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Accelsiors CRO Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Darby Faubion
Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice.

Question 1 of 30

Have you ever participated in efforts to secure funding for clinical research?

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Accelsiors CRO Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Have you ever participated in efforts to secure funding for clinical research?

      Clinical trials can be sponsored or funded by a variety of organizations or individuals including physicians, medical institutions, foundations, voluntary groups, and pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), Human Health and Services (HHS), and the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) support some clinical trials. If you have experience grant writing or using other experience to secure funding, this could be a plus. Share any knowledge or experience you have.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I have some experience, but not a lot, with regard to grant-writing. I worked with someone previously who did some grant-writing for a long-term care facility. I tried to learn as much as I could from her and would love the opportunity to learn more."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "Unfortunately, the finance side of trials has never been a place where I've had an opportunity to work. I understand that funding comes from various places and I am not opposed to learning about ways to secure funding and offer assistance in any way I can."

  2. 2.

    CROs work with multiple clients nationally and internationally, which means employees are often expected to juggle time zones and adhere to the sponsor's tight deadlines. What are some things you do to help manage your time efficiently?

      Because CROs are contracted to work for other companies, details such as time zone differences can often play a big role in scheduling. The interviewer wants to know that you are able to juggle multiple tasks within an allotted time frame. Share some ways you keep yourself organized during a work day.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I have worked with clients internationally and understand the important of accurate scheduling. Before beginning any new project, I always like to verify the differences in time zones, what specific duties I will be expected to carry out and the deadline for each. I then create a schedule on computer with daily reminders that I check each morning and make sure I am on schedule."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I like to stay on track with projects. I am a visual learner and because of that, I make a schedule on paper and keep it in a place that is visible (desktop/bulletin board, etc). As I complete a task, I mark it off and move to the next."

  3. 3.

    If you were the person responsible for hiring at Accelsiors CRO, what characteristics would you look for in a candidate, and do you feel that you possess those traits?

      There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers. In the field of research, I feel we have to hold one another to a high standard of accountability. We are responsible for reporting vital information to sponsors/companies and for caring for the candidates involved in our research. Also, yes, I do believe I possess these qualities. I strive very hard to make sure that I don't ask something of others that I am not willing to give in return."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "There are many characteristics that I feel are important when considering to hire someone. Personal accountability and a willingness to learn from and contribute to a team are extremely important, in my opinion. I do believe I possess these qualities."

  4. 4.

    Do you have an understanding of what a 'control' or 'control group' is?

      A control is the standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo. If you have worked with clinical trials/observations, you will have a clear understanding of what the 'control' or 'control group' is. If you have not, say what you do know. In most cases, an interviewer will know if you already have clinical trial experience and will know where to guide you with a question like this.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "Yes, I do understand the importance of a 'control/control group' in trials. I assisted with documentation for a clinical trial when I worked at XYZ. Part of my responsibilities included monitoring the differences in vital signs of the patients who were given a placebo as compared to those who were taking the trial drug."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I am familiar with a control/control group. It is my understanding that when a clinical trials is being conducted, some participants are given the trial drug while the 'control group' is given either the standard treatment or a placebo, but that only the person administering the drug knows who is receiving which."

  5. 5.

    At the end of the day, what makes you feel like you have done a good job or have been successful?

      Everyone wants to have a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. The interviewer wants to know what makes you have that feeling. Knowing what makes you feel accomplished tells the interviewer a lot about you and the kind of work ethic you have. Be open about the things that make you feel like you have done a job well.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "At the end of the day, I am happy knowing I have participated in a job/study that made a difference for someone. For instance, monitoring a clinical trial for a new medication that had great results for the participants. That makes me feel fulfilled."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I feel like any day that I can go to work and give my best to my co-workers, patients, and anyone I meet is a day that I have been successful. Clinical trials happen every day. Life happens one day at a time. I try to live my life to the best of my ability each day."

  6. 6.

    Are you familiar with what a protocol is with regard to clinical research?

      Understanding common terminology used in research is important. It may seem like an interviewer is asking simple questions, but basic knowledge and understanding is crucial. Give your definition of 'protocol' to the interviewer.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "A protocol is the plan that the clinical trial is based upon. It describes the details regarding what people may participate in the trial as well as tests, medications, and length of the study."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "Yes, I am familiar with the term 'protocol.' With regard to clinical trials, it is the guide or plan that describes how a trial is to be carried out. It lists what types of patients may participate, what tests or procedures need to be done, the medications, dosages, etc. that need to be monitored."

