News & Insights

Body Language Mistakes You Might Be Making At Work

Communication isn’t just verbal. During conversation, you may be saying very few words but giving off dozens of non-verbal cues and hints. These cues are just as important as your words, however, and may be crucial to your interactions and success at work. Even though you are meeting deadlines and are dedicated to your job, it may be your actions that are separating you from your next promotion. Below are some of the most common body language mistakes that you could be making without even noticing that you make them: 

Fidgeting 

One of the most distracting body language mistakes made in the workplace, fidgeting may be anything from playing with your pen, twirling your hair, or tapping your feet. These habits can make your colleagues think that you aren’t completely tuned into the conversation, and they can distract others that are. Instead, try to channel your energy into making eye-contact, keeping your hands visible, and sitting up straight to better engage in conversation. 

Bad Posture 

Slouching at your desk is easy after long hours at work, but it can also convey that you aren’t as put-together as you’d like to be. Even worse, it might make you seem negative or bored at work, telling your colleagues and bosses that you aren’t excited to be there. If you find yourself slouching often, use your desk chair to your advantage by sitting as far back as possible and using the back rest as support. This will align you with your chair and keep you from exhibiting bad posture. 

Crossing Your Arms 

Even if crossing your arms has nothing to do with the person you’re speaking to, it might make them feel that you are being closed off in the conversation. Separating yourself in this way can convey that you aren’t engaged or aren’t friendly, which will make your colleagues feel less comfortable when talking to you. To avoid this, try to keep your hands by your side and orient your body towards the person you’re talking with to show openness and engagement. 

Lack of Eye Contact 

Not making eye contact with others at work tells them that you’re too busy to converse with them or are not interested in talking. Additionally, looking at the floor or tilting your face downward can show that you are insecure. If it is your phone that keeps you from making eye contact, put it away. Instead, try to smile and look people in their eyes when passing them in the halls or holding conversation. 

Being Overly Casual 

In today’s world, businesses are becoming more casual and adopting modern values that encourage comfort and happiness. With this, comes more casual dress and attitudes at work. However, people often take this a little too far and end up walking down the office halls like they’re in their own homes. Remember to carry yourself with confidence and poise around the office. 

If you’re unsure of other body language mistakes you may be making, ask peers for feedback. Another helpful tactic is to identify someone you admire at work and take note of their habits. Above all else, be aware of how you are presenting yourself in the workplace, as this can be vital in your success. 

Quiz — What’s Your Communication Style?

Each of us has a set of general behavior patterns. These patterns express themselves in our personalities and in the way we communicate with others. Sometimes, it can be hard to work alongside those who do not share our same behavior patterns and communication preferences. If we can identify how we communicate with others, it makes us aware of how we are perceived and can make it easier for us to work with people who are different from us. We can then avoid unproductive behavior and learn how to control our communications in the workplace and in life.

Take the quiz below to learn about your communication style and understand communication preferences different from your own. Select the words and phrases that best fit how you communicate with co-workers, bosses, and peers. There are no right or wrong answers, so answer honestly.

1. When I talk to others, I like to…
a. get straight to the point
b. talk
c. share only what I want other people to know
d. include a lot of details

2. My communication is directed toward…
a. getting results and answers
b. being friendly with peers
c. cooperating with others
d. precision

3. I like communication that is…
a. straightforward and blunt
b. positive and happy
c. calm and relaxed
d. logical and relevant

4. Sometimes I may be…
a. blunt
b. very subjective in my descriptions
c. slow to share information
d. strict in my interpretations

5. I have been accused of…
a. not listening or paying attention to others
b. talking too much or taking over the conversation
c. procrastinating
d. being tentative or slow in conversation

6. When I am in a discussion, others…
a. know where I stand and what I believe
b. know I am enthusiastic and positive
c. know I don’t like to be surprised
d. know I desire information and facts

7. My greatest weakness in communicating is…
a. reacting too quickly
b. speaking without preparation
c. my desire for personal attention
d. my need for all of the details

 8. I don’t like conversations that…
a. I can’t control
b. don’t accept my viewpoint
c. are not cooperative and collaborative
d. create stress or drama

9. I like conversations that are…
a. stimulating and interesting
b. optimistic and positive
c. sincere and genuine
d. controlled and logical

10. I feel best when I am…
a. telling others what to do
b. smooth and poised
c. listening to other people
d. following a plan

MOSTLY A’s — DIRECT
When communicating, you like to feel that you are in charge. You like difficult assignments, a challenge, and quick results. You can be very decisive in your conversations and are not afraid to take action. You may need to improve your communication because you tend to be too brief, which sometimes comes across as blunt or may make you a poor listener. You are driven by independence, power, and quick results.

