Collins Nzom

What Recruiters Seek in Candidates

Medtech Recruiters Candidates InterviewA few weeks into my role as a recruiter at StarFish Medical, I was surprised to discover that while many positions had similar or even identical titles as seen on most job boards, the experience and skills required to perform them varied widely.
So, when I began recruiting for our open roles my first instinct was to search for candidates from within our industry that would have experience with the same kind of regulatory controls, quality management practices, and design and development tools we have here.  But I quickly learned that that was not enough, and why at StarFish, we take a different approach to finding new talent.

The MedTech industry is relatively small – and very specialized – making the chances of finding candidates with MedTech experience who are actively engaged in a job search exceedingly slim, so we take a different approach to help us uncover “Unicorns”.

Our type of Unicorns are applicants whose backgrounds are different from the people normally in the position, but who have interesting skills and experience that can bring new perspectives and exciting ideas to the role. For us, they help us drive the kind of innovative thinking we depend on when helping our clients design and build breakthrough products.

Now, nearly one year into my tenure with 16 hires under my belt, I have an entirely new perspective on how to find talent for StarFish. What do I look for? I like to see passion or at least a genuine interest and curiosity about MedTech and our industry, and I want to know how candidates see themselves contributing to our business and supporting our clients.

Understandably then, I am most impressed by candidates who have done their homework and can make clear connections between their experience, the position they’re applied for, and how that position would contribute to a client’s success.

If you’re interviewing for a role at StarFish Medical and you prepare with this in mind, then you should be able to speak to any of the questions I ask from my screening cheat sheet. This cheat sheet, which I created based on the guiding principles that were instrumental in StarFish being named among Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture for 2021, cover five key areas: Communication, Consulting Mindset, Teamwork, Technical Abilities, and experience working in an ISO environment.

Here’s how I consider each:

  1. Communication

Most job descriptions contain the need to have excellent communication skills as part of their requirements. Applicants, quite used to seeing these requirements, may take them for granted and pay less attention to what those requirements actually mean to us at StarFish. Irrespective of the role, client-facing or not, it’s important to remember that when speaking with one of our recruiters, it’s a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills.

I recommend getting straight to the point and avoiding extraneous information – or as StarFishers like to say, “cut to the chase”. To quote one of our Program Managers, “we are engineers, and binary thinkers, therefore be as precise as possible and leave out unnecessary details”. If you can communicate clearly and simply, you will give us confidence that you’ll be able to process and explain complex ideas – which is critical when collaborating on the design and development of ground-breaking products.

  1. Consulting Mindset

Not all applicants come from a consulting work environment, and that’s okay. If that’s you, tap into previous experiences where you supported internal teams or clients using consultative problem-solving. This will tell us that you have a consultative mindset and have developed tools and techniques that will enable you to conduct practical and creative problem-solving activities with colleagues and/or clients at StarFish.

Having this mindset helps you dig deeper to solve the right problems. After all, we are medical device consultants, and having this ability is a sure way to thrive while helping our clients succeed. As a consultant, you must always stay ahead of the curve, and make a conscious commitment to continuous improvement. One of the ways we demonstrate to clients that we are well-positioned to support them is by showing where and how we can add value -and to do that we are constantly learning.

In fact, we take learning so seriously it’s not uncommon to see textbooks now and then on people’s workstations.

  1. Teamwork

StarFish Medical is a project-based organization; therefore, we have a project-based method of supporting our clients using our proprietary StarFish Medical Commercialization Process (aka PathfinderTM). For every project, critical resourcing ensues (people, money & technology, but focusing on people) where teams are formed around each project.

The success or failure of any project is tied to each team, amongst other things. Sharing examples of when you worked as part of a team or used teamwork to tackle a problem or project will give our recruiter a better sense of how you can effectively work as part of our team to deliver on any project.

  1. Technical Abilities

At the heart of what we do on various projects requires strong technical know-how, so if you think I am limiting my questions to housekeeping questions, I might surprise you. You are welcome to ‘bore’ me with details of relevant technical projects you have worked on, as I love to listen to them.

Simultaneously, please be mindful of the communication point I made earlier: avoid unnecessary details and remember to cut to the chase. The stronger the technical know-how, the better; you will rely heavily on this knowledge as you progress through the interview stages.

  1. Experience in ISO Work Environment

Experience working in an ISO work environment, especially for medical devices or related industries, is a massive plus as it requires a particular type of discipline and a rigorous approach to tasks that are usually executed over time. Everything we do is done in line with the approved ISO framework for the industry in which we operate.

Applicants with experience in regulated industries are usually more attractive, but this criterion may or may not be a deal breaker, depending on the role. That said, if you have it, be prepared to speak to it and provide examples.

Finally, a quick recap: I highlighted the top qualities and skills that I look out for in candidates, including experience, and soft skills. The cheat sheet, hopefully, has provided more insights to potential StarFishers on what we look for when reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.

To stay up to date on the latest insights and what it takes to work at StarFish Medical, check out our blog for more articles like this one.

Image: StarFish Medical

If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also want to check out other blogs, such as “Extended Job Interview Process Benefits” and “Creating an Award-Winning Company Culture.”

Collins Nzom is a Senior Recruitment Specialist at StarFish Medical. Leading recruitment for the StarFish Toronto and Victoria offices, Collins brings years of recruiting experience from across wide-range of industries to find the right talent to help StarFish Medical – and it’s clients – succeed.



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