Meet Judith Beckschäfer, Recruiter for Pharma Technical Operations at Roche

My name is Judith and I work as a recruiter for Pharma Technical Operations. I tend to think of myself as a head hunter who switched sides from executive search to in-house recruiting. At the end of the day, it’s not that much different. I keep trying to find the needle in a haystack, assessing talent and moving people from job to job and from country to country.

Originally I am from the north of Germany – from Kiel, to be precise. My academic background is in social and political sciences. I have a Master’s degree in Sociology with a minor in political philosophy. Head hunting / recruiting might not be the most obvious career here, but then again it’s not that far off either! After all, it is about understanding dynamics and drivers, finding the right matches and bringing skills, competencies and career opportunities together.

I think I am pretty “international”, meaning I lived and worked in several countries (Germany, the USA and Spain) before coming to Switzerland. As a result, I speak several languages and very much enjoy working in an environment, where you meet people from everywhere and are able to enjoy a dynamic, diverse atmosphere.

In my free time I enjoy being outdoors cycling, hiking or skiing. I like to travel and explore new regions. I also enjoy music a lot, and I sing in a choir and play the piano.

Where did you study?

University of Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany

In which Roche location are you currently working?

I am currently working in Kaiseraugst, Switzerland, which is just a few minutes’ drive from Basel.

What can you tell us about that location?

I live in Basel city centre; Kaiseraugst is about 16 kilometres (10 miles) from home. The commute is absolutely doable; the public transport system in Switzerland is outstanding and Roche also offers shuttle services between the different locations. 

Kaiseraugst is a fantastic location to work at. It hosts Roche’s largest and most advanced packaging and logistics centre. Each year, this centre supplies customers in 130 countries with around 120 million packs of medicines. At Kaiseraugst, tablets, capsules, ampoules, vials and pre-filled syringes are packaged ready for shipping.

The site is not far from the Rhine shore and the border with Germany, and the nearby forest, a large recreation area, is less than 5 minutes’ walk away. Lots of my colleagues go running over lunchtime. I also enjoy the occasional little walk there to clear my head.

Why did you decide to join Roche?

I was not actively looking for a new job, but a friend of mine who had joined Roche earlier that year told me what a fantastic place to work it is. I had heard of Roche before of course, and afterwards did some more research. I thought: These guys really seem to understand their market, and how to engage with their employees!

And they do! The fact that the company values are more than pretty pictures on conference room walls is as important to me as the product portfolio that changes the world for the better, bit by bit. Meeting the people who work here, seeing how passionate they are about what they do and how much the company cares about its workforce is not something to be taken for granted and it impressed me. And recruiters bear the big responsibility of attracting and hiring the right people – people that not only have the technical skill set, but also the right mindset to be part of Roche.

What is your current job?

As a recruiter, you are basically an account manager for a certain area. You make sure you talk to your hiring managers and the HR Business Partners so you get a good understanding of what kind of vacancies to expect and how many. Then you sit down with the hiring managers and other interfaces, such as Employer Branding & Marketing and the talent scouts, and develop recruiting strategies so that you can work through the right channels to get the talent to apply.

My days are very varied, depending on the kind of jobs I am currently working on: I might be attending career fairs, for example. I write job ads and post them or I search LinkedIn for interesting profiles and take the opportunity to connect and catch up with people in my network. I also screen incoming résumés, discuss them with my hiring managers and exchange e-mails with candidates or meet them for an interview. I check references and last but not least, I benchmark offers and negotiate salaries.

What makes it such a great job?

After 10 years in recruiting, I am still not tired of my work at Roche. It’s hard to find this job boring, you get to connect with so many different people. Each person I meet has a different story to tell, has different career drivers and experiences. I am a curious and open-minded person, so talking to people and understanding what motivates them, sussing out what values they base their decisions on and then assessing if this matches our needs is something that just never gets old.

Doing this in a diverse, multi-cultural and fast-paced environment is even more exciting. At the end of the day, a recruiter’s success is obvious: The best person was hired and is making a difference.

Can you pick at least three of the Roche attributes and explain in detail what they mean to you?

  • Work-life balance: At Roche, you are not micro-managed. You get as much guidance as you need and want. When it comes to management and leadership there is no “one-size-fits-all” concept, but you get the right amount of responsibility to get your work done. This also allows me to be flexible and make sure I can relax and spend time with friends and family and enjoy my hobbies as I want to. This is something I very much appreciate. We are all here for the cause, not to put in the hours.
  • Respect: This is a key value to me. In a multi-cultural environment especially, nothing works without genuine respect and appreciation of difference, be it gender, sexual orientation or cultural background. We are successful because of our differences, not in spite of them.
  • Products: Although not everyone is directly involved in developing ground-breaking new medicines, we all play an active role. Personally I am proud to be working for a company that puts the best people into discovering new ways of diagnosing and treating patients.

Please complete the following sentence:

Roche is a great place to work because... you get the right mix of guidance and freedom.

How would you describe the people working here?

Trustworthy, smart and fun.

What would you advise job seekers who want to join us?

Make sure you get a good understanding of what we do and what we expect from our employees. Our careers blog and YouTube channel provide lots of information. Also, give some thought to your career plans and past experience: “Why Roche?” is a question that will certainly come up in an interview. We look for passionate people. Make sure you know how your passion relates to us and to the job that you apply for.

So the chance is yours! Visit our careers webpage and see if any of our vacancies suit you.

Tags: Career Blog, HR, Switzerland