Why there’s no such thing as the perfect candidate
Nobody is Perfect
When applying for a role, the list of candidate requirements can be off-putting to say the least. We regularly approach candidates about roles that they feel they are not suitable for, however, with our knowledge of the chemical industry, client, and needs of the business, we are best placed to advise and support candidates through the application and interview process.
Quite often a role will have some non-negotiable requirements, typically for a chemist this will be industrial experience working with a relevant technology. It can be really tough for recent graduates, who lack industrial experience, to get a foot on the career ladder but there are a growing number of companies willing to invest and train graduates. All you need is a positive attitude and to look for jobs providing training and mentoring.
Chemists with transferable skills
Currently, Merritt Recruitment is looking for chemists to formulate, test and scale-up, for roles in the paints, coatings, inks, and adhesives industries. Formulation is a learned skill and highly transferable. While applications can vary many of the raw materials are the same. With the support of a mentor, a chemist can quickly pick up niche knowledge for a ‘new’ industry. When a client asks for a specific number of years of experience, they will often be flexible and will consider less experience if the candidate has a positive attitude to learning.
Colour is relevant to many of our industries including paints, cosmetics, plastics, and inks. A good colour matcher who has experience using spectrometers can readily find a new and exciting role within a different sector where they have no previous knowledge of the materials and applications involved.
Commercial – I can sell anything, but do I need a degree?
Sales roles will often specify a specific market and although you may sell chemicals, an in-depth knowledge of the sector will be essential. Understanding of customer needs, products and competitors are all needed to ‘hit the ground’ running and ensure companies keep their position in the market. Is a chemistry degree essential or any degree relevant to a sales role? The short answer is no. Intelligent and motivated candidates can quickly take on board key information and, with the support of a good technical manager, thrive in a technical sales role.
Regulatory roles welcome chemists & logisticians
A boom in regulatory roles has enabled candidates to move from other business areas. Typically, senior chemists with an interest in regulatory affairs are moving into regulatory roles, which were the domain of environmental scientists. Chemists are being joined by Logistics Managers whose highly transferable skills are making them increasingly in demand across the chemicals industry. In-depth knowledge of the legislative requirements for shipping goods around the globe is turning logistics professionals into regulatory and industry experts. Many of those moving to regulation are seeing rapid progression within just a few short years.
The Non-negotiables: Languages, driving licence and location
Language fluency can be an essential requirement, typically you will be expected to write, read and speak a language. Quite often, a native speaker will be included on the interview panel so not even a crash course will improve ‘holiday’ language skills adequately. It is not just sales roles that require a driving licence, some companies operate on rural sites that are not served by public transport so unless you live within a short walk, you will need to drive. We are always surprised at how many candidates apply to non-local roles who live in a different country. If you cannot commute to the site or offices, it’s unlikely that your application will be considered by a client. However, if you can relocate and have the right to work, then do start up the conversation.
How can Merritt Recruitment help?
To summarise, we are experiencing high levels of job vacancies and companies are really keen to fill their roles. Skills are transferable, knowledge can be gained through training and a degree is not a deal-breaker, so why not initiate that first conversation? Merritt Recruitment is always happy to discuss requirements with you and ensure that we can find you the role of your dreams.
With so many roles on offer take a look at our current vacancies to see if your ideal position is hiding in plain sight: https://bit.ly/MerrittJobs. Remember, there’s no such thing as the perfect candidate, a positive attitude and willingness to learn and develop will often be all you need to take the next step on your career ladder.
Dr Laura Merritt is an experienced recruiter and qualified chemist. Her PhD specialised in UV curing, photochemistry and polymer chemistry. Dr Merritt is the founder of Merritt Recruitment, a council member of the Oil & Colour Chemists’ Association, secretary of the Royal Society of Chemistry - Coatings Group and managing director of Surfex.