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Spotlight On: Stern Vilé: Director of Recruiting, Life Sciences

Stern Vilé has spent several years learning and perfecting a leadership style that encourages his mentees to flourish. After intentionally forming a habit to reflect a positive attitude on a daily basis, he quickly advanced in his career as a Recruiter. Now, as a Director of Recruiting for Oxford’s life sciences division, Stern continues to refine and develop his recruitment skills and harness them to help his team achieve the same success that he has.

Summary of Stern's years with Oxford, coffee order, and hobbiesQ: What is your professional background?

A: Most of my experience is in sales and operations. When I graduated college, I started working at Oxford during the week as an Account Manager in the IT division, and at an electronics retail store on the weekends. Due to the need to relocate, I moved to another Oxford office and began working as a Recruiter in the life sciences division.

Q: How long have you been with Oxford?

A: I started at Oxford on July 7, 2014, so I have been working here for six years.

Q: What daily habits do you recommend for success?

A: I recommend making a thoughtful effort to choose a positive attitude and control where you place your efforts. I find when doing these two things daily, I set myself up for success. This does require some energy. Throughout the day, I sometimes need to remind myself to make that choice, but I’m always able to redirect myself to a positive mindset.

Q: What is one of your greatest achievements to date?

A: Last year, my recruiting team won Oxford’s company-wide Recruiting Team of the Year award. It was something I set my sights on, so it was gratifying to see my goal come to fruition.

Q: What attributes do you think are most important in a leader?

A: You have to be a great listener — not only hearing the concerns coming from your team, but also analyzing them and coming up with solutions. You also have to implement those solutions effectively. Additionally, I would not ask my team to do anything I would not do myself.

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read on business or leadership?

A: Choosing to have a positive attitude is something I have done for a long time, and Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results helped me further identify how to implement that in my personal life and from a leadership perspective.

Q: What skills do you think will be most in-demand in 2020?

A: We will see many organizations adjusting to the new requirements related to MDR and IVDR. On the medical device side, this will continue to be a huge driving force in the industry.

Q: What are the top three trends impacting life sciences that you see?

A: Along with MDR and IVDR, anything centered on vaccine development. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing several grants being released, and our partners will continue to need assistance in that area. Additionally, CMO oversight is going to be a critical space for organizations using different contract manufacturers, and they may require outside resources.

Q: What trends are you seeing in talent and recruitment this year?

A: The main trend we’re seeing right now is high unemployment, resulting in a need for our consultants to be as responsive as possible. Several candidates are interested in being submitted for job postings, so response times are absolutely critical. If a candidate takes too long to respond, the opportunity may already be filled.

Q: As technology continues to advance, how do you see that impacting the recruiting and staffing industry?

A: I think it’s going to continue to make things more efficient. Having algorithms that can compare job listings to resumes helps with efficiency, but as technology continues to advance, there will be a rising need for a personal approach.

Q: How do you define customer care?

A: For me, it comes down to having empathy towards the customer. The overall effort and willingness to customize anything for the customer is an important component of customer care. Each project, organization, and client requires a different approach, and you must be willing to adjust for that.

Q: What advice would you give to individuals interested in consulting?

A: Be willing to explore and do research. Talk to recruiters and current consultants to discover what they enjoy about the work, and determine whether the lifestyle will suit you and your family.

Q: How do you support driving change with your team based on strategic business decisions?

A: I always try to assess and focus on the personal impact any changes may have on the individual recruiters on my team. I want to have a clear picture of the adjustments that need to be made to keep my team performing at their best.

Q: What do you do to mentor the individuals on your team?

A: I have a unique approach, dividing my group into different tiers of management. I work closely with new individuals on general training and database development, and as their database grows with available consultants, I start to manage more. I’ll get in the trenches and collaborate to determine which candidates to submit for listings, how to prepare potential consultants for roles, and provide guidance on other tactics until they start to mirror my approach. Once they reach a certain level of production, my higher level of management tapers down.

Q: What do you like best about working with your team?

A: I love seeing a recruiter start the year with three consultants on an assignment, and double that number by July – it’s incredibly rewarding. Watching successes like that is what I enjoy most.

Q: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

A: I try to get up early and work out before the day starts, so when the workday is over, I can focus on my personal life. I also avoid looking at emails after 5 p.m. but sometimes that can be tricky, so I turn all email notifications off.

Q: Why Oxford?

A: For clients, our widespread business offerings and the level of customization we’re willing to provide is key. For consultants, we have a single-point-of-contact system. Your recruiter is familiar with your background and makes the effort to get to know you and your skillset. Then, they provide positions that fit your qualifications as closely as possible. For internal employees, we’ve created an environment that focuses on teamwork although this is a commission-based job, which is rare. Usually, it’s a shark tank but I’ve never experienced that feeling at Oxford. Everyone tries to build you up and see you do well.

For me, it’s the people. The number of great people I’ve gotten to know is the reason I give my all every day. That also goes for the consultants I’ve worked with, internal employees, and the people I report to. Seeing the successes that come with that is what has made it so much fun. I’ve mentored individuals who have gone on to win Rookie of the Year and other related awards. It’s amazing to see that, and it’s great to feel like I had something to do with it.

For Stern, motivating people to succeed is one of the greatest rewards of leadership. Throughout his career at Oxford, he has helped countless recruiters and consultants achieve their goals, and as a result, has found fulfillment himself.  

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