The 3 Benchmarks for Laboratory Job Applicants

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  • If the recession taught us anything it’s that not all highly skilled workers are highly sought after. However, there is one field where only the best will make it past the interview process. Laboratory and science employees have to be at the top of their game if they want to get hired.

    Laboratory related jobs are one of the fastest growing segments in our economy, but the barrier of entry is high. PBMMI.com is one example of a biomedical business site that describes the very high standards of hiring to ensure public safety. Every one of their applicants must understand the specialized skill and federal regulations that are used to safely transport biological materials.

    Whether the work is in biostorage or biomechanical engineering, there are many reasons why laboratories have to feel confident that the people they hire know what they’re doing. The three rules below are the benchmarks for any and all job applicants that want to work in a laboratory setting.

    They Have to Pass a Background Check

    Background checks are a standard part of a laboratory’s operational security procedures for both part-time and full-time employees. There are a number of toxic chemicals, explosives and deadly viruses in laboratories that terrorists and criminals would love to get their hands on. Combing through an applicant’s background is a necessity to ensure that these materials don’t fall into the wrong hands.

    The background check is the first sniff test, and anything questionable will likely lead to an automatic disqualification. Other red flags to watch out for include anyone that has been reprimanded for not following the proper security protocols such as always displaying an ID badge. The security of sensitive areas is only as strong as the people who work within these environments. That’s why most laboratories make security their top priority when hiring.

    They Have to Know the Industry Regulations

    Because of the dangerous materials and equipment that are used in laboratory settings, the FDA has outlined a number of guidances for meeting regulatory requirements. Any violation of these regulations can have serious consequences for a laboratory. Even the CDC recently made headlines when it hired a top lab safety official after several incidents occurred within its own agency.

    It’s not enough that lab workers know the regulations. Employees have to follow them to a T. If a job applicant has ever been found to be in violation of the industry regulations it’s a serious red flag that can’t be overlooked.

    They Have to Have the Proper Certifications, Education & Experience

    People working in laboratories are known as knowledge workers. They are technical professionals that have to have a unique set of skills to make a laboratory efficient, effective and safe. One mistake in a laboratory can cost people their lives or even release a dangerous substance into the environment. Unlike most jobs, lab workers have to know what they are doing at all times to avoid potentially deadly situations.

    Since these are jobs with an extremely low learning curve, applicants must already have the proper certifications/degrees to show they meet specific scientific qualifications before they are hired. Even job applicants with unconventional work histories can be viable candidates if they have taken the initiative to obtain the right certifications or degrees. But education alone won’t tell you how skilled a job applicant is. In the laboratory world outcomes are more important that inputs. Past accomplishments and their full work track record will reveal whether the applicant will add real value to the lab.

    From principle investigators to custodial staff, everyone that’s brought into the lab makes a difference. The success of the research and the safety of many people hinge on who a laboratory hires, which is why the three benchmarks above are critical in the hiring process.

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