There are several difficult tasks you’ll need to manage in your roles as a senior CRA, and being prepared for anything the interviewer might throw at you will significantly boost your chances of success.
Here are the top questions to prepare for in your senior CRA interview:
- Describe a time you made an error and how you fixed it
- How do you maintain integrity in clinical research?
- Are you detail-oriented?
- What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
- How capable are you of working with other team members?
- How do you manage your work-life balance?
- Can you present research well?
These questions are meant to assess your skill working in a group setting on tasks that require a lot of focus and teamwork.
When you answer these questions, don’t be afraid to mention your past experiences and how they have helped prepare you for this position.
The rest of this article will dive into these top questions interviewers ask senior CRAs and provide sample answers to point you in the right direction.
Senior Clinical Research Associate Interview Questions and Answers
1. Describe a time you made an error and how you fixed it.
Learning is a big part of the experience.
When it comes to the numerous roles you’ll need to fill as a senior CRA, it’s almost guaranteed that your interviewer will ask you about your shortcomings in the past as an opportunity for you to demonstrate growth.
Back when I was a research assistant, there were times when I’d use the wrong pipette size.
However, my experience with how the amounts appear in the right pipette has helped me improve tremendously and avoid this common error.
2. How do you maintain integrity in clinical research?
Integrity is extremely important in a clinical research setting, which is why you, as the senior CRA, must be the first one to play by the rulebook and disallow any unethical practices.
Maintaining integrity in research is of the utmost importance, which is why I always clarify requests from my superiors when they don’t appear to follow clinical research guidelines.
At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to report unethical behavior to my supervisors.
3. Are you detail-oriented?
As simple as it may seem, this question is incredibly important to researchers since it highlights both your skill and passion for the very detailed and time-consuming work you’re going to be doing as a senior CRA.
When you answer this question, make sure to outline how your practices in the scientific field represent your detail-oriented mindset, as well as how those skills help you perform your job well.
I am very focused and have always been excellent at spotting patterns and details that others miss.
It’s what got me into clinical research in the first place – the thrill of scientific exploration and the chance to dive deep into the details in a hands-on setting.
4. What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
As a senior CRA, you’ll be responsible for overseeing numerous projects and managing a lot of subordinates.
As such, you’ll want to refer to:
- your prior experiences,
- how you’ve grown from them,
- and how they qualify you to be a senior CRA.
I’ve always had a great passion for clinical research, and that passion has paired well with my commitment to ethical research and my detail-oriented mindset.
Not only do I have several years of projects as a CRA under my belt, but I’ve also developed my interpersonal skills a great deal in the last few years of my career.
5. How capable are you of working with other team members?
Building relationships with your team members is important for several reasons.
First, it inspires the team to hold themselves accountable the same way you do.
Second, it allows you to assess their level of proficiency and delegate tasks effectively to move the project along.
As such, a large part of your job will be conducting and administering the clinical trials by clinical standards, while communicating the progression of the trials to your higher-ups.
I’ll admit, when I first started working in clinical research, I didn’t realize just how important communication was to the success of the team as a whole.
Having served in an administrative role for the past several years, my interpersonal skills have become a valuable asset in recognizing and lauding responsible team members, as well as managing the morale and effectiveness of the team as a whole.
6. How do you manage your work-life balance?
Senior CRAs often have to work long hours, manage multiple projects, and deal with lots of workplace conflicts.
A stressed-out senior CRA reflects poorly on the project’s success, and your interviewer will likely ask you this question to determine how reliable you are at maintaining a healthy balance.
I always try to motivate myself at work by seeing the larger goal I am working towards and demonstrating compassion towards my team members.
To focus on myself, I allocate time to exercise and socialize with friends outside the workplace to destress from the project.
Doing so helps me reset and feel more refreshed going into work the next day.
7. Can you present research well?
Part of your role as a senior CRA is to present research to people who aren’t familiar with technical or clinical jargon.
As such, your ability to communicate progress in simple layman’s terms is important.
I’ve had the privilege of presenting several project reports to my sponsors and project managers, and I always try to keep simplicity in mind by asking the question: “What’s the bottom line?”
Conclusion: Interview Questions for Senior CRAs
Preparing for an interview can set you on edge, but if you’ve got the skills for the job, then don’t be afraid to refer to:
- your past experiences,
- your role in the success of past projects,
- and your enthusiasm for working for the company in the future.
Doing so will give you better odds of landing a senior CRA job.
Best of luck with your upcoming senior CRA interview!
Related articles of ours: