In Conversation with Paul Rappa, San Diego’s Contract Division Manager

9-10 Minutes

 Let me introduce you to Paul!Paul joined the Meet family back in January 2022, heading...

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer


Let me introduce you to Paul!

Paul joined the Meet family back in January 2022, heading up our Contract division on the West Coast. Focusing on the Pharma and Biotech space, Paul specialises in a few different markets; Clinical Operations, Regulatory Affairs, Program Management, and Biometrics.

Bringing over five years of Life Sciences recruitment experience along with him, Paul’s focused on building out our SOCAL Contract branch. In the process, I got to sit down with him and pick his brain about moving to Meet as a senior hire…


Hey Paul! What made you want to apply for a job at Meet?

Funnily enough, I actually wasn’t actively looking. I was settled at another major staffing company in a similar position to where I’m at right now – leading a team within the pharma biotech market.

Then I saw friends who’d joined Meet, and so I started doing some research, learning about the company, and seeing what the potential was.

From the get-go, I saw plenty of opportunities. I had conversations with Anton and Mike and threw my hat into consideration. It was not long after that I joined the team, and I haven’t looked back since!


How’s your time been since you joined?

It’s been great; I love it a lot! The team is awesome, and the culture is fantastic.

In my previous role, I was working fully remotely, and I got used to it. When I found out I’d be going in three days a week, I was a little hesitant at first, but the team and culture make it all worthwhile. It’s nice to have that social side of the job back.


How was our onboarding process for you?

My process was a little bit different from the usual because we’d only just built out the San Diego office, so there weren’t many people in there yet. The day I joined was the same day the San Diego Contract team was established.

I looked through our onboarding programme, Meet DNA, with the L&D team. Although I didn’t need the basics, it was good to understand how they’re teaching the art of recruitment to new starters at Meet. It was also great to be able to offer my opinion and insight into what processes have worked for me in the past.


Coming from a Life Sciences background, what markets were you recruiting for in your last role?

It was pretty similar – I was doing pharma biotech Contract recruitment over a few different markets. I started off in Preclinical and Biometrics, but then I felt a pull toward the Clinical Operations market and transitioned over there.

It was when I was in the Clinical realm that I started to work my way up to a team leadership type of role, which expanded my markets to include Regulatory Affairs, Biometrics, and Program Management – similar markets to what I’m doing now at Meet.

Because of my growth within that organisation, I really had to question if I should make this step and move to a new company when I’m so comfortable. You know, I had a team, clients, and a built-up runner book.

It was only after speaking to senior leadership at Meet that I realised how many opportunities they could offer. From the top down, it’s just amazing.


That’s so great to hear. Can you expand on the hesitations you had about moving as a senior recruiter?

I was hesitant about being ready to take on this challenge and, like I said, to leave behind my current clients, contractors, and team. I’d been mentoring individuals and bringing them up. It’s hard to leave that behind and start from scratch. Plus, I’d spent years building up my runner book, so leaving all my previous contractors to start anew was nerve-racking.

Going from a larger, more established company and seeing how they’ve grown, I could see so much potential and growth within Meet, and I just felt like I wanted to be part of something a bit earlier on to really be a part of that exciting development.

Because of the opportunity and potential I saw with Meet, I just went for it, and I’ve already built my runner book up to be pretty substantial in year one. That really shows a little about the level of opportunity here.

Luckily, when I joined, we already had a lot of great clients whom I could build relationships with and quickly scale my book of business. I’ve brought on several clients myself, but I’ve also been able to leverage a lot of our current clients and build off of those relationships. Plus, Meet already has a great reputation, so more people were open to working with us than I initially thought.


Coming from a much larger, more established company, has anything surprised you about Meet?

I do notice some similarities, but overall, I would say Meet differentiates itself through its relationships with clients. That’s not to say my previous company didn’t have great relationships; I’ve just found Meet’s to be exceptionally strong with a lot of trust.

It makes the process a lot smoother, in my opinion. I don’t want to knock my previous company, but I was just so pleasantly surprised by how many clients we had and how strong the relationships with those clients were.

On top of that, I haven’t experienced any negative feedback at Meet. That’s not to sound pessimistic, just something that usually comes with the territory of recruitment.

Having all of this very positive feedback from different clients that we work with only makes processes smoother, which definitely helps in Contract recruitment because it means there aren’t as many barriers to cross.


People really are at the centre of everything we do, and our relationships tend to be a thing that everyone comments on. I think that level of humanity translates through every aspect of the business.

Oh yeah. There’s a lot of investment in the individuals within the office, and there’s a lot of focus on making sure they’re achieving and performing to the best of their abilities.

When you’re doing that internally, and the team feels confident in themselves and their performance, it leads to a stronger performance with clients. In turn, that leads to strong relationships, which makes processes even stronger too.


Yeah, everything’s connected – it’s a complete cycle.

That’s a good way to think about it. I think the people we have at Meet, from new hires to experienced staff, are all people who just love building relationships – internally and externally.


What’s your favourite aspect of your role?

Growth and opportunity are important to me, but I also love to mentor junior recruiters. I find a lot of joy in contributing to people’s careers in that sense.


