Meet Matt Leon, Senior Life Science Recruiter and Resident Life Coach

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Jeff Gilden

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You’ve seen the behind-the-scenes photos that appear on LinkedIn and Facebook, and you may have even had the pleasure of working with some of them – but who exactly comprises Biotech Partners? In this series we will introduce you to the amazing men and women who work tirelessly to connect the best candidates in the market with innovative organizations across the nation.

Next up, meet Matt Leon, a Senior Life Science Recruiter for Biotech Partners.


Interviewer: So, Matt, tell us a little about what your role as a Senior Life Science Recruiter looks like within Biotech Partners.

Leon: I am responsible for the full cycle of recruiting for our clients. Once I’ve received a complete job description from the hiring manager, I review it so that I am clear on what they are looking for and then assess whether their description is missing any essential pieces to it based on our discussion. I then source candidates through various channels, then move the selected candidates into the screening process where I can vet them for what the hiring manager is specifically looking for. Once they have moved forward into the interview stage, I help the candidates prepare for their upcoming interviews, and act as a sounding board for both the hiring manager and the candidate throughout the process. I then help schedule all stages of the interview process and represent the candidate at the negotiation table when it comes to the offer stage.

Interviewer: How did you end up at Biotech Partners and what led you to world of recruiting in the first place?

Leon: After I decided to retire from hockey, I moved back to Charlotte and was entertaining a few job offers. I reached out to Tony Aukskalnis, another Biotech Partner employee and a good friend of mine to ask for his advice. He encouraged me to come in and talk about it over lunch with him and Biotech Partners’ President, Ross Petras. After our meeting, I found myself more interested in what they were doing than any of the other roles I was considering. I had never planned on being a recruiter but listening to all the inspiring stories about helping candidates find that perfect opportunity that could potentially change the course of their lives gets you really excited about a job. As a former athlete, I was always passionate about building high quality cultures within organizations which made recruiting a perfect fit. I get to play a part in matching the right people to the right company, and that’s always going to be rewarding!

Interviewer: What’s your favorite part about your role?

Leon: It’s impossible for me to pick just one favorite part about my job. First, I love that I get to walk into work every day and collaborate with the people I now consider to be family. Secondly, I love my role itself: by speaking with candidates and hiring managers, I learn more and more about this industry every day. Thirdly, (and most gratifying of all) is when I get to make that final call to a candidate to let them know they got the offer they were hoping to get. Hearing their excitement and enthusiasm is pretty awesome.

Interview: So, what does a typical “Day in the Life of a Senior Life Science Recruiter” look like?

Leon: Each morning starts with a team meeting, followed by a recruiter-focused meeting to quickly go over what roles we are currently working on, what roles are in the pipeline, what our priorities are for the day. We also use that time to discuss where we may need help from the rest of the team. The rest of the day is usually spent on phone screening candidates and any weekly check-in calls we may have with our clients. Any pockets of “free time” in my day are spent sourcing more candidates or following up with referrals. At the end of the day, I write a quick summary about the calls I had that day to send over to the hiring manager or hop on a quick call to review together.

Interviewer: In your experience, what can a candidate do to stand apart from the competition?

Leon: A lot of hiring managers believe that attention to detail, (specifically on CVs and resumes), is extremely important. Following up with thank you letters after an interview also seems to get positive reviews. Most interviewers agree that asking questions during an interview indicates that you’ve done research prior to the interview and are committed to the hiring process. And lastly, I have noticed a big difference in success rates with candidates that take advantage of an interview preparation session with our team as opposed to those who choose to go it alone.

Interviewer: What is one universally sought skill that many hiring managers are looking for in a potential hire?

Leon: Most of the roles we fill require very specific technical experience, so often the final decision comes down to the soft skills. There are three main things that a hiring manager will look for: attention to detail, execution, and authenticity. These qualities will always make you an attractive candidate to any company.

Interviewer: How do you help both the hiring manager and a potential candidate to match in a role that typically experiences high turnover?

Leon: It’s important to clearly communicate with the hiring manager to understand why there’s been high turnover in the past and discuss ways to remedy it moving forward. Identify if it’s a compensation, leadership, or communication issue. See if it’s the actual role that is the problem or if it’s a lack of support for that role. When dealing with a role that has a high turnover rate, it’s also important to vet the candidate a little more than usual, be very clear as to what the responsibilities are, and set clear expectations for both the candidate and the hiring manager.

Interviewer: If you could give a candidate one piece of advice, what would it be?

Leon: Make sure there’s clear communication with your recruiter and take advantage of the tools and advice we provide. It’s a shame when someone with a perfect background goes into an interview unprepared and is passed on due to their lack of preparation.

Interviewer: What do you do outside of work for fun, Matt?

Leon: Outside of Biotech Partners, I teach private hockey lessons, I run camps across the U.S., and I do life & mental coaching for some of my athletes. When I’m not working at the rink, I like to fish and spend time on the lake, travel, and hang out with friends and family.

Interviewer: What goals have you set for 2020, either personal or professional?

Leon: My professional goals are to make 16 candidate placements in 2020 and continue to grow my life & mental coaching network.

If you’re a candidate or hiring manager who is interested in working with Matt or any of the Biotech Partners team, feel free to reach out today for a complimentary consultation to see how the team can help connect you to the right organization or individual!

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