Job Seekers Are Looking for Meaningful Work Opportunities

I’ve been reading studies and articles on what matters most to candidates as they consider making a job change.  The research is clear to me – the opportunity to do interesting and meaningful work continues to be more important than money.

I recruit communications and marketing talent for life sciences clients, so knowing what’s important to candidates on macro and micro levels is of paramount importance.  Because my clients develop medicines, therapies and devices to cure/treat areas that include oncology, cardiovascular, infectious diseases, rare diseases and many other therapeutic areas, one can argue that the work itself is inherently meaningful.  While some people are passionate about finding cures for cancers, others might be driven by finding cures for very rare diseases.  Some are more interested in a company’s commitment to their functional area of expertise, like patient advocacy or digital engagement.  There are myriad factors that are important to people and few are mutually exclusive.

Knowing the company’s story is pivotal to the recruiting process

The best way for companies to attract and retain top life sciences talent is to include their core strengths and differentiators in their narrative.  When clients engage me, I become one of their ambassadors and storyteller by learning as much as I can about all areas of their business, and specifically their culture.  I listen, and I ask a lot of questions, such as

  • Can you tell me the story of the company as you would tell it to a friend or family member?
  • How does the story relate to the role I am recruiting for?
  • What specific things does the company do to show how it values its employees?  
  • What are the unofficial benefits that demonstrates to employees that you value them working there? 
  • Once clients share stories the about what differentiates them and makes them special, I ask “what else”? More wonderful examples emerge so I continue to ask the question until they are tapped out!

Sharing that story helps match the right candidates with the right company

I strive to form deep, meaningful and transparent relationships with my candidates and clients.  I develop a customized interview protocol for each client to ensure I ask questions that will help me assess if a candidate has the right functional skills for the position.  But that’s not enough.  I uncover what matters most to candidates, which includes the kind of work they will be doing, the scope of responsibilities, growth opportunities and whatever else drives them. 

Only then am I able to share your story in a way that will resonate with them.  If having opportunities to grow within the company tops their list, I will relay information I learned from the client (i.e., the percentage of employees who have been promoted in the past 3 years).  For others, learning more about your pipeline and the types of products they may launch drives them.  So that’s what I would lead with.

Humanizing your employer brand

Company cultures that engage, motivate and provide advancement opportunities to its employees are critical, so I make it my mission to uncover what makes a company unique and share specific examples and stories.  Not only does this help find strong candidate matches, a broader audience gets to know more about what makes a company special. 

What matters to me is making matches that stick.  It could be that a client calls to tell me how thrilled they are with their new hire.  Even better when they recommend me to other hiring managers, either in their company or at other organizations.  I love getting calls from candidates once they settle in, telling me why the move was such a great one for them.  I’m thrilled when on LinkedIn and see a placed candidate at the same company many years after they started, who has been steadily promoted.  Sure, money is important to me, but like with a majority of others, it’s not the driving factor.

Scott White specializes in recruiting communications and marketing professionals for Boston area life sciences companies. Find Scott on LinkedIn here or email him at