How long is it now? How many months of searching Monster, Biospace, Bio Careers, LinkedIn and other sites looking for a job? Six months, nine months, a year? How many screening interviews, HR conversations, talks with CEOs, COOs, CFOs, VPs? Two interviews, three, perhaps four, and then waiting for a call back. And nothing. The line goes dead.
You are left to wonder, what just happened? What did I do wrong? Did I say something inept or stupid? Did they look at my FACEBOOK page and find that I associate with the wrong people? Do they think I am a psychopath (am reading a book called “The Psychopath Test” so I could not help raising the question – see (http://www.amazon.com/The-Psychopath-Test-Journey-Industry/dp/1594488010) Or none of the above.
When you talk to HR consultants, you learn that many times, the fault lies not in our stars, our resumes, or our hearts, but rather in the inherent instability in many business ventures these days.
The Site No Longer Exists
Reorganization is the norm in pharma. Let’s merge medical affairs and clinical development. Let’ s pull them apart again. Let’s move research operations to California and close the New Jersey facility after 80 years (see Roche/Genentech http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/business/roche-to-shut-down-former-us-headquarters-after-83-years.html)
The Position No Longer Exists
I was scheduled to interview for a job working on a low dose contraceptive patch. 72 hours before the interview, the project was killed and the interview was cancelled. The job evaporated….
The Position Never Existed
A recruiter called about a vice president position in women’s health. I was set up for a full day of interviews, first lunch with board members, and then two hours with the VP of Medical Research and the CEO. The CEO asked about my experience with CROs and thought leaders. I thought he was probing to see how extensive my contacts were within the field. Then he announced there was no VP job. And there was no women’s health development plan. I barely knew what hit me, and only later realized that I had just done 4 hours of consulting for free.
Budget Hasn’t Been Finalized
Companies start planning for expansion, often before the finance guys have done their final prestidigitation. I submitted my resume for a medical advertising job. The recruiter spoke with me the very next day, and two days later, I was interviewed by the HR department at the firm. Three months after the initial contact, I finally spoke with the CEO, and I thought it went well. But again, the line went dead. Apparently, the hoped for contracts that did not materialize. No clients = no money = no job for me.
An Offer Has Already Been Extended
I got a message from a colleague about an opportunity in contraceptive research, and I sent my resume to him. He passed it along, but another local recruiter I happened to speak with said that an offer had already been extended to another candidate. Nonetheless, the head of HR called me. Again, the call seemed to go extraordinarily well. At the end, she said she would call back about set up on-site interviews. She called back 4 hours later. While HR was interviewing me, the CEO after hammering out the obstacles, signed the “chosen” candidate. Game over…
They’re Taking Their Time
I was interviewed first time in December 2010 for a position. I called and wrote repeatedly asking if I was still a viable candidate. At long last, I got an email in June, thanking me for my time and interest, and saying that they have finally hired someone who had more appropriate training and experience.
The company is in trouble
I was asked to interview at a company with an elegant drug delivery system and spent almost a full day on site. I called my husband and said I thought they were going to give me a desk and a phone if I stayed another hour! Then additional HR interviews, and another luncheon with the CEO. And then nothing. I sent a half dozen emails, but no reply. What did I do wrong? How could I have read the signals? I found out through trade publications that the company was having difficulties. The CEO was gone. Loss of my potential job was merely minor collateral damage in a major corporate upheaval.
You Didn’t Follow Up
This is probably one of the biggest misstep I have made. The Supreme Court has told us corporations are people (and need some love). Early in my job search, I had no idea that my level of interest could influence the perception of my candidacy. I now ask for feedback after interviews. I ask about timing of the next step. I call or write the recruiter or HR to reiterate my interest. I ask how many candidates are being considered. I ask if my skills meet the needs of the job, and if not entirely satisfactory, how might I develop the additional knowledge base. Can I learn after hire? It cannot hurt to emphasize that a position is your dream job, especially if it is!
Your Contact Info Was Wrong or Lost
This is pretty mundane. Clearly, when you submit a resume, you should have checked and proofed it for accuracy. But it is possible that your information has been transcribed in error. Have all your contact information in the signature section of your emails. Put your information on your letterhead. If there is an error, redundancy will help insure that the company knows how to reach you.