How to Properly Address CRA Recruitment and Find Quality Candidates

By: Katie Fidler

Written by Ryan Miller:

Many recruiting companies may believe recruiting professionals to work on your clinical trials and research is much like recruiting for any other position, but with a few minor differences.

However, we disagree. Recruiting Clinical Research Professionals to work on your Clinical Trials is something take very seriously as we understand your trial may be put at risk if the Clinical Professionals are not at the right level of quality. So what is our approach?

As with other industries, it’s important to adopt a plan or strategy in how you will go about your CRA recruitment. With this plan, one should address what is wanted in a CRA, where to look for quality candidates, how to look, prospecting and qualification, and a plan on how to actually entice the desired candidate(s) to join your team.

Evaluate your needs: You should first start evaluating your needs for additional CRAs as you are determining what project, trial, or research is needing to be executed and what type of candidate is best suited for doing so. Draft a list or outline of characteristics and traits that are both necessary and desired for a candidate and apply weight of importance to each characteristic. This can be a “wish list” of sorts and one should not hesitate in listing every detail or desired trait. However, you should prioritize that list of desired traits. It is important to remember not to hold a candidate too strictly to the overall list of requirements, but should aim for satisfying all of the highly weighted qualifications.

Create a high-quality and well-defined Job Post. It is important to make sure that one explicitly spells out the job function, tasks and activities involved with the position, skills required, skills desired, and applications of said skills. This will not only help the organization define what is wanted/needed and attract candidates who satisfy those stipulations, but will also allow the applicants and candidates to become more familiar with the position and have a better understanding of what is expected of them.

Strategize where to find your Candidates. After defining what you want in a candidate and drafting a job description, the next step in CRA recruitment, and possibly the most important, is knowing where to find suitable and qualified candidates. Three possible destinations one’s organization should thoroughly explore are: career fairs and industry-related events, databases, and social networks.

Career fairs and industry-related are great opportunities for companies to be exposed to promising talent and also to become a more familiar brand. Here, one is able to interact and socialize with possible candidates in a professional setting, while also being able to attain smaller amounts of one-on-one time. Furthermore, establishing contacts at such events can increase a company’s database size of candidates that may be better suited for other positions.

Company databases of candidates, both past and present, can prove to be useful when searching for the right fit. Just because one candidate wasn’t suited for a past position doesn’t mean that they may not be suited for the current one.

Social networks are fantastic resources for learning about candidates and also creating company profiles that enable one to not only network on an individual level, but also help candidates become more familiar with one’s organization.

Be aggressive in directly recruiting stars. One possible idea that an organization may want to consider when searching for its ideal candidates is to simply handpick “dream” candidates and offer the opportunity to them. Obviously it’s a little more complicated than that, but it’s worth a shot. If a hiring manager or other company associate is aware of a candidate or candidates that would be exceptional fits for the specified positions, contact them. Don’t be afraid to reach outside of those who have applied for the position(s). Everyone loves flattery and being told they have wonderful qualifications and are exactly what a company is looking for is a great ice breaker. According to an article in BusinessWeek, video game company Red 5 Studios handpicked 100 ideal candidates for various positions. The startup then sent each one a personalized iPod equipped with a welcome from the CEO. “The flattery paid off: More than 90 recipients responded to the pitch, three left their jobs to come on board, and many more potential hires discovered the company through word-of-mouth buzz generated by the search,” BusinessWeek says. Now I’m not saying to necessarily go the iPod route, but let them know they are wanted.

Finally, go out there and get them. Do what it takes to get that candidate that you feel best fits the position and the culture and environment of your company. There is nothing worse than settling- so don’t.

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

Dedicated to Every Client’s Success,

Angela Roberts

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