How to Prepare for the Face-to-Face Interview

Clinical RecruitmentThe #1 mistake I see clinical research associates make is to believe the Face-to-Face interview is about their specific qualifications and how they meet the requirements for the position being discussed.

In my experience, the “in-person” interview is only marginally focused in this area, and thus largely focused on your soft skills such as having a pleasing personality, ability to build relationships, strong time management and organizational skills, and of course, your initiative and leadership capabilities.

Here are some recruiting tips I have put together to help you be successful in your Face-to-Face interview:

1. Make sure you have a nice notebook with you to take notes in. Don’t forget a pen!

2. Take several copies of your resume with you. Please make sure you are using the same version and format submitted to the Hiring Manager!

3. Make sure you have directions to the interview location. If possible, make a “dry run” the night before so you know where you are going. This is critically important! Not only will you ensure that you are on time for the interview, but you will be refreshed and relaxed (and not in a panic from being lost!).

4. Plan on being at the meeting place 15-30 minutes early. If possible, make sure you check ahead of time regarding any traffic issues to expect. This would include checking with the internet and DMV for planned construction on your route.

5. Keep a phone number handy just in case you do get stuck in traffic. If this scenario does happen, call before you are late…not after you are late.

6. Dress for success. Don’t underestimate the power of a business suit paired with nice, professional shoes. Recruitment Tip: Make sure those shoes are not scuffed! If you are traveling for your face-to-face interview make sure you pull your clothes out as soon as you get to your hotel room. You want to ensure your suit wasn’t damaged or wrinkled while traveling and if you wait until the last minute you could be in trouble!

7. Make sure you are groomed appropriately. Your hair, jewelry, makeup and other accessories should be classic and understated. If there is any doubt, go conservative.

8. Speak concisely, slowly, sound confident, and sound passionate about the company and the position. You must be able to articulate how working for this particular company in this particular role will enable you to work towards obtaining your overall career goals. For more on how to prepare to answer these types of questions, review the article written titled How to Prepare for an Effective Phone Interview.

9. Be prepared for Behavioral style questions. For more on this interviewing method, please take a look at two articles I have written to assist you: Two Simple Rules of Behavioral Interviewing and “Preparing for a Behavioral Interview”.

10. Have your references ready for the Face-to-Face. Not sure how to select great references? Check out our article on How to Prepare for a Successful Background Check.

11. Be prepared to have a compensation discussion. If you are not sure how to handle this delicate topic, take a look at the article named “What should your Compensation Requirements be?”.

12. Close the interview! The same rule applies to the face-to-face interview as did the phone interview: You must express your interest for this job! Additionally, you should always ask for positive feedback. The best question to ask: “what skills or qualities do I possess which makes me a perfect fit for this position?

Good luck in your Face-to-Face interview!

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts

Related Articles:

Are you considering a career change? We specialize in the placement of clinical research associates. You can sign up for our Job Seeker email course which provides valuable insight into how to become more competitive in the marketplace.

How to Prepare for an Effective Phone Interview

Clinical RecruitmentHiring Managers have high expectations from you once you get to the interview stage. Unfortunately, all too often, Clinical Research Associates fail to do the research necessary to be fully prepared for an effective interview performance. The following recruiting tips will assist you in better preparing for that coveted interview.

Knowledge of the Company

The most important clinical recruiting tip I can ever give you as it relates to preparing for your interview is that you should never participate in any type of interview with an HR Rep or Hiring Manager without having researched the company.

Hiring Managers want to make sure you have specifically chosen to apply and interview for this position. They do not want to believe you are applying to hundreds of jobs and will take the first offer you are given! Keep in mind that the Hiring Manager is ultimately responsible for your success if you are hired, so if you have not spent any time learning anything about the company and how working for that company will enable you to grow in your career goals, you can pretty much expect to be rejected from the position immediately.

You may be asking where you can go to conduct such research.

Start at the company’s website. Review the various pages of the website to understand the product or service they offer, their company mission, the company’s history, their management team, and anything else you can get your hands on.

Explore LinkedIn to review both the company profile as well as the profiles of some of the clinical research associates who work there. This will give you a great idea as to the company culture, education and background preference of their clinical research associates, as well as locations of their workforce.

Do a straight Google search for the company name. I find a ton of information on companies by just searching “Company ABC News” in the Google Search Bar. You can do a similar search to better understand the company’s financial situation. Just simply search “Company ABC Finances” or similar term in the Google Search Bar to see if there are any issues you should be concerned about.

Additionally, always take a look at industry specific websites such as for the Clinical Research arena or the Information Technology Industry Council ( for IT, etc.

Knowledge of the Interviewer

When someone calls or emails you to set up a phone interview, always ask the name of the individual to whom you will be speaking and their role in the company. If you have a good rapport with the individual who is coordinating the interview, ask him or her about your interviewer’s personality and hot buttons so you know what to expect.

Knowing the name and role of the interviewer will enable you to research that person. Is he/she on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other Social Media sites? Are you able to see the individual’s education or work history? Are you able to find the individual on the Internet anywhere (local news articles, volunteer programs, etc.)? Knowledge is power and the more you know about your interviewer the more likely you will be able to build a relationship with him or her.

Also, a critical recruitment tip is that you must come to the interview with questions for your interviewer so knowing the individual’s role as well as some of their education, work history, and personal background will give you a better idea on what types of questions to ask.

I hope you have found these recruitment tips on how to prepare for an effective phone interview very informative. Stay tuned for the next lesson in our email course where I will take you through how to conduct a powerful interview!

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts

Related Articles:

Are you considering a career change? We specialize in the placement of clinical research associates. You can sign up for our Job Seeker email course which provides valuable insight into how to become more competitive in the marketplace.

