Hiring Juniors: The “Secret” to Renewing Your Business
When people hire us to hire their teams, they frequently stipulate that one of the most important criteria for our search should be years of experience. We get that: experience is key for successful clinical-trial execution. The more experience, the more you can anticipate and the smoother you can run the ship.
However, we’re seeing another totally opposite trend emerge as well: more and more companies are expanding their junior staff to great effect. We love this. Really we do – we’re one of those companies ourselves! Here’s why this strategy works for us, and why perhaps it might work for you, too.
Two Types of Juniors
“There are two types of people...” Well, seriously, we like to categorize two types of juniors:
- Recent grads, Millennials if you prefer, who are looking for their first job or professional working experience, or near enough.
- Those who might not be young in age but are just new to the job and don’t have a lot of prior experience in that particular field or niche – though they may have lots of experience in other fields. We find that this group especially tends to be super-motivated and have the right attitude.
Seuss has hired both types of juniors with great success. What did we get out of it? We’re glad you asked…
Why Juniors Rock
Younger or less experienced people can often be more eager. Everything is exciting and new to them; they’re looking for opportunities to prove themselves, their chance to shine. Therefore, they often dedicate extra energy to the job (not to mention sometimes just having more of it to dedicate). Hiring a junior employee, or even a whole junior team, is a great way to revitalize a group, bring in fresh ideas and cultivate loyal team members by giving them their first breaks.
Juniors might be less experienced, but this means that they are also not stuck in their ways – the way their last company did things or how they learned to do things when they first got started. In addition to being eager to learn, junior team members are yours to mold into the perfect (for you) pharma, biotech or clinical-research talent. Meanwhile, their ‘lack of experience’ comes with the opportunity for you and your junior to form a symbiotic relationship: as they help you grow so will their salary and opportunities.
Hiring juniors can be a particularly good idea for start-ups (like Seuss). Far more important than the lower salary costs to you, you can offer starters more opportunities for advancement that push them to be creative and allow them to shine. At Seuss, we quickly noticed that our junior team swept a fresh and energetic breeze through our company, reminding us of the importance of our mission and our dedication to modern thinking and new ways of working. They challenged us, challenged how things were done…and made improvements.
Fighting the Stigma
Despite all these pros, often in the life-sciences industry, hiring juniors is just not done. First, there are many unflattering stereotypes about Millennials and frustrated confusion about how to “deal with them.” (And plenty of answers, as well.) Of course, there is some massive stereotyping involved in this thinking. There are many different types of Millennials. Just like any other demographic, like gender or ethnicity, age does not determine individual character.
And then there’s the group of “juniors” who aren’t Millennials at all. The career changers. We like to tell people to follow their dreams. We say we value being unafraid to try new things. However, when people go for that dream or try that new thing, others are reluctant to support them, themselves often afraid to take risks on the unproven.
This is why the people who go through this process need to be extra brave and strong as well as persistent. In other words, the people who jump the career channel tend to be some seriously awesome people. And the training? You should be investing in that continuously for your experienced employees as well, if you want to stay at the forefront of your field.
We do understand why the number of years of experience a person has can be important in particular positions – it can be truly critical in some cases – but not every position needs to be filled by an old pro. Experienced team members and enthusiastic juniors working together can create magic – just don’t forget how dangerous it is to overlook personality mesh in hiring. Rather than get too stuck on experience points, test the waters with some safe opportunities to see what fresh, new talent can do for your business.
Testing the Waters
Afraid to commit to a junior-hiring policy? Think smaller to start. Pinpoint a project that not only needs to get done, but needs fresh eyes and spirit; and then hire someone with less experience but lots of enthusiasm to be those eyes and energy. Whether or not you decide to keep this person on, you’re helping someone build their skills and get the much-needed experience and confidence they need to launch their careers. Hopefully, though, they’ll be launching that career with you, a rocket ship of enthusiasm and ideas.
You might even find that you quite like mentoring. That it gives you extra passion for your work and renewed energy as well. The junior effect is taking hold! (Just try not to hire only mini-me’s! …But that’s another story.)
Are you a junior yourself? Millennial or not, check out these tips on jump-starting your career.