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16 June 2021

Hi Elaine – firstly, just outline for us the areas that you recruit within at Star OUTiCO.

I am responsible for the recruitment of commercial and sales professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic, and I’m also responsible for Scotland and northern England.

The last year has been tricky for some industry roles. How have you helped your candidates prepare, and adapt to clients’ evolving requirements?

A lot of it, for me, is to help candidates still feel relevant, and that’s been through different aspects. The virtual element has played such a key part in pharma for the last year, which they haven’t really been involved with an awful lot previously.

For the candidates who haven’t been training or working through it, what was important was to guide them through applicable training avenues that they could explore when they were off, so that when they come back into the industry they don’t feel as out of the loop as they would do if they hadn’t undergone the training.

Also, building that confidence has been really important to help them understand that the skill sets that they do have are adaptable, and that they can actually come back into the industry, or go into a more virtual or more digital type of role. From a client perspective, it’s been important to let them know that there are transferable skills, because it is a new avenue for most industries across pharma.

It’s about demonstrating that there isn’t going to be that type of job title any longer for a role that’s switched to more virtual or digital engagement, and then making sure that they look at the skillsets of that particular person and what they bring to the table.

From a client perspective, it’s been important to let them know that there are transferable skills, because it is a new avenue for most industries across pharma.

What do you feel are your main strengths as a Recruiter?

My main strength is my honesty. I have a very open level of communication – I don’t really know how to act any other way to both candidates and to clients. It’s that honesty that I bring to them, that I want in return, so I think that’s what gives me my strengths – I’m very open with them and they feel that they can be very open with me.

It’s also understanding the commercial element from a client perspective as to what they need, to be able to drill that down and then ask those questions that some people may feel a little awkward in doing. I don’t tend to feel awkward asking difficult questions of both clients and candidates, which means I tend to have quite an in-depth process for both, keeping that focus on both sides throughout the entire journey.

I’m very open with them and they feel that they can be very open with me.

What for you is the most rewarding part of your job?

Oh, this sounds so cheesy, but it just boils down to helping people. In recruitment, the top line is helping clients find the right person for their team, and then obviously finding the candidate the right job for them as the next step in their career. That’s really, really rewarding.

I think to have longevity in recruitment, and ultimately really enjoy your job, if it only boils down to filling roles, then you probably won’t. You have to look for the little things as well in terms of helping people, and I actually really, really love those things – the small parts of my job.

I love when I have a candidate that just says “I don’t know how to do my CV”, and I say “fine, we’ll talk through it and do it together”. I may not send their CV anywhere if I don’t have a job for them, but the fact that they’ve had a problem that they found a real hurdle with, and I can help them with it, is great.

It’s the same with clients – if a client is struggling to put a job spec together then we’ll take the time to talk through it and find those little details that make the difference between finding a perfect candidate and not.

I love whenever a candidate comes back after I’ve helped prep them for an interview and they’re just so confident, whereas before they didn’t think they could do it, or ask those sorts of questions. That’s really rewarding to me.

You have to look for the little things as well in terms of helping people, and I actually really, really love those things – the small parts of my job.

What do you like to get up to when you’re not working?

I’ve got two young kids, so mostly I’m driving to swimming lessons, Irish dancing lessons, football lessons, cricket lessons – all stuff that the kids are learning! I’m a very sociable person so I spend a lot of time with my family and with my friends.

I would like to say that I like running. I do run, I don’t like it, I hate every second of it, but I do try to do it. I’ve recently taken up open water swimming, which I love – I really love!

Browse our latest vacancies here.

Connect with Elaine on LinkedIn here.

Watch Elaine’s video Q&A below.

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