How EQRx Uses Professional Superpowers to Pair Candidates with the Right Jobs — and Win Their Hearts

January 20, 2021

What's your professional superpower?

EQRx doesn’t believe in following the pack. The biotech startup was founded with the mission of #RemakingMedicine by developing innovative new drugs at lower costs to benefit patients and society. 

To find people who would resonate with this mission, EQRx took a similarly innovative approach when designing its career site — creating an interactive Professional Superpower quiz to help candidates get a sense of its culture and discover the right role for them. Launched in June 2020, the quiz has been taken by over 3,000 candidates and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with the initiative even winning an award from PM360 for Innovative Strategy Talent Recruitment.

Here’s how EQRx uses its quiz to enhance the candidate experience, showcase its culture, and find the people who can help the company remake medicine.

Guided by its core values, EQRx set out to find Champions, Disruptors, Warriors, and Dreamers

The idea for the professional superpower quiz came about when EQRx was preparing to launch its new website. The team — spearheaded by Ed Nathanson, VP of talent and talent branding, Susan Hager, chief communications officer and SVP of corporate affairs and citizenship, and imre health, an agency partner — wanted to bring EQRx’s mission to life for candidates, while also highlighting its #BeYouAtEQ mantra.

“We are intentionally looking for bold thinkers who want to bring 100% of themselves and their unique perspectives and experiences to EQRx,” Ed says. “Each of the superpowers is representative — really an embodiment — of our core values.”

  • Screenshot from EQRx careers site:  Find your professional superpower  What’s yours? Find the right job for your skills.

When candidates visit EQRx’s careers page, they see an option to “Find Your Professional Superpower” alongside the list of open positions. After clicking the link, they’re presented with three unfinished statements, each with multiple-choice endings, covering how they view themselves, why they want to work at EQRx, and how they hope to impact the world.

  • Screenshot from EQRx Superpower Quiz:  I describe myself as [choose option from pulldown menu] I want to work at EQRx because I want to [choose option from pulldown menu] I hope to impact the world by [choose option from pulldown menu]

Filling out the quiz takes less than a minute. After candidates submit their answers, they discover what their professional superpower is — whether that’s Champion, Disruptor, Warrior, or Dreamer.

Each superpower is accompanied by a few lines about what that means and how it correlates with EQRx’s mission, culture, and core values. The Disruptor, for example, is “ready to make waves in the industry and change the tides,” while The Warrior is “ready to fight for enduring patient access.”

  • Screenshot of EQRx Superpower Quiz results with image of a badge with a mythical looking creature on it:  The Champion Ready to build sustainable pipeline of excellent drugs at much lower prices. The Champion is an ally to all. Know that real change only happens by building something sustainable, The Champion gets a rush from collaborating with others to remake drug development and delivery.  Key characteristics: Self-awareness, accountability, communication

By providing deeper insights into EQRx’s mission and culture, these superpowers and their descriptions can help candidates self-select whether they want to apply or not. EQRx recognizes that some people may be looking for something different from their biotech career, and the quiz is a quick way for these candidates to assess whether the company is really the right fit for them. 

On the other hand, for candidates who are inspired by what they read, the quiz helps them take the next step by providing a list of jobs that match the candidate’s superpower. For example, depending on what roles are open when they apply, someone who gets The Champion superpower might be presented with roles like Associate Director of Medical Writing and Senior Director of Strategy and Operational Excellence.

  • Screenshot of EQRx Superpower Quiz after user completes quiz:  Here are some jobs that fit your superpower, but you can search through all jobs below:  —Associate Director, Medical Writing —Director, Clinical Project Management/Trial Management-Oncology —Senior Director, Strategy and Operational Excellence, EQRx Technical Operations

From there, candidates can click through to view the recommended roles, explore all open jobs, or take the quiz again to learn more about what EQRx is all about. It’s a clever way to make browsing jobs more engaging, memorable, and fun. 

Candidates have embraced their professional superpowers — and so have employees

Soon after the quiz launched, Ed and his team began receiving emails from candidates that highlighted their professional superpower, with messages like “#Warrior, ready to report” and “I am a disruptor and ready to help EQRx disrupt!” Some even began using their superpower as their email sign-off, such as “Sincerely — an eager ‘Dreamer.’”

“The response has really been phenomenal,” Ed says. “We are often asked about the quiz in our interviews, with the most prominent question to our interviewers being ‘What’s your professional superpower?’”

Candidates don’t shed their capes at the end of the hiring process. If they ultimately join the EQRx team, their superpower badge is included in the announcement message that the company posts on LinkedIn:

  • Screenshot of testimonial from EQRx employee, Jamielle Gibbs, Senior Clinical Project Manager:  Why I Joined: I joined EQRx because of its vision, culture, values, and of course, the wonderful team! I am so excited to continue my professional goal of creating efficiencies in the drug development process and leveraging my public health background in healthcare access.  Screenshot includes image of “The Champion” badge from the Superpower Quiz

Employees’ superpowers also become a badge of honor that they can wear both digitally and physically. The company’s intranet features their superpower on their employee profile, and they can use superpower-specific backgrounds on their video calls and banners on their LinkedIn profile. For example, here’s Susan Hager’s profile:

  • Screenshot of LinkedIn profile banner of Susan Hager, Chief Communications Officer, SVP Corporate Affairs and Citizenship at EQRx  Banner includes “Disruptor” badge and this statement: “Ready to make waves in the industry and change the tides.”

What’s more, the welcome swag given to new hires includes a backpack embroidered with their superpower — so they can let everyone around them know how they’re changing the world.

  • Photo of welcome package to new EQRx employees, which includes black backpack with “Champion” badge embroidered on the bag

“Our employees have fully embraced this concept,” Ed says. “It’s been something that sticks with them long after officially joining.”

Final thoughts

If you’re thinking your career site might be due for a tune-up and you’re looking to follow in EQRx’s footsteps, let your core values lead the way. EQRx’s quiz works so well because it’s more than just a gimmick. Sure, taking the quiz is fun (I took it five times while writing this), but it’s also an opportunity for candidates to learn more about what makes the company tick — and the role they could play in achieving its mission.

By weaving the concept through both the candidate journey and employee experience, EQRx has also found a way to not only showcase its culture, but make it stronger. And by building this bridge between being a candidate and becoming an employee, the company can smooth that transition and create a sense of continuity that makes new hires feel at home. 

“It’s not just a recruitment marketing campaign,” Ed says. “It’s something that’s deeply embedded into our culture.”

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*Images from EQRx