To conduct a clinical trial requires meticulous planning from establishing a budget all the way through to picking the right site. Once the site has been picked, sponsors have to hire the right people to carry out the trial itself. So what should companies consider when hiring personnel for a clinical trial? Below are four tips companies should consider when hiring new staff.

1) Set your strategy

So you’re looking to hire a team of clinical research associates for a new study. To get things moving, first ask yourself, what do you want your team to look like? The team you put together should be a reflection on yourself as the manager and your management philosophy. Then consider whether you want to hire from within your organization, or hire people from outside who will bring fresh ideas and impetus. More crucially, assess whether you want to mould and develop new personnel or if you want to hire for immediate impact. Hiring new personnel can be an arduous process at the best of times, so companies must set a strategy that weighs up what skills, competencies, and attitudes you will hire for.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

2) Create a hiring process

As mentioned above, not only is hiring new employees arduous, it can also prove costly, both in terms of time and money spent. Therefore, it’s important sponsors create a hiring process that’s thorough and efficient. Draw a list of requirements, creating a profile of the ideal candidate. A strategy for sourcing then needs to be developed and implemented, reviewing resumes of potential hires. When dealing with a large pool of applicants, job requirements must be as specific as possible (e.g. candidates must be a native English speaker) to whittle the list of prospects further. Also, prepare and conduct candidate pre-assessments before moving ahead with interviews. Once they’re complete, perform reference checks, make the employment offer, and notify all unsuccessful candidates.

Always be mindful of the price of hiring the wrong person. Often picking the wrong candidate can mean the loss of an opportunity, time wasted training a new employee, and so forth. That incurs the cost of having to interview again and starting over from scratch. So to reiterate, create a hiring process that is thought through and executed methodically.

3) Acknowledge benefits of behavioral interviews

Once you’ve selected eligible candidates, the interview process can begin in earnest. There are many ways in which employers can sternly examine a person’s suitability. One such way is by adopting the STAR interview technique which assesses a candidate’s behavioral attitudes. It is based on the idea that you are who you are from an early age, and on the notion that how you react in certain situations will determine how you respond to similar circumstances in the future.

In the interview, make sure your questions are open-ended and framed in a way that allows you to judge your candidate’s thought process. STAR is broken down as such:

  • Situation: “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a crisis”
  • Task: ”What was the job at hand?”
  • Action: “Describe the steps you took to resolve the issue?”
  • Result:  “What was the eventual outcome?”

Often by looking at a person’s resume, you always see what they’ve achieved, without necessarily knowing how they achieved it. Conducting a STAR interview enables you do that, and affords you the chance to gauge a candidate’s mental quickness through how well they think on the spot. Also, in asking open-ended questions, you generate discussion and build a rapport with the candidate, making them feel more at ease.

4) Interview Logistics

In advance of meeting candidates for the first time, it goes without saying that employers must do due diligence. Do your homework, prepare questions, and be prepared to answer questions candidates likely have for you. As for the structure of the interview itself, consider carrying out the following steps:

  • Introduction – Begin by getting candidates to loosen up, explaining how the interview will proceed. Be clear to the interviewee that they will have the opportunity to pose questions at the end
  • Questions – When asking questions, apply scrutiny. Be sure to ask ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where’ and ‘how.’ If a candidate refers to a successful achievement, ask how it was achieved as well as what steps they took to make it a success
  • Observations – Notice how fast the interviewee is to think of examples. Observe how lucid their thought process is. Do they have strong communication skills? Or are their answers long-winded? The smallest signs can offer a major insight into a person’s character
  • Finalization – At this stage, ensure you’ve been through each step of the STAR process. Are there any more theoretical questions that need to be asked? Make sure no stone is left unturned
  • Open the floor to their questions – As you approach the end of the interview, turn the tables and let the candidate ask questions of you. At this stage, be upfront and answer truthfully. Bear in mind the kinds of questions they ask, such as salary expectations. If the salary is the first thing they ask about, make a note. Try and gain a sense of what motivates them
  • Ending – At the conclusion, clarify what will happen next. If it’s your intention inform a candidate of your final decision in a matter of days, stick to that pledge. Thank them for their participation, and be sure to leave a strong impression of your company

In an industry where it’s becoming increasingly harder to retain employees, finding eligible candidates begets added pressure as companies seek people willing to commit to the long haul. Although applying these simple steps might not be a panacea, it can go a long way in recruiting people who are the right fit for your organization.

If you’re a company looking for new employees, be sure to visit the CTA Jobs Board. CTA can list your jobs by offering unique packages that can help your company gain maximum exposure to your target market.



Paul Adams

Head of Sponsorship Sales

Arena International Events Group

T: +44 207 936 6948




Best Practices in Hiring Clinical Trial-related Personnel, John Wheatley, MultiPharma