CRA Interview…Seriously, it was one of the best interviews you have ever had with a company that you truly want to be engaged with.  But you hear nothing…

Or even worse, you get one of those very polite yet generic rejection emails. 

If you are getting interviews but no job offers, it may be time to self-assess.  I realize there are gaggles of “interview tips” articles out there offering interview guidance, but I want to call out that while a single silent rejection can be disappointing, a trend when it comes to getting interviews but no offers could be that you consistently do or don’t do something in the pre-interview, during interview, or post-interview steps to cause the rejection.  Ask yourself these questions:

Pre-Interview Tips

  • Did you follow the pre CRA Interview instructions? We work with one company who requires the CRA candidates to complete a competency assessment prior to the interview.  Other companies request a personality assessment while still others ask candidates to perform certain tasks such as applying online prior to the interview. In other instances, companies may ask you to send over documentation prior to the interview such as references, certifications, etc.  Don’t assume that just because you have been invited to interview that these pre-interview steps aren’t important. Failing to follow the instructions given during the interview invitation will definitely impact your competitiveness for the position.
  • Did you confirm the logistics of the interview, including testing the technology if appropriate? We recently had a CRA candidate show up to the wrong interview at the wrong time…it was a disaster and clearly showed her lack of organization and preparedness.  With that being said, are you sure of the time and time zone? How about the venue? If the interview will be video, have you tested your video connections? Have you used the interview software before and recently tested it to confirm everything is in working order?
  • Have you properly researched the company and your interviewers? Yes, you absolutely must research the company as well as your interviewers prior to the interview.  But it goes well beyond just gaining knowledge…remember that your mission during the interview is to build a connection, which means you must be able to relate this knowledge to your skills and career goals. How? Speak to the why.  
    • Why do you want to work for this company? Are they an oncology company performing leading edge research in the Stem Cell or Gene Therapy area?  Why does that matter to you? Speaking to what resonates with you in terms of working with the company is key, because making it personal is powerful. 
    • Why are you a fit? After researching the company, spend time outlining why your skills and qualities will be a fit for the company. Keep in mind that you want to explain why hiring you will help the company…meaning it can’t be about you but how you help them solve a problem and none of that will be possible if you haven’t researched the company in the first place.

Guidance During the Interview

  • Were you…well, you? Did you give real responses?  Did you provide details of your actual experience?  Did you allow the interviewers to get to know you during the interview?  Or were your answers too rehearsed?  Of course, you want to prepare for the interview, but having answers that are canned or sound too scripted will make you sound fake and may leave the interviewer wondering if you actually have the skills and experiences in question.  The interviewers want to get to know you personally as they want a level of confidence in you, your personality and your work ethic…not just your skills and qualifications.
  • Walk the ‘being personal’ tightrope carefully: I was once debriefing a candidate post-interview when she told me that she was sure she won the position because she and the Hiring Manager discovered they had grown up in the same small town. Although the CRA felt she was a ‘shoe-in’ because of the rapport and history built during the discussion, when the Interviewer compared notes from all of the CRA interviews, she selected someone else. Unfortunately the discussion had digressed so far off topic that the interview was over before the Hiring Manager was able to dig into the interview questions.  The interview guidance lesson: while you certainly want to share your personality and connect with your Interviewer, you also want to be careful not to deviate too far from the topic at hand. Talking too much or sharing too many personal details is likely to leave a bad impression – or worse – distract the Interviewer from doing her best to qualify you for the position.  

Post Interview Tips

  • Did you send a thank-you note to the interviewer? And if you did, was it all about you?  Or was it about them and how you feel you can support their mission?  Thank-you letters can be tricky (we have an article on this topic) and many candidates flunk when it comes to performing this simple final step.  A few post interview tips:
    • A good cover letter isn’t about you! Meaning it shouldn’t just be a reinforcement of the skills and qualifications you discussed during the interview.  
    • Instead, speak to how you can help the company propel their mission as this will reinforce your knowledge and passion for the company’s objectives. 
    • Once you have established how you can help the company, then show how working for the company in that particular role will align with your career goals (i.e. a win/win for both parties).  
    • If possible, I would also recommend you reference a current company specific event (conference, charity event, etc) which proves your point as it relates to your knowledge and interest in the company…and further exhibits why they should hire you. 
    • Lastly, don’t make the cover letter too long and too word heavy.  Using bullets can help but nothing beats being clear and concise.  

Ask for CRA Candidate Coaching: We can help. We coach all of our candidates throughout the entire process.  Let us know how we can help you by contacting us or applying for one of our many open CRA jobs.

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Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts
http://www.craresources.com

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