Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel
Isaiah Hankel
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he explains why aligning with the company’s culture is important for PhDs to get hired and for their career progression in the company 

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah discusses the why PhDs need to accept and follow company culture
  • Next, Isaiah reveals the strategies to balance capability and cultural fit 
  • Finally, Isaiah explains 61 new career insights

From This Week’s Show… 

Why Is It Important For PhDs To Align Themselves With The Company’s Culture 

We are going to talk about how PhDs need to understand the company culture and how you need to position yourself to fit in a company’s culture. PhDs need to understand the specific changes and the working trends of the company.

We have been seeing a lot more hybrid project management since the pandemic induced workforce decentralization. Everyone is on Slack and Zoom. PhDs need to update their skills from academia to stay abreast with these industry advancements. 

Academia had convinced me that I was an incredible project manager. I could balance so many different incubations and document them in my lab notebook every day. And then I got into industry and I realized in academia, there is no project management. In industry —however small or big— there is a strong organizational culture.

As PhDs, we often don’t think a lot about the culture, we just want to know the goal, and then figure out a way to hit it through data. But culture is how you get things done. Because how you get things done on a day-to-day basis dictates how you feel and how others feel. If you do not make an effort to fit into the culture, it does not matter how competent you are, you can eventually get squeezed out of an organization. 

Strategies For PhDs To Display Capability And Cultural Fit 

One of the most frequently asked questions in the pandemic era is, How do you create culture in a remote environment? That is a tough interview question that gets asked all the time to evaluate the candidate’s cultural fit. If you understand what the employer wants to do in terms of culture, what they care about, you will have an easier time answering this. 

If you come in and you fit in the culture perfectly, but you can’t do the job, you are not going to get hired. You have to perform. So, capability and cultural fit are two very important aspects that affect hiring. As a PhD, you have been trained only to think about capability, which is why so many PhDs go to their first interview just talking about their technical skills with hiring managers; recruiters who don’t have PhDs don’t understand those technical skills. 

Dig into concepts like cultural IQ or the language of culture, so you can start understanding what employers are looking for. Every company has its own culture. Understanding the language of this culture will help you to get hired and stay hired.

61 New Career Insights

Companies have been constantly changing and adapting to increase efficiency during the pandemic. They had to rely on hybrid project management, the combination of the waterfall project management methodology and the agile project management methodology, and agile project management, it’s almost like a religion.

We recommend PhDs to take a look at the AI, data analytics and software programs of the company prior to interview. Everything is cloud-based. Newer R&D positions as technology development officers, informatics specialists, cloud informatics specialists, are cloud skill dependent. They need to work with  the integration of data inflows from within the company and from external organizations. Project managers have had to embrace these cloud-based systems informatics and as a PhD, that is what makes you so valuable for these project management roles in industry right now. Project management is the connection between projects and strategy. It is IQ, but in the language of industry.

A sponsor is a leader in your professional circle who is going to advocate for your career advancement, both before you get hired at a company and after you get hired. This is somebody who is going to be at meetings, especially those where you will not be. You have to get one of these people who can be your sponsor in company meetings well ahead of time. Somebody who will speak well about you on the hiring committee. PhDs can do that by paying close attention to who during the informational interview process connects well, an accountability partner. When it comes to your job search, find people hold you accountable in your jobs.

As a PhD do what you are best at research all aspects of the job search process which will work in your favor.

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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