Category Archives: Recruitment & Employment

The Advantages of being a Scientist recruiting Scientists

The Advantages of being a Scientist recruiting Scientists


Karen Shiel


When I first started out in recruitment 10 years ago, I had just successfully completed a PhD in Molecular Biology and had spent a year in Australia working in a commercial sales role. I found it difficult decide on which career path to take in Ireland with a PhD in Biology, as the logical step at the time was to stay in academia and undertake a post-doc or move into Quality in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The majority of biology graduates I knew went into GP sales, QA, QC or clinical data coordinator roles within the pharma sector or, alternatively, into Production/QA Coordinator/NPD Technician roles within the food sectors. 

Novartis to Create 100 Jobs in Clonskeagh, Dublin.

Social Media Pharmaceutical SectorThe World’s second largest pharmaceutical company Novartis is set to increase it’s already sizable Irish presence with a regional business services centre in Dublin, creating about 100 jobs for the area.

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives.

“How much do we know about the people we rub shoulders with every day?” is the question at the heart of this BAFTA-winning documentary first broadcast in 2007. The parallel lives in question are those of Mark ‘E’ Everett – the front-man of the band Eels – and his father, Hugh – a theoretical physicist famed for his many worlds interpretation of parallel universes.

We follow Mark as he chats to former colleagues and students of his father – a genius who abandoned academia in favour of the defense industry when it became apparent that the science world wasn’t ready for his theory. Mark knew nothing of the waves his father had made even up until his death of a heart attack in 1982.

“My father never, ever said anything to me about his theories. I was in the same house with him for at least 18 years but he was a total stranger to me. He was in his own parallel universe. He was a physical presence, like the furniture, sitting there jotting down crazy notations at the dining room table night after night. I think he was deeply disappointed that he knew he was a genius but the rest of the world didn’t know it,” – Mark Oliver Everett.

How Small Businesses can Optimise Digital Marketing – A Recent Seminar Hosted by NovaUCD

NovaUCD courtesy of

Last Thursday saw the opening of NovaUCD’s doors for a seminar entitled How Small Businesses can Optimise Digital Marketing. NovaUCD is UCD Belfield’s Innovation and research centre dedicated to inspiring creative graduates, putting knowledge to work and growing and supporting new business in Ireland. This seminar was organised by the NovaUCD Client Social Media Working Group. This group is comprised of members of the various start-ups at the institute and they meet monthly to share social media strategies and experiences. The seminar was moderated by Nicole Nelson @NNelsonic  who holds BA degrees in both Anthropology and Linguistics.

DCU announces 200 Cleantech jobs

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD has officially launched a new national centre for innovation in the Cleantech sector at DCU Innovation Campus.

600px-Windfarm_112The initiative was established on a site previously owned by Enterprise Ireland to DCU for the specific purpose of this project and will be the location of choice for Cleantech start-ups, SMEs and larger companies. Cleantech – a fast-growing area of international commerce is worth 5 trillion annually and provides insight to Fortune 1000 corporations regarding environmental challenges – wind, water and waste management to name just a few. This insight helps to make better decisions that foster growth, reduce cost and meet consumer and government demands for improved environmental quality.

Facebook’s new ‘Graph Search’ – what are the implications?

Last week, Facebook rolled out what it described as its ‘third pillar’ – after News Feed and Timeline – a new search feature that goes by the name of ‘Graph Search.’ This new feature is basically a modification of the previously existing but under powered search feature. It which allows users to  trawl through the 1 billion + profiles on the network using broad search terms to cross reference four general terms  – people, places, photos and interests – with their goal to eventually cover all online content. In the event that Graph Search fails to provide a successful cross reference, the search will default to Microsoft’s Bing – who won the rights to Facebook’s search function when talks with Google broke down due to privacy issues.

800px-Facebook_enganchaSo what implications do social graphs have on the recruiting world?

Well, by integrating a system of appraisal with a dedicated social element, professional connections can be made with greater expedience and with a higher degree of specialisation. Endorsements (of anything from products to potential clients) can be regarded as ‘more genuine’ when the person making the claim can be traced back to an extensive ‘lived’ profile as opposed to a faceless cypher. The latter is often the case on sites such as Yahoo Answers, Trip Advisor or Amazon where ‘trolls’ – users who deliberately  denigrate a product or service – and ‘shills’ – accounts set by a company to covertly endorse their own product or service – are rife.