MOSTLY B’s — TALKATIVE
When communicating, you like to persuade others. You like to be popular, successful, and positive. You may need to improve your communication because you tend to speak without preparation, oversell ideas, and give more information than necessary. You are driven by influence, acceptance, and public recognition.

MOSTLY C’s — SINCERE
When communicating, you like sincere and genuine conversations. You like to be a member of a group. You need stability, appreciation, and time to adjust to ideas. You typically do not tell all of the information that you know. You may need to improve your communication because you tend to need too much personal attention, respond slowly, and are turned off by an aggression. You are driven by feeling needed and like to be asked, not told, what to do.

MOSTLY D’s — ORGANIZED
When communicating, you like to be thorough. You like low-risk situations, cooperation, organization, and following rules. You are logical in your conversations. You may need to improve your communication because you tend to be excessively detailed and are slow to trust. You are driven by cooperative relationships, long explanations, and clarity.

Conference Tips You Can’t Skip: How to Make the Most of Your Experience

You’re attending an industry conference. What should you expect? 

If you’re a frequent conference attendee, you may already have your own list of trials, errors, and ways to make the most of your experience (if so, we’d love to hear your stories and tips in the comments). If not, don’t fret. We’ve collected a list of conference and networking tips from a variety of our CSG team members that should help you do it right. 

First impressions are lasting impressions. Practice your introduction, smile, be confident, and keep it real. Your positive energy and authenticity will be more memorable than your words.” – Ernest Jones, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Talk to people you don’t already know. These things are all about networking, so make it a point to sit next to people you haven’t met before.” – Jason DeGroff, Vice President of Operations 

Build strong relationships. Get to know the short-term and long-term goals of the people you’re networking with, while also getting to know them on a personal level. You never know what you’ll have in common!” – Sarah Keiser, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Use moderation in all ways. Whether it be in conversational details, drinks, your introduction pitch, etc., less can always be more in these situations.” – Cassie Hauser, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Insert yourself into a conversation that has already started. Many people attend conferences in groups or have colleagues that they already know going in. Break out from your group and insert yourself into another cohort that isn’t your own. Although this can be awkward at first, it can maximize your networking experience because you are meeting several people in one interaction and diversifying your experience.” – Maryssa Kuchta, Talent Acquisition Specialist

Take value away from every interaction you have. There are a ton of people that attend these conferences. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Each person could be your next peer, boss, etc. Listen to what the other person is saying and be engaged. Don’t just shake a hand and walk away; learn something new about that person.” – Justin Filipowski, Business Development Manager 

Wear comfortable shoes. You’re likely to be walking throughout the day and standing around speaking with people. Not to mention if a session is full and there aren’t any seats left…looks like you’ll be standing!” – Jessica Hymes, Talent Acquisition Specialist

It’s one thing to leave with a stack of business cards and notes, but it’s another to walk away with new and meaningful connections to industry professionals and peers. Keep these tips in the back of your mind during each interaction and conference event, and you’ll be sure to have a great experience. 

If you need more coaching before heading to your next industry conference, reach out to a CSG professional today!

Evaluating Work Culture: How to Tell if a Company’s Culture is Right for You

You’ve gotten through the interview process. Everything has gone well, and you’re anticipating a job offer. Will you take it?  

After researching the company’s history, strategies, and productivity, you’re pleased with what you’ve learned. But one question remains: is the company culture right for you? You want to be sure that you’d be happy in the office day-to-day. That being said, your goal now is to determine if this is where you see yourself working years down the road. Here are some ways to do that: 

Know What’s Important to You 

Know what motivates you, what inspires you, and what environments you work best in. Being familiar with yourself and your work habits is essential in picking a job that aligns with your preferences. This is the first step to figuring out where you’ll fit in best. 

Talk to as Many People as You Can 

Get to know your potential co-workers and bosses within the office. Take the time to walk around after an interview to introduce yourself, ask questions, and assess the people you’re meeting. Are they the people that you want to sit next to for years to come? Take note of not only their attitudes and work ethic, but their goals and what they’re working on. You should be interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. 

Explore the Office 

The workspace may come as an afterthought, but it can be these small details that matter to you in the end. The physical design and layout of an office can say a lot about the culture. Take note of the way the desks are set up. Is this going to be somewhere you can roam, or will it be a fixed-desk situation? Is the office very modern, or more traditional? Noticing these physical aspects of the workspace may speak to the culture of the people working there. 