And what’s your favourite aspect of Meet?

Honestly, I’d have to say the culture.

It really does shape a lot of your work-based happiness and it really is fun. In San Diego, we do all these different, fun events together. We go to baseball games, and we did a ‘paint and sip’ (where we had wine and did a painting class). It’s really great.


Looking back on your career, what initially attracted you to recruit for Life Sciences?

It’s definitely something I fell into. Previously, I was at an advertising agency, and I basically just wanted to make more money. I started looking into sales roles and then recruitment and joined the industry from there.

What struck me about Life Sciences is that I knew San Diego and southern California were a hub for it. I mean, you can just drive down the street and see so many of the buildings, so I knew there was a market for it, and there was success within it.

From the outside, you always hear about pharmaceutical and medical device sales and the fact that they’re lucrative, but rarely do you hear about the recruitment side of things, which can be just as lucrative and maybe even more so, depending on your success.

As I got into the market and gained more understanding, I found it to be even more enjoyable and rewarding than I’d initially imagined. You’re helping those who’re working on lifesaving and life-changing products. Some of my clients are working on oncology, cancer research, others are doing CNS, neuro studies and depression studies.

One client, in particular, is working on a COVID vaccine submission, and we’ve helped build out their team of regulatory members who are getting that submission together for Europe and the US. Actually, they’re going to be targeting distribution in third-world countries first due to their vaccine having a longer shelf life. It can be in transit for longer at a lower temperature without spoiling. Helping out and contributing to things of that nature is pretty cool.


It really is fascinating to be so immersed in the industry. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far in your recruitment career?

Something that’s always stuck with me is actually something that my first CEO told me when I was graduating college…

He said that no matter what level you’re at, even senior leadership, nobody ever truly knows what they’re doing or what they should be doing. Everybody’s just trying for the best solution; whether you’re entry-level or CEO, the goal is to figure it out, right? So, if you have that mentality of figuring it out rather than saying I already have the solution, it goes a long way.

In Life Sciences specifically, I’ve learnt that there really is so much opportunity out there – especially in the markets we’re working in. The hubs we have in the US – New York, San Francisco, and San Diego – are at the epicentre of global Life Sciences, so the opportunity is pretty much endless.

From a leadership standpoint, you have to keep looking forward. When starting out, people can get stuck focusing on the things that aren’t really going their way. Really, they should be focusing on the opportunity and what could go their way – particularly in Contract recruitment because things move so quickly.

If one thing doesn’t work out, don’t be bogged down by it; just move on to the next because there really are so many opportunities out there!


I think in work environments, we sometimes forget our seniors are human too, even if they do seem superhuman! We need to remember that we’re hired to do what we do because we’re skilled in it, and those skills differ from person to person. 

It’s totally true. It absolutely is.


What advice would you give to someone considering applying for a senior role at Meet?

I’d say look more at the opportunities in front of you rather than being blinded by what you currently have. What I mean by that is there’s so much opportunity within Life Sciences and Meet, who’s growing and scaling at a rate that makes the prospects endless.

If you’re currently in a position where there is a lot of opportunity for growth, then you need to think about why you’re looking to leave in the first place.

If you’re feeling stagnant where you are, and you want something new and exciting with room for development, Meet will provide that. When you consider our growth potential, how young we are, and how much more market capitalisation there is to take, it’s a win-win.


As a senior employee, do you feel like you’ve had the right/enough support within your role?

Yeah, absolutely!

Everyone’s always been there for me, whether it’s office leadership or global senior leadership. I’ve always been able to reach them, and they’ve always been responsive and available for me. They continue to mentor and challenge me too, making sure that I’m growing as a person – personally and professionally.


How do you expect/hope your career will grow at Meet?

I plan to continue building out the division for Pharma Contract, covering the whole West Coast region. Initially, the goal was to build out southern California with 360 recruiters, covering the northern California market too.

My goal is to build out both offices in San Diego and San Francisco, having two different divisions down the line. It would be nice to lead both of them, being at the helm of Pharma Contract on the West Coast.


Looking back from where you are now, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d just say stay persistent, motivated, and optimistic.

Recruitment, especially Contract recruitment, can be a rollercoaster at times. Some things are in your control, and many things are out of it, so you’ve really just got to keep putting your best foot forward each day.


Do you feel like mindset has a lot to do with your success?

Definitely! I think mindset has everything to do with success.

If you’re feeling confident and you know what you’re doing, you’ll perform better. If your mindset is negative, you tend to cloud yourself with negative thoughts, which leads to more negative behaviours.

The best thing you can do is keep a positive mindset, even when things don’t necessarily go your way, which will always happen in some way in Contract – deals are going to fall through, Contractors are going to get fired, that just happens. Try not to sweat the small stuff.


Well, I think that’s a perfect note to end this chat on! Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me, Paul.


Are you an experienced consultant looking for a new challenge? We’d love to talk to you! Reach out to Eve Coxeter at or drop her a message on LinkedIn.

Or, if you’re a Contractor looking for work, or have roles that need to be filled within your organisation, Paul and his expertise can help! Find him at or over on LinkedIn.

Book in a call with one of the team about your hiring needs.

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