Interview Insider: Tips on How to Get Hired by Sanofi
Published: Nov 09, 2017 By Mark Terry
Large global pharmaceutical companies hire plenty of people worldwide and are naturally looking for great people to work at the company. At the core, all companies are looking for top talent, excellent education, people skills, reliability, creativity and a solid work ethic. Competition for jobs can be fierce, but here are some tips for getting in the door at one of the top international pharmaceutical companies in the world, Sanofi.
Sanofi is headquartered in Gentilly, France, just outside Paris, and is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by sales. It employs more than 100,000 people in about 100 countries, and has 87 manufacturing sites in 38 countries. Its products are sold in more than 170 countries.
Sanofi has five major global business units and therapeutic areas: Diabetes & Cardiovascular; Specialty Care, which includes rare diseases, multiple sclerosis, oncology and immunology; Consumer Healthcare; General Medicines & Emerging Markets, which includes generics and established prescription products; and Vaccines.
In 2016, Sanofi reported revenues of 33.8 billion euros, with 36.6 percent generated in the U.S., 25.7 percent in Europe, 28.4 percent in emerging markets and the remaining 9.3 percent in the rest of the world.
Subsidiaries include Sanofi Pasteur, Genzyme, Shantha Biotechnics, Chattem, Zentiva, Medley and Nichi-Iko.
According to Glassdoor, which collects information regarding company interviews, 64 percent of respondents who interviewed with Sanofi Genzyme reported it as a positive experience, with 36 percent applying online and 18 percent via recruiter. The difficulty of the interview process was determined to be average.
A Process Engineer who accepted an offer with Genzyme described the process as easy and began with a 30-minute phone interview that ran through the resume and focused on the most relevant experience. The in-person interview, the engineer said, “interviewed with team members, manager, and director. The in-person interview was similar to the phone interview.”
One of the questions was, “What are the three most important aspects of being a good process engineer?”
A Research Associate who did not receive an offer described it as a negative experience, which isn’t unusual when people don’t get the job. The associate said their “resume was forwarded to a hiring manager through a professor. Phone interview with hiring manager reviewing technical background. Was told I was moved on to the second round and would have an in-person/Skype interview but never received it. Was rejected two months later.”
One of the interview questions was: Tell me about your past research work.
Another Research Associate, who received and accepted an offer, described it as a neutral experience and a difficult interview process that took longer than three months. The individual received a “phone call with HR within three weeks of applying to the position, got on-site interview right away after HR call. The onsite consisted of four members of a team, and 30 minutes each person.” The interview consisted of situational questions, which are common interview techniques.
The Sanofi website offers tips for interviewing with the company, none of which are terribly surprising. They include: Be Yourself; Be Honest; Give Concrete Examples; Be Able to Describe Your Career Aspirations; and Ask Your Own Questions.
“We hire people because we believe they can unleash their potential, so pretending to be someone you’re not won’t do you any favors. There is no point in simply telling us what you think you should be saying,” the Sanofi site says.
Sanofi U.S. employs about 17,000 people in the country. The Sanofi careers site indicates there are about 1,521 positions open around the world, including in Ireland, Chile, Canada, Panama, the U.S., Budapest, France and many others. Examples include:
Senior Director/Director, Innate Immunity Cluster, Immunology & Inflammation Research Therapeutic Area in Cambridge, Mass. The individual will manage multidisciplinary research teams based in the Boston area and globally. The position calls for a PhD or MD/PhD with postdoctoral and/or fellowship training and 12+ years of experience developing and leading research programs, and a deep expertise and high-level record of research and publications in immunology.
Biological Sales Associate for Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater, Penn. The position is part of the Biological Sales Associate Program, which consists of three developmental phases: in-house training, outbound sales responsibility in Swiftwater, and a field externship that could be at one of the company’s Vaccine Specialist positions anywhere in the U.S. As a result, it requires that a candidate is willing to relocate to Swiftwater for the first half of the program and then is willing to relocate anywhere in the U.S. after completion. The position calls for a Bachelor’s degree and zero to two years of related experience and preferably a working knowledge of biology and immunology as well as basic computer skills, with in-depth knowledge and skills in marketing and sales.
Research Associate Principal for Sanofi in Framingham, Mass. The position calls for a Bachelor of Science degree with seven years of related experience, or a Master’s of Science degree with five years of related experience. The candidate would be a member of the Biomarkers & Clinical Bioanalysis team that supports flow cytometry and cell-based biological assays as part of R&D programs within the company.
Indeed.com gives Sanofi 4.1 stars out of 5.0 as an employer based on 2,138 reviews. Examples of reviews include: “They do a great job training employees and giving them the information they need to complete their jobs. Upper management has been consistently changing over the last five years.”
Another review stated, “Well managed company with good work ethics. There is a good learning curve and exposure to new attributes in the industry. The quality control and process management of the company is commendable.”
Is your resume brushed up and your interview skills ready to go? Good luck at Sanofi!