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Friday, October 12, 2007

The Offer(s)

I'm sitting in the airport heading home from my interview. I hope this will be the last interview for a while. Every 6 months I get the urge to switch jobs so I finally just chose a job that changes every 6 months, Clinical Research Associate (CRA). A CRA is responsible for traveling to MD offices, hospitals, and academic centers to ensure that clinical research for new drugs and devices is being completed in compliance with federal guidelines and International standards. I verify that subject's rights are being protected at all times and that the study is being carried out as designed across numerous or individual study sites. Clinical trials end and new ones begin all the time so the job definitely changes frequently.

I've been working in the industry for a few years and I know that CRAs at Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) get to work on a variety of different studies and the job is always different because you travel and work for all types of sponsors (pharmaceutical or biotech companies of all sizes) so I have spent the last few months identifying, researching, and applying to specifically these types of companies.

I now have two offers to consider. Company A pays $5K more than my current employer and company B is offering $10K more. The benefits are more or less matched but the corporate culture is different. Company B has around 4,000 employees and plans to double by 2010 as opposed to Company A that only has 400 employees (but also planning to double in size). Both positions are called regional positions which means I would set up a home office and work there .5-1 day each week. Every other day I would be flying or driving to different clinical trial sites or the corporate CRO site for training and development. Company A will need me to travel all over the US and probably Internationally (I still like flying). Company B will keep me close to home but this means I will have to drive more (I hate driving).

I have one week to decide so now the adventure begins!


Anonymous said...

Hello Nadia,

I am recently looking for CRA I oppurtunities, and came across your blog. I wanted to say it was very helpful and also interesting. If possible could you please tell me about the job interview and how to prepare.As for your information, I completed an online CRA training and have 6 months experience as In-House.I have Masters In Biotechnology.

I appreciate your advice.

Nadia said...

Hi Samantha, Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have a really great foundation to start your CRA career. I should mention that depending on what part of the country you are in, there is no substitute for demonstrating commitment and longevity by staying with the same employer for a long period of time. Be wary of jumping ship after only 6 months in-house... That said, I made a lot of moves early in my career for salary reasons and to find the right mix of opportunities and challenges. However, this will definitely be a question at any interview, "Why did you leave employer X after only 6 months?" My advice is that if your move is defensible and strategic then don't hesitate.

Here on the West coast, this type of movement is well-tolerated (sometimes even viewed as an asset surprisingly), but I wonder if my series of different employers might make things more difficult for me if I ever move back to the East coast and need to apply for a new position. Time will tell.

I am happy to provide more specific advice in regards to preparing and aceing an interview (I have a lot of experience in this area and would be delighted to pass it on to you all). I have noted this as a topic for a future installment and promise to post it within the next few months. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hello Nadia,

First of all thank you very much for responding.Your advice was so precious and I felt very excited to see your reply.I am from Mid-west area and I left the position, because I was pregnant. Actually I have very less monitoring experience.

I applied for CRA I position and I had an interview with HR recently and she asked whether in my monitoring visits I had faced a problem where my project manager has to come to the site especially during AE's. Can you please tell me the process of handling such AE's.

And also please tell me how to prepare for the technical interview, and what topics do I need to concentrate. Do I need to go through the FDA regulations?
I am following CRA guide to monitoring book.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nadia,
your blog is extremely helpful! Cant thank you enough! If at all possible please give some information on therapuetic area's, how determined, discussions about this during interviews. Also training offered upon accepting an entry level position.

Thanks for all of your help & advise.

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