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How applications are handled within a company

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How applications are handled within a company

Postby Susan H. » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:48 pm

Dear forum, by chance I have seen an excel spreadsheet on our intranet (big pharma) with information and comments about applicants. I was shocked by how subjective these comments were. And also that applying several times was interpreted as a disadvantage. As I am currently seeking a better position myself, this really demotivates me. Is this normal? Is applying several times without success really a red flag? Is it really all about other people's perception of you? Will I ever be able to move to a better position?
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby Rich Lemert » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:25 pm

Susan

ALL hiring is subjective because one of the factors going into the decision is how well the candidate will "fit in" with the existing team, and "fit" is a subjective metric. Even "objective" metrics such as "years of experience" have an element of subjectivity to them. After all, are is "five years directing a team of four in a small company" really the same as "five years directing a team of forty across six international centers"?

The answer to your last question ("Will I ever be able to move to a better position?") is up to you. If all you do is submit applications, then your success is dependent on the passive and indirect impression you generate - the one that's based simply on your written materials, and the one over which you have limited sway. If you take an active approach to your career by seeking out opportunities and networking with the managers that have them, you have a chance to control their perception of you.
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:57 pm

Hi Susan,

As usual, great advice from Rich.

As he says, all hiring is subjective. That's why it's a card you can play in your favor. Get away from the paperwork game, of sending CV's and totally being judged by what you've got on a piece of paper.

I fight the tendency that hiring managers have to make judgements like this based on a stack of CV's I send them. It happens all the time . . . "We don't think this person has enough strengths in the blah-blah field," or "We don't think the education was the best. That's not the best choice of University for that field," and so on. All based on the CV's.

If you get AWAY from paperwork as your main feeder for job opportunities, and move more to a networking approach, you'll find that you can actually get much further. The worst place your CV can show up is in some company's "apply here" website. That's almost a waste of time. And as your colleagues and bosses happen to share, multiple applications aren't a plus, they make you look desperate.

Dave
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby Dick Woodward » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:09 pm

Susan:

You have been on the Forum for several years, so I know that you have probably taken notice of all of the posts on networking. It might be useful for you to review them as a reminder.

Best of luck.

Dick
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby D.X. » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:07 am

Hi Susan,

If not done already, do notify your HR department that you found such file on the company intranet. That could be a breach of confidentiality and with data privacy laws im such the company would see that as a risk. Document it by email.

Second as David and others noted, when you get to interview level , the assessment then becomes subjective, remember the objective part is already been examined via the CV and other experiences you have noted.

You have not described how you have been submitting your applications nor at what frequency. On the latter point, yes too many applications can be viewed negative especially in a short period of time and especially when not targeted even as an internal candidate.

So that being said, when in a big pharma or any size pharmaceutical really, the best practice is when you see a job try to see who the hiring manager is. Inform your supervisor that you have interest in the riole you see. That should open the door to a development and even a management discussion with your boss. The goal is t get thier support with your exploration of the role you saw. With the “blessing” of your boss, approach the next hiring manager (maybe your boss can help) and have an off-line discussion with him or her BEFORE you apply. In that conversation / like a pre-interview that’s when you can express your interest and gauge if you would be a fit and of interest to that hiring manager. If the hiring manager expresses high interest the ask him or her to feedback to your current boss. If positive then and only then submit your application if both parties agree that’s the next step in the process.

You are in a big pharma - and if you want to get someplace you really have to network and dare I say, form your political circle. There can be trans and positions you are not aware off, before they are in the intranet - the more networked you are the more aware you will be - and others may even know if you. I worked in a small pharma and even there, there are teams and people I still haven’t met in my 4 years tenure, now imagine big pharma!

My partner was in one of the big ones, the unofficial mantra there was spend 10 percent of your time networking internally.

Also on the point of your frustration, I think I get it. You probably find yourself in a spot where you want the next step but internal stakeholders and or organizational behavior or culture is limiting your access to the next step. A few points / I say first you need to manage yourself - don’t fight the organizational behavior , you can only change yourself. I know what it means to get frustrated, feeling like you’ve done a lot but still at the same spot - say polical environments has changed or management is not supportive beyond giving training and experience with no follow on action despite your documented performance? I know!

