Answer me this… Are you ever fully prepared for an interview?
Let’s face it, no matter how much you prepare for an interview, there will always be something that catches you out.
So, when working in a specialised area, the shear amount of preparation you must put in pre-interview is important to your success.
Take Medical Writing for example, whether you are 1, 5 or even 10 years into your career, do you fully know what to expect during an interview?
We conducted a recent poll on LinkedIn, asking the Medical Writers in our network how they find the interview process when going for a new position. We found that 47% of the people that engaged were new to Medical Writing as a career, and apprehensive about the interview process.
Here at Focus on Life Science, we want to help our candidates feel as if they are fully prepared for their upcoming interview.
As you can imagine, googling ‘what to expect in an interview for a Medical Writer’ produced a plethora of results, giving you the top 25, 40 or even 65 (!) questions to expect. We have done the hard work for you; we’ve whittled it down to 15 of the most conventional, weird and wonderful questions that you could expect when attending a Medical Writing interview.
How do you aim to succeed as a Medical Writer?
There are many different routes you can go down in Medical Writing, so you should have an idea of how you want your career path to pan out. If you are especially new to the role, ask advice from colleagues or peers who are more experienced than you. The more questions you ask, the more you will be able to learn about potential career paths as a Medical Writer. Using your LinkedIn network is also a great way to see how other Medical Writers careers have panned out. As mentioned before, there are many different routes you can go down, so you want to do as much research as you can to ensure the route you chose is the right one for you.
How do you think a former employer would describe you?
One thing to remember with this answer is to be honest. The interviewer will be calling for a reference should you be successful. You want to answer this question with confidence and integrity.
What would you say is your biggest weakness in Medical Writing?
Nobody’s perfect, and the interviewer knows this. If you can recognise a weakness this shows the interviewer that you are willing and able to improve your Medical Writing skills. Being able to understand your weaknesses also shows that you are self-aware and can show accountability. Accepting your weaknesses can enable you to build greater connections with others, showing vulnerability and the willing to better yourself is appreciated by others as it shows strength and determination.
Can you continue your studies and training simultaneously?
Generally speaking, companies like people who want to continue their learning and develop their skillset. If you intend to continue your studies, make sure you let them know, and talk about how you plan to juggle work and your studies. Has there ever been a time in your past where you have done just that? Explain how you managed to balance your work and personal development.
Between 1-5, how would you rate your writing skills?
Think about your answer carefully. Say ‘1’ and you are putting yourself down. Say ‘5’ and you’re describing yourself as perfect and at the top of your game. You will then need to prove this should you be successful!
Have you published any articles?
Answer with confidence. If you have, show them an example of your work and explain further. If you haven’t, that’s OK as well, but be prepared to talk about what you’d like to publish if given the opportunity.
What are some publication guidelines?
There are certain guidelines and principles that need to be followed when writing medical documents. Medical writing is a serious responsibility and requires a high level of ethical standards and professionalism. In the field of medical science, integrity is a core value that is emphasised by various organisations. You need to be able to articulate some of the guidelines to the interviewer and show that you are a viable Medical Writer.
What do you know about proofreading?
This question is used to gauge your understanding of basic writing skills. Proofreading involves reviewing a piece of writing for any spelling or grammatical errors, and is a skill that Medical Writers should be proficient in. Click here for a detailed document about bettering your proofreading skills as a Medical Writer.
What interested you to go for Medical Writing jobs?
The purpose of this question is to determine if you are interested in the profession of Medical Writer. Medical Writers work with Scientists, Doctors, and Subject Matter Experts on related documents. Medical Writers assist them with research articles, reviews, etc. Medical Writers tend to be passionate about medicine, publishing manuals, health journal brochures, etc., thus they have inside knowledge.
What are your strengths as a medical writer?
This is an opportunity to really sell yourself to your prospective employer. Remember, anything you say must be backed up by examples.
How many bones are there in the adult human body?
Yes, you did read this right! There is a method behind this type of question; the interviewer wants to know about your basic medical knowledge… the answer is 206.
Swat up on your basic medical knowledge, you never know what might be asked! Here is a website with 100 medical trivia questions and answers. Check it out, you might learn something new!
What do you know about the drug development process?
The drug development process is familiar to Medical Writers who work on clinical research and regulatory documents. To write safety reports, you need to understand the drug safety process and the different regulatory authorities’ requirements on safety reporting.
Step 1: Discovery and Development.
Step 2: Preclinical Research.
Step 3: Clinical Research.
Step 4: FDA Drug Review.
Step 5: FDA Post-Market Drug Safety Monitoring.
How do you apply ISO 9001 to medical writing?
ISO 9001 is a tool to control the process and quality system that every end product should meet. Medical device manufacturers must comply with the international standard for quality management systems. You can get a more in-depth explanation by clicking here.
What is your understanding of what a medical communications agency does?
A medical communications agency is an independent company that works closely with pharmaceutical organisations that research and develop drugs. They will design, create, and deliver materials across all channels, which includes everything from event planning to developing a complete marketing plan.
Why should we hire you?
The question that 99% of people dread! This question could make or break your whole interview. It is essential that you are prepared at all costs to answer this question correctly. Your main goal is to illustrate the most compelling reasons to hire you. You can summarise your entire interview in this statement. You want to show them that you have the skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. Explain why hiring you will make life easier for them and how you will be a great asset to their team. But remember to back your answer up with examples!
So, there you have it, 15 questions that you could expect during an interview for your next medical writing position. Were they what you expected? Did any surprise you?
Contact Focus on Life Science today if you are looking for your next role. Remember we are more than just recruiters – we are career coaches too, helping you prepare to be your best!