how to hire a drug safety specialist.

how to hire a drug safety specialist.

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Hiring a drug safety specialist — also known as a pharmacovigilance (PV) specialist — is going to be an interesting challenge for life sciences organizations over the next five years. Though labor-insights provider Burning Glass reports that there were fewer than 700 job postings for this position over the past 12 months, demand for this role in 2020 is expected to grow — and fast. 

So how can you attract strong candidates to fill these specialized and growing positions in an easy and effective way?

Here's a simple checklist to consult when looking for the right drug safety specialist for your company:

Ready to see how you can put this checklist into action? Read on for easy ways to enhance your recruitment strategy today.

1. speed up your hiring process

According to Burning Glass, the average time to fill a drug safety specialist role over the past year was 40 days. However, with top life sciences professionals going off the job market in as little as 10 days, you'll need to move fast as demand for this role increases and qualified candidates have more opportunities to consider. 

If you're taking more than the average 40 days to bring on new drug safety specialists, start by looking at your internal process so you can remedy these types of inefficiencies before you start missing out on top talent.

2. develop a competitive compensation package

Is your current salary and compensation package competitive for today's drug safety specialists? If you're not sure, use Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide to determine where your organization stands in this evolving job market. And be sure to use our salary calculator to see the latest data on pay rates for drug safety specialists (as well as a number of other life sciences roles) in your specific market.

But there's more to compensation than salaries. Are your healthcare benefits competitive? What about retirement contributions and investment opportunities? Do you offer professional development or continuous learning? Since there aren't clear career paths for drug safety specialists — especially those who aren't physicians — consider beefing up your benefits to include tuition reimbursement or other educational contributions, which will not only help you to attract the talent you need in this role, but retain them over the long term.

66% of workers believe a strong benefits and perks package is important. 

3. identify the top skills for drug safety specialists

Drug safety specialists provide great value to life sciences companies in numerous ways: they're key contributors to clinical trials, they collaborate closely with medical directors, they develop standard operating procedures and — perhaps most importantly — they stay on top of current regulatory guidelines. But keep in mind, too, that the duties and responsibilities of a drug safety specialist can vary from company to company, so you'll need to identify exactly what your business needs from these specialists.

Work with your team to define the skills, training and experience required of a successful candidate at your organization. These qualifications can fall into two categories: the "must-haves" — necessary education level and years of experience, along with acute communication and writing skills, a detail-oriented mindset and the ability to collaborate — and the "nice-to-haves" — those unique skill sets that will set someone apart as a potential contributor to your organization, like a background in biotechnology or deep knowledge of Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Archives (MedDRA) terminology.

To get you started, here are the specialized skills most often requested of drug safety specialists:

pharmacovigilance (be sure to use this term in your job description for searchability online)

clinical trials/research experience

drug development

clinical development

biotechnology

knowledge of MedDRA terminology

clinical research experience

And as demand for this role increases in the coming years, also consider identifying skill sets that'll attract candidates from nontraditional roles or industries. Could you bring on an unconventional candidate and train them internally, thus broadening your candidate pool?

4. write an eye-catching job description

It can be overwhelming to write a job description for a unique and multifaceted role like a drug safety specialist. But if you know exactly what aspects of the job and your company to include, it can become a breeze to draft. Here are three things to focus on in your new job description to attract top drug safety specialist candidates.

don't write like a robot
Drug safety specialists are highly detail-oriented and tend to analyze and evaluate any information presented to them. So don't be afraid to get straight to the point in your description and speak honestly about your expectations. For example, if this role is open to candidates who aren't physicians, say exactly that. If it's the opposite, be up front about it.

And if you decide that you're open to unconventional candidates, as we mentioned earlier, make that very clear. Use active, engaging language to highlight the internal or external training or mentorship programs you offer to position new hires for success, so they're not intimidated by a role in an industry they haven't worked in before — but could very much excel in once on the job.

show how the job is meaningful
Today's job seekers want to find great meaning in their work, so be sure to speak to your company's mission and how these specialists contribute to that mission.

In the case of drug safety specialists, they play an important role in the development, trialing, marketing and continued use of medications. They also help organizations remain safe from lawsuits by making sure each medication is safe and all required information is accessible to the public. In this high-stakes, rapidly growing industry, these pros have to juggle ethical and safety standards with an empathetic perspective on any given day, so let them know your organization understands — and values — the complexity of this work. 

You can also drive home how meaningful their contributions are by highlighting how their work benefits real people. Every clinical trial, report and safety inspection brings a new drug one step closer to the marketplace, where it will improve the health of thousands of people (or more). Anchoring their excitement about the opportunity to the larger purpose at hand tells candidates that you recognize the true meaning of the work. 

let potential candidates know your company values the complex work drug safety specialists do every day.

make it easy to skim
Because drug safety specialists thrive on deep analysis, they potentially could get bogged down in information if you're too wordy or long-winded with your job description. And in today's digital age, an overly lengthy job description means it will be more difficult for the reader to skim — which job seekers will always do for the first 10 seconds before diving in for more details.

