Rethink Recruiting

Top Degree Paths for a Career in Pharma

Clinical research in the pharma industry is growing, particularly in the United States, Europe, India, and China. Because the industry covers such an enormous range of products, there’s no single template you can use against a job candidate to determine if they’re right for such a career. Much will depend on whether you’re hiring for clinical or non-clinical positions.

It’s not uncommon for hiring managers in the pharmaceutical industry to work with a pharmaceutical recruiter when it’s time to fill important employment positions. Training a clinical researcher represents a major investment of time and resources, and hiring mistakes can be astonishingly costly, so a specialty recruiter has to understand each client’s desired mix of skills, experience, and network to be able to deliver great candidates.

Clinical Roles in Clinical Research

In many cases, clinical research positions are filled by people with clinical degrees: doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and pharmacists, for example. The PharmD with an industry internship can be a coveted pick for hiring managers in the pharmaceutical industry. Depending on the product being clinically tested, the specific expertise of a registered dietician or a physiotherapist may be required in some cases. The right specialty recruiter will understand the various roles you’re hiring for and which degree holders are appropriate for consideration.

Nonclinical Roles in Clinical Research

While the clinical roles of the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or life sciences graduate are obviously in demand for clinical research projects, some roles may be entirely non-clinical. A data manager, for example, is more likely to have an IT background, while a regulatory specialist may have a background in the legal field. Clinical safety officers may have clinical backgrounds, but they may also have industrial engineering or other safety-related educational and professional experience.

Clinical Degrees with Excellent Interpersonal Skills Are Sought After

Clinical research is often fast-paced, yet there is little room for mistakes, which means effective communication is essential. So in addition to the hard clinical or data skills required on a research team, no less important are “soft” skills like communication, flexibility, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions.

Sometimes clinical degrees lead to careers in pharmaceutical sales or research.

Many times, finding the right person for a clinical research position requires locating someone with an unorthodox combination of educational credentials and work experience. It takes a committed recruiter with a thorough understanding of what is involved in clinical research to know what to look for.

A Relevant Degree Plus a Genuine Love for Science

One way or the other, the person who is going to succeed in a clinical research career has to possess both a relevant degree and a genuine love for science. Clinical research may have similarities to other types of scientific research, but it’s generally research that has the potential to dramatically change people’s lives, so the people carrying it out must always remain cognizant of their responsibility. Furthermore, it’s the type of research that requires interacting with people – some of whom may be seriously ill, so excellent interpersonal skills are essential as well.

Putting Together the Right Clinical Research Team

It would be easier if there were a checklist of skills, degrees, or work experiences that were standard for professionals in the clinical research sector. But the fact is, clinical research jobs vary widely, and it’s always important to find the right fit for the job rather than trying to shoehorn someone in who is “mostly” right for the position. The successful pharmaceutical clinical research recruiter knows it’s a tricky balance, but has the resources and networks to be able to find these people – a luxury many hiring managers simply don’t have.

The hiring manager in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry can typically hire faster and hire better by working with a specialty recruiter. The right recruiter is able to reach out even to coveted “passive job candidates” (those who are successfully employed, but open to the right opportunity) and make the case for your organization, saving you time and helping you ultimately make hiring decisions for clinical research that take your organization further. Get in touch if we can be of help in your candidate search.

About Rethink Recruiting

The recruiting landscape is changing as a result of technology, culture, and the increasing demands for unique skills and experience in emerging fields. Rethink Recruiting provides insights about trends and strategies to maximize your talent potential.

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