Delphine Delire, SETAC Europe Communications Manager
This initiative started with the annual meeting in 2017 in Brussels and has gained popularity ever since. Thirty-four students presented themselves to nine companies during the SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting, held last May in Rome, Italy. They had a chance to meet each other to discuss career opportunities in the form of a speed-dating event.
The SETAC North America 39th Annual Meeting held its first “Meet Your Future Employer” event last November in Sacramento, California. This was a sold-out event that gave job seekers the opportunity to meet with 10 organizations.
Helen Blakey, HR Business Partner at Smithers Viscient, Luis Damasceno, Head of the Ecotoxicology Department, and Laurent Lagadic, Ecotoxicology Expert in Aquatic Organisms, both from Bayer AG, participated in the last job event at SETAC Rome. We had the great pleasure of interviewing them about their experience and how this unique event contributed positively to their respective companies.
SETAC Europe (SE): Why did you participate in the job event?
Blakey: This is an event that Smithers has supported strongly for the last two years. Prior to that we held our own careers clinic, which was a huge success and generated a number of high-caliber future employees with our business in the UK; one of whom has since joined our business once she completed her Ph.D., working as a chemist in fate and metabolism.
Damasceno/Lagadic: Considering that the SETAC annual meeting is the most important event in the ecotox arena, the idea was to make the best out of this opportunity getting to know and attracting new talents to participate in the selection process of open positions inside our company.
We must confess that we participated to this event by chance – we were the last minute “invité surprise”– but we immediately took the opportunity when we were invited to participate. In this respect, we did appreciate the flexibility of the event (because job offers can be released on very short notice), although when possible, we warmly recommend to prepare in advance.
SE: What benefits do you see in participating in such an event?
Blakey: This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our business, build our employee brand, partner with our scientists and technical experts to meet prospective employees and give the students the chance to get a feel for our culture, and hear first-hand about what it’s really like working for a CRO (contract research organization) and the development opportunities for them. It gives us a great opportunity to continue building our networks with future employees and nurturing relationships that may well in the future lead to employment with our business in the UK or at one of our US sites.
Damasceno/Lagadic: It’s very practical, since you can reach all at once a large pool of talent from the ecotox arena (academia, contractors, risk assessors, etc.). You have the possibility to meet people face-to-face and to exchange informally around a cup of coffee and some cookies.
SE: Did you find candidates? Did it help you recruit (the right) candidate?
Blakey: Yes! And it has led us to build a strong pool of potential recruits following a number of informal site visits to see our operation in the UK and meet the team.
Damasceno/Lagadic: Yes, we did find candidates. The recruiting process has been quite long, but within the coming weeks, we are going to interview candidates we met during the job event.
SE: Would you recommend other companies or organizations to take part in this type of event?
Blakey: Absolutely! It’s a great way to make those initial contacts and generate a level of interest, which then can be followed up throughout the SETAC event and post event via emails and future interviews.
Damasceno/Lagadic: In addition to question two above, the main reason for which we would recommend taking part in this event is to have an updated view of the talent that are available on the market. Even if a company has no recruiting project, this may generate opportunities.
SE: What’s your overall impression?
Blakey: Excellent event! It would be great for the students to see more businesses participate going forward.
Damasceno/Lagadic: Very good. Besides having engaged in the last minute, without a booth there, it was quite interesting. We could scout interesting professionals and have good insights from the scientific community about their perceptions and ideas about working for an agrochemical company.
The next job event will be held on Tuesday, 28 May, in Helsinki, a day earlier than usual to allow more time for companies and students to have conversations in a relaxed environment. Registration for the job event will open early February 2019, so keep an eye on the meeting website.
Places are limited! Make sure to mark it in your agenda.
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