We, at PML, are back to work in full swing since June 1, 2020. Right before the whole country went into lockdown we were in the middle of acquiring new talent for the lab through a selection conference on a national level. Almost over a hundred people were interviewed after short listing which was a tedious job considering that a significant number of candidates were from different cities across Pakistan. After the initial round of interviews we invited 20 top candidates to spend a day at the Lab and be part of what we called the selection conference.

This was a unique and interesting process as instead of hiring scientists on the basis of their CVS, they were given 3- hour tasks based on their area of expertise to pick the most competent candidate. We wanted to allow the candidates to interact freely with no concerns that their interactions were being evaluated. The idea behind this hiring process was that we wanted to find candidates that best fit the lab and were looking for people who can effectively interact with others and collaborate well; therefore, we decided to recruit candidates as a cohort, not as individuals who must make new connections once they’re hired.. At the end, the camaraderie among all the candidates was very clear to the search committee — and for us, that seemed like a great sign.

The lockdown was a setback but we tried to stay on top of things and during that period, from the pool of 20, we hired six very talented individuals as research apprentices with diverse educational backgrounds ranging from dentistry to microbiology to electrical engineering.