Research, Research, Research 

Use online sources to see what the company says about themselves and what others say about them. Focus on news articles, social media mentions, and company culture pages or mission statements to read more about who you may be working for. Although some of these things may be self-reported, you can still use them to get a feel for the tone of the company and its people. 

A new company position must make sense for you and your lifestyle. This is where Clinical Solutions Group can help you. We gather information about your workplace preferences, communication style, and overall career goals to match you with a company culture that suits you. We hear what you respond well to, as well as any concerns or red flags that you are uneasy about. We don’t just place you in a job and disappear; we look beyond the job description to make sure we’re setting you up for success. 

Tips for a Skype Interview

When you think about a Skype interview, you probably ask yourself, “how hard could it be”? Though one may think a Skype interview is simple, there are many aspects of the Skype interview that can hurt your chances of making it to the next round. Listed below are a few key pointers to help you nail the Skype interview:

  1. Environment: It is important to think about environment when preparing for a skype interview. Pick a quiet place to have your interview so there are no distractions. Keep your backdrop neutral so that you can be the focal point of the interview. In this case, less is more.
  2. Attire: Although this is not an in-person interview, it is the closest thing to it. The hiring manager can see you and you can see them. In this case, dress business professional. For men, it is recommended that you wear a suit with a tie and for women, it is recommended that you wear nice slacks, a dress or skirt. It is always best to be overdressed than under dressed. Dressing professionally for a Skype interview is expected and shouldn’t be overlooked.
  3. Practice makes perfect: We all know that when we use Skype, it isn’t the easiest. Often, we catch ourselves looking everywhere but at the person we are speaking to. To perfect this, we need to practice. Do a trial run with a friend so that when it comes to the professional Skype interview, you are ready to shine.
  4. Preparation and organization: It is imperative that you prepare for your Skype interview as these types of interviews are far different than in-person interviews. Have your resume as well as the job description handy so that in case you freeze up, you will have notes to reference. I would practice having your Skype interview as some candidates start to use their notes as more of a crutch than a reference. You should only be glancing at your resume when needed, you should not be using it as a scrip. Relying too heavily on your notes can hurt your chances of getting to the next round. With anything, practice makes perfect.
  5. Body Language: Body language is extremely important in a Skype interview. Because you are not in person with the hiring manager, it makes it even more important that you focus on positive body language. Make sure your body language expresses that you are engaged with the audience. Remain positive and upbeat. Smile, laugh, show the hiring manger that you are engaged and interested!

The Goal of the Resume

It’s 4:00pm. You’re sitting at your desk preparing to wrap up your day, and you get that infamous call from a recruiter… This time the timing is perfect, as you are passively starting to consider other positions. After the initial conversation, the recruiter asks you to send over your resume. You two connect the next day at an appointed time. This call is different than others that you’ve had previously, as this recruiter takes the time to ask details about your resume and learn what you were doing in each role. You are slightly confused by this because you believe that your resume is self-explanatory. The recruiter informs you that they are asking these questions to help perfect your resume for this position, and you always have to keep in mind the goal of the resume.

As a Senior Recruiter with almost 10 years of Clinical Research experience, this is a viewpoint that I often point out to candidates. Once an applicant has an understanding that the goal of the resume is to get you the interview, the perspective changes. Having screened thousands of candidates  and worked with a variety of clients, my eyes have become trained to search for and pull out the most important things that hiring managers will look for. I share with every candidate that hiring managers are looking at tons of resumes daily, which means that yours needs to stand out from the pile.  Below I’ve given 5 basic tips that will assist you in getting a step closer to landing the position of your dreams.  

6 Tips to a Winning Resume: 

  1. Dates with Months: This is important, as hiring managers want to know how long you were in each role to quantify your experience. Using years only can be too vague for the hiring manager to accurately understand the experience that you have. For example, 1999-2000 could mean 1 year, or it could mean 1-11 months… Instead, formatting dates as January 1999-January 2000 gives clear insight of how long you were in that role or with that particular company. 
  2. Detailed job descriptions: Describe what you have done in detail. I tend to lean toward the bullet format for a resume because it is easier to read; however, you can choose the format that best suites you. Make sure your job description speaks to the hiring manager. When they read your resume, they should know what you are doing day-to-day and should not be left wondering what your job description means.  
  3. Chronological Order: Put your most recent position at the top of your resume, and your oldest position at the bottom. Keep your resume up to date and within the last 10 years of your working experiences. The older positions on your resume should have less bullets than your most recent positions. 
  4. Use Metrics: Be sure to include as many numbers as you can when writing about your work history. Although it may seem like an irrelevant detail to include, this helps to further paint the picture of what your skills and experience are. Additionally, it gives some credibility to your claims and can help to direct the conversation in an interview.
  5. Correct Tense: Check to make sure your current position is in present tense, and the previous positions that you held are all in past tense. 
  6. Consistent Formatting: Your format should be the same for titles, name of companies, and dates with all positions held. If your first position is in a bullet format, keep this format for all your positions. Also, confirm that your font is the same size and style throughout the entire document. There is no need to bold parts of your resume to make things stand out. Your recruiter will typically have highlights that they put together to send over to the client that are most important to them. This process saves you from changing your resume for each position you apply for. 