But how do you go about making it skimmable? Format the job description to include:

  • short paragraphs

  • descriptive subheadings ("Our Mission," "The Role")

  • bullet points (especially for listing out your benefits and perks)

  • active sentences (these help the reader imagine themselves in the role)

For more in-depth assistance with the writing process, check out our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.

5. brush up on the latest industry trends

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all global pharmacovigilance efforts are conducted in the U.S. — and that's not factoring in the expected growth in the field. Pair that with a relatively small pool of talent, and you'll quickly see why employers need to focus not only on hiring the best people, but retaining them as well. 

Here are some key hiring trends to keep in mind today:

  • Projected demand for drug safety specialists will grow more than 13 percent over the next decade. In fact, the pharmacovigilance market as a whole is expected to experience 10 percent growth, reaching $8 billion, by 2024. 

  • Sixty-six percent of workers agree that a strong benefits and perks package is the most important factor when considering a job offer, but only 39 percent of workers are satisfied with their current employers' benefits offerings. Further evidence that employers needs to stay on top of their benefits and perks in order to keep their employees on board for longer. 

  • California, Massachusetts and New Jersey are driving the lion's share of the demand for drug safety specialists, so employers in those key markets should expect the greatest competition when hiring. 

To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to talent trends impacting the life sciences space.

the pharmacovigilance market is forecast to grow 10 percent by 2024.

6. choose your channels to find candidates 

The life sciences sector and the role drug safety specialists play within it are evolving quickly, and you'll need to move just as fast to find the best candidates for your organization.

Of course, the recruitment channels you invest in will depend on things like the size of your organization, your recruitment budget and your specific hiring needs. And while you've probably relied on a variety of options in the past — including job boards, employee referrals, LinkedIn searches — if you're looking to be ahead of the curve in this increasingly competitive job market, consider expanding your efforts by partnering with a staffing firm. 

Every part of your hiring strategy can be strengthened by working with a staffing partner with deep expertise in the life sciences field. And given the challenges expected in the coming years for companies in need of drug safety specialists, gaining access to a nationwide network of top talent — screened, vetted and available on demand — can make all the difference.

Start a conversation with the life sciences experts at Randstad today to get one step closer to finding the right drug safety specialist for your organization. Or head over to our Find Employees portal and get to know our large pool of screened and vetted drug safety specialists right away.

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how to hire a drug safety specialist.

Posted by Michael Cirigliano on Sep 27, 2019 2:17:41 PM

Hiring a drug safety specialist — also known as a pharmacovigilance (PV) specialist — is going to be an interesting challenge for life sciences organizations over the next five years. Though labor-insights provider Burning Glass reports that there were fewer than 700 job postings for this position over the past 12 months, demand for this role in 2020 is expected to grow — and fast. 

So how can you attract strong candidates to fill these specialized and growing positions in an easy and effective way?

Here's a simple checklist to consult when looking for the right drug safety specialist for your company:

Ready to see how you can put this checklist into action? Read on for easy ways to enhance your recruitment strategy today.

1. speed up your hiring process

According to Burning Glass, the average time to fill a drug safety specialist role over the past year was 40 days. However, with top life sciences professionals going off the job market in as little as 10 days, you'll need to move fast as demand for this role increases and qualified candidates have more opportunities to consider. 

If you're taking more than the average 40 days to bring on new drug safety specialists, start by looking at your internal process so you can remedy these types of inefficiencies before you start missing out on top talent.

2. develop a competitive compensation package

Is your current salary and compensation package competitive for today's drug safety specialists? If you're not sure, use Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide to determine where your organization stands in this evolving job market. And be sure to use our salary calculator to see the latest data on pay rates for drug safety specialists (as well as a number of other life sciences roles) in your specific market.

But there's more to compensation than salaries. Are your healthcare benefits competitive? What about retirement contributions and investment opportunities? Do you offer professional development or continuous learning? Since there aren't clear career paths for drug safety specialists — especially those who aren't physicians — consider beefing up your benefits to include tuition reimbursement or other educational contributions, which will not only help you to attract the talent you need in this role, but retain them over the long term.

66% of workers believe a strong benefits and perks package is important. 

3. identify the top skills for drug safety specialists

Drug safety specialists provide great value to life sciences companies in numerous ways: they're key contributors to clinical trials, they collaborate closely with medical directors, they develop standard operating procedures and — perhaps most importantly — they stay on top of current regulatory guidelines. But keep in mind, too, that the duties and responsibilities of a drug safety specialist can vary from company to company, so you'll need to identify exactly what your business needs from these specialists.

Work with your team to define the skills, training and experience required of a successful candidate at your organization. These qualifications can fall into two categories: the "must-haves" — necessary education level and years of experience, along with acute communication and writing skills, a detail-oriented mindset and the ability to collaborate — and the "nice-to-haves" — those unique skill sets that will set someone apart as a potential contributor to your organization, like a background in biotechnology or deep knowledge of Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Archives (MedDRA) terminology.

