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In recent years we have witnessed technology changing our world in unimaginable ways.

No longer are simply the traditional skills sought after. Artificial intelligence (AI), analytical technology (PAT) used for drug production, data science and machine learning are just some of the requirements candidates in the life sciences sector are now expected to have experience in.

Candidates with experience in both mathematics and computing are in short-supply so I have been reaching out to my network to find out whether life sciences companies are willing to take risks on less experienced candidates who are passionate about innovation or, prefer to hold out for the exact skill-set?

I spoke to Samyuktha who shared her experience during a recent interview for a quality and compliance role at a leading pharmaceutical company who focus on innovation in projects and operations.

Samyuktha: “I was aware that the role I interviewed for could be filled by lesser-experienced candidates and this was also brought up during the interview. The interviewer, who was a Project Manager of manufacturing applications, expressed their desire to hire one highly-experienced professional who would be able to manage anything raised by a small team made up of lesser-experienced members.

In this way, from a cost perspective it will result in profit and from a delivery perspective, the best possible service can be delivered to the clients. I also believe it helps build a good reputation”

A study by Cielo revealed that 42% of talent leaders report the skills shortage as the biggest problem they face. With experienced talent in short supply, companies are identifying new initiatives to attract and retain talent that will drive the organisation forward.

I asked Samyuktha whether she felt the traditional interview process was out-dated.

Samyuktha “The interview process was unlike the traditional Q&A style. It was based around identifying whether I was the right fit for the team behaviourally and whether I was technically strong. It consisted of a discussion around my technical knowledge, uncovering projects I have worked on and how I could make use of this knowledge to the benefit of the project and team.

From my experience, for an innovation project, it’s always wise to hire one or two experienced candidates and a few lesser-experienced candidates for a balanced team. This is because certain delivery related aspects need keen decision making and conflict resolving skills alongside leadership capabilities.

The interview process needs to  discuss the project and the specific role – it should be an overall discussion to identify whether the candidate as a good fit in all ways.

Innovation is not going away from the concepts but executing the concepts in a better and quicker manner in compliance limits is needed and for this, knowledge is key. Thinking new is definitely as important as the traditional approach.”