How to Prepare for a Successful Background Check

Clinical RecruitmentI recommend my clients do both a background check and reference check of their clinical research associates. Why?

As it relates to reference checks, you would be amazed at the number of clinical research associates who select inappropriate references such as their Aunt, girlfriend, or college roommate. Additionally, about 25% of the time my candidates give me references who provide a poor endorsement, or who never respond to the reference inquiry (a delay in response indicates the reference has nothing good to say!).

By providing references fitting into one of the above categories you are showing you are unable to evaluate yourself appropriately and are therefore unable to select references who will shed you in a positive light.

So how do you select references you are sure will give you glowing recommendations?

1. Select supervisors, managers, or mentors who have given you work direction or provided you career coaching and guidance.

2. Ensure your references are recent. If you fail to provide references for your last couple of positions this will raise a huge flag.

3. Speak to your references before providing their contact information to a potential employer. Ask them if they will give a good recommendation, tell them about the job, and let them know what specific skills or qualities they should relay to the hiring manager.

4. Provide both an email and phone number for each reference to your potential employer so she can both call and email the references. This will double the chances of connecting to the references and ensure a quicker response.

5. Go above and beyond! If your potential employer asks for three references, provide six. This is powerful. Not only will over-providing quicken the process but will show what a strong professional you are.

Background checks are a different beast and many people believe they cannot have a positive impact to the results of a background check…especially if they have a criminal record. I would disagree! Here are some recruiting tips on how to ensure a positive outcome to any background check:

1. Employment History: This is the number one area I see people making mistakes. If you ignore every other recruitment tip in this article, please pay attention to this one:

Never stretch your employment dates to make it look like you don’t have gaps in employment. A background check will verify your dates of employment and if you stated you were working “until Present” but you were really let go 6 months ago, this will cost you the job opportunity. If you have employment gaps, explain them, but don’t hide them (for more information on how to handle employment gaps, go here)!

Never fib about your job title. If you were a Research Assistant, don’t state you were a Project Manager. If you performed some Project Management tasks, list those responsibilities, but don’t stretch your actual title.

Never pad your last compensation. This will not ensure a higher salary for your next position! The background check will uncover your last several salaries and you do not want to put yourself in the position of having misled anyone; this will cost you the job offer!

2. Education: Never fib about your education on your resume. If you didn’t get that degree, don’t make it look like you did! I would also recommend you not be vague on your resume about your education, certifications, or training. Be open and honest about your qualifications.

3. Credit history, driving records and your criminal and court records: A negative response to any of these areas during a background check can be devastating. My recommendation is to be upfront about any issues before the background check is performed…actually the earlier in the clinical recruitment hiring process you tell the recruiter and the hiring manager, the better!

I hope you found this article useful.

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts

Related Articles:

Are you considering a career change? We specialize in the placement of clinical research associates. You can sign up for our Job Seeker email course which provides valuable insight into how to become more competitive in the marketplace.

How to Write an Effective Resume

Clinical RecruitmentA resume is your opportunity to be on the center stage, under the spotlight, in front of a captivated audience. Turn that spotlight into a highlight by shining yourself in the BEST light! Writing a resume can be a daunting task, but it is one of the best investments you can make in finding your next job opportunity. It’s your calling card – make sure you are heard! Here are some recruiting tips for clinical research associates that are easy and simple enough to get you on your way to writing an effective resume.

Address – If you are wary about having your physical address on your resume, at least include your city, state and zip code. Recruitment Tip: Recruiting companies search for clinical research associates in their databases by their zip codes. Give yourself the opportunity to pop up in searches so you are contacted for open positions. Get yourself seen!

Accomplishments – One of the best ways to make your resume shine is to change the commonly used term “responsibilities included” to “accomplishments included”. It is important to highlight what you accomplished, not just list your responsibilities. Position your resume to be a predictor to hiring managers of your work ethic and capabilities, thus showing value. Recruitment Tip: Recruiters and Hiring Managers have far more resumes of clinical research associates to look at than open positions so make it easy for them to find the accomplishments they are looking for.

Summary – Make your summary short and sweet by clearly stating your goals with a sense of direction. A summary is an additive, not the meat of the resume, so keep it short. Recruitment Tip: Make sure your resume summary is in alignment to your career objectives and the position for which you are applying.

Look – The last thing you want is a negative distraction to this beautifully crafted and polished masterpiece you’ve taken so much time putting together. Formatting is one of the quickest killers of simplicity and ease. All the fancy tables, grids, and graphics are a quick way to get your resume passed up! Additionally, always put your document in Word and not in PDF form. Recruitment Tip: Good recruiting firms will reformat your resume before submitting it to a client. Tables, grids and PDF’s are a nightmare to work with. Be a Teacher’s Pet, and make it a joy to represent you!

Paper – Save yourself the money of using fancy paper. Hiring managers agree that parchment paper and the like come across as pretentious and novice. Brightly colored paper will make you stand out…in a bad way, as colored paper is as equally frowned upon as fancy paper stock, and if a copy needs be made, colored paper can come out poorly. Present yourself as a serious, solid candidate, sans the bells and whistles. Your resume content should be the only bells and whistles needed!

Tailor -Always tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying…point for point. Additionally, never underestimate the value of a well written cover letter describing how you have hand selected this job opportunity and why you believe you are a perfect match for the position and for the company.

Written by Martina Martin

Investing in a Lifetime of Success

Angela Roberts

Related articles:

Are you considering a career change? We specialize in the placement of clinical research associates. You can sign up for our Job Seeker email course which provides valuable insight into how to become more competitive in the marketplace.