Could you describe your recruitment process?
We work with an external HR company who handle several aspects of the recruitment process. Candidates apply with their CV and cover letter. Our HR consultants do an initial screening and will conduct a brief call with candidates that fulfil the criteria of the role. They then compile a shortlist which is reviewed by the hiring manager (the future line manager of that role). The hiring manager selects candidates for the interview stage. It should be noted that we have recently installed a process whereby personal information (such as age, gender, nationality) is hidden from hiring managers which aims to reduce the effects of unconscious bias - this is just one of our D&I initiatives. In the next stage, the number and type of interviews conducted depend on the role. For technical roles, there are usually two - one will be more technical in nature and the other more behavioural. In between, there will be a questionnaire designed to understand your preferred ways of working. Candidates are scored independently by the interviewers and a candidate is chosen and offered the job!
For me personally, I like to see a concise and clear CV, no longer than 2 pages, and a cover letter that makes it easy to see why that person fits the role and the benefits they could bring to the company. Managers are busy and a very lengthy or difficult to understand application is off-putting. In an interview, it’s great to see a relaxed (I know that’s hard) and natural candidate who is honest and open. The interviewers are looking for someone that they think they could work well with and would fit into the company culture. To showcase your skills and attributes, it’s good to think of some examples beforehand. Remember the interviewers are looking for evidence that you have a certain skill or quality - for example, think about a time you dealt with a tricky situation, a time you made an improvement that benefitted a group of people, a time you juggled multiple projects and still got stuff done. Some of the common pitfalls I see are - 1. Applying for roles that are not suited to their skillset, 2. Copying and pasting from other applications e.g wrong company name (you’d be surprised how often this happens!), 3. Saying either too much or too little in interviews - it’s a fine balance - one sentence answers are not ideal but neither is a long monologue that goes way off track, 4. Not really answering the question, instead choosing to talk about something else.
What type of job roles/titles would be appropriate at postdoc level in your organisation?
I can only speak for the technical roles within my organisation. In my team, someone coming out of a post-doc role would be recruited at scientist level or equivalent. A person with industrial experience in addition to post-doc experience may be recruited at a higher level. However, there are no hard and fast rules and a lot will depend on the specific individual and their experience.