Mr Pankaj Sharma, CEO and co-founder, LeadInvent, New Delhi
There is a beautiful Buddhist proverb that says, "when the student is ready, the master appears". In so many ways a career in life sciences could be defined by this saying. Unlike many fields of study such as engineering, economics or computer science that dwell in the wonderland of formulas and set patterns that could be learnt straight from books, life sciences is a study of abstraction. The underlying principal of life science education is that there is more that is still unknown than known. And this simple fact brings the onus more on to the student than the teacher. It is the quest to know and understand things at a deeper level that typically differentiates a real student from the superficial one. Moreover, the bigger challenge for students is to overcome their expectations that anything and everything that they need to know would be taught to them in their academic classes. With our knowledge in life sciences being refreshed dramatically every few years, there is no way that our course curriculum, our books and our labs could catch up. Therefore, the real onus of what one learns pivots around the curiosity level of the learner. And this is where we start to define what one looks into an ideal candidate for recruitment.
Fresher's would always have a tough time competing against candidates with experience. But having said that, when companies go out to hire freshers they are not benchmarking freshers against more experienced candidates. These are two very different kinds of recruitment for companies. When companies hire candidates with experience they hire such candidates for what they already know and what those candidates could contribute to the company from day one. Freshers hiring is an investment into the future rather than the present. In such cases companies are looking out for candidates who are their own teachers. Fresher's who could clearly demonstrate their capability to learn based on what's around them rather than what's given to them.
At LeadInvent, we have had a great experience hiring and working with freshers. Our hiring process takes into account the overall academic performance of the candidate. We give special weightage to candidates who are self-learners and keenly look out for candidates who are driven by curiosity to dive deeper into subjects. Candidates with good internship are an added advantage since it gives us more insight into their technical aptitude and makes hiring process more convenient. We as a company are not biased against certain specific academic institutes, even though our company was started by scientists and faculties from IIT. We have hired and worked with freshers from different institutes and their performances have been at par with candidates from best of the institutes. When we hire freshers, we look out for candidates with good overall understanding of life science subject, with perhaps a narrow specialization during their final year of study.
At the end of the day, what maters is that an idea is as good as the team that executes it. And in life science you spend more time in the scientific trenches rather than in relaxed meadows of results. Therefore it would always be the stable scientific heads with the capability to think out of the box that would define the winning team. And that's precisely what we have been building out at LeadInvent. We believe that each and every team member of LeadInvent brings something unique to the table where the sum is bigger than the parts.