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Eija’s first week at Biovian – and how it all happened

Announcements about job openings have been frequent at Biovian, since the company is growing steadily. Thus, several persons have been hired during the last few months. We asked Eija Martikkala, one of our newest colleagues, what thoughts and feelings she had during the recruiting process and how she felt about her first week at the new job. We also asked her to share some tips for people who may be considering Biovian as their future workplace.  

Eija Martikkala, Scientist

From academia to CDMO business

Eija has a PhD in cell biology and anatomy and has made a career in academic research, studying e.g. the immunological aspects related to the growth of cutaneous neurofibromas. The idea about a career within the pharmaceutical industry had matured some time. The industry itself interested her as well as the possibilities for personal and professional development that a new environment could offer. At some point Eija had started to follow Biovian on LinkedIn. “Biovian seemed to be a forward-looking and steadily growing company.  But what impressed me most, was the way employees described their work in ‘our people’- type of posts. I got a feeling that people are at the center of all activities of the company. The feeling was strengthened when I read about the company values on the websites, where the way to the partnership with clients was described. I felt that on top of the competence, there was warmth”, she recalls.

I got a feeling that people are at the center of all activities of the company. I felt that on top of the competence, there was warmth.
Eija MartikkalaScientist

The recruiting process

In March 2021 a friend, who is working at Biovian, asked if Eija had noticed a job posting that could match her skill set. Biovian was looking for scientists with a background in biochemistry. Eija applied and was invited to an interview. Because of the pandemic, she met with the laboratory supervisors, Pirjo Merilahti and Marjo Hämäläinen, online. She learned that Pirjo was looking for scientists for the AAV Process Development team. The other positions were in the Analytical services laboratory team, headed by Marjo. “I cannot recall the exact questions asked, but I do remember the relaxed atmosphere and the feeling of connection”, Eija says. “The interview strengthened the feeling that Biovian is the place where I want to work! I got the impression that teamwork there is a joy, and that my personality and skills would be a good fit.” Soon after the interview she received an invitation to a personal assessment. It comprised online assignments and a personal interview. Personality, motivation factors and logical and verbal skills were among the things that were assessed. Some of the tests had time limits. “I was positively surprised how fast I got the message that I had been chosen to one of the positions!” Eija says with a smile. 

Meeting the team

When Eija visited the Biovian headquarters for signing a contract, she was invited for a coffee to meet the team.  “It was a memorable moment in many ways,” she says. “A funny detail was that it was a theme day ‘let your child dress you for work’.  What it means is that my future colleagues were all wearing non-matching, colorful clothes – even wigs. We joked about how I would be able to recognize them on my first day. Because of the warm and casual welcome, I got a feeling that I was already a member of the crew”, Eija recalls.  

The first week     

Starting a new job is often scary, but it was not so for Eija. Her first day, in early May of 2021, started with a meeting with her manager Pirjo, who went through the induction plan. She was then handed over to Johannes, a team member, who had a central role in the familiarization process. Next Matti from IT guided her through the computer basics, the email as well as other relevant programs used within the organization. “It was nice to have everything ready from day one, including the workspace and the computer”. Eija spent the first week familiarizing herself with e.g. the standard operating procedures (SOPs), laboratory activities such as cell culture, and practicalities related to the AAV projects. “People were clear and thorough when sharing information. I appreciate my manager Pirjo, who despite her demanding schedule frequently stopped by to ask how things were going”. The first week gave me a good understanding of the contents of my role as a Scientist in the AAV vector Upstream Process team. I also sensed that the teamwork is genuine – your colleagues are not your competitors. I believe bouncing ideas off colleagues is among the best ways to learn, and success can be greater when people work together.

Eija’s tips for job seekers

  • Follow the company that interests you on social media to get a feeling of what it is like to work there.
  • Don’t be afraid to be yourself in a job interview. If you feel at home during the interview, you are likely to be a good fit for the company culture.
  • Be prepared that things may proceed fast, if the recruiting process is efficient – your new job may start sooner rather than later.

…..In your first week

  • Don’t stress too much about the first week at the new job. People are likely to be kind to you, so remember to be kind to yourself too. Learning is a process.
  • Listening to discussions between experienced colleagues is a great source of information. Be open to participating in them for your learning.