cra pool of qualified candidates

Looking to build a CRA Pool of Qualified Candidates?

Then the first step is to establish an effective methodology to build that CRA pool of qualified candidates. Consider starting out by defining the things you should do during CRA Recruitment.

If you think of a three step process, it will seem simple:

  1. Identify the job requirements for the CRA team members who will be monitoring your clinical trial.
  2. Post your position and interview candidates (sounds simple…right?).
  3. Hire one of your applicants.

Okay…I realize I am being cheeky as those steps seem pretty straightforward and we all realize more goes into establishing a CRA pool of qualified candidates.

So let’s start out by defining what NOT to do when focused on CRA Recruitment.

Here are the 3 biggest recruiting tips for things to avoid:

Be clear on what you truly need in your CRA pool.

DO NOT post the position or start considering applicants without a complete and thorough understanding of what you and your team wants.

Your company is looking to build a CRA pool of qualified candidates to fulfill a need or weakness. Before beginning the hiring process, make an effort to outline the details of that weakness as well as how you should go about solving it. Think about what your team needs in terms of “have to haves” and “like to haves”. Knowing what qualities would be beneficial for this position including therapeutic and phase experience is important, but don’t overlook the soft skills you will need.

If you are having trouble, evaluate your current CRA team. What qualities do they have? Are there hard or soft skills are missing from the team as a whole? Is there a particular skill or attribute that would enhance the team’s overall performance?

If you need some build an effective job description, take a look at our advice on how to properly qualify a position so you can confirm everyone on your team is clear regarding your needs. Some overlap in skills and qualifications is okay, but the goal is efficiency.

Most importantly, DO NOT settle.  The candidate pool for CRAs is wide enough for you to find exactly what you need in order to build your company’s CRA pool of qualified candidates.

Be prepared to effectively qualify the CRA candidates.

DO NOT enter an interview unprepared.  Being unprepared won’t just result in a missed opportunity to onboard a great CRA, it also may have negative legal consequences for you, your company, and your clinical trial.  To be able to effectively assess which candidates will fit best into your CRA pool of qualified candidates, plan what questions you will ask. It is also important to have a general understanding of what you want the candidate to tell you as well.

Additionally, use behavioral interviewing methods during your interview as this method will give you a clearer idea of the candidate’s true experiences, character, and ability to think on his feet.

Be selective of who should be involved in the qualification process.

DO NOT involve everyone in the hiring process every step of the way. Not only will this methodology over-complicate things, and it may muddle the overall CRA recruitment process. Additionally, while you certainly want to include key team members at certain times, over-involving everyone at every step of the way will pull on your resources unnecessarily.

We recommend one person do an initial phone or video interview. Trust me when I say that this initial screen will weed out a large percentage of your non-qualified candidates, thus shortlisting your top candidate group.  Once you have selected a CRA pool of qualified candidates, then you should engage more team members for future interviews.

What you Should Do When Building your CRA Pool

When attempting to establish a CRA pool of qualified candidates, keep these things in mind:

Treat your current CRAs well. 

Seriously. It may not seem obvious, but treating your current CRA pool well will assist you in attracting new CRAs. CRAs talk amongst themselves and your company’s reputation will be broadcasted…so make sure it is a positive reputation. Take steps to build a company culture conducive to the current CRA team. You will find this critical when it comes to growing the CRA pool of qualified candidates needed for existing and future projects.

Know how your competition builds their CRA pool.

What is the landscape like in your field? What other offers and opportunities are these CRAs being presented by different organizations? When looking for a new member of your CRA pool, you want to make sure that you provide a competitive and beneficial offer to them…and it isn’t just about the compensation. To this end, you should always try to stay up to date on current trends and movements within your industry in order to offer relevant and enticing opportunities to your prospective hires. 

Be transparent.

Every CRA wants you to be transparent when it comes to your hiring process.  Make sure your prospective CRAs are on the same page as you regarding their potential contract or employment.

We often hear stories where CRAs are roped into a non-travel position to only be required to travel, tricked into a 50% utilization position to be asked to work 60 hours a week, or alternatively told the project will start immediately when the protocol hasn’t been finalized or funding approved. 

We live in a ‘hurry up and wait’ industry where a simple and straight forward dialogue is the only solution to our ever changing environment. Be open. Be honest. And build long term relationships with your future CRAs.

Ask for Help

Another part of understanding your weaknesses as a company is understanding when and why you might benefit from engaging a firm that offers CRA hiring process consultations. You can certainly refer to our FAQ page if you’re interested in more advice for finding qualified CRAs.

We also understand that most operations teams just do not have the time to conduct the CRA hiring process. If you are interested in working with craresources to find your perfect hire, contact us. We are committed to providing quality CRAs to our clients every single time. 

Need assistance establishing a competitive clinical research salary or recruiting tips to improve your clinical recruitment results?  We offer complimentary consultation in these areas as well!