poor quality consultants

When looking for high-quality work, it’s essential to think carefully about the people you hire. What makes a good consultant? What are some signs of poor quality consultants? Identifying key traits can be an effective first step in improving your workforce and ensuring that every hire is right. 

How to Identify Poor Quality Consultants

It’s a blazing hot market out there- consultants are in high demand, and CRA rates have skyrocketed since the pandemic. So how do you avoid hiring poor quality consultants when the market is so competitive? The first step is to learn the key indicators of what makes a consultant poor quality, so you never have to settle for one. 

Red Flags for Poor Quality Consultants

To help you identify poor quality consultants, we’ve put together some easily identifiable red flags. When reviewing a candidate for your company, you should utilize caution if you encounter any of these red flags and inquire further about their relevance to the position you are hiring for. 

Poor Employment History 

Does your candidate have gaps in employment or short tenures with multiple employers? These aspects of a candidate’s resume are important and nuanced. These issues aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, but you need to know the reasoning for the candidate’s departure from their previous employers to make sure. Do they cite leaving for better opportunities after their 6-month contract expires? Do they complain about the work-life balance at their last place of employment? These issues are understandable, but if the reasons don’t add up, it could signify the candidate is a job-hopper and someone that may not be worth your time if you’re looking for someone to work for you long-term.

Here at craresources, we make sure to ask these questions to determine acceptable reasoning before submitting candidates to our clients, but you may also want to conduct a background check to investigate other components of their work/life history.

Insufficient Knowledge

Being a CRA is a job that requires high amounts of technical industry knowledge and experience. Even if the resume looks flawless, a candidate worth the current market value should be able to answer questions about their monitoring skills and clinical trial experience in an interview without much deliberation. However, when asked these questions, if the candidate seems to have trouble confidently formulating these answers or addressing their relevant experience, they may lack the knowledge necessary to get the job done. It is even part of our qualification process to ensure that we ask the proper questions in advance before recommending a candidate to one of our clients, no matter how good they look on paper.

Poor References

With the prevalence of fraud in this industry, it’s important not only to receive qualifying information from the candidate but from their work associates as well. How does the candidate respond to the idea of a reference check? When this is brought up, some candidates’ tone of voice may change, their demeanor might betray a lack of confidence in their past experiences with their references, or they may lack relevant references entirely. As is our process at craresources, contacting references personally is the best way to gain a good understanding of the candidate’s skills. A quality CRA candidate will rise to the surface as the glowing reports pour in from previous supervisors and site personnel. If the candidate’s former associates are lukewarm at best, or worse- evasive and critical, you may want to question if that candidate is the right caliber for your organization.

Green Flags For Quality Consultants

Time to focus on the positive- plenty of green flags help identify the consultants that will do quality work and provide value to your organization. When hiring CRAs, you should actively seek out these traits to find the best candidates.


No one is perfect- and that’s okay. However, this is why you should actively avoid anyone that claims to be so! When asked about prior missed deadlines or difficulties in the workplace, the ideal candidate will be straightforward and honest about their shortcomings but should also offer insight on how they worked to rectify them. 

Communication Skills

Communication skills and mastery of the English language should be the first thing you notice about a candidate. Is the resume easy to browse with sufficient relevant details included? Is the CRA able to articulate their expertise and experience during the interview in a clear and thorough yet concise way? Skilled communicators make any project, task, or meeting go smoothly. Therefore, good communication skills are critical when judging a candidate’s aptitude and avoiding poor quality consultants. 

Relevant Experience

Different projects and positions require different types of experience. For example, you may be looking for a CRA to monitor a specific study with a focused therapeutic area, or perhaps you are looking for a diverse range of therapeutic experience to utilize them on a few different projects. Some roles may require strong site management skills whereas others need to emphasize early phase experience. Whatever your needs may be, having an intimate understanding of the type of knowledge your position requires is important in sourcing individuals with the appropriate experience.  

When hiring highly experienced CRAs, you get leadership, vast knowledge from that experience and someone who is likely less prone to making mistakes than a newer CRA. We’ve written a blog post on this topic in the past, but seniority often comes with a price. . And there could be some potential drawbacks to hiring senior consultants. Beyond a higher price tag, these candidates are likely to be pickier with their responsibilities, support, and field of work when considering places of employment.  Consultants have increased agency over these things due to this hot hot market, regardless of experience level. When considering hiring a consultant with seniority, you should first evaluate your needs as a more junior CRA might be the better fit for the role and your budget. Craresources can help with this- we have experience identifying quality candidates at any level. We have a vast pool of resources to find the CRA with the appropriate expertise to fit your needs.

Let craresources Help

Sourcing qualified candidates has never been easy, and today’s competitive market makes it even harder. This is why you should consider looking to a firm like craresources to assist you in finding the right consultant. We go above and beyond to ensure that all of the candidates we source are qualified and devoid of fraud so that the hiring process can go as smoothly as possible. Of course, the job isn’t finished on the hire date either; craresources maintain themselves as an unbiased point of contact for both our clients and the CRAs we source to ensure that the entire employment period is as productive as possible. Contact us today to see how we can help you.