To get you started, here are the specialized skills most often requested of drug safety specialists:

pharmacovigilance (be sure to use this term in your job description for searchability online)

clinical trials/research experience

drug development

clinical development

biotechnology

knowledge of MedDRA terminology

clinical research experience

And as demand for this role increases in the coming years, also consider identifying skill sets that'll attract candidates from nontraditional roles or industries. Could you bring on an unconventional candidate and train them internally, thus broadening your candidate pool?

4. write an eye-catching job description

It can be overwhelming to write a job description for a unique and multifaceted role like a drug safety specialist. But if you know exactly what aspects of the job and your company to include, it can become a breeze to draft. Here are three things to focus on in your new job description to attract top drug safety specialist candidates.

don't write like a robot
Drug safety specialists are highly detail-oriented and tend to analyze and evaluate any information presented to them. So don't be afraid to get straight to the point in your description and speak honestly about your expectations. For example, if this role is open to candidates who aren't physicians, say exactly that. If it's the opposite, be up front about it.

And if you decide that you're open to unconventional candidates, as we mentioned earlier, make that very clear. Use active, engaging language to highlight the internal or external training or mentorship programs you offer to position new hires for success, so they're not intimidated by a role in an industry they haven't worked in before — but could very much excel in once on the job.

show how the job is meaningful
Today's job seekers want to find great meaning in their work, so be sure to speak to your company's mission and how these specialists contribute to that mission.

In the case of drug safety specialists, they play an important role in the development, trialing, marketing and continued use of medications. They also help organizations remain safe from lawsuits by making sure each medication is safe and all required information is accessible to the public. In this high-stakes, rapidly growing industry, these pros have to juggle ethical and safety standards with an empathetic perspective on any given day, so let them know your organization understands — and values — the complexity of this work. 

You can also drive home how meaningful their contributions are by highlighting how their work benefits real people. Every clinical trial, report and safety inspection brings a new drug one step closer to the marketplace, where it will improve the health of thousands of people (or more). Anchoring their excitement about the opportunity to the larger purpose at hand tells candidates that you recognize the true meaning of the work. 

let potential candidates know your company values the complex work drug safety specialists do every day.

make it easy to skim
Because drug safety specialists thrive on deep analysis, they potentially could get bogged down in information if you're too wordy or long-winded with your job description. And in today's digital age, an overly lengthy job description means it will be more difficult for the reader to skim — which job seekers will always do for the first 10 seconds before diving in for more details.

But how do you go about making it skimmable? Format the job description to include:

  • short paragraphs

  • descriptive subheadings ("Our Mission," "The Role")

  • bullet points (especially for listing out your benefits and perks)

  • active sentences (these help the reader imagine themselves in the role)

For more in-depth assistance with the writing process, check out our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.

5. brush up on the latest industry trends

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all global pharmacovigilance efforts are conducted in the U.S. — and that's not factoring in the expected growth in the field. Pair that with a relatively small pool of talent, and you'll quickly see why employers need to focus not only on hiring the best people, but retaining them as well. 

Here are some key hiring trends to keep in mind today:

  • Projected demand for drug safety specialists will grow more than 13 percent over the next decade. In fact, the pharmacovigilance market as a whole is expected to experience 10 percent growth, reaching $8 billion, by 2024. 

  • Sixty-six percent of workers agree that a strong benefits and perks package is the most important factor when considering a job offer, but only 39 percent of workers are satisfied with their current employers' benefits offerings. Further evidence that employers needs to stay on top of their benefits and perks in order to keep their employees on board for longer. 

  • California, Massachusetts and New Jersey are driving the lion's share of the demand for drug safety specialists, so employers in those key markets should expect the greatest competition when hiring. 

To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to talent trends impacting the life sciences space.

the pharmacovigilance market is forecast to grow 10 percent by 2024.

6. choose your channels to find candidates 

The life sciences sector and the role drug safety specialists play within it are evolving quickly, and you'll need to move just as fast to find the best candidates for your organization.

Of course, the recruitment channels you invest in will depend on things like the size of your organization, your recruitment budget and your specific hiring needs. And while you've probably relied on a variety of options in the past — including job boards, employee referrals, LinkedIn searches — if you're looking to be ahead of the curve in this increasingly competitive job market, consider expanding your efforts by partnering with a staffing firm. 

Every part of your hiring strategy can be strengthened by working with a staffing partner with deep expertise in the life sciences field. And given the challenges expected in the coming years for companies in need of drug safety specialists, gaining access to a nationwide network of top talent — screened, vetted and available on demand — can make all the difference.

Start a conversation with the life sciences experts at Randstad today to get one step closer to finding the right drug safety specialist for your organization. Or head over to our Find Employees portal and get to know our large pool of screened and vetted drug safety specialists right away.

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Topics: phase:explore, industry:life sciences / pharma, topic:problems