Google + was an effort on the part of Google to embed a social element into what was and is the most popular and vast search engine available. The network now claims over 500 million users who have the ability to synchronise their social data with the already burgeoning suite of Google products including: Google Places, Google Maps, Google Webmaster Tools and of course Google Search. The claim made by detractors is that most of these users were signed up by default through their Gmail and YouTube accounts. However, it is largely acknowledged that Google + is a product which will only go from strength to strength in terms of reach and ability to connect users – especially on a professional level.

The strengths of Facebook’s Graph Search lie in the dedication of its users to document with accuracy and accountability their ‘likes.’ As a means of finding restaurant recommendations, exotic places to visit or social gatherings this technology poses a serious threat to Google Search. Questions with vague parameters such as “Who is Mary’s friend who likes Indian food and where does she eat most?” can be answered easily by this function. Endorsements on Facebook are as easy as clicking the ‘like’ button. But this is also where Graph Search’s weakness lies – it remains to be seen just how forthcoming Facebook users will be when it comes to more detailed appraisals than just “I like.” Also at the forefront of discussion is the issue of privacy – and not just the details of our profiles which we strictly don’t want to be made public. There are also aspects of our profile which we are willing to share publicly but maybe not necessarily in the context of a search engine inquiry.

Business author Don Peppers has hinted at the value of social filtering for websites favoured by the recruitment industry such as LinkedIn. It is not a wild assumption that the user base of LinkedIn would probably be more motivated – toward evaluating the companies they work for or giving concise but insightful appraisal of a headhunting firm they have dealt with – than the average Facebook user for whom social networking is an activity conducted largely in their down time. These evaluations would be searchable through the user’s own LinkedIn graph making it incredibly easy to explore the possibility of future professional connection with greater depth and expedience. It is fair to say, at any rate, that social filtering represents one of the most exciting developments in consumer technology to come along in some time.

Conor Hughes is a marketing executive at Vertical Markets which incorporates Life Science Recruitment and Capital Markets Executive Search.

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ABC – A Always, B Be, C Closing….

One of our favourite movies is Glengarry Glen Ross. If you haven’t seen Alec Baldwin’s brilliant scene, treat yourself to it here. Best thing he has ever done!

It’s also that time of year where we’re inundated with Sales vacancies. If you’re a Sales Exec with a science qualification, a researcher looking to work in Sales, or even a Technical Sales Exec looking for a new opportunity, check out these few roles:

Technical Sales Exec – primarily Leinster-based, this role sells mostly into Universities, so a higher Life Science qualification is desired. Knowledge of PCR equipment and consumables is ideal.
OTE: €40,000, possibly more for an experienced candidate

Sales Exec
This role involves selling pathological and histopathologiccal lab services to a 26 county customer base. Medical laboratory knowledge is essential.
OTE: €50,000, up to €55,000

Chemistry Sales
Chemistry background combined with Sales experience is needed here. This role can be based anywhere in the country.
OTE: €60,000

(Spec TBC – contact Brian: 01 6854747 [email protected] for more)

Sourcing Specialist
Based in Tipperary, this role will suit an ambitious Chemistry graduate or someone looking to transition from the lab into a commercial role. 6 month contract, initially.
Salary: €30,000
(Spec TBC – contact James: 01 5079250 [email protected] for more)


Clinical Instrumentation Sales Specialist

Based anywhere, we need someone who has a very strong life science qualification, preferably with clinical or healthcare sales experience. We’re not looking for Medical Reps, more people who have sold clinical solutions or medical equipment.

OTE: €60,000


Microscopy Sales Specialist

Serving a country-wide market, this role will lend itself to someone with a microscopy / optical life science MSc or PhD, ideally with some sales experience. The company need someone to promote their portfolio of optical equipment and microscopes into research, University and clinical customers.

OTE: €55,000

(Spec TBC – contact Brian: 01 6854747 [email protected] for more)


If any of these are of interest, please call us on +353 1 6854747.


