Grab Your Lab Coats – It’s Time to Dissect Soft Skills of a Lab Scientist

It's Time to Dissect Soft Skills of a Lab Scientist

In the scientific laboratory industrythere’s a right way and a wrong way to do things with little to no gray area in between. For those that aren’t meticulous, don’t have the patience for following proper procedures and protocols, and for those that aren’t interested in collaborating with others, lab work might not be the perfect fit.

However, for those hiring for laboratory positions, these soft skills are examples of what you should look for to find the ideal candidate.

With unemployment sitting at historic lows, hiring managers across all industries are scratching their heads to figure out how to add the best talent available. Within such a limited labor market, instead of hiring based on experience alone, soft skills offer the potential for candidates to blossom into highly successful employees.

These are five soft skills to consider when hiring for your next lab scientist position.

Soft Skills to Seek Out for Your Next Lab Scientist

1. Attention to Detail

How it relates to the Job: Within a lab setting, paying attention to detail is one of the essential skills an individual can have. Lab tests rely on accurate and replicable information and procedures that must be followed consistently.

What to look for: Attention to detail is all about the little things. Does the candidate arrive on time for the interview? Is the formatting on the resume consistent throughout the document? Does the candidate remember to send a thank you after an interview? These are all examples to look for when deciding if a candidate has what it takes.

2. Communication

How it relates to the Job: Communicating in any function of a job is essential for success. Within a laboratory environment, it’s even more critical. Many hands end up touching experiments as they’re passed from one department to another. Effective communication is essential in ensuring the proper steps are executed throughout the process.

What to look for: Communication can be divided into several categories (Verbal, Non-Verbal, Gestures, etc.). When interviewing, look for ways the candidate ties together real-world examples with the job requirements. This will exemplify effective communication. 

3. Leadership and Accountability

How it relates to the job: Leadership and accountability go hand in hand. Those that have excellent leadership skills understand accountability. In laboratory settings, having leadership qualities puts the onus on yourself to conduct experiments the right way and not take short-cuts, which would undermine the research.

What to look for: The easy way to find leadership qualities from a candidate is to check their resume. Have they managed a team or large project before? If so, were they successful? Checking references will also help to determine what kind of leader they were.

4. Teamwork

How it relates to the Job: Working in a lab setting can be daunting for some. It’s a sterile environment, and you work very closely alongside your co-workers. For those to be successful, a good sense of what teamwork is all about will go a long way.

What to look for: Ask for examples of collaboration in the interview. See how well the candidate speaks about working closely with others. Have they volunteered before? Volunteering is an excellent example that the candidate exemplifies teamwork.

5. Patience

How it relates to the Job: Patience is the unsung hero of laboratory work. Some tasks require great patience as research may take months or even years to show results. Lab work is not something to rush through.

What to look for: Seeking patience may prove difficult for hiring managers to gauge. However, focusing on mannerisms throughout the interview may help determine if the candidate has patience. Active listening requires patience, and this is something you can monitor.  

Are you searching for answers when it comes to hiring in the life sciences sector? At US Tech Solutions, we know the industry inside and out and have the resources to deliver a solution for you. Contact us today.  

Looking to hire top candidates in the life sciences sector?