Now that the resume has done its job, it is up to you to go and close the deal by having an amazing interview!!

Karen Curran Joins CSG as VP of Biometric Services

Clinical Solutions Group (Raleigh, NC) is pleased to announce the addition of Karen Curran, Vice President of Biometric Services to lead our Biometric Services Division. Karen joins Clinical Solutions Group as an executive with over 20-years of leadership experience providing solutions to pharmaceutical and biotech clients that range from small start-ups to some of the largest global companies in the industry, with a track record of developing sustainable and evolving relationships with those clients.

At CSG, Karen leads the biometrics group and works with sponsors to develop customised solutions; from individual placements, staff augmentation strategies or to developing customised FSP relationships. Karen brings her tenure of leadership experience to our clients for a solution that meeting the needs and culture of every engagement.

CSG’s FSP is a customizable solution that allows flexibility in your projects, contractual terms, engagement models, and cost strategies. CSG carefully calibrates a delivery framework for the unique challenges and objectives of every sponsor environment.  Our approach is highly collaborative so that our customers’ perspective is clearly represented in the final solution and they maintain confidence the partnership is designed specific to their needs.

Karen’s expertise includes CDISC compliant submissions planning and execution, developing KPIs and usable metrics in support of strategic partnerships and in managing sponsor relationships, project delivery and resourcing. Prior to CSG, Karen led the global biometrics group of a large CRO with over 400 statisticians and statistical programmers worldwide and lead customised biometrics solutions for their key accounts.

LinkedIn Profile

The Space Between Staffing and Outsourcing

Staff augmentation and the CRO model have long been the only choices when biotech companies need to look beyond their full-time staff to get work done.  Each of these two models still have their inherent value propositions but a 20-year career in the staffing and services industry has revealed many lessons learned. Most notably is the realization that often customer needs are best met with a customized solution in which stakeholder-ship is carefully calibrated for the unique goals and challenges at hand.

Staff augmentation is typically sought after for its ease of engagement and flexibility while the true outsource is best when you need the tools, thought leadership and skin in the game to achieve the outcomes you seek.  A trend with key sponsors is the call for engagement models that allow them to maintain control of project direction while still getting a solution that has defined accountability to business outcomes.

Many sponsors have invested heavily in tools, SOP’s and now organizational standards for development and data management.  This reality reduces their dependency on fully outsourcing a project to a CRO that brings these tools to the table. The preference is shifting towards finding specialized partners to do work inside their established environments to avoid rifts with organizational standards as well as the challenges and costs associated with accessing outsourced trial data.

Sponsors often have the thought leadership in house and primarily need resources to execute established project plans.  The staff augmentation model that was so widely used is now governed by strict tenure rules to mitigate co-employment risks presenting a significant challenge to multi-year efforts.

The most progressive leaders in biopharma are calling for solutions that start with a partner’s ability to deliver highly skilled teams but they require more than the traditional staff augmentation model can offer.   The perfect space between staff augmentation and full service outsourcing must be determined at a project level so that the sponsor receives a service framework in which their chosen partner is accountable to the outcome without sacrificing the control and flexibility the sponsor desires. Full outsourcing drives up costs as the partner brings with it more tools, resources and overhead than necessary to achieve project goals.  Conversely, when relying only on resourcing, the burden of project execution lies solely on internal resources. When the service attributes and measurements are developed for the unique needs of the project, no more and no less, the customer achieves an optimal value proposition.

For examples of how Clinical Solutions Group can customize solutions using our six key service tenants check out this interactive element  on our website

Where it all started

 

Clinical Solutions Group was founded in 1999 by bothers Omar and Imad Omar. Having been in the industry for several years they recognized the need for a niche firm to fill what they saw as a service gap in the Biopharma industry. Over the last 19 years the brothers have lead Clinical Solutions Group to become a company held in high regard across the Pharmaceutical and Clinical Trial industry nationwide by focusing on delivering a personable experience for both the consultant and the client.

