>Any advice?

Jun 01 2010 Published by under help, hiring

>I don't know if anyone is listening here, but I have a question. How does one go about hiring a lab manager? I have the money and I'd REALLY like to have someone who already knew the ropes step in to be a role where they take care of most lab business (ordering, taking care of rotation students, etc). I have the $ and I don't have a problem with delegating. The problem I'm having is WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE PEOPLE? I'm in a large PacNW city with big biotech, but the only folks that are applying for jobs in my lab as "techs" are kids fresh from college. Is there some secret words that you put in an ad so the real SuperTechs know that you are looking for them? How can I convince someone like this to work with me??

9 responses so far

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    >In my opinion, you're better off hiring the best college grad you can and then training them up to handle things the way you want. This is good for three reasons: (1) They get paid a lot less money than someone with extensive experience. (2) You don't have the risk of getting someone who has strong opinions about how things should be done that differ from yours. (3) The very good senior lab managers are likely to currently have jobs, and the ones looking for work and willing to join a brand-new lab are not likely to be among the best.

  • Anonymous says:

    >I agree with CPP. But regardless of whether you hire a new grad or a more experienced person, be sure to be extra vigilant in checking up on the references. Not just reading the letters, but calling anyone who might have experience with the applicant. A bad tech can really be a disaster.Nice corn photo, btw.

  • Gerty-Z says:

    >Thanks for the advice! I certainly want to avoid any tech disasters as I get started. Much appreciated.

  • LabMom says:

    >Well, as a senior lab manager, I LIKE working for new PIs (I know you commented at my blog, sorry for my delayed reply!) Based on the people knocking down my door to hire me though, I am betting there are pretty slim pickings out there for senior techs. I know my former PI replaced me with another senior tech she got when a fellow PI retired and his tech was left. Or I have also seen techs recruited from PIs who are leaving and they want to stay at the same Institution.I don't really have much good advice. I have always been the one who is getting the chance to make the decision on where to go. "Buyers market" as it were! :DBut I will say that I always choose labs where the PI is willing to give up 1) Publication authorships (I am as smart as a grad student and I deserve the credit) and 2) at least a little managerial control (I don't want to be micromanaged and undermined)If those things are on the table, you would be on the top of my list as a lab I would be interested in.Good luck and congrats on the new lab!

  • Genomic Repairman says:

    >I agree with CPP too, but if the opportunity presents itself to poach an experienced technician from another lab on campus with the desired skill set to run your lab, do it. But a noob isn't such a bad thing, you can train them to run YOUR lab YOUR way. Another thing is to look for a student just graduating with an M.S. who is hungry for a job, but this can be dangerous as they may not stay with you for the long run.

  • Ewan says:

    >Following up, as I am in a similar situation: what do people think on where do such jobs most usefully get advertised? I.e., what are the places where the ad would be seen by the folks you'd like to be seeing it?

  • Linda says:

    >I agree with LabMom. I have extensive experience in labs, and quite a bit as a lab manager. You never know when or why someone with experience might be looking for a change. If you don't have as much experience as you would like, someone senior could be exactly what you need. You might try a professional networking site like LinkedIn.Good luck in your search.

  • LabMom says:

    >@Ewan I have found all my positions through the university/research institute HR department but I know that isn't the most common way. Word of mouth is a big one.If you are looking for someone who has been around the block, you want someone you know and trust to vouch for them. Just because an applicant says they know how to do something doesn't mean they do. At least if you hire someone inexperienced you get what you pay for, but I would be livid if I hired someone and they sold themselves as experienced and professional and they weren't. That is why if you go that route, I would stick with either referrals you trust or a really stringent screening process and maybe even temporary contract at first.

  • Gerty-Z says:

    >WoW! Thanks for all the super advice. I've started getting some applicants in, and it seems that all the talent that is available right now are the kids right out of college. I think that will work out pretty well, since I have all summer to get them going in the lab. I am lucky that the position I'm trying to fill is not union, so I don't have to work too hard to fire someone if it doesn't work out.

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