how to hire a medical writer.

how to hire a medical writer.

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If you're looking to hire a medical writer for your life sciences organization, you're far from alone. According to labor-market analysis provider Burning Glass, there were more than 2,000 job postings in the last year — and that number's expected to climb in the coming year. This statistic isn't shocking, considering the increase in demand is being fueled by the surge of sophisticated products entering the market and the need to keep up with increasingly complex medical information gathered during clinical research. And as product complexity rises, regulatory bodies have also called for greater transparency and data disclosures.

Medical writers play crucial roles in bridging these gaps, since their expertise lies in their ability to effectively communicate a high volume of dense technical information to both medical professionals and the general public — making it critical that employers fill this position effectively and quickly. 

How can you strengthen your recruitment process to ensure you attract the best medical writers out there? Follow this checklist to ensure a top-notch hire:

Ready to jump in and learn more? Let's get started.

1. speed up your hiring process

Medical writers are a necessity for any biopharmaceutical company looking to submit new products to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval. So having skilled medical writers on hand — professionals who understand both the drugs and devices themselves, and maintain comprehensive knowledge of the end-to-end approval process — can be the difference between success and failure. You can jeopardize your company's ability to bring new products to market if you don't have this position adequately filled, so you don't want to lose top candidates to competitors with a swifter hiring speed.

And while you don't want to be hasty when recruiting for such a vital role, you do want to maximize efficiency. Take a look at this diagram to determine where you can make your hiring process more time-effective.

2. develop a competitive compensation package

A competitive salary is the foundation of a strong job offer, especially in the age of salary transparency and employer review sites. Having up-to-date knowledge and insights into salary trends and what's driving them puts you in the best possible position to determine what makes for a strong compensation package in today's market.

If you're new to this, Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide is a great place to start your research, as it provides insights into the latest hiring and salary trends within the life sciences industry. Use our salary calculator to ensure you have the most accurate data you need for your decision-making. 

3. identify the top skills for medical writers

In order to write a compelling job description, you need to know what to look for in a candidate. What skills are necessary to get the job done effectively? What experience will best position this medical writer for success at our company? Meet with the hiring manager and other team leaders to discuss the skills top candidates will need to possess.

Then, break down that list of skills into two different categories: your "must-haves" — those that every medical writer needs to excel, like clinical research experience and knowledge of regulatory documents — and your "nice-to-haves" — skills that would definitely be a bonus but aren't necessarily essential or can be developed on the job, like proficiency in statistical analysis.

Below are the skills that are most requested of medical writers, based on 2,000 job postings:

medical writing

clinical research

regulatory documents

clinical study reports

project management

biotechnology

oncology

4. write an eye-catching job description

A strong job description can immediately grab a candidate's attention and excite them to be a part of your company. So keep these three points top of mind when crafting your next alluring description: 

don't write like a robot
Your job description shouldn't read like a checklist of tasks and duties. Medical writers are expert wordsmiths, so they'll be wary of stiff, matter-of-fact sentences that plainly outline expectations and responsibilities. To attract top writers, you'll need to spotlight the human aspects of the job as well as your company's vision and points of pride, like work/life balance and professional development.

Using personable language and highlighting the people aspects of the role and how valued medical writers are at your organization is much more alluring. Start by thinking of the questions most candidates will have from the get-go, like:

  • Who will I be reporting to?

  • What's the workplace atmosphere like? Does the company actively promote a positive internal culture?

  • How large will my team be, and what other teams or stakeholders will I build relationships with?

  • What's the scope of the projects I'll be working on?

Then, be sure your job description answers them in an engaging way.

show how the job is meaningful
For job seekers today, a sense of purpose in one's work is a driving factor when choosing an employer. Medical writers are a crucial part of the company's success as a whole, as their work guides products through the FDA and out to the market — and to the patients who need them — so be sure to highlight the larger purpose their job contributes to. They're not only consequential to any given project, but their work can be lifesaving to the people who need these new drugs or medical devices. 

Candidates will also want to know if the position has the flexibility to work on projects that will cater to their professional interests. Will they be working with innovative medical technologies? Will they work with drugs that target certain diseases that may have impacted their own lives? 

Medical writers will also be discerning how technologically savvy your company is. In an ultra-competitive field like the life sciences, candidates will want to contribute to an organization actively investing in the latest and greatest tech available. Knowing that they can learn about emerging platforms and tools that will put them at the forefront of their industry will compel them to apply.

use your job description to answer questions candidates will have before applying.

make it easy to skim
The main objective of a job description is to paint the most appealing and accurate picture in as attractive and concise a way as possible. So to make sure potential candidates get all the critical information they need without feeling overwhelmed by thick paragraphs of text, your description needs to be easy to skim.

And how do you make it skimmable?

  • Use front-loaded sentences, where the action verb comes first.

  • Break the info across short paragraphs with descriptive subheadings ("The Role," "The Team," "Our Vision").

  • Create bulleted lists for quick info points or statements.

  • Stick to a clear, consistent format throughout.

For even more tips and insights, read our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.

5. brush up on the latest industry trends

Understanding the latest trends in the life sciences industry will not only impact the quality and quantity of your hires, it will also strengthen your recruitment strategy, since you'll be in a position to proactively determine the factors that will drive your future hiring needs. 

Here are a few of the trends to make note of: 

  • In 2019, for the first time ever, there were more job openings in the life sciences industry than there were job seekers.

  • Innovation across the sector is driving this rapid growth, and while competition for top talent will remain high for all roles, highly specialized life sciences talent will continue to be increasingly scarce.

  • The five states with the most opportunities for medical writers are California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois — so employers in these markets are going to have to be extra competitive when it comes to recruiting talent.

To get a deeper look, read through our 2019 guide to hiring trends in life sciences.

in 2019, job openings in the life sciences industry outnumbered the number of job seekers.

6. choose your channels to find candidates 

There are many different avenues in which an employer can source talent for open positions, including job boards, employee referrals and LinkedIn searches. But not all ways of hiring are equal, so you need to think about where your potential candidates are — and then meet them there. And because of the impact a medical writer has on your organization, it's critical to fill this role with the best person available.  

To find top candidates, it can be especially beneficial to work with a professional staffing firm. Partnering with a staffing firm will give you access to candidates from their talent network who have been prescreened and vetted. Plus, their team of staffing experts have deep knowledge of the industry, and can help guide your hiring strategy and decision-making in both the short and long terms.

If that sounds like the right direction for you, reach out to Randstad's life sciences experts today to discuss your medical writer needs today. Or, if you'd like to browse our pool of top candidates on your own first, head on over to our Find Employees portal.

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how to hire a medical writer.

Posted by Michael Cirigliano on Sep 27, 2019 2:14:48 PM

If you're looking to hire a medical writer for your life sciences organization, you're far from alone. According to labor-market analysis provider Burning Glass, there were more than 2,000 job postings in the last year — and that number's expected to climb in the coming year. This statistic isn't shocking, considering the increase in demand is being fueled by the surge of sophisticated products entering the market and the need to keep up with increasingly complex medical information gathered during clinical research. And as product complexity rises, regulatory bodies have also called for greater transparency and data disclosures.

Medical writers play crucial roles in bridging these gaps, since their expertise lies in their ability to effectively communicate a high volume of dense technical information to both medical professionals and the general public — making it critical that employers fill this position effectively and quickly. 

How can you strengthen your recruitment process to ensure you attract the best medical writers out there? Follow this checklist to ensure a top-notch hire:

Ready to jump in and learn more? Let's get started.

1. speed up your hiring process

Medical writers are a necessity for any biopharmaceutical company looking to submit new products to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval. So having skilled medical writers on hand — professionals who understand both the drugs and devices themselves, and maintain comprehensive knowledge of the end-to-end approval process — can be the difference between success and failure. You can jeopardize your company's ability to bring new products to market if you don't have this position adequately filled, so you don't want to lose top candidates to competitors with a swifter hiring speed.

And while you don't want to be hasty when recruiting for such a vital role, you do want to maximize efficiency. Take a look at this diagram to determine where you can make your hiring process more time-effective.

2. develop a competitive compensation package

A competitive salary is the foundation of a strong job offer, especially in the age of salary transparency and employer review sites. Having up-to-date knowledge and insights into salary trends and what's driving them puts you in the best possible position to determine what makes for a strong compensation package in today's market.

If you're new to this, Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide is a great place to start your research, as it provides insights into the latest hiring and salary trends within the life sciences industry. Use our salary calculator to ensure you have the most accurate data you need for your decision-making. 

3. identify the top skills for medical writers

In order to write a compelling job description, you need to know what to look