Insight: Life Science in The Day of a Project Co-ordinator
Life Science in the Day of…
Rachel defines her role as supporting and assisting across every area of Coulter Partners. She acts as a hub through which clients, candidates, consultants and researchers connect, especially in the early stages of a search, where she is a key facilitator. Here she tells us about the various aspects of her work:
On a day-to-day basis, I liaise between clients and candidates. I’m in constant contact, either setting up interviews and update calls or connecting clients and candidates to the consultants. The project coordinators are sought out, both for our speed in turning things around and because of our patience. We’re representing not only Coulter Partners but also the client, so depending on how we deal with situations, the client and the candidate will quickly gain a mutual understanding. I have to respect the complex schedules of clients and candidates, working to accommodate both and I can never be too polite or go too many extra miles because it will always be appreciated.
At my busiest, I work on up to twenty assignments. I proof reports, complete templates and make arrangements for team members attending events and conferences. At the beginning of a search, I attend the internal kick-off meeting, where the lead consultant or project leader talks the team through Coulter Partners’ relationship with the client and the type of candidate the client is looking for. The areas a researcher should look into, the timeline of the search and any sensitive information that needs to be considered are also discussed. This is followed by a client kick-off, where the team really digs deep into the client’s needs and begins drafting the job specification. I liaise with the client in proofing the job specification and then set up the first update call between consultant, researcher and client.
Each search has a different time span. The ideal structure sees a search completed in three months, but it’s sometimes more difficult to find the right people. The search could fall at a time of year when people aren’t looking to move jobs. Or it could involve a senior CEO who has no PA and is super busy. The progression of the search becomes harder to manage in those instances. With candidates, it comes down to making things easy for them in whatever way I can. Candidates are for the most part very flexible and it’s a pleasure to work with them.
Recently, we’ve been working on a number of assignments in the Med Tech sector. What’s been great about these is how interesting and enjoyable it is to find out about innovative, life-saving devices; it’s a different side of Life Sciences from pharmaceutical research. However, the Med Tech sector is going through a great deal of consolidation and mergers. This means there are fewer companies, both to work with and to find candidates from, making the researchers’ and consultants’ jobs harder. There are often niche aspects, from regional requirements to experience in a distinct area within med tech. For one assignment, there were less than five companies we could explore to find candidates. The difficult nature of such searches means my ability to relate well to all parties becomes key. The relationship-building involved is one of the most satisfying aspects of my role.
I aim for a relaxed, fluid correspondence which enables clients and candidates to speak candidly, while nevertheless assuring them of confidentiality where required. If they feel that things have been handled well and I’ve done everything I can to make their experience of the search better, they really appreciate it. They reach out to me to find out how things are progressing, especially around interview time. Once update and candidate reports are ready, it’s the project coordinators who send them out, which I feel further cements our relationships with the clients.
This is especially important in the face of the cultural and language differences that come with a global client and candidate base. It’s important to keeps things clear and direct, but also to consider that many clients and candidates are extremely busy. When they read an email, they have to be able to quickly pick out the key details, so I take care to structure it in a way that’s easy to absorb. I’m always looking to be one step ahead, whether a Coulter Partners team member needs something or a client/candidate needs something. You never want to be playing catch-up. You can’t do that and do this job well.
The processes that Coulter Partners continues to refine as the company grows are really helpful. We’ve become more efficient, with processes and pre-planned support in place for the large number of conferences attended by senior team members. The project coordinators also monitor and consider the best ways to effectively support other team members, finding ways that work and then systemising them. Our systems have changed and adapted but despite that, our growth means I’m busier than ever now! I admire Coulter Partners’ openness to ideas and ability to say ‘let’s try that and see how it goes.’ It’s a further way in which team members are allowed to grow and improve the work that the company does.
I’m very aware of the integral part project coordinators play, and I think our attitude and dedication is outstanding. We have a huge impact on how the search progresses, driving things forward and making sure everything is in its right place so all team members can do their job.