The quality of the work in our lab and the joy of collegiality and science are determined by the individual team members: Their diversity, the unique talents and skills each individual brings in.
The quality of the work in our lab and the joy of collegiality and science are determined by the individual team members: Their diversity, the fit of their personalities and the unique talents and skills each individual brings at the table. Therefore, well-designed and rigorous recruitment procedures are key to everybody’s wellbeing and success. By joining a team that takes recruitment seriously, future colleagues can have trust that their time at The Microbial Markets Lab will be an excellent investment in their future.
Recruitment at The Microbial Markets Lab proceeds as follows:
- The PI (Principal Investigator, Marc Strous) shares potential research projects for new students in advance with all team members for feedback and discussion.
- The PI publishes the finalized research projects on the EBG and FGS websites. Research projects of new students can also remain open/flexible.
- The PI creates the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee consists of at least 3 (or in case there are fewer than 3 team members, all team members) current team members. Selection Committee members take training in unconscious bias (see for example here).
- The selection committee creates the job ad. In addition to the research projects, it should refer to the code, expectations and questions, instructions on how to apply (including application deadline) and a UofC land acknowledgement.
- The PI posts the job ad on linked-in and tags it on twitter. The Selection Committee members retweet and repost it. PI sends ad to environmental microbiology professors in Canada for sharing with senior undergrads/MSc students.
- Applicants apply via email to the PI. Applications consist of a CV and cover letter or brief video. The cover letter or video answers the following questions: a. How does their background align with our 500 questions? b. What do they want to achieve and learn during their time with us? c. What do they bring to the table that complements our current expertise?
- The PI shares the applications with the selection committee. The Selection Committee members rank the applicants individually.The Selection Committee convenes to create a consensus ranking (see Criteria and Ranking Candidates below). The Selection Committee decides who will be invited for a virtual interview (see step 10.). If possible, we invite four candidates for each position.
- The Selection Committee also discusses the diversity in the candidate pool and decides whether a sufficient number of qualified, diverse candidates are in the pool to continue. If this is not the case, extra effort is made to get more applications, before proceeding.
- The Selection Committee defines a set of questions that will be asked to all candidates during interviews.
- The PI invites top ranked applicants for a virtual (zoom) interview. The PI shares the interview format and instructions with the invitees.
- The zoom interviews last 70 min each and the format is as follows: a. Welcome by the PI b. 10 min presentation by the candidate, presenting themselves and their previous research, c. 10 min of questions by the Selection Committee. d. 10 min of questions by the Candidate. e. Four ten-minute blocks with individual Selection Committee members. These blocks all have a specific theme. Themes include: Background Knowledge, Strength and Weaknesses, Ambition, Concerns of the Candidate.
- When the virtual interviews are concluded, the Selection Committee convenes to adjust the consensus ranking, based on the interviews.The two top-ranked candidates are asked to provide two references. Selection Committee members follow up with the references. If no red-flags are raised, the top-ranked candidates are invited for a second interview.
- If travel arrangements are possible, the second interview is live. Travel arrangements may not always be possible, for example because of Covid-19 restrictions. Candidates’ travel expenses will be fully reimbursed. The second interview lasts about a day, and includes 1. hour-long informal conversations with all Selection Committee members. 2. a longer (30 min) formal presentation with more in depth questions (30 min). 3. a 30 min. written exam as well as a 30 min. oral exam with questions from a section of the 500-questions document (the candidate chooses the section in advance). 4. a one-hour meeting with the PI about expectations. 5. a tour of the EEEL labs and offices, as well as the UofC campus. 6. Dinner at a restaurant in town. Optionally, the candidate can stay longer, for example to get a taste of the Canadian Rockies.
- When all interviews are completed, the Selection Committee convenes and makes a final decision on who will be offered the positions.
- The PI offers the position(s) to the top candidate(s) and negotiates terms, within the boundaries of the expectation document, with the candidate. If they do not accept, positions may be offered to the next-ranked candidate.
- For graduate students, when a candidate is offered a position, they still need to apply to the Geoscience Program. At this stage, that is only a formality.
Criteria and Ranking Candidates
For each criterion, candidates are scored 1 (minimum evidence), 2 (exceeds minimum evidence) or 3 (exceptional, goes above and beyond minimum evidence). For ranking, a candidate’s overall score is calculated by multiplying the scores for each aspect.
|Microbial Ecology, Biogeoscience Knowledge||For MSc students: Proficiency in at least one section of the 500 questions. For PhD students: Proficiency in at least three sections.|
|Skills||At least two skills out of 1. Relevant Lab work, 2. Writing, 3. Computation in metagenomics, 4. Presentation.|
|Ambition||Joining us is a positive choice, careerwise. For PhD students, an academic career should be an option.|
|Communication||Communicates openly about strengths, weaknesses and concerns. Asks questions.|
|Team Oriented||Provides examples of how they collaborated successfully with others. Interacts positively with team members.|
|Diversity||Brings something to the table we do not yet have, complementary background, limited overlap with existing team members.|