February 28, 2020, 08:50:17 PM
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Topic: Job Hunting Dilemma for a New Graduate  (Read 409 times)

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Offline Fowlercr

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Job Hunting Dilemma for a New Graduate
« on: February 06, 2020, 04:26:15 PM »
Hello Forum Readers,

I could really use some advice from seasoned chemists on an issue I'm facing. I just graduated with an M.A. and I've been job hunting since about 4 months prior. On January 15th a major pharmaceutical company gave me an offer for an analytical support position in an API pilot group. The same day they let me know that the position was in a state of uncertainty because they weren't sure if the funds to open the position were actually available. I was given a deadline of the afternoon of January 27th/the morning of the 28th. I had to call multiple times that Tuesday before I was informed that the meeting had been rescheduled to February 4th. Again I had to call multiple times before learning on the afternoon of the 5th that my recruiter hadn't spoken with the company representatives yet.

The new deadline given to me was "hopefully sometime this week".

I'm a recent graduate coming off 4 years of part-time employment and 2 years of a $13,000 a year stipend. I've been living paycheck to paycheck. When I received their initial deadline I barely had enough funds to make it. Assuming the start day is within a few days of a positive budget meeting. At this point I've been skipping one meal a day and working less than minimum wage part-time delivery jobs to stretch. I'm really suffering here.

I've received job leads for 6 other position in the meantime. 5 of which have changed their minds when they discover that I've accepted a position but am preparing for possible negative result. I feel like I could have been working 2 weeks ago had I blown off this offer and followed another lead.

This is a major pharmaceutical company. One of the largest in the U.S.. Is this normal or am I being strung along? Science is easy but I've no idea what to do about this perplexing situation I'm in. Should I abandon the offer and go for the next one that pops up or stick it out and hope I can get into this pharmaceutical powerhouse?

Thank you for taking the time to read about my circumstances,
FowlerCr

Offline jeffmoonchop

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Re: Job Hunting Dilemma for a New Graduate
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2020, 05:18:40 PM »
Its normal for departments to want candidates and to be given approval to start looking, but not end up getting approval for the funds to hire. It happened in our department too where we found someone and wanted to offer but wasnt approved in the end. My advice is to tell other companies that you dont have another offer pending. I'd also encourage you to contact the previous companies who changed their minds to tell them the position you said you had an offer for wasnt approved and so you are free to pursue other companies.

You may be do better in smaller companies anyway, your job scope will be wider you'll get better quality experience and are more visible to management when you do good. I worked in large companies such as GSK, but I'm in a small biotech now an the pay and job is much better.

Offline Corribus

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Re: Job Hunting Dilemma for a New Graduate
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2020, 08:55:47 AM »
My advice is to tell other companies that you dont have another offer pending.
This. If you get that second offer, then you can go back to the first one and say, "Put up or shut up." You are under no obligation to tell anyone anything until you've actually signed a contract.
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

Offline Fowlercr

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Re: Job Hunting Dilemma for a New Graduate
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2020, 12:00:14 PM »
Thank you both. I've reached out to the previous recruiters/employers and let them know that I'm no longer waiting on offer to be validated and I'm completely open to commit to new positions. I won't be mentioning it on any leads from here on out. Hopefully that will be fruitful!

Offline MNIO

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Re: Job Hunting Dilemma for a New Graduate
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2020, 05:08:39 PM »
I can't speak for the particular pharmaceutical company you're asking about (especially so since you didn't name it),  but having been a part of (read that as a member of the management team of) a company that experienced phenomenal growth in the chemical industry, and having hired dozens of scientists just like you, and having heard all the horror stories, and having worked with recruiters who dropped off literally 100 resumes of pre-screened candidates per open position, I'll give you my 2 cents.

First, recruiters work on commission.  Sometimes they earn about 30% of the starting salary, other times less but it's still substantial per person placed.  What they do to earn that $ is this.  Recruiters meet with companies, identify their people needs, help them define and write job descriptions for their open positions, run the finished job descriptions past the decision makers and IF their clients agree to fill those positions, the recruiters post those job descriptions on the internet and start pre-screening candidates.  Then they present the candidates to their clients and hope the company bites.  Sometimes they do all that prematurely.  Sometimes, they try to identify strong candidates and present those people to their clients hoping to get them to move on filling the (or any other) position. That is, sometimes recruiters might stretch the truth a bit.  Remember, they don't get paid until a candidate gets "on board".

Second, companies do change their minds.  They might reorganize and move different managers into the "decision maker" role.  That hiring manager may have a different skill set or job description in mind.  They might even reorganize their team with completely different goals. They might find a different candidate they like better.  Or they might freeze hiring during financial problems.  Usually, good managers will inform the recruiters of changes, others may not worry about keeping a lowly recruiter just trying to make a buck peddling people up to date.  Sometimes those recruiters still pursue candidates hoping that the position will open up again.  Or at least they hope to get a list of candidates to present at a later date there or elsewhere.  Sometimes, the recruiter might not even know what's happening with the position.  Sometimes the recruiter might not inform the candidate because he's still hoping to make a sale.  Big bucks right?

Third, a lot can happen between now and your first paycheck.  I always say "you're not on board until you show up on your start date and are greeted by your hiring manager".  Until then, anything can go wrong.  Meetings can be moved around, offers can be rescinded, start dates can be changed, positions can be canceled, even contracts that you and the company sign can be broken (read the escape clauses).  The company may burn up or fold up... force majeure... who knows... anything can go wrong.  And your recruiter might not be telling you everything that's happening.

Get my point(s)?

As to the particular pharma company you've applied to?  Sorry to say, if they wanted you, it would have happened by now.  At our company, we made decisions about moving forward with candidates just like you the day of their interviews.  We made offers that same day if we were "wowed", within a week if we weren't exactly wowed but needed to move forward with filling the job.  In most cases, we had candidates on board within 2 weeks of the offer.

Given your situation, I highly recommend you keep looking for employment.  Take a part time job at Starbucks or Home Depot while you're looking.  Even if you accept a job offer, don't stop interviewing. Keep interviewing until you are on board!  And from this point forward, don't rely exclusively on the recruiters to get you hired.  Get contact information for the hiring manager and the company HR folks during your interviews.  Contact them if you have questions or need more information.

Good luck. 

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