CHASE's Kirstie Justice on insight & understanding.

Amy Schofield 13 November 2017



Kirstie Justice, Senior Recruitment Consultant covering East and West Midlands for CHASE, on the importance of insight, influencing and understanding.


What do you do?

My role is about finding jobs for candidates and finding candidates for jobs. I meet up with candidates one-to-one, so I can really get to understand them, their career journey and where they want to go. I offer advice on CVs, interview style, types of jobs and companies that could be good options. After I put them forward for the role, I help them to prepare. Looking for a job can be scary, especially if the candidate has been with the same company for years. On the client side, when a job comes in I liaise closely with the recruiting manager to find out what their exact requirements are. Every job has different challenges; I need to understand each manager’s exact needs.


You started your career as a teacher, what attracted you to pharma sales and then recruitment?

Teaching was a great stepping stone. I did it for four years, and enjoyed it, but I always knew I wanted to work with people, and I really relished selling and influencing. I knew I was competitive and target-driven, but didn’t know that pharma even existed! One Friday night I was in the pub with my teacher friends and it turned out that one of them was married to someone in pharma, and he said, “You’d make a good rep”.


What happened next?

A week later I was out on a job shadow, then within a few months I’d got myself a job with Eli Lilly. I fell into it really! I did that for a few years then moved to Portugal, and had children. After maternity leave I considered my options. Recruitment seemed like a good match for me, my skill set, and my experience; I understood the role of a sales representative, had insight into the NHS, and also, an element of being a recruitment consultant is teaching and advising and I brought that to the table too.


Why did you choose to work for CHASE?

When you’re working for a company you want to make sure that you’re working for the number one, and as a Contract Sales Organisation and sales recruiter, we are. CHASE has a great reputation with clients and candidates. We also get the opportunity to develop in other areas, for example the participating in client presentations and pitches, which is a great experience. It helps us gain insights into companies, which is really useful for when we’re talking to candidates. My sister, Kelly, also works at CHASE and recommended the company to me. That epitomises the family atmosphere that we have here!


What makes a candidate truly stand out?

For me, I really enjoy working with people who go out of their way to take full ownership of their career and career development, for example taking the time to meet face-to-face because they recognise it’s a vital part of the process. 

It’s also really interesting to meet people who have a really good idea of where they want to be in five to 10 years and who understand what they have to do to get there. I don’t have to chase them, they’ll be the ones chasing me!


How do you attract the best people?

Referrals are by far the best thing for me. If I’ve given a candidate the best possible service, people remember that and they’re always happy to refer me on to their friends and colleagues.


What advice would you give to someone entering a career in pharma sales?

It’s important for graduates and trainees to do their research. On a job shadow, ideally, or at the very least, to meet up with a representative who’s doing the role. This provides a good understanding of the job, the challenges and the good and bad aspects. It’s a tough job – they need to go in with their eyes open.


What is more important – talent, ambition, or both?

A top rep requires a lot of talent and a lot of ambition. They go hand-in-hand.


What’s the best piece of careers advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t just meet expectations, always aim to exceed expectations.


What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

The satisfaction of knowing you’ve done a really good job. I love helping candidates find the job of their dreams and helping managers to find top quality reps. If you can find somebody a job they absolutely love, and help them through the process, that’s fabulous. It’s why I do it.


Go to chasepeople.com




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