My Career Journey: Cristina Rexach, Senior Talent Consultant at Workforce Genetics

Cristina Rexach recently joined Workforce Genetics (WFGX) as a Senior Talent Consultant. Prior to joining WFGX, Cristina had a successful run as a Global MedTech Recruiter with the Mullings Group, a talent acquisition firm serving the medical device industry. She brings more than a decade of experience in the life sciences industry to her new role. Cristina had a highly successful career in healthcare management and sales before transitioning to the talent side of the industry.  

The WFGX content team recently sat down with Cristina to discuss her background and her journey to becoming the newest member of the WFGX recruiting team.

Cristina, you had a great run in healthcare sales prior to joining WFGX. What inspired you to make the leap from sales to recruiting?

I’d been in the medical and pharmaceutical industry for a long time and since I was a kid I’ve loved science. Early on I wanted to be a chemical engineer and then I went on to study and get my B.S. in Biomedical Science. 

A person approached me and said you would be great in sales, why would you want to work on the manufacturing floor doing overnight shifts? I knew that wasn’t for me; I had to laugh because I knew my brain wouldn’t work well overnight. This conversation led me to joining IQVIA and I worked on a contract they had with Johnson & Johnson with Janssen Pharmaceuticals. I worked there for six years selling diabetes and anticoagulant medications to physicians. 

Then I moved into MedTech. It was a completely different experience in MedTech and then the pandemic hit. Our product was dependent on elective surgeries, which had almost completely stopped. It was a tough time. 

I was looking for a change and had been approached multiple times by recruiting firms. I was doing great in pharma and I was a bit naive about what recruiting could do for my career and financially. 

The VP of the Mullings Group reached out to me and we started talking. They had a really interesting mix of things that I liked; they were focused on startups and smaller companies developing the next generation of medical devices. I decided to make the move over to recruiting because it perfectly tied into things that I liked, tech and medicine. 

It felt right. For me, sales and recruiting are very similar. With recruiting you’re selling multiple times—you sell to the candidate, you sell to the hiring manager and you’re selling the opportunity—and the transition was pretty easy because of my sales experience.

How did you connect with WFGX and why did you choose to join the team?

One day I posted that I was open to work. That post got so much traction on LinkedIn that I had about 10 companies interviewing me. Someone tagged Chris Frew on my post and he reached out to me. 

We connected and it wasn’t even like an interview. We just were chit-chatting about the business and how I saw things in recruiting; we even talked about Crypto and Web3 because I’m a trader, too. I learned that BioBuzz was involved in the Blockchain and that WFGX was moving toward the future. That really grabbed my attention.

We really saw eye-to-eye and I felt a great connection with Chris. We were supposed to talk for a half hour and it lasted an hour-and-a-half and I wasn’t even part of the team yet.

I’ve spoken to many recruiters and leaders in the industry. I don’t think a lot of recruiting firms are investing in the culture and employees. You see these terrible reviews on Glassdoor. I eliminated a number of firms because of this and when I spoke to them I got a sense that the Glassdoor reviews might be right. 

I liked that WFGX had a marketing and PR portion that pushed out content and encouraged employees to share content and spotlight employers. WFGX is about community and engaging people—not a lot of recruiting agencies are doing this.

What’s your sense of WFGX’s workplace culture?

Even before I joined I could tell the team was happy and the company is very family-oriented; everyone is willing to share. Chris is very present, friendly and relatable. He starts the week with a joke. That’s me. That’s my personality. That’s a big part of life, to have some laughter. It allows us to relax and be more open.

I ask a lot of questions to understand why things are done a certain way. In some cases, this could be seen as ‘pushing buttons’ but at WFGX this isn’t the case. Chris and the team are open to listening and ideas; other companies say they’re open to ideas, but that’s often not the reality.

My colleagues are so open to sharing and are willing to hear new ideas and tips. There’s no headbutting here even though I’m new.

You’ve been a job seeker and a recruiter. You’ve experienced all sides of the hiring process. What is the best advice you could give a job seeker in this talent market?

Network. Network. Network.

LinkedIn is where to be. Forget about Facebook. Look for people that can provide value on LinkedIn. Learn about companies and about people and don’t be afraid to be vocal. I don’t think candidates fully realize the power of networking.

I think 1% of people on LinkedIn create content and 9% engage. If you start putting content out or engaging once a week you’ll be in the top 10% of LinkedIn right away.

Just applying for a job you’re just another resume. If you engage on LinkedIn, you’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help if you engage them genuinely.

I’d also tell candidates to take their time. It’s a candidate’s market. Focus on what will fit you culturally; what will a company provide you as far as growth goes for the next five years; and what are you missing from your resume that you could learn at that company. 

Relax. Take your time. Don’t always focus on the financials and wind up missing the point of going where you fit best.  

What are the keys to building and maintaining a strong employer relationship over time?

I’m a very direct person and I’m honest. It’s very important to be up front with an employer and approach the relationship like a consultant. Set expectations early on and back that up with data. One of my professors once said to me, “If you’re debating without data you’re just whining.”

This helps set the pace for what they expect from you and what you can expect from them. It’s all about communication and honesty right from the start. You’ll get to a truer yes or no earlier if you’re honest and transparent with candidates and employers.

How do you describe the ideal candidate experience?

Full transparency. Candidates want to be heard and seen. You want to make them the center of the process; they want to feel like they’re talking to another human being.

The first question I ask a candidate is always “What excites you?” That opens them up to their true self. They’ll sometimes have walls up, and this is particularly true in the scientific community. Scientists are super smart and focused on what they have to do; they’re sometimes hesitant to be open and have a candid conversation. 

I try to look for a connection that will open a candidate up. Being personable and relatable and communicating clearly and transparently is key. You want to align the candidate and the job; that magic only happens when you align the candidate’s why with the employer’s why or mission.

From a management perspective I want the candidate to know I’m there to support them and to make the experience as quick and easy as possible.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Anything that has to do with sports. I’m a very competitive person. 

I am a volleyball referee and I’m the only international female volleyball referee from Puerto Rico. I’ve been refereeing for 17 years and I travel all over Florida on the weekend to ref club matches for USA Volleyball. And I ref for college teams as well and I’ve done some international competitions, including the Central American Games in Mexico in 2014. Volleyball refereeing is my passion. 

Seeing the kids that don’t know what they’re doing and then seeing them a few years later where they’re hitting the ball harder than you can imagine and they’ve grown a foot is just amazing. I just love it.