BioBuzz from Workforce Genetics
Former lab scientist Alexis Staten recently joined Workforce Genetics (WFGX) as a recruiter in the life sciences. Alexis brings unique customer service experience and lab experience in her new role. She joins an experienced, growing biopharmaceutical talent team at Workforce Genetics and joins Paul Strang, another recent hire as a former scientist who has become a recruiter in the life sciences.
The WFGX content team recently sat down with Alexis to discuss her background and her path to becoming the newest member of the WFGX recruitment team.
You recently received a degree in biology from Morgan State University. What inspired you to do life sciences?
My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Marshall, really inspired me, as did my other science teachers from that grade onwards.
Mrs. Marshall was my first wife, a science teacher. It was inspiring to finally see a woman teaching science. The way my whole teacher taught science was interesting, so I knew I was going to college, that I was going to get a degree in a science-based major, and I chose biology.
My love for biology just kept growing and I knew my career would be in some aspect of science.
Why did you decide to jump from the laboratory to recruit scientific staff?
I got to a point in my career when I felt I needed a change after being in the lab for a while. I started looking for another job and wondered if I wanted another lab or if I wanted a change.
Then I talked to Laura Fry at Workforce Genetics for an open position for which she was recruiting.
Just talking to Laura – she was so easy to talk to and kind and I felt like I knew her forever after talking to her for the first time – reminded me of what I miss in my current job. I realized that I miss talking and meeting new people. I like to connect with people.
After talking to Laura, I was curious about what she was doing and went to the Workforce Genetics website and saw how family-oriented the team was. I’m a very family-oriented person and I felt it was a good match. There was an opening and I applied for the position.
Laura really inspired me to take risks.
I always intended to use my scientific experience that you should be in the lab, which was a misconception. In order to be able to talk to people every day and still use my scientific experience, I chose to make the change in recruitment and join Workforce Genetics.
How did the WFGX team culture help you make that transition from lab to hiring?
Everyone here is so helpful and encouraging to ask questions or ask for help. The culture is just very open and friendly. Like my colleague Heather he always says, “If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact. You never annoy me. Laura and Chris are like that.
Many times people offer help because they feel they need it, but here they really mean it. It’s real here. This is a great way to relieve stress, especially when you are just starting out and making a career change.
It really feels good to know that if you ever have difficulties or if you need help, you have colleagues to support you.
How are your customer service and scientific experience an advantage when it comes to recruiting for life sciences?
I started serving clients and working with high-level contacts for a government contract. I dealt with different personalities at all different levels, which is similar to recruiting. I feel that this prepared me for this role. I learned to communicate with different types of people.
From a scientific point of view, I can understand what scientists are talking about and what they are looking for. I know how it is in the lab. I can connect with job seekers and I can sympathize with them and compare them to the right position for their needs and personalities. My laboratory experience will also help me to check suitable candidates for employers. You want to match the right skills and personalities with the right job.
What are some key components to building strong customer relationships and how do you keep these partnerships strong over time?
I never want this to feel like a transaction-only relationship. It is important to build a connection. It is more important to check the fields of the candidate and the employer than of your own. I want to balance the needs of candidates and employers. I always want to register with the job seeker and the hiring manager. I want to be responsive and approachable. There is always giving and taking; I want to find the middle ground between the candidate and the company he hires. This way you achieve the most suitable for both relationships.
Besides, I always try to remember to have fun and avoid getting too robotic. I think my clients can feel this energy and passion and it is a long way to establish and maintain strong relationships.
What does it look like to provide a great candidate experience for you?
The great experience with the candidates is related to establishing a flow and a great conversation back and forth. You can then identify what they are looking for, what they are open to. I need to know what they want and what they don’t want in order to be able to offer options. It’s about building a relationship to find out who you’re working with.
At the end of the process, I want the people I accommodate to say that they feel as if I am answering their questions, that I have been very informative and as responsive as possible. I want candidates not just to take jobs; I want them to love their job. I want them to have a great experience with me, but an even better experience with the company they are joining.
What are the hobbies you love / what do you do in your free time?
I like to spend time with my family. We are really close. I have a son and I love being with him. I am super family oriented. I have a lot of family in the area, so we always do things together.
I am definitely a spring and summer person and I like to be outdoors. I love being out at the pool, playing sports or going to the beach, and when I don’t, I like to relax when I can and watch shows like Stranger Things.
- About the author
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Steve has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and content creation with the WorkForce Genetics team. He enjoys writing compelling content and working with partners, companies and individuals to share his unique stories and showcase his work. Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Providence College and a master’s degree in American literature from Montclair State University. He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, two sons and the family dog.