Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Anyone have anything to say about Kelly positions?

So I tend not to talk about the 100 bazillion Kelly Scientific Research positions that tend to pop now nowadays. It's mostly because I don't find them particularly relevant to Chemjobber's readership.

But a reader writes in with a good question: "Are these legitimate job postings that I should be applying for, or should I not waste my time?  I guess I do not fully understand what these are and am curious to know what you think about them."

It seems to me that they're mostly aimed at, for example, enticing employees from other companies (i.e. experienced workers). Here's a nice example: it's a temp-to-hire position in West Lafayette in process chemistry/formulation. They'd like you to have experience in:
"Polymorphism and Salt Screening in Pharmaceutical Systems, X-ray Powder Diffraction, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Thermogravimetric Analysis, Optical Microscopy, Crystallization Studies, Co-Crystal Screening, Crystal Form Isolation, and Crystallization Kinetic Studies. The ideal candidate would have a bachelors or masters degree in chemistry and at least one year work experience in a lab."
So an young, but experienced B.S./M.S. process chemist -- why would they want a temp position? (unless, of course, they were out of work or were coming to the end of their previous contract.)

There's also a lot of lab technician or midnight QC chemist positions available. There's nothing particularly wrong with them, but they just don't seem to be very tempting. So I'm pretty "meh" about Kelly, which is why I don't post on a lot of their jobs. Readers, you've probably had a lot more experience with them. Any thoughts? 


  1. I've applied for several positions through them and was never placed. Having been placed by other recruiting firms, Kelly seemed like the Pfizer/Merck/Roche of the recruiting world. Can't say whether positions are real or not though.

    A Kelly recruiter recently posted about having trouble finding candidates on the ACS's LinkedIn group page, there might be some insight there.

  2. Kelly scientific was good for me. I was fresh out of college and went to Kelly to get some experience. they got me interviewed at three places, the third of which I got placed at as a temp. after 6 months as a temp I got hired on and worked there for five years. I don't think those positions Kelly posts are for specific jobs though, I think Kelly is trying to get skilled workers in case they need them.

  3. I don't understand why companies use Kelly, Aerotek, Yoh, etc even for low-paying lab jobs; the 21-year-old recent liberal arts graduates they employ aren't going to understand any of the technical terms in either an applicant's resume or the job description.

    I just love getting phone calls from said recent liberal arts grads wondering if I'm interested in making $12 an hour running HPLC's on 3rd shift!

    1. It's not so much Kelly and Aerotek as it is no-name outfits, almost always using Indian reps. The ones that swarm my e-mail every time I update my resume on Monster (worthless!) all peddling the same temp position.

      Disclaimer: recent liberal arts graduate Aerotek recruiter who contacted me, is smoking hot, which may or may not influence my opinion.

  4. Interesting point, not considering Kelly, but...
    I was looking for job since November 2011 and after 2-4-6-8-10 months I found that several jobs in big/small pharma seems to be appearing again and again. One of the reasons that my friend from small pharma said - they just collecting the CVs, maybe trying to find some really-really genius.
    But overall situation is bad.

  5. I've read the recent discussion on the ACS LinkedIn group page. It was started by a Kelly recruiter asking why he doesn't get any responses to his job notices on the ACS LinkedIn group site. People responded by saying that most of the jobs appears to be for technicians, or relatively new BS chemists, the grand majority of which are for QC jobs. The recruiter responded back that there is a heavy demand to fill these kinds of jobs. It was explained to him that these types of individuals are not likely to belong to ACS. He appeared to be surprised by this. At one point he wrote that he'd really like to meet some real live chemists who actually work in labs.

    I went and looked up this recruiter's profile on LinkedIn. It turns out that he has a BA in political science. And he's one of Kelly's main recruiters for chemical companies. Though he appears to be trying hard, he has absolutely no idea of what chemists do, or how they are educated. I don't believe he's ever been in a laboratory of any kind. How he actually determines if a chemist is a good fit for a job is a mystery to me - he probably just looks for keyword matches. On the other end, it sounds like he never actually talks to the lab manager who has the opening and has written the job description; his interactions with the chemical companies seem to be mainly with the HR people.

    It does appear that most of these Kelly QC jobs are real, but apparently there is a decent amount of turnover in them, for a variety of reasons.

    It was eye-opening, to say the least, to read his posts on the discussion.

  6. I've work in the past for Lab Support and have at least gotten to interviews through Aerotek (and a few other miscellaneous ones), but never Kelly. I don't know what it is, but Kelly Scientific has never responded whenever I apply to one of those positions. As a result, I've stopped applying to jobs they offer.

  7. in between graduating undergrad in one fall semester and shipping off to grad school the next fall i looked for work as an inexperienced chemistry BS. i ended up just taking the year off as i couldn't find anything better than what you've described here, i.e. graveyard shift QC work for $12/hr with a long commute


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20