As they entered 2017, the brothers recognized another service gap in the industry. Combined with a new branding efforts, Clinical Solutions Group has launched an FSP offering, addressing customer demands to become a larger stakeholder in their project goals, working collaboratively with them on well defined standards, systems and tools leveraged internally.

We often field questions about our company’s heritage and where we are going. Our team thinks more people would be interested in hearing about this so Imad and Omar put together some answers to our most frequent questions.

  1. What was your motivation for starting Clinical Solutions Group?

    Having been in the industry for over 7 years prior to starting CSG, our motivation was to start a company that specifically focused on a finite number of skill sets and establish CSG as niche firm supporting the Biopharma industry. Our goal was to provide our employees a company that felt more like a home environment rather than just a place of employment. While we knew that was the way we wanted our company to run, we also strongly believed this would also attract clients to our firm, help attract the top talent in the marketplace, and overall lead to longer and more fulfilling careers for our team.

  2. What is a major obstacle that you have overcome since starting the company?

    The main obstacle we’ve faced has been to compete at a high level in both the consultant market as well as the client market against the larger staffing companies. We found that we have been able to overcome those hurdles by a driven focus on superior customer service, creating a more personal experience for the consultant, and by focusing on the more niche skillsets within the clinical arena that our clients would appreciate. We quickly understood that CSG cannot be everything to everybody and that niche focus has made us very competitive in the market.

  3. What is the most important thing that you have learned over the last two decades?

    Treating consultants and customers alike with respect and providing service rooted in quality and integrity is the focus beyond revenues and profit. Business results have a funny way of happening when you do the right thing by others.

  4. Where do you see the future of Clinical Solutions Group, and what about that future most excites you?

    All the business KPI’s are trending up and we remain proud of the value we drive in the marketplace and now we’re leveraging our strong foundation to enter into new service frameworks like Functional Service Provider (FSP) models. Moreover, we feel that we offer our employees a great work environment focused on building personal relationships and are excited about the opportunity  that will be created for our employees to realize the personal and professional goals that matter to them.

On Counter Offers

Many people consider counter offers when they are looking for a new position or after they already accepted one. There are risks inherent in accepting a counter offer that people need to be aware of before they do so. The obvious risk is that you made your unhappiness with your current employer known to all parties. Even if you accept the counter offer, your employer now knows where you stand relative to the company, may look to appease you until they find a replacement for you, and may even question your future loyalty to the company. So, how does one negotiate a counter offer then?

There are several things that you need to ask yourself before you decide to pursue a counter offer.

  1. Why are you looking for a new position?

    If you are unhappy at your current company, there are reasons why you feel a certain way. It pays to really think about the things that are making you unhappy and whether a counter offer will change that at all. Most of the time, when you accept a counter offer, it is just a time stalling tactic.  Please be aware that least 50% of people who accept counter offers go on to leave their company within 12- 24 months after accepting one.

  2. What is your current value to the company?

    You must be able to make a case for yourself as to why you deserve a raise in concrete terms. It is not enough to ask for a raise without mentioning what you’ve brought to the table so far in your current position and what you could further bring to the table in the future. Do your performance evaluations reflect your worth to the company? Are you certain that you are considered an asset to the company?  These are questions that one needs to consider.  It also pays to research what the salary range is for your position within your industry. If you are going to ask for a raise and/or title change, you really need to know what other people are being paid so that what you are asking for doesn’t seem extraordinary when compared to others with similar backgrounds and experience.

  3.  What about an increase in “perks” only?

    A counter offer doesn’t always have to be related to a salary increase. You may want to consider non-salary benefits like tuition reimbursement, work from home days, a sign-on bonus, relocation costs, additional vacation days, etc. Again, know why you want to leave a position. If you are okay with the salary, but want additional non-salary benefits, then you may want to ask for an increase in those only.

Counter offers are risky, but they do allow for some room to negotiate. However, one needs to really question why they would want to leave a company in the first place. People who are happy in their positions don’t just get up and leave without a reason. This is worth remembering.

 

The core of CSG is centered around biopharma solutions. We are well recognized in the industry with an 18 year track record of delivering high quality consultants to top tier drug development companies and contract research organizations. 

Interested in exploring a new career opportunity with Clinical Solutions Group? Visit our home page to schedule a time to speak with one of our Talent Acquisition Specialists