Reasonable Hiring Expectations

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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby PG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:01 pm

The point I wanted to make is that sometimes we want the best possible and at those times we are willing to pay for it. Usually we dont have a real problem with making these hires. These positions are usually the type that allows the person who is hired to take a lot of responsibility and gives opportunities for continued personal and career development.

Other times we want to hire someone to lets say make various buffers and solutions as a part of the manufacturing of some of our products. This position requires laboratory skill ie pipetting and other steps needs to be correctly performed, exact and well documented etc. However when we advertise and look for this type of staff we get applicants with PhDs, Chemical engineers, sometimes people who have done multiple postdoc assignments etc. We also get applicants that havent done anything ie absolutely no laboratory experience or training but we have almost no applicants with the amount of experience or training that we believe woudl be suitable.

If we hire someone who has a PhDd and has done two postdocs the risk is high that this person will very soon be unhappy with the tasks available. On the other hand if we hire someone completely without training the risk is very high for various errors and getting to the skill actually required takes a rather long time if they are supposed to be trained completely while performing the task. Also since it is a regulated manufacturing process with very precise requirements training on the job isnt always that easy. The risk then becomes that the company hires the one with a PhD and my experience is that this doesnt always work out well.
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby John D. D, » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:01 pm

For Nate:
To be politically observant, the ad could also read as:
Foreign labor pool.

For PG:
I think the Europeans do a little better with the "Professional Technician" skilled labor pool. This is because there is generally much less mobility across and within fields over there. People develop a professional identity for life, and there is often not the American possibility of reinventing oneself (the social fabric is tighter, and reinvention requires a certain ability to detach).
John D. D,
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby D.X. » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:47 pm

SKC wrote: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.

Nothing is wrong with smiling! Ignore my comment it's not relevant to the topic.

Just keep smiling we need more of that! Just try not to look like a psycho.

Good analysis by Dave.

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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby Katherine Lee » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:42 pm

I found this post to be very interesting because this is exactly the type of position I am targeting when I graduate with my PhD in 6-12 months.

From the informational interviews I have conducted with 5 people with this exact type of position, and 3 individuals with the senior analyst position (direct supervisor) - this is how I interpret this ad:

MUST be a graduate from a top university - not limited to the MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc - limited to something immediately recognized as a reputable, credited institution with strong research programs, but ivy leagues do look better on the investment banks employee listing descriptions.

MUST have an M.D. or Ph.D - not negotiable (because 50%+ of senior analysts in biotech/pharma as a whole have one or the other in addition to the CFA or MBA. With the amount of PhDs looking for other opportunities, they can demand these advanced degrees). You will absolutely be required to get a CFA to advance in this career if you don't already have an MBA. You will also probably need to take a ton of SEC exams (after you join the bank and can be sponsored by the bank).

MUST have strong standardized test scores - not even sure what this means? GREs are irrelevant, and if you finished your MD who cares about the MCAT? They might ask for it, but doubt they care that much.

MUST have work experience focused on pharma/spec pharma/biotech sector - desirable, but most people I interviewed with DID NOT have prior work experience outside of their PhD or post-doc before they started work as and equity research analyst. One did have two months of an internship as a project manager at Regeneron, which probably helped, but that was it. Of course, if you demonstrate you have no awareness of what is happening in these sectors, good luck getting a job as an analyst.

MUST have Excel modeling skills - Desirable, but again... without prior work experience you won't have this and most senior analysts will spend 1-2+ years teaching you their model systems anyways.

My perspective would be this ad is trying to weed out potential candidates that are not sure what this job requires (unless this is for Goldman Sachs or something, which I guess is a different case). A lot of the people I interviewed said it was really a matter of the right timing when they applied for these positions, so it is possible I happen to be talking to the very "lucky ones" that would have been considered under-qualified, and passed over. But since these people have all held their positions for 1+ years, they must have been able to deal with the job responsibilities and 60+ hour work weeks just fine.

However, what this ad didn't say is all the stuff that the interviewee will be subjected to in an interview that will weed out the serious applicants from the less serious. These jobs interviews will involve pitching stocks and discussing current events in the equity markets. They will look for someone that is aware and passionate about investing, has great writing skills (will ask for a recent writing sample, probably about a stock), and communication skills (these individuals interview key opinion leaders and management teams all the time - need to be sure they can put you in front of a client and you won't embarrass them).

6 months ago this ad would have intimidated me, but now when I am not because I know very well what they are looking for - and it's not "exactly" what they stated in the ad.

Punchline: Don't let these ads discourage you. If you like the details of the job, research and learn what is really required to get the job and be successful at it. These ads are describing the PERFECT candidate, but you may be 90% perfect and the other 10% you will acquire on the job.
Katherine Lee
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Re: Reasonable Hiring Expectations

Postby D.X. » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:49 am

Hi Katherine,

Just one point and you touched upon it but didn't necessarily call it out. In order to have a shot at this de-novo, preparation is key.

I did look at this career option back in the day and secured a few interviews that went to advance stages. Networking was super super super super important to get me any chance of being talked to.

Second, luckily one of my networks served as a direction pointer - to your point on writing skills, he provided me some out dated white papers from his company (say investor prospectus) focused on biotech and pharm assets - I was able to see the format and do my own hypothetical "prospectus" as part of my written sample portfolio - I spent time writing these and my desk research was of course what I could find in the public domain. The goal was to not only have a sample of my writing, but to show that I understood dynamics very top-level enough to show that I "got" it, and was going to be worth their investment (to the point you mentioned about training).

I walked away from the career path due to competing interests and certainly my time writing those sample reports made me question my interest on the finance side. Having a partner who was close to the financial also made me question that interest.

Anyways, my point is to have a shot this career path, preparation is needed to include both networking and homework!

My other note, during hat I happened to live in a city that is a Global financial hub, so I had list of a ton of these types of firms all within a circle of 1 to 2 miles. So that made networking and face to face informational interviews relatively easy for me.

Good luck!

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