Like the wider life sciences industry, the Clinical Research arena is fiercely competitive. If you want to advance your career, you need to stand out from the crowd. One of the best ways to do this in an industry in which knowledge and expertise matter is to highlight your in-demand Clinical Research skills and experience in your next interview.
EPM Scientific sheds light on which skills and areas of experience to focus on, including knowledge of clinical trial design, methodology, and statistical concepts, clinical expertise, project management and teamwork, soft skills, and critical thinking and decision-making.
Thorough working knowledge of clinical trial design, methodology, and statistical concepts
Given the importance of clinical trial design, methodology, and statistical concepts in Clinical Research, it’s vitally important that you convey a thorough working knowledge of these processes. You may be tested on your basic knowledge of these processes by being asked to walk the interviewers through the different phases of a trial. Your answer should demonstrate that you understand the key characteristics and purpose of each process.
You should also highlight how you would handle incomplete or missing data in a clinical trial, as well as the statistical methods you use to analyze data obtained in a clinical trial. Take time to think about questions you might be asked about this in an interview, such as giving an example of a clinical trial in which you had to deal with missing or incomplete data, and explaining how you overcame the problem.
Highlighting clinical expertise
It’s not enough to know about the various processes involved in Clinical Research. In your next interview at a life sciences company, ensure you also highlight your clinical expertise.
When showcasing your medical/scientific expertise and technical skills, go beyond demonstrating your knowledge of guidelines. You should also explain how you ensure data quality and integrity in clinical trials, focusing on your understanding and previous application of best practices such as standard operating procedure adherence, data validation, and source data verification. A good way to think of examples of your expertise is to think about interview questions you might be asked, such as explaining the steps you followed when analyzing and applying data during a project that posed various logistical challenges that could have impacted data purity.
Project management and teamwork
Excellent teamworking abilities are an in-demand skill for any Clinical Research role, whether junior or senior. When it comes to senior roles, you also need strong project management skills to lead a team and manage timelines and deliverables.
In your next interview, highlight your project management and teamwork skills. Explain how you communicate and coordinate with study coordinators, investigators, and other team members during a clinical trial, and describe how you have managed study-related logistics such as patient recruitment and scheduling. You might find it helpful to think about possible questions you could be asked, such as explaining how you manage disparate teams faced with various challenges in a time-critical project.
The importance of soft skills
There’s a high demand for individuals with specific soft skills in Clinical Research. These skills include communication, collaboration, attention to detail, and problem-solving.
Prepare for this stage of the interview by thinking about specific examples that illustrate your skill at communicating complex ideas effectively, focusing on the techniques you used and how you engaged your audience. For example, if you have communicated complex scientific information to a non-scientific audience, explain how you made sure your audience understood your presentation.
Think of examples of times when you prioritized and managed multiple projects simultaneously, focusing on how you made sure that deadlines were met, and everything was accounted for. You may also find it helpful to think about how you can showcase your collaboration and problem-solving skills during your interview. Doing this can help you to start formulating answers to questions you might be asked.
Also consider other questions that interviewers might ask, such as being asked to provide examples of how you managed to meet deadlines whilst managing multiple projects that included collaboration with various different stakeholders, or how you solved an issue that could have affected project timelines.
Critical thinking and decision making
Critical thinking and decision making are fundamental to any Clinical Research role, making them key skills to highlight in your next interview. Convey your ability to analyze observations and data, and to make informed decisions.
In order to assess your attention to detail and problem-solving abilities, you may be asked to describe a time when you discovered an error in research or data and to explain how you addressed it. You might also be asked to explain how you would respond to a situation in which a participant in a trial experienced an adverse event. Highlight what steps you would take to ensure participant safety and the integrity of the study. Emphasize your ability to stay grounded, calm, compassionate, and organized during a crisis.
Secure your next role with EPM Scientific
Advancing your career in Clinical Research and life sciences is easier with EPM Scientific. Take a look at our open roles for an excellent idea of the many opportunities available.