If you have readiness for change then I hope you are evaluating external positions as part of your exploration. I hope you are networking.

If you are not ready for that do self manager - talk to someone off line not colleagues and don’t do it via HR. Just get yourself managed. So I hope you are doing that - don’t get to burnout! What your wrote in your post and in others I have seen point to a risk for you to get there - so stop it early - find a coach to talk to.

Best

Dx
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby Susan H. » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:05 pm

Thank you all for your answers. I still do think that the system is wrong, and that it should not be all about who you know. I like to think that my CV, achievements, intelligence, publications are competitive for the positions I am interested in, but as I am not networking my chances are probably lower. DX, I am NOT close to a burnout; I know that there are other ways to earn a living.
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby PG » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:08 pm

In fact keeping the type of register that you mention is illegal in at least most european countries and with the new data directive that is being implemented I would assume that it would also be against EU regulations that carry the risk for rather large financial penalties for companies that breaks them.

The main reason that I see to why networking is the most efficient way of finding a position is that making the wrong hire is horribly expensive both in actual cost but maybe even more in time and energy. Getting somebody in that has a perfect publication record and history of eduction etc but with the wrong personallity will cause all kinds of problems. Alsoif the person is good at the specific tasks assigned to him/her getting rid of the person might not be so easy (speaking from a European perspective).
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby Rich Lemert » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:24 pm

You are making the mistake of assuming that the hiring process is - or even should be - a complete meritocracy. Your "CV, achievements, intelligence, publications" may - as you say - make you "competitive for the positions you're interested in," but guess what? You're not the only person that statement applies to. There are probably dozens if not hundreds of people who can make that same statement, and what you'll find is this 'objective' measure is used to determine who makes the initial cut. "If you ain't got the chops, you don't get the call."

Once you do "make the cut," then what? Does the fact that you come from a higher-ranked program outweigh my better publication record? Is the fact that I don't have any direct reports but interact with multiple departments on multiple levels more important than the fact that you supervise a small team with a very narrow focus in a specific group? These are also subjective questions.

And then there's the basic question of "will the group as a whole continue to be productive if we hire this person?"
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby PG » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:13 am

As a side note. The new EU directive that is valid from May 1st states that any Company breaking the EU rules for storing personal information which this type of registry clearly does can be fined up to 20 million Euro (approx 24 million USD) or 5% of the global turnover whichever is more expensive. The regulation concerns any personal data for EU citizens regardless of were that information have been collected, is stored or used.

US probably has similar laws. This means that it is very important for companies to know if someone working for them is doing something like this and I would assume that they woudl be happy to get inforamtion about what is going on.
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Re: How applications are handled within a company

Postby D.X. » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:25 am

Hi Susan,

Also emphasis on PGs point - the new regulation on data privacy on the EU side is a doozy hense even more reason to report that in asap.

And good that you are not on the burnout path.

Regarding yiur comment regarding, "its about who you know" - well that needs expansion. Yes a network helps but with that network its about how those you know perceive you, not only in knowledge and skill, but also your leadership ability, stakeholder management abilities and credibilty with respect to communication and relationship building abilities. Take alll that and you get to some thing much more robust that "who you know" , its about "who you know AND thier trust in you" to do whatever it is your looking for. Be it a job, task or action.

And looking for internal moves, especially upwards in a company is fully dependent on how well you are networked and how well your network perceives you.

For most jobs, unless you're deep with a function without much cross functional work, you cant get anything done without a network or linked to that, a relationship - enter stakeholder management - which requires somr leadership competncies. and all of that relates to the political circles that you will need to navigate to advance. Even if you decide to go to another company, it will come back to networking - internally and externally.

Big pharma or small pharma, if you are an unknown internally, then you may as well be an external candidate. So in summary its about who you know and how they perceive you.

All those other items you mentioned ss Rich and PG pointed out are just a part of the story, a meaningful part of the story yes indeed, but just a part.

And that networking will be core to successes outside pharma - speaking from experience - my partner decicded to leave her big pharma job to pursue a private business - i will still stay in corporate but its about networking there too and credibilty - as a small no name company buy in is needed both from the customer side and other companies as well....so back to neworking and who you know linked to who trusts you.

Best,

Dx
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