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Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:22 am
by Khanhhoa
Hello all. I am a frequent reader here, but an infrequent poster.

I was recently contacted by a recruiter for an industry position at a start up. The job fits my background and experience well (3-5 years post PhD in my discipline with industry experience). This sounds great, but also a little bit fishy...

The position is in a very new start up, one still in the incubator stage in a US biotech hub where there are surely plenty of hungry postdocs who would apply for this job. I do not live in this hub, and have worked at my current company for less than a year. What strikes me as odd is that such a small and new company would need to hire a recruiter to fill this position, and that they would be willing to pay the relocation and salary necessary to get someone to move across the country when there is a wealth of talent within their hub city. This company has several openings posted online for both scientist and technician/research associate levels.

Does this seem a little off, or am I being too suspicious? I plan to talk to the recruiter, but I don't expect it to lead to anything. Any thoughts?

Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:03 pm
by Dave Jensen
Nothing strange about that at all . . . In fact, this sounds like it's going to be a successful company. In the worst of companies, they'll force hiring managers to recruit from the local pool. In the best of companies, they'll have a very competitive approach incorporating the best candidates nationally. From my own experience, I'd say that this is not unusual at all. They've probably already done their own networking (asked their own contacts locally, spoken to their SAB members who are in the area, etc) and come up dry. Or, they wish to compare their local star candidate with someone from a national search. It shows how important EVERY scientific role in a company is when a firm decides to review the national pool instead of simply doing the cheapest hire possible.


Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:00 am
by D.X.
Dave mentions national level competition - in some cases the Company can expand, and do expand their search, internationally. Welcome to the new world order of Global competititon.

Best of luck!


Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:42 pm
by Dave Jensen
D.X. wrote:Dave mentions national level competition - in some cases the Company can expand, and do expand their search, internationally. Welcome to the new world order of Global competititon.

Best of luck!


Totally agree with DX on this point. No reason to keep the search national, when there may be a better fit outside the borderline. The company is a startup and I'm assuming into their Series B or beyond. With angel money or their first (Series A) financing, companies may stick with people with no issues on visa's, etc.


Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:14 pm
by Ana
There are many types of start-ups. VC-backed start ups might get their feet of the ground with many million dollars in the bank.

If you are talking about an academic spin off with some little grant funding or angel seed funding then indeed that's fishy.

I'd say go ahead and talk to the recruiter and company team.


Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:26 pm
by Dick Woodward
All of the responses that you have heard are correct. However, if the company is very new and in an incubator, I doubt that they are looking for a series B funding, as previously suggested. No matter - smart VCs will look for the best talent that they can find, and will fund it to the best of their abilities.

Ana is correct that small start-ups may have a lot of money. My last one had 1 employee (me) and $7 million in VC funding. Meet with the team and form you opinions that way.

Good luck,


Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:13 am
by Dave Jensen
I missed the "still in incubator stage" comment . . . Dick is right, that would be the earliest stage funding only.


Re: Recruiter call - is this strange? Can recruiters evaluate your qualifications?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:55 pm
by Nate W.
Anybody can hang a shingle and called themselves a recruiter. Based on my experiences with biotech recruiters, most of the time one of the following happens:

1) I wasn't qualified for the solicited position and I declined it because I knew I couldn't do the job.

2) I wasn't qualified for the solicited position but there were other positions he was handling that I was qualified but he wouldn't submit my name no matter what point I made to him.

3) I was partially qualified for the position, he submits my name, and it turns out he does not have a contract with the client.

4) I called him because I saw a position he was handling that I knew I am qualified for and could do an excellent job. However, he disagrees and will not submit my name no matter what point I make to him.

Given that I am an experienced scientist that has industry experience, I am confident of my abilities and know what I can do as well as my limitations: often times better than a recruiter or non-scientist. I am fairly self aware of my skills and expertise. Partly, the reason I know this is because I often check out the LinkedIn profile before I respond to a recruiter. In most situations, a recruiter handling life science positions doesn't have s science background, no research experience, no scientific degree, no clinical experience, or no biotech/ pharma industry experience. Often it will be a former HR person from another industry, a former account manager for a large corporate, or a semi-retired HR or business executive trying make money on the side to supplement his retirement. These individuals are qualified to pass judgement on what I am qualified to do scientifically?

Most of the time recruiters are always dead set in their decisions. They don't listen to their prospective candidates regardless of their qualifications or expertise. They seem to know better than someone obviously more qualified than they are on the topic. No matter what point I (or some else with similar or greater credentials) make in response to an objection, they aren't willing to listen to their prospective candidates. They see things myopically as black/white and think candidates submitted have to be a perfect fit. No gray here or matter of opinion; please there is a lot grey in hiring. I think this is also a problem with this "skilled gap" question; recruiters are unable to locate and evaluate one's qualifications because they lack the scientific (content) expertise in a given field, especially in technical disciplines.

The problem is that if you argue too vehemently with them, they will start questioning your fit or give you the buzz-off line "I work for my client and they expect an exact fit. Otherwise, they will fire me! " Frankly, I challenge that recruiters' assertion that they will be dropped (or fired) if the they don't submit someone who is a "perfect" and by whose standard, the one lacking any scientific or industry experience. Is this true or just BS? I think it is BS.

My question is should I listen to these recruiters and why do they act so myoptic? I trust my former supervisor, colleagues, and myself before I trust a guy in a strip mall with a MBA or HR experience and no scientific expertise. Why can't they listen to the people who are experts in their field?

It actually frustrates me the plug and play mindset of these recruiters lacking any industry experience. Give me a recruiter who knows his stuff and has industry experience, I will rightfully listen and his background will command my respect.

They are recruiters out there like this but they are a rarity and often they are retained recruiters that work on high level executive positions.

It is like the series of commercials that Holiday Inn Express (in the US) once did where a person pretends to be an expert in a field because they stayed in their hotels for the night. Did these myoptic recruiters stay in a Holiday Inn Express lately?

Re: Recruiter call - is this strange?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:52 am
by D.X.
Well, if you're talking to a recruiter obviously you have no Network. And maybe you're smart enough not to dump your CV in a Company database.

So complain all you want about them as there has been countless discussions, you choose who you work with.

They may not be able to scientific judge you but they can put the Profile in place and in General can be sufficienly informed based on discussions with hiring Manager or lets face it, even gut as a part of experience, on if you're a fit or not.

Not all are the best, that's been established but some are good and if you disagree with their Feedback then see my Point on Network and well applying.

Rare, if at all, i've have had the experiece where a recruiter has been off about a mis-match or other expecations of the role/employer where my Profile didn't meet. You are free to disagree and try to turn them around, I've done that a Hand ful of times especially if they're the execlusive recruiter but in that's negotiation right? But only if I feel grossly the recruiter does not understand the value and sometimes that burden is on the applicant to just that. So what's wrong with that?

I think listen more to what they are saying rather than to just ignore them all.

Some deserve ignoring, don't get me wrong, the minority of idiots unfortunately make the majority look bad... but not all are, spend more time listening to their feedback.