Congratulations! You’ve completed your course work, you’ve passed the exams and now, as a trained clinical research associate (CRA), it’s time to begin the job search. Once the resumes you have sent out result in an interview, it’s time to think about the questions you may be asked. Here are the top five questions you can expect to answer during the clinical research associate interviews.
- What aspect of the CRA job are you most passionate about? : This is an open-ended but important question that is an invitation to talk about knowledge and skills relative to the CRA position you seek. It is also an opportunity to showcase your past experience and describe what excites you about clinical research. CRA job entails a host of functions including trial operations, data management, protocol development and project management. If you’ve completed a CRA certification from Sollers College, you’d know all these aspects - mention them! Relate a short story about how you have problem-solved in a research position or how a particular experience in your education brought about a positive outcome and use it to show how you are qualified for the position you seek.
- Have you had GCP (Good Clinical Practice) training or formal CRA training through an employer or accredited course? This is a question that will allow you to discuss the depth of your education and certification courses. The CRA certification course at Sollers College allows you to work on hands-on projects and industry tools relevant to the job. Discuss what aspects of your training were most inspiring as well as those that were cornerstones to preparing you for the functions of a CRA position. This might be a good opportunity for you to detail your research abilities and education that did not appear in the job description.
- Do you have experience with (one or many of) the following?:
- Regulatory document review
- Selecting and recruiting qualified and interested investigators
- Performing source document verification
- Utilizing EDC, electronic diaries, or IVRS systems
- Database close
- Development of protocols or ICF
Once again, this question is more than the “yes” or “no” question that it appears to be at first glance. It provides a forum for you to demonstrate your sound knowledge and discuss your aspirations for the CRA position you seek. Do you want to optimize the clinical environment with methods you have learned in your education and experience? Do you have ideas for shortening trial times that will still bring about expected results? Express how you want to build in efficiencies as a CRA and specifically detail how you would make that happen in the trial environment.
4. What are the activities that take place during an [initiation visit, close out visit, etc.]? This is a question that assures the interviewer that you are well versed in CRA knowledge and practice. Be as descriptive about protocol and duties as possible and take the time to discuss potential scenarios and how they are conducted from start to finish. The detailed curriculum of our Clinical Research certificate program would enable you respond to these questions confidently.
5. Do you have any questions? Here is your chance to stand out from the crowd and show your unique knowledge and interest in the interviewing company. Make sure you conduct a bit of research about the company before arriving at the interview. Have a question or two at the ready and focus your questions on the company, the unique value you offer and how that can advance the company’s goals. You may ask questions about the company, such as its culture, management styles, or progression opportunities. Or, you may ask specific questions about the role - it’s scope, key success factors to succeed in this role, and key expectations from the management. This will reinforce to the interviewer your interest in the CRA position.
At Sollers College, we offer certificate programs that qualify our students for clinical research associate positions. We also offer career services for students, to help them connect to recruiters and meaningful employment. Contact us for more information and jump start your career as a clinical research associate.