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Reasonable Hiring Expectations

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Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby Nate W. » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:15 pm

Recently, I saw this job ad listed below. My reaction to it was quite strong. However, I did my due diligence and checked out the qualifications of the senior management and other analysts at this hedge fund using LinkedIn plus the firm's website. Nobody at the firm had these qualifications. Wondering what you think?

Ad:

Responsibilities:
We are seeking a Healthcare Equity Analyst to join one of our Long/Short Equity teams, focusing on biotechnology. Responsibilities include clinical data analysis, financial modeling and analysis, market research, industry/sellside conference attendance, and other investment related activities.

Qualifications:
MUST be a graduate from a top university
MUST have an M.D. or Ph.D
MUST have strong standardized test scores
MUST have work experience focused on pharma/spec pharma/biotech sector
MUST have Excel modeling skills
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:08 pm

1. It's a new niche.

2. Getting into the market might be one way of financing your own research short of going through NIH/grant application processes/mandated evaluations, etc.
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby D.X. » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:06 am

Reality:

1. Soft.
2. Non-negotiable requirement.
3. Soft and irrelevant.
4. Non-negotiable - Must have and demonstrated successes.
5. Non-negotiable - must be an Excel wizard with modeling skills.

So basically the job description comes down to:

An experienced analyst MD or PhD with demonstrated pharma/biotech sector experience and proven excel modeling.

My wife worked for similar type firm in the past that had similar requirments, but management didn't have it. They just want to weed out less qualified candidates. A candidate with experience can read between the lines. They won't say no to a candidate with experience - that's the reality.

DX
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby Dave Walker » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:51 am

From my experience what DX summarized sounds right: an Equity Analyst needs a PhD or MD and proven experience, like a few other specialized non-bench jobs. This is just industry standard. And management wouldn't likely have the same qualifications (especially PhD or MD) because Equity Analysis is just one part of what a firm does. Like how an MSL might have a PhD/MD/PharmD but the corresponding VP of Sales/Marketing/Business Development may not.

The "top university" and standardized test score requests are probably just boilerplate from another industry. It sounds like something a finance/Wall Street firm might ask for without blinking an eye.
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:41 am

D.X. wrote:Reality:

1. Soft.
2. Non-negotiable requirement.
3. Soft and irrelevant.
4. Non-negotiable - Must have and demonstrated successes.
5. Non-negotiable - must be an Excel wizard with modeling skills.

So basically the job description comes down to:

An experienced analyst MD or PhD with demonstrated pharma/biotech sector experience and proven excel modeling.

My wife worked for similar type firm in the past that had similar requirments, but management didn't have it. They just want to weed out less qualified candidates. A candidate with experience can read between the lines. They won't say no to a candidate with experience - that's the reality.

DX


I like DX's post here, and agree. I think it's the topic of a future column here on the site -- that is, determining what's "soft" and what's immoveable in a job description. There's an art to it, and too many times I hear PhD's moaning about the fact that they don't fit all the characteristics, when in reality half of them are soft, or "would be nice" kinds of comments thrown in by the managers,

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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby Nate W. » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:22 pm

D.X. wrote:Reality:

1. Soft.
2. Non-negotiable requirement.
3. Soft and irrelevant.
4. Non-negotiable - Must have and demonstrated successes.
5. Non-negotiable - must be an Excel wizard with modeling skills.

So basically the job description comes down to:

An experienced analyst MD or PhD with demonstrated pharma/biotech sector experience and proven excel modeling.

My wife worked for similar type firm in the past that had similar requirments, but management didn't have it. They just want to weed out less qualified candidates. A candidate with experience can read between the lines. They won't say no to a candidate with experience - that's the reality.

DX


DX, I agree with you this is probably closer to reality. However, the hiring manager did place the word MUST in all caps.

Even with these three non-negotiables, I still think they are going to have a hard time finding a candidate. I have talked with many biotech analysts and most have a MBA, Series 7, and some biotech analyst experience. Very few have a MD or PhD plus all the other skills needed (i.e. Series 7, MBA, and business experience).

It is my hypothesis that they want a proven biotech analyst from a major investment bank with significant experience to jump ship. It is even more frustrating to find out they don't have a single analyst with this background.

