CRA Job Description:

CRA Job Description

“Angela, you know we don’t have a CRA job description,” my client said.  “Just find me several great CRAs…you know what to look for.”

She had a point. I and my team had provided CRAs to her for over a decade. So yes, I knew exactly what specific skills and qualities she needed in her next CRAs. However, like many hiring managers, she only saw the job description as something that needed to be created to advertise the open position. 

But the value of a well-written CRA Job Description goes well beyond using it as an advertisement for new talent.

The Benefits of a Well-Written CRA Job Description

Job Descriptions Will Save Time

Many companies use job descriptions as bait. These hiring teams operate on the assumption that receiving more candidates is better. After all, having more candidates to choose from means you have a better chance of hiring a great-quality team member.  

Right? 

I disagree. If your CRA job descriptions are vague or confusing, you will be leafing through hundreds of resumes submitted by underqualified individuals instead of attracting applicants who meet your desired prerequisites and qualifications.

Well-written job specs should be clear in terms of your firm requirements. For example, instead of stating “Must have previous experience as a CRA with a Sponsor”, state “A minimum of three years’ experience as a Field CRA with a Sponsor or CRO is required.” 

Ensuring your requirements are concise and measurable will a) keep a large percentage of underqualified candidates from applying, b) enable you and your sourcing team to reject underqualified candidates objectively, and c) help you quickly identify the top candidates you would like to progress. 

Job Descriptions Can Save Money and Reduce Attrition

Are you experiencing a higher-than-desired attrition rate in a particular role? Consider examining the role’s job description. If your CRA job description doesn’t specifically outline the actual duties and responsibilities of the position, the person you hire is highly likely to leave. 

Why? Because high-quality CRAs know exactly what they are looking for. These great candidates will apply to your job posting because something in that job description resonates with them. And if your new team members aren’t experiencing what they believe they signed up for, they will not stay. 

The net is this: if your job description isn’t accurate, you will find yourself repeating the process of advertising, interviewing, and training another new employee.

Job Descriptions Enable a Stronger Screening Process

A well-written CRA job description can be (and should be) transformed into an interview template that thoroughly and objectively captures the data needed to make an informed hiring decision. 

Use it to conduct prescreening. 

Hiring teams will typically perform a prescreening assessment before progressing a candidate to an interview. The most effective prescreening methodology is done by using the job description to create a simple checklist of items that can be objectively answered yes or no and then comparing that checklist to the candidate’s resume. Some examples of yes/no questions: “Does the candidate hold a Bachelor’s in a Life Sciences field?” or “Has the applicant gained at least three years’ experience as a CRA for a sponsor?” 

Because the prescreening step is shorter and less comprehensive, less skilled team members can perform the task, thus saving the primary interviewers’ time. This step also shortlists candidates who meet most or all of the requirements outlined in the job description. And of course, this means interviewers will only spend their quality time interviewing candidates who are a stronger fit.

Use it to create a behavioral interview template. 

The behavioral interviewing method is used to learn how a candidate has responded to previous situations. The theory is that the candidate’s past conduct is a strong predictor of their future performance in a similar and relevant scenario. In other words, behavioral interviews provide hiring managers with an idea of how well a candidate should perform the tasks of the role. 

The Job Responsibilities section of a CRA job description can easily transform into a behavioral interview template. This is important for hiring managers because you can dig into scenarios that directly relate to your current hiring needs. Here are a couple of examples: 

  • If the job responsibility states: “Assist with the development of study manuals, CRFs, monitoring standards, site study tools, and other study materials as required”
    • Consider translating it to this question: What experience do you have in the development of study manuals, CRFs, or other related study materials? 
    • It could also translate to: What study materials have you developed to support yourself or peers on a project? 
  • If the job responsibility states: “Develop and implement site recruitment, selection, and initiation plan”
    • Consider translating it to this question: Describe where you have developed and implemented a site recruitment plan. What were your challenges?
    • It could also translate to: Tell me about a time when you helped to select and initiate sites for an upcoming project. What was your role?

Job Descriptions Keep You And the Candidate Compliant

Multiple state and federal laws surround the practice of hiring and firing employees. Creating a job description that satisfies legal requirements protects your organization from potential hiring issues. 

Additionally, job descriptions that clearly outline essential duties will help applicants understand what you expect from them once hired. It can provide clarity on responsibilities as well as provide a framework to evaluate the new team member’s performance. Alternatively, it can help identify areas where additional training may be needed if the new team member isn’t meeting expectations. 

How to Write a Great Job Description

Before writing the job description, take the opportunity to assess the vacant position. Was the position functioning ideally or as it was intended to function? Think about what the job would look like with the optimal candidate and redesign the position as required.  Here are some tips to make your job description both superior and effective.

Highlight the Company

A well-crafted job description will always provide a short overview of the company. Many job seekers want to work with companies that represent a cause or are involved in their community. Therefore, be sure to outline the company’s mission or other traits that give potential applicants an idea of what it will be like to work with your team. 

Many hiring managers also choose to include vital statistics, such as the company’s current size and projected growth. The goal is to provide potential candidates with a better understanding of where the company is headed.

Include the Job Title, Role Within the Organization, and Working Relationships

While providing the official name of the position is important, providing information regarding the department or team will make the position seem more desirable. You should also explain how the position ties into the overall goals of the company, as well as who the candidate will be working with. 

Here is an example: As a Senior Clinical Research Associate (CRA) within our Thyroid Cancer Division, you will work closely with our clinical operations team to create a cure for this rare cancer. The Senior CRA reports to the Global Clinical Trial Manager and will work arm-in-arm with other Senior CRAs across North America.

Outline the Main Job Duties and Responsibilities

As discussed above, the essential duties of the role must be as clear and concise as possible. High-quality candidates are less likely to apply to a generic job description but are attracted to positions that align with their career goals. 

Which is what you want. 

This section will outline the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of the job. Note that you will create your behavioral interview template from this section.  

List Required and Preferred Qualifications

Directly following the job duties and responsibilities section should be the prerequisite and requirements section. This section includes the years of experience, prerequisite positions held, necessary skill sets, degrees earned, and any certifications or memberships candidates should have. 

We recommend you have two qualification sections – one for required qualifications and one for preferred or highly desirable qualifications.  

One thing to note – remember that ‘location’ is a requirement. If you require someone able/willing to travel into an office or be available during certain business hours, be sure to add that as a firm requirement here. 

Compensation

We are seeing fewer companies list their compensation range but I recommend you include it. Listing the salary range and relevant benefits will help eliminate those candidates outside of your budget. 

If the position is an unpaid internship, be sure that it meets government labor requirements.

Special Working Conditions

Examples of special working conditions include odd hours, on-call responsibilities, and other abnormal tasks or physical duties. If special working conditions exist, they should be made known from the beginning. Putting these out in the open will ensure that the candidates who apply are serious about the position regardless of working conditions they might not be used to. 

Include Information That Will Make the Position More Attractive

Last but not least, include information that will make the position even more attractive to potential applicants. This section may offer information on benefits, training, travel, and advancement opportunities. This is also a great opportunity to show some extra perks of working for your company, such as casual dress, the ability to work remotely, and any discounts employees may receive on company or affiliate products. 

You can also use this section to describe your ideal candidate.  

Don’t Forget To Provide Application Instructions

Always include application instructions. Not only will these instructions serve their obvious purpose, but you can then see who has the ability (or inability, per se) to follow directions.  

It can be a frustrating and challenging task to replace a team member, but writing an effective and attractive job description is the first step in finding high-quality candidates. Have questions or need support? Let craresources help you with your CRA hiring needs. And yes, I will gladly write your Job Description for you.