THERAVECTYS Upped Hiring Almost Five-Fold in 2014, As Biotech Booms, Says HR Head

This article was originally published here

April 30, 2015
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Theravectys is a Paris-based, privately-owned, fully integrated discovery and clinical development biotech company. As a spin-off of the Pasteur Institute, it capitalizes on over 15 years of fundamental research in the field of lentiviral vectors.

Theravectys has secured worldwide exclusive rights to Pasteur’s proprietary intellectual property related to the use of lentiviral vectors for human and veterinary vaccination and immunotherapy applications. The company is now focused on promising safety and immunegenicity results out of its HIV vaccine candidate, as well as hot therapeutic vaccines in oncology and major infectious diseases, including CAR-T.

Christel Lafont, head of human resources at Theravectys, has been in the industry for approximately 16 years. She said that after almost two decades working on building the perfect roster, the tools professional have these days are much more varied and focused than they’ve ever been.

“The industry has changed significantly over the years. With a big help from the internet, social media and professional networking platforms, it has opened up many opportunities to find the right fit of candidates to hire for our company,” Lafont told BioSpace.

Lafont said that has also resulted in the development of roles and responsibilities in human resources over the years. “Today, the primary role of HR is figuring out ways to attract, manage and retain the company’s teams,” she said. “This is done through finding creative ways to ensure that employees are being utilized in a way that aligns with the organization’s goals.”

BioSpace chatted with Lafont about what Theravectys looks for in a candidate—and how boom times in biotech have brought a flood of new applicants (and employees) to an industry that is looking to grow exponentially.

1. How many applicants do you usually see each year? Has that gone up or down in 2014?

It varies for each position. Typically we see a range from 50 to 200 applications each year. Of those applicants, we meet with approximately three to six for each job opening. There has been a high recruitment peak in 2014/2015. In 2012/2013, we recruited about five applicants and during 2014, over 26 new employees have joined the team. We’ve also recruited over 18 new employees in the first quarter of 2015, with five more to come this year.

2. What advice do you give people looking to join a company like yours?

We encourage applicants to do research on the company prior to sending in an application. We take note when applicants show interest in our services, our success and any future developments. It also shows the candidate’s willingness and enthusiasm to join the team.

3. What do you look for most in a candidate?

As noted above, someone who has done their research on the company and what it is we do. We put all of our energy and passion into the development of innovative therapeutic vaccines and immunotherapies to fight cancer and infectious diseases, and we typically look for someone as committed as we are. Teamwork is also valuable and has added to the company’s success, so we look for someone with technical, scientific and professional skills, who works well and communicates with others.

4. How do you find your most successful candidates? (i.e. job boards, references, internally)?

We network through specialized job boards (i.e. pharma websites and recruitment platforms). We also reference professional network websites such as LinkedIn, as well as recruitment firms and head hunters on occasion.

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