“You call that hagglin’?” – on salaries and negotiation

For anyone who has seen the movie “Life of Brian,” the haggle scene has to be one of the funniest: Life of Brian – Haggle

At the end of the recruitment process, there is the inevitable offer. Do companies ‘lowball’ (ie offer less to see what they can get away with) candidates in a tough economy? Are all offers final? Is negotiation, or haggling, part and parcel of the process?

This is an area where working with a recruiter is a huge advantage. One of MANY, of course!! It’s great to have an intermediary to speak on your behalf and talk directly to the company about the specifics of an offer. In our experience, the majority of offers which are tabled are fair. A good recruiter will find out what your exact package is and where your expectations lie, as they are sending your CV to the company. We do this with all candidates, in order to remove any ambiguity which may exist when candidates get to this final stage of the process.

However, some companies will try to offer less in order to grab a bargain as it were. Some almost expect a haggle! They can view this as a sign of what kind of candidate they are dealing with: if a candidate can’t negotiate now then how will they perform in high-pressure situations with stakeholder / suppliers / buyers etc?

Care is needed in this process, however. Candidates can’t seem overly hungry or greedy, so balance is key. The specifics of the contract must be examined and questioned if there are any issues. This also demonstrates that the candidate is detailed-orientated and careful. Any approaches made regarding salary must be considered and well thought-out. Larger companies tend to have tight salary bands, outside of which there may be no negotiation. A bit like Arsenal FC a few years ago! Smaller companies may have more flexibility, but may also be more cost conscious.

Know what you’re worth, and if you need to haggle to get there, haggle!

– Brian (brian.c at

Thoughts on advertising salaries

This is a slightly expanded version of the Sunday Times article (9th Oct) that we featured in.

On a side note, ca. 12% of the jobs we advertise contain detailed information on the salary range on offer.

“The need for good staff has never being more important and companies are going to greater lengths to minimise the risks in any potential new hires, longer interview processes, psychometric testing, presentations, roles plays etc are becoming more and more common in the interview processes. Likewise employees are increasingly more concerned with company stability, culture and future growth plans.
It’s an old adage that price is what you pay and value is what you get. Employers in the current market place are very aware of the need to get the right individual on board not just in terms of skills and experience but also in terms of attitude and fit. To this end a lot of companies don’t want to be boxed in by setting salary bands that will either be dismissed by people that are at a higher salary level and like wise not to prevent applications for people with the right skillet but with less experience.”
James Cassidy, Medical Device Principal Consultant, Life Science Recruitment

My own way of looking at it is both form the client and candidate perspective:

Client (ie company) – sometimes they have very strict salary bands in place, sometimes they don’t. It can save a lot of time, if the former is the case, to advertise the salary. This is generally done at the junior level to ensure no time is wasted in the recruitment process. Where higher potential salaries exist, employers generally keep their cards closer to their chest and thus tend not to advertise salaries. It can be frustrating from a candidate point-of0view, but is something which is unlikely to change.

Candidates (ie job seeker) – this boils down to the experience the person has. If they are sought after, they are in a stronger position to negotiate. In this instance, again it can save time if they inform the company of any salary expectations that they have, so that this isn’t a big issue later on in the recruitment process. It also means both parties are on the same wavelength from the start. If a candidate has a skillset which is widely available, then they are on the backfoot in terms of ability to demand salaries, and they must act accordingly. It is an employer driven market in many (or even most) areas, but in particular niches, there a skill shortages. IT being the most obvious example, but in many areas of Life Science and Pharmaceutical too (Clinical Reseasrch, Regulatory Affairs, QA to name but a few). In these cases, salaries are generally not advertised in order to encourage as many people as possible to apply.

Brian Christensen (brian dot c @

Europass CVs – don’t go there!

A brief word on Europass CVs, as we receive these formats from many EU candidates, mostly from PL / IT / ES it seems.

For the Irish market, however, it may be useful to point out that these CVs don’t serve their purpose well. They are too rigid, aren’t attractive and don’t serve any real importance. A well formatted, clear and concise CV will get you noticed a lot faster than a Europass CV.

We have some templates on our site here which are better starting points.

– Brian (brian dot [email protected])