What Researchers Look for in a Job

Researchers and science jobs

How do researchers look for jobs? What attracts them to particular organizations? What factors inform their decision to turn away from certain postings and to apply to others? For answers, ResearchGate turned to Dr. Maxime Francois, OCE Postdoctoral Fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia.


Maxime Francois, OCE Postdoctoral Fellow The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

Maxime Francois, OCE Postdoctoral Fellow
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia


ResearchGate: Where (which sites) do you look for jobs postings?

Maxime Francois: I use job boards like “Indeed” and “seek”. For international jobs I am not too sure.

RG: Do you use business or professional networks for your job advertisement search? If yes, how so, and how has your experience been?

MF: The only other path I have used to find job postings was to look directly on the websites of companies in their scientist career sections. They are good websites but often these searches are unsuccessful compared to search website that can regroup many more science job offers in the same place.

RG: Do you prefer to contact the company or recruiter, or have them contact you? Why?

MF: So far I have never been directly contacted by a company or recruiter. I usually contact them. I would likely prefer being contacted.

RG: How would feel about being contacted by recruiters? What’s your preferred methods of contact? Phone/email/professional network?

MF: I would be pleased to be directly contacted by recruiters for a position. It’s obviously their job to know what the job market is like at the moment and that could be really helpful in successfully finding a job. My preferred method of contact would be email.

RG: What do you look for in a job description?

MF: I usually look for the location of the job, the reputation of the company, if I fit at least 75% of the criteria (i.e. is it worth applying or not for the position), the main tasks that would be required from me and the research scientist salary range. I could possibly disregard a job description that does not have this essential information.

RG: What attracts you to an organization and its jobs for scientists?

MF: The reputation of the organization is the most important for me. The size as well, a big company for instance may offer opportunities later on to move to another country for work.

RG: When you come across an organization’s job listings on its careers page can you think of anything that would turn you away? Is there anything that you find particularly attractive?

MF: I would turn away if it takes quite some effort and time to filter and find the available job postings. Also, if the job descriptions lack details and/or if it is difficult to find out what I need to do or who I need to contact for the job. The opposite would therefore be attractive (i.e. simple recruitment process steps).

RG: How important is the organization’s mission in your decision to apply?

MF: It is an important factor in my decision to apply. For instance, working as a research scientist for the government in defence or a research organisation with aims that are beneficial to the community or the world in general would be attractive. It is always good to feel that our work is part of something bigger.

RG: How do you vet an organization? Asking friends, internet searches, online forums etc.?

MF: Internet searches, and colleagues. I would also look into what previous work the organization has been doing, that is likely the best way to assess the organization.



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