While many companies are laying off or furloughing employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ARUP Laboratories is experiencing a hiring surge as the company continues to expand its COVID-19 testing capacity.
“At least 50 percent of our open positions are a result of the huge demand for COVID testing,” Human Resources Officer Tom Topik said. Since June 1, ARUP has hired 162 new employees and currently has 220 open positions.
Many of these positions are for lab technologists, lab technicians, and trainees to work in one of ARUP’s more than 60 labs. Although some of the positions require medical laboratory science degrees and for others, undergraduate degrees in chemistry or biology are preferred, only high school diplomas are required for processing technician and trainee spots. “Specimen Processing is a great area to come to understand the lab,” said Misty Smith, talent acquisition manager. “If you are detail oriented, focused, and ambitious, then there is opportunity to grow using this area as a springboard.”
“I realized this company truly appreciates its employees so much that I didn’t want to leave when I grew up.”
The in-house training and education offered by ARUP, as well as a generous tuition reimbursement program, have produced a lot of “homegrown” laboratorians within ARUP. Other employees who began working as processing techs have branched out into other areas of ARUP, such as information technology (IT), engineering, or business development. A third of ARUP’s hires land their positions through internal recruitment. And employees stick around. Among ARUP’s more than 4,000 employees, more than 40 percent remain with the company for five or more years, and more than 26 percent stay more than 10 years.
Dave Rogers started off in Specimen Processing 26 years ago. “I just figured I’d work here until I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up,” said Rogers, who is now the senior operations director for Support Services. “I realized this company truly appreciates its employees so much that I didn’t want to leave when I grew up.”
Career opportunities led him to various areas of the company, including IT, where he spent seven years. Rogers explained that starting in Specimen Processing and learning where specimens come from and how they flow through ARUP provides valuable experience that primes individuals for other internal job opportunities.
Like many companies, ARUP implemented a hiring freeze this past March, but was able to lift it on June 1. “We shut down hiring completely, then came back with a vengeance,” said Smith, whose team scrambled to fill positions that had been on hold as well as a wave of new positions that opened to meet the growth in COVID-19 testing.
Landing a Job – Virtually
To keep employees and new hires healthy and safe, the hiring process is executed almost entirely online. Potential hires are vetted via phone and video interviews. Because tours and on-site visits are not currently an option, in-state and out-of-state recruitment packages provide a peek into ARUP culture and the perks of working for ARUP and living in Utah.
“We’re able to provide an intimate view of what we do, and how it is done, so candidates can decide if they want to be a part of ARUP,” Smith said. The packages provide website links to The Humans of ARUP, the “Why I Do, What I Do” videos, and the Journey of a Specimen video series to give viewers insight into the nature of the company. Together, these online resources communicate the personality, voice, and face of ARUP.
New hires for processing tech positions may need to come on-site for a typing assessment. For most though, their first in-person introduction to ARUP follows hiring, when they attend a two-day orientation, which is split up to allow for smaller groups and physical distancing. Before orientation, new employees self-report any potential coronavirus symptoms or exposure risks. If necessary, ARUP’s on-site Family Health Clinic can assess any risks.
As a healthcare company with frontline workers, ARUP has put extensive safety measures in place to keep employees safe during the pandemic, but safety has always been a priority. ARUP has a 35-year history of working with infectious disease specimens and follows rigorous compliance guidelines.
Many people who work in the labs, particularly those supporting COVID-19 testing, value the opportunity to help patients and people during this pandemic. “Now when people get their blood drawn, they will realize that someone is testing it,” said Katie Olson, who started as a lab technician and is now a supervisor in the Microbial Immunology Lab. “They will realize it’s not the doctor, or the nurse, but that there is someone else involved in their care. That’s us.”
Visit ARUP Laboratories’ Career Page to learn about new positions.