Everything you need to know about being a research manager at OnFrontiers

By Brian Caouette | 26 June 2018

Many organizations have a core role.  

Not to say others are unimportant, but one job sits in the center of the whole enchilada, with the rest of the business supporting in some way.  

In a school, for example, it is the teacher.  Everyone else, from the principal to the janitor to the librarian, directly or indirectly, is helping teachers do their jobs better.

At OnFrontiers, our core role is a research manager.  

It’s a job I am passionate about, in part because that’s where my co-founder and I started when we were figuring out the business. 

What is the job of a research manager?

A research manager is responsible for helping clients leverage our expert community to access the right expertise at the right time.  

The first thing to understand about this job is that it is very hard. 

Several factors conspire to make it so:

  • We aim to match experts in 24-48 hours
  • The expert can be for any topic or in any geography
  • The client and expert might both be new to OnFrontiers
  • We and our clients have a super high-quality bar
  • We blindfold research managers and tie one arm behind their backs

Ok, so that last point was a joke.

But you get the point – it is a hard and fun job.  It’s like a modern day game of Carmen Sandiego.  

Photo: Fandom/cc

Fortunately, OnFrontiers has built and is continuously improving, proprietary technology and processes to help research managers consistently deliver customer happiness.  We don’t get there 100% of the time, but we are getting closer every day.

What skills and traits are required?

The only thing possibly harder than the job of a research manager is hiring a research manager. I am hoping this blog post helps 🙂

A unique mix of skills and qualities are required:

  • Research skills: research managers are like librarians…for people.  They need to engage quickly on a topic they may have no prior knowledge of, like neonatal sepsis or automobile chassis manufacturing.   
  • Client skills: many of our Clients and Experts have never used a service like ours.  Research managers need to support them fully.
  • Product skills: as a superuser of our platform, research managers funnel ideas to our engineers who all the while are turning them into a bot.  Pretty wild, right?
  • Teamwork skills: our work evolves continuously as we learn secrets that help us scale.  Through collaboration and discussion, research managers discover and embed new practices.  

This isn’t a comprehensive list.  Here are the traits we see in our most successful research managers:

  • Resourcefulness
  • High sense of responsibility
  • Planning & organization
  • Celerity
  • Curiosity / intelligence
  • Receptivity to feedback

Who should apply?

Good reasons to put your name in the hat include:

  • You embody and are committed to further developing the skills above
  • You like challenging roles which provide an opportunity for growth
  • You see a personal connection with the vision and mission of OnFrontiers
  • You are motivated by new companies, new topics, and new ideas
  • You want to learn foundational skills that can help you start your own company one day
  • Other authentic reasons which are meaningful to you

Who should not apply?

If any of the following are true, this is probably not a fit:

  • You are seeking a traditional research job with a heavy dose of analysis and writing
  • You lack exposure to international business – our community is as cross-cultural as it gets; knowledge of how global businesses operate is essential
  • You prefer thinking to the exclusion of doing and resist situations in which you need to “sweep the floor” to get the job done
  • You prefer doing to the exclusion of thinking and have trouble stepping back to view challenges from a systems perspective
  • You tend to overvalue predictability and over-rely on what’s worked in the past
  • Under pressure, you choose diplomacy and being nice over the truth
  • You have trouble in situations requiring either high interdependence or independence

What else about the job?

  • The job is remote.  You’ll be working at home or in a co-working space nearby.  Some are not into this, while others enjoy the freedom and appreciate our commitment to a remote-first culture.
  • The performance compensation is significant.  We calibrate so top performers are paid very competitively in their respective markets.
  • We recruit from specific countries.  We are not hiring for this role in the US or Canada.  Teammates are primarily in Brazil and Manila. We are also recruiting in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia,

Join the Animal Team

Internally, we refer to our research team – both research managers and recruiting associates (research managers in training who focus on our expert experience), as our animal team.  

Each member of our current pack is a different kind of animal with a unique super power which, when integrated into the core, makes us a force to be reckoned with.  

Are you an animal?  If so, we want to know more.  Let’s talk.

Photo: 3drt/cc