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Job interviews probe 'behaviour'

Posted 11 September 2019

Pharma employers are adjusting their interview techniques, looking for the right fit as well as the right experience among job candidates, industry recruiters have told Pharma in Focus.

"One of the biggest trends I'm seeing is employers really looking to hire people who are the best cultural fit for the organisation," said Saskia de Villeneuve, who recruits Medical Affairs and Clinical Jobs at Hobson Prior.

"Of course, other factors like the number of years of experience are still crucial, but building a team with people who fit the culture of an organisation is very important."

To get the right people, de Villeneuve said that almost all employers are using 'behavioural questions' in interviews.

Behavioural questions are not exactly new but involve asking candidates for scenarios, for example in which they have resolved a conflict or dealt with a difficult person.

"They want to see skills like being able to adapt to change, solve a problem or deal with an issue," said de Villeneuve.

Vanessa Meikle from Healthcare Professionals Group told Pharma In Focus last week that she is also seeing a move towards valuing emotional intelligence and the ability to adapt to change as  new technologies become ever more important. She also said that demonstrating these kinds of skills in interviews can be more valuable to an employer than the number of years of experience.

"Employers want the right people - to multi-task and work well cross functionally in lean structures," she said.

A recent report from recruiter Hays suggests this change is part of a larger shift across Australian workforces. In a survey, the recruiter found that 54 per cent of Australian employers are currently restructuring their department or organisation to keep up with changing business needs, up from 52 per cent last year. Of these employers, 49 per cent said the key driver of organisational restructures is a change in the required skill sets.

"Traditionally, an organisation consisted of functional departments, but given today's pace of change, there's a need to move toward matrix, cross-functional or hybrid structures to better enable collaboration and a customer-focused approach," Hays said.

Alexandra Vanags

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