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Q&A With Scott Montemurno:
Hiring Strategy and COVID-19
Q&A With Scott Montemurno:
Hiring Strategy and COVID-19

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As the global pandemic continues to evolve, we can imagine that many of our candidates will have questions in mind. In this Q&A, Scott Montemurno, VP Global Talent Acquisition and Mobility, discusses the talent acquisition and recruitment process at Johnson & Johnson—what's changed, what hasn't, and what candidates can expect every step of the way.

Q: Has the COVID-19 outbreak changed the recruiting process at Johnson & Johnson?

A: While a large portion of our workforce, including our recruiters and hiring managers, is now working remotely, we’re continuing to focus on strengthening our capabilities and building out our growth areas.

We recently announced our plan to supply more than one billion doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine globally. Given the urgency for this, new hires who can help us scale up our manufacturing and production capabilities for the vaccine are an important near-term priority.

Beyond the adjustments we are making to help turn the tide of this global pandemic, our hiring focus areas like data science, market access, e-commerce, oncology and immunology haven't changed much. We're keeping our foot on the accelerator.

Q: Has COVID-19 changed anything about the way Johnson & Johnson notifies candidates about the status of job applications?

A: We designed our candidate experience platform Shine with the knowledge that the job-application process can be a black box. We asked ourselves: Can we give applicants total visibility into the end-to-end process instead? And I'm happy to say the answer remains yes. Nothing has changed there. Shine will continue to empower candidates with up-to-date information, timely advice to help them prepare for each stage of the process and tips to enhance their candidacy.

We know that these are extraordinarily challenging times—and that people are being impacted in so many ways. We're doing our part to support our candidates by continuing to keep their experiences front and center.

Q: The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving. How are interviews being conducted at Johnson & Johnson in light of that?

A: We’ve been using a tech- and video-enabled interview process for some time—we're a bit lucky in that respect, because it means we already had robust processes in place.

The most significant change is that, even as the interview process progresses past the first round, we'll continue to rely on digital tools to communicate, rather than scheduling in-person meetings.

Q: Do candidates need to have any special technology to apply for jobs or take part in the digital interview process at Johnson & Johnson?

A: Of course not! Our approach has always been to meet our candidates where they are. You can apply for jobs and participate in the digital interview process from any device—smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet. And if for any reason that isn't possible, we can of course connect with a phone call.

Q: How is Johnson & Johnson onboarding new hires during this time?

A: Where possible, we've switched to an entirely virtual onboarding process, because the health and safety of our employees is our number-one priority. We've also moved to a work from home approach for all of our office-based employees who can perform their work remotely. For those whose work in a facility is essential to advancing our science, and for those who are ensuring the supply of our most essential products, we remain committed to their health and safety as they continue to work on site.

I do recognize that the experience of joining a new company—meeting new people and spending your first few days in a totally new work environment—is really special and important. So we're working closely with various teams to try to replicate aspects of that in a digital environment.

Q: With summer internships and Co-Ops right around the corner, how is Johnson & Johnson pivoting to provide meaningful internships to students in an all-virtual environment?

A: Our internship and Co-Op programs are an integral part of our talent strategy and we value the innovative thinking, creativity and energy these participants bring to our organization. Johnson & Johnson is honoring those internships and Co-Ops for the 2020 season that can be managed through a remote, virtual experience.

To manage the digitally mediated experience, we're establishing benchmarks and creating processes to ensure the key perks of a traditional on-campus internship or Co-Op are preserved: mentoring, networking, learning-by-doing opportunities, accessing resources and more.

This year's internships and Co-Ops will look a little bit different—there's no denying that—but our commitment to providing rich, meaningful, highly engaging experiences is fundamentally the same.

Q: With traditional job fairs on hold for the moment, what advice do you have for interested candidates who want to learn more about or engage with Johnson & Johnson?

A: Although it will now be all digital outreach, the approach should be the same. If you are interested in getting a better feel for our company, I strongly recommend starting with our careers site, where you can learn about our culture and Credo, find out what motivates people to join Johnson & Johnson and discover all of the ways we're driving real-world impact today.

Q: How are globally distributed teams at Johnson & Johnson using technology to collaborate and innovate, even while working from home?

A: As an organization, we’ve already been on a journey to build out our experience and capabilities. Digital meetings using Skype or Zoom, working from home—these things aren't new for us, but we've taken many of these existing capabilities and really amplified them over the last several weeks.

That said, we also recognize that working from home right now isn't the same thing as working from home, say, six months ago. This is a stressful environment, so we're emphasizing the basics. During meetings, for example, we're all turning on our cameras so we can have some face-to-face time with our teammates. And we're really trying to do things creatively—virtual coffee connects, virtual happy hours, you name it.

Finally, I'm proud of the way we're living and leaning into our Human Performance Institute® principles, by being especially attentive to both physical and mental health right now. Everyone needs a little extra support during these challenging times.

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