Former lab scientist Alexis Staten recently joined Workforce Genetics (WFGX) as a Life Sciences Recruiter. Alexis brings a unique background in customer service and lab experience to her new role. She joins an experienced, growing biopharma talent recruiting team at Workforce Genetics and joins Paul Streng, another recent hire, as a former scientist turned life sciences recruiter.
The WFGX content team recently sat down with Alexis to discuss her background and her journey to becoming the newest member of the WFGX recruiting team.
You recently earned your degree in biology from Morgan State University. What inspired you to get into the life sciences?
My sixth grade teacher Ms. Marshall really inspired me as well as my other science teachers from that grade on.
Ms. Marshall was my first female science teacher. To finally see a woman teaching science was inspiring. The way all my teacher’s taught science was interesting so I knew going into college I was going to get a degree in a science-based major and I chose biology.
My love for biology just kept growing and I knew my career would be in some aspect of the sciences.
Why did you decide to make the leap from the lab to life sciences recruiting?
I arrived at a point in my career where I felt I needed a change after being in the lab for a while. I started looking for another job and I asked myself if I wanted another lab position or if I wanted a change.
That’s when I talked to Laura Frew at Workforce Genetics about an open position she was recruiting for.
Just talking to Laura—she was so easy to talk to and nice and I felt like I knew her forever after talking with her the first time—reminded me of what I was missing in my current job. I realized I missed talking to and meeting new people. I love connecting with people.
After talking to Laura, I was curious about what she did and went on the Workforce Genetics’ website and saw how family-oriented the team was. I’m a very family-oriented person and felt like it was a good match. There was an opening and I applied for the position.
Laura really inspired me to take a chance.
I always thought to use my science experience you had to be in the lab, which was a misconception. To be able to talk to people everyday and still use my science experience was why I chose to make the change to recruiting and join Workforce Genetics.
How has the WFGX team culture helped you make this transition from the lab to recruiting?
Everyone here is so helpful and encouraging about asking questions or reaching out for help. The culture is just very open and friendly. Like my colleague Heather always says, ‘If you need help, feel free to reach out. You’re never annoying me.’ Laura and Chris are like that, too.
A lot of times people offer help because they feel like they have to but here they really mean it. Here it’s genuine. This is a big stress reliever especially when you’re just starting out and making a change in careers.
It’s a really good feeling to know that if you’re ever struggling or if you need help you have co-workers there to support you.
How is your customer service and science background an asset when it comes to life sciences recruiting?
I started out doing customer service and working with high-level contacts for a government contract. I dealt with all different personalities at all different levels, which is similar to recruiting. I feel like that prepared me for this role. I learned to communicate with all different kinds of people.
On the science side I can understand what the scientists are talking about and what they’re looking for. I know what it’s like in the lab. I can relate to job seekers and can empathize with them and match them to the right position for their needs and personalities. My lab experience will also help me screen for the right candidates for employers. You want to match the right skills and personalities to the right job.
What are a few key components to building strong client relationships and how do you keep these partnerships strong over time?
I never want it to feel like a transaction only relationship. It’s important to build rapport. It’s more important to check the candidate and employer’s boxes than your own. I want to balance the candidate and employers’ needs. I always want to be checking in with the job seeker and the hiring manager. I want to be responsive and available. There’s always a give-and-take; I want to find that middle ground between the candidate and the company that’s hiring. That’s how you achieve the best fit for both relationships.
Also, I always try to remember to have fun and avoid becoming too robotic. I think my clients can feel that energy and passion and that goes a long way to establishing and keeping strong relationships.
What does delivering a great candidate experience look like to you?
A great candidate experience is about establishing flow and a great back-and-forth conversation. Then you can identify what they’re looking for, what they’re open to. I need to find out what they want and don’t want so I can provide options. It’s about building rapport to understand who you’re working with.
At the end of the process I want the people I place to say they felt like I answered their questions, that I was very informative and as responsive as possible. I want candidates not just to take a job; I want them to love their job. I want them to have a great experience with me but an even better experience with the company they join.
What are some hobbies you enjoy/what do you do in your free time?
I love spending time with my family. We’re really close. I have a son and I love being with him. I’m super family-oriented. I have a lot of family in the area so we’re always doing things together.
I’m definitely a spring and summer person and like to be outdoors. I enjoy being outside at the pool, exercising or going to the beach and when I’m not doing that I like, when I can, to relax and watch shows like Stranger Things.