5 steps to hiring scientific talent

Staffing levels are on the rise and scientific hires are in demand, so we’re covering the top trends to help recruit in science during 2018.

2018 is gearing up for a heavy increase in scientific and academic staffing, and companies will need to think faster and smarter than the market if they want to reach their hiring goals. Identifying the right strategy can be just as hard as choosing the right hire, so here are our top tips to attracting top talent.


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Foster a relationship before you need them

Recruiters often shy away from the responsibility of employer branding, yet those who invest see 50% more applications and a much lower cost-per-hire It helps to build trust; something particularly important for a skeptical scientific audience.


Scientists are hungry to educate themselves, and sharing educational content is the easiest way to do this. Look internally for relevant content; webinars, tech notes, guides. Then write a short, straightforward post on your organizations social channels to explain the offering. Remember scientists want to spend time reading the content, not the post itself.


Unsurprisingly, candidates tend to believe other employees over a recruiter or upper management. Finding ways to involve your employees is therefore a great way to build brand image. You can do this by encouraging them to share scientific work and company news on their socials. Not only does this reach their extended network of talent, but helps build their own credibility within the industry.

Take a scientific approach to job descriptions

Job descriptions require a sales approach, so writing with a ‘What’s in it for them?’ mindset is always helpful.


The top motivator for workplace satisfaction is company culture, so use words that inspire trust (a key indicator of a healthy culture), such as ‘authentic’, ‘earned’, ‘loyal’, ‘understand’ and ‘you’. Surveying your employees to identify a list of emotive keywords will also come in handy, but remember that this will be different for each scientific department.


Word count can have a strong effect on the success of description. A survey of ResearchGate jobs between 2015-2017 saw that successful jobs had a median of 374 words, while majority of unsuccessful jobs had over 500 words.


For a more comprehensive look at scientific job descriptions, check out our tips here. 

Look for diversity

The spotlight continues to stay on gender and ethnicity (60% of companies are pursuing gender diversity and 41% ethnicity), but 2018 will see a more inclusive definition of workplace diversity.


Age discrimination is a hot topic as the aging population and average start date of retirement increases. Science and academia have been hit hard with this issue, as an increasing number of claims around hiring preferences for younger workers have surfaced.


To attract more diverse applicants,  it pays to be aware of their representation in every recruiting interaction:


  • Use a diverse range of employees in testimonials and advertising material
  • Don’t write job descriptions with a particular demographic in mind (only use broad benefits that are globally attractive)
  • Consider removing the ‘requirements’ section for job descriptions, as studies have shown it can negatively influence the number of women applying
  • Include a diverse panel in interviews to ensure different perspectives and prevent biases

Automate the repetitive parts

Automation will continue to rise in 2018, with 69% of recruiters believing it results in better applications.


Giving the repetitive parts of your work to algorithms, along with the advances in candidate sourcing, leaves you to focus on areas that have the most impact, such as strategic planning.


Look for sourcing technologies that reach out to these candidates, and software that will highlight good-quality applications. Finding a systematic way to organize applications is also crucial when resumes start rolling in. You want to be able to identify interesting applicants and reach out to them quickly, while also bookmarking others if they might be suitable for future jobs.


While not all trends may apply, set a Google alert for ‘recruiting trends’ so that you stay up-to-date with new resources and ways to recruit.

Engage university students

Students may be at the forefront of their industry in a few years, so take advantage that they’re grouped in one place and engage them early.


Setting up a graduate recruitment program may involve sharing industry insights, company news and internships. Look to target them online of which will help to build the relationship for when they’re ready to start their careers.

Ready to hire scientific professionals?


ResearchGate is more than an online job board, and aims to give targeted visibility to academic and scientific jobs. Learn how to target and engage experts by speaking to one of our experts today.

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