Dave, it is quite a problem in biotech. Managers often have unrealistic expectations about the job market and the qualifications needed. Often a PhD is an entry level degree that needs to be supplemented with an additional professional degree and academic experiences/publications are of absolutely no value. Frankly, it is down right discouraging. It is a plug play mindset when evaluating candidates where transferable skills aren't considered.
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby PG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:14 am

I agree that ads are sometimes exagerating the skills and experience required and I do believe that this is sometimes a big problem. However I dont think that the biggest problem is in the actual hiring event. Companies do find skilled staff for the positions they advertise and at least around here it is not a major problem that companies cant find trained staff.

Instead I believe that the biggest challenge in todays job market is that companies frequently end up hiring people who are really overqualified for the position they are working in. This is a combination of inflated requirements in the ads and that it is sometimes difficult to make the decision to hire the less qualified candidate for a certain position. Hiring someone who is overqualified often results in various complications.
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby D.X. » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:01 am

PG wrote:
Instead I believe that the biggest challenge in todays job market is that companies frequently end up hiring people who are really overqualified for the position they are working in. This is a combination of inflated requirements in the ads and that it is sometimes difficult to make the decision to hire the less qualified candidate for a certain position. Hiring someone who is overqualified often results in various complications.


I disagree. There is a well qualified work force out there across most sectors and areas. There are certain niche areas where there may be some expertise gaps. In my experiences most companies suffer the issue of hiring under-qualified FTEs. We can spend alots of discussion on what underqualfied means - sometimes its not experience gap, most times its the FTE is a non-collaborative, arrogant or inefficient worker that smiles a lot (tiny joke here).

So why? because well qualified FTEs come with a cost. A cost that most companies are not willing to pay - well established and qualified FTEs are not going to move companies for measly incremental benefits. And I'm not just talking salary, I'm talking training, resources, and support and independence that the qualified FTE might expect.

This then starts to serves as a platform for Hiring Mangers to start talk about lack of talent or lack of qualified talent etc. And complaints of not finding the right person. In general.

Regarding over-qualified. For this forum I would avoid or drop that terminology immediately. For most on this forum, most are at early stages of career at least that appears to be the target audience. Over-qualified may only exist in the context of a rapidly consolidating industry with people with >20 years of direct experience who finds themselves out of jobs and are willing to take a step down for sake of a job. As "over-qualified" as they may be..they...well...are still only "qualified" in the context of the employer, not over.

The employer benefits from the wealth of experience of these types of qualified folks. The over-qualified view then sits in the mind of the FTE with said experience which then becomes the platform for discontent on both sides.

We screen for that in interviews when we have said situation. If the candidate is humble and will not challenge others in terms of ego, because self view of over-qualified leads to arrogance, then we can pick it out. If the candidate is infact over qualified, that will show - if the candidate's behavior is appropriate, i.e. not arrogant and rather collaborative he or she will advance in a short amount of time as she or he builds credibility/trust among their team in the new organization. This is something aged workers need to be attentive to.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

DX
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby Dave Walker » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:46 am

This is a great dialogue, PG and D.X. -- at first viewing it looks like both of your points are more similar than different.

PG's comment is that, over time, the life sciences industry has "inflated" job qualifications generally, thus forcing hiring managers to justify choosing to hire otherwise capable candidates. From my perspective, this is true not just in "niche" cases that D.X. mentions; there are so many job candidates with a PhD after their name that is has almost become a weed-out characteristic for example, even in a position like sales.

D.X. is looking at it from the completely other side -- that it rightfully costs a lot of money to get the best (even more than "most-qualified") candidate. There's a dreadful part of the hiring process where a manager weighs cost of employee vs value of employee. I think D.X. is wise to be cautious of using "over-qualified" as a term because it is something that neither the company nor employee should want.

The more I think about it, the whole situation feels like mutually-assured destruction, as job requirements inflate along with the feeling that one is over-qualified to do entry level work.

A shortcut through this that I've seen always seems to be when a hire comes as a referral, where "weeding out" is not as necessary. Behold, the power of networking.
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby SKC » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:20 am

D.X. - what's wrong with a person who smiles? I'd like some clarification on what you view as negative in a person who smiles a lot.

I ask because in a recent job interview, none of my 6 interviewers smiled at me over the course of 4 hours. I'm wondering if my smiles communicated something unfavorable to them.
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