  7. 7.

    Do you know what pharmacokinetic studies are?

      Being able to identify different areas of study within clinical research is essential for researchers. When an interviewer asks a question like, 'do you know....,' or 'are you familiar...,' share the knowledge you have, but be careful not to try to embellish your knowledge with facts that are not sure of.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "Yes, I am familiar with pharmakokinetic studies. We always called them 'clinical pharmacology studies.' These trials are used to test the methods of administration for a drug/treatment, it's frequency and safety."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I do know about pharmakokinetic studies. They are sometimes referred to as or clinical pharmacology studies. They usually involve between 20-80 healthy participants and are designed to test methods of administering the treatment (e.g. by mouth, injection, etc.) and how often, as well as the safety of the treatment."

  8. 8.

    What is something that causes you stress at work and how do you try to overcome it?

      Stress is inevitable no matter what profession one chooses. It's how we deal with it that makes a difference. The interviewer, therefore, is not looking for you to answer saying that nothing stresses you, but rather to show that you are able to control stress and work through it.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I think we all experience stress in different ways. One of the most experienced work-related stress, for me, is not being able to give everyone the results that they want in a clinical trial. Although it is frustrating, I am also mature enough to know that if we don't succeed at something today, tomorrow we can try again."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I think I cause myself more stress than any external event or situation. I say that because I put a great deal of pressure on myself to be successful and see things through to the end. As researchers we don't always get the results we are hoping for. I have to remind myself that that is why we do research. We search, and then we re-search."

  9. 9.

    Contract Research Organizations such as Accelsiors CRO employ people from many different backgrounds with a variety of skills. Have you ever worked with a very diverse group of people?

      When working for a CRO, diversity among peers and clients should be expected. Some people are intimidated when faced with learning new cultures and beliefs, but in the healthcare industry, it is crucial to provide effective care. The interviewer wants to know that you are open to meeting and learning about new people and becoming an integral part of the team. Be positive with your response.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "The largest diverse group I worked with was probably when I did my clinical rotation at University Medical Center. I was afforded the opportunity to meet people from different cultures, religions, and professional backgrounds. It gave me an eye-opening experience of how many wonderful people there are!"

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I think diversity in the healthcare industry is essential. People from all over the world now call our country their home. I believe learning about and showing an appreciation for people from different walks of life only makes us stronger as we build upon the common bond of caring for others."

  10. 10.

    What are some reasons that you feel participation in a clinical trial are a positive decision?

      This question is asking for your opinion, but it is important to remember when you are giving your opinion, make sure that it is supported by facts. This will show the interviewer you are knowledgeable about the topic of discussion.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I believe that participants in clinical trials play a key role in drug development and discovery. Clinical trials contribute to knowledge and progress in treating and preventing diseases. Most importantly, participants can help others by contributing to medical knowledge and improving public health."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "For many patients, participating in a clinical trial may be one of their last options for beneficial treatment for a disease."

  11. 11.

    If a trial participant asks you to explain what a placebo is and why it may be used, what would your answer be?

      As mentioned before, understanding terminology is very important, especially when dealing with medical issues/patients. This is another question that the interviewer will use to test your knowledge and ability to express that knowledge to someone else in a manner that they can understand.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I would explain to the participant that a placebo is an inactive pill, liquid or powder that has no treatment value. I will further explain that in a placebo controlled trial, some portion of the participants will receive placebo instead of an active drug or experimental treatment and that this is done to assess the experimental treatment's effectiveness and safety versus no treatment at all."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I will tell the participant that a placebo is a liquid, powder, or pill that has no treatment value and that is used in clinical trials to help determine the difference between the active drug or experiment compared to no treatment at all."

  12. 12.

    Accelsiors CRO is supportive of our employee's continuing education efforts. Have you ever thought of going back to school? Accelsiors CRO is supportive of employees who want to continue their education. Have you ever thought of going back to school?

      While Accelsiors CRO Ltd. may be supportive of an employee who chooses to continue his/her education, that is not to say that you are required to say you want to return to school. This is simply one of those 'get to know you' questions. Share your thoughts with the interviewer.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I am very supportive of people who want to continue their education. For me, I feel like I have come to a place in career where I am happy with where I am. Notwithstanding, if Accelsiors CRO Ltd. has courses or certifications that are encouraged for employees to take, I would definitely be willing. I just don't see myself going back to school for 3 or 4 years."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I have entertained the idea of continuing my education. However, circumstances have not ended with me in school. I love research and am very happy with my career at this point."

  13. 13.

    If you had your choice of a research project to work with, what would you choose?

      The world of research is very broad which gives those wanting to experience different areas of specialty great opportunities. CROs work with several different sponsors/companies on various projects. Knowing what interests you will help the interviewer try to find placement for you that best your skills or interest.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "Research is such an exciting industry. If I had a choice, I would love to work on any project that has to do with cancer research. Cancer is a dreadful diagnosis and I would love to have some part in helping to find better ways to treat and hopefully cure it."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I have always wanted to work in research, but I really don't know if I have a favorite or preferred area. Things change so quickly within our industry that I feel like any area I work in would be exciting."

  14. 14.

    Are you familiar with the difference between diagnostic trials and screening trials?

      Knowing the differences of various types of trials is important for those working in research. Because there is such a variety of different trials, there is often opportunity to work on more than one. Many researchers have stated that they like this option as it gives them the chance to learn more and not experience 'burn out' as easily. If you know the difference in the trials in this question, elaborate on them briefly. If you are not sure, it's ok to say so and ask the interviewer to differentiate for you.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "Diagnostic trials are conducted to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular disease or condition. Screening trials, on the test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "Although I am rather new to the research industry, based on the names of the two trials you mentioned, I would think that diagnostic trials look for better ways to diagnose illness while screening trials are aimed at ways to diagnose disease."

  15. 15.

    If a patient wants to participate in a clinical trial but wants the physician conducting the experiment to provide all of his care during the time the trial is being conducted, what would be the most appropriate advice?

      Most clinical trials provide short-term treatments related to a designated illness or condition, but do not provide extended or complete primary health care. In addition, by having the health care provider work with the research team, the participant can ensure that other medications or treatments will not conflict with the protocol. The interviewer is not asking for 'facts,' but rather how you would relate directly with a patient who is making this request.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I understand that many patients prefer to not see multiple physicians. However, it is important for patients participating in clinical trials to be educated about the role of the staff conducting the trial. For example, the medication or therapy that is used for a clinical trial is usually focused on a specific illness/disease. It is important for patients to follow-up and have continued care with their primary physician. Additionally, providers who are conducting clinical trials find it beneficial to have communication with the primary physician so that we can work together for the best outcome for the patient."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I have always been taught that patients are advised to continue regular follow-ups and care for non-trial related medical issues with their primary care provider. Also, the research teams I have been a part of have always made it a priority to collaborate with the primary physician. First of all, it is a professional courtesy. Further, the open line of communication allows the healthcare team and patient to work together more effectively."

  16. 16.

    Are you familiar with what 'expanded access' means?

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  17. 17.

    What made you choose a career in research?

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  18. 18.

    What would you tell a patient who is asking some of the things he/she should expect while participating in a clinical trial?

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  19. 19.

    Accelsiors CRO likes to encourage a healthy work/life balance. What are some things you like to do make sure you have a healthy balance between work and your personal life?

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  20. 20.

    Knowing that both CROs and pharmaceutical companies conduct research and trials, what do you think may be an of advantage working with a CRO rather than seeking employment with a large pharmaceutical company?

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  21. 21.

    What are some of the risks associated with being a participant in a clinical trial?

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  22. 22.

    Accelsiors CRO tries to accommodate employees with regard to scheduling preferences as much as possible. Is there a particular schedule that would a better fit with your personal/family responsibilities?

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  23. 23.

    With regard to salary, Accelsiors CRO tries to be fair to all employees. However, salary is often commensurate with experience. What are your thoughts regarding someone working the same job as you being paid a higher rate due to experience level?

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  24. 24.

    While Accelsiors CRO likes to employ people who have plans to work for us long-term, it is understandable that sometimes plans change. Do you anticipate any significant changes in your life within the next 3-5 years?

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  25. 25.

    What is a 'controlled' clinical trial?

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  26. 26.

    Do you understand what a 'double-blind' trial is?

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  27. 27.

    What are some things that you would like for others to notice about your personality?

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  28. 28.

    What are your thoughts regarding people who become participants in a clinical trial but leave before the trial ends?

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  29. 29.

    Can you think of a time you had a disagreement with a boss or co-worker, and if so, how was it resolved?

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  30. 30.

    What do you think your best and worst qualities are?

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