People often ask me what it takes to get a job at Isomorphic Labs.
Since our founding more than a year ago, we’ve been in high-growth mode, building our technology platform and recruiting many kinds of people, ranging from chemists to machine learning experts, finance and legal experts, software engineers and biologists, just for starters. We’ve grown exponentially in that time and it’s a rare week here without a group of new starters appearing at our King’s Cross office on a Monday for their first day of work and welcome breakfast.
As Director of Talent Acquisition, I interview a wide variety of people to build our company and very intentionally and thoughtfully build our culture. It’s a given that you must have the technical qualifications or experience to do the jobs for which we’re hiring - but the process of selecting candidates who are technically qualified is weighed equally with choosing candidates who deeply connect with our values to continue to fuel our culture and help us become the extraordinary place we want Isomorphic Labs to be. It’s as much art as science in choosing members of the team.
In my experience, sometimes talented individuals hesitate to apply for roles at companies like Isomorphic Labs, thinking they may not have all the skills and experiences necessary to land a role. Despite all of the impressive and accomplished people who work here, that’s a myth I have to dispel. While we all have to have the necessary skills to play our roles, we are purposefully seeking a diversity of backgrounds and don’t want to make cookie cutter hires. We want diversity of thought, academics, backgrounds, life experience, work experience, stage in career and perspective. While there are many characteristics we look for in the recruiting process, you need not be a genius to apply.
Here’s what I look for, beyond technical skills, when I recruit for Iso:
Experimental Mindset: We are actively looking for candidates to demonstrate a willingness to experiment - to push forward even when we’re not certain we’ll get the right outcome. In conversations, we often probe candidates to draw from their experience to show us that they are willing to explore, to try new things and to take smart, calculated risks. What can you share from your past experience that shows new approaches to getting results?
Humility - One of the things I hear consistently from Isos I’ve recruited is how approachable even the most senior and accomplished colleagues are here. None of us know everything, even when we are experts in our particular domain. We need even the most senior among us to recognize what they don’t know and to continually learn from others in different disciplines who bring new ways of approaching questions and devising solutions. We look for people who bring their expertise, combined with a genuine desire to collaborate with others who know things that they don’t.
“Non-perfectionism” - I don’t mean not caring about doing good work - quite the opposite, actually. I’m talking about a willingness to acknowledge and learn from mistakes, and not be limited by a need to be perfect. Think about mistakes you have made and be willing to speak about what you learned and might have done differently. If we’re not encountering some failure along the way, we’re not thinking expansively enough. We want to ensure that people who join Isomorphic Labs are willing to get out of their comfort zones.
Resilience - This goes hand in hand with acknowledging and learning from past experience, and from things we worked hard to advance but might not have worked out in the end. It can be frustrating to hit dead ends, to change course or to have a hypothesis proven wrong - but sometimes understanding what doesn’t work can lead us to what actually does work. That’s part of the process, and we’re looking for people who can quickly absorb the right lessons from their experiences and keep moving forward together.
Authenticity - An interview can be a stressful experience, in which you have a set period of time to wow an interviewer to be able to pass to the next stage. We want you to be yourself. We want you to bring your whole self to work and to our Iso community. We care who you are, what you’re passionate about and what inspires you to be your best. We’ll all be spending a lot of time together, and it’s so important to be your real self - not the person you think an interviewer wants to see.
Directness - In my experience, there are many times when a candidate doesn’t choose to answer a question directly, because there is something else they want to share with me or they think their answer to the question isn’t what we may want to hear. Take your time and be genuine with your responses. There are no right and wrong answers to many questions we will ask - we are truly interested in hearing about you, your thought process, perspective and experience.
Alignment with Our Values - If you’re interested in a role at Isomorphic Labs, you’ve likely already seen our values on our website. We’re thoughtful. We’re brave. We’re determined. And we’re in this together. They speak for themselves and provide some major clues to the kinds of people we are looking for and behaviours we want Isos to demonstrate everyday as we try to do things in wholly new ways that haven’t been done before. They play a big role in how we operate and the experience our employees have every day. Think about how you can demonstrate that our values are aligned with yours and the examples you can point to from your past work and experiences.
I hope this demystifies the process of landing a role at Isomorphic Labs, and gives you a sense of the kind of people we’re looking for and the environment we are building. We’re on a mission to do groundbreaking work that we truly believe holds a great deal of promise for health and human progress. If what I’ve described appeals to you, we want to hear from you. Come join us - and see this link for our current openings.