Acquisition.

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