How to Hire Employees Who Believe in What They Do

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Jeff Gilden

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How do you define the perfect employee?

Some people simply show up. They work. They leave.

“At Biotech Partners, we look for those people who are about more than just getting the work done,” said Brad McMillan, Biotech Partners’ practice head and preclinical division lead. “We want those who put in the hours, work up to their full potential, go above and beyond their job description, and motivate others to do the same.”

But Gallup’s annual State of the American Workplace report states that upwards of 70 percent of employees today are disengaged. There’s a disconnect between their career expectations and their current position. Perhaps the job they were hired for has morphed into something else altogether. Perhaps they haven’t had opportunities to learn new skills and grow. Perhaps they’ve missed chances for advancement and leadership. Or it might be that the company’s rewards system doesn’t speak to their own personal values.

So how do you prevent disengagement before it happens? Start hiring employees who already demonstrate their willingness to be engaged in what they do.

Look for Potential
Reading a resume is a skill in and of itself — average candidates can overstate their qualifications and awesome candidates may undersell themselves. A potential employee’s degrees and experience illuminate their past, but what also stands to move a company forward is an employee’s potential. At Biotech Partners, we look for personal growth trends such as increased responsibilities, leadership roles both at work and outside the office, professional development courses, publications, and even volunteerism.

Check References
It’s not just a matter of whether an employee worked where they said they worked and did what they said they did. We want to know if their co-workers would want to work with them again. Employees can work hard but still not leave an impression if they aren’t engaged in their tasks and the company.

Get on Goal
Work environments play a tremendous role in whether an employee is able to thrive. We want to know what a company offers and what a candidate needs. Part of understanding expectations is learning why a candidate is interested in leaving their current position and why a company has a position open. It’s important to ask how candidates would define success and compare that with company goals. Plus we always want to know about passion projects. People who have a drive to pursue what interests them demonstrate engagement.

Go With Your Gut
A candidate may be the best fit based on experience but NOT not the best fit based on company culture — or vice versa. We strive to understand what is most important. Some companies are willing to train the employee who has the right personality but may lack certain skills. For others it is critical to hire someone who will hit the ground running. Chances are though that the best employee is the one who just feels like the right match.

By taking the time to research, listen, and establish an open dialogue about needs and expectations, Biotech Partners creates the best possible scenario for hiring that elusive perfect employee.

“We understand that hiring great employees is about more than checking off a list of skills or shoving a square peg in a round hole,” McMillan said. “We work together with hiring managers to understand the who and why of every position we’re engaged to fill. Companies and candidates find that Biotech Partners understands the hiring process — not just in the general sense but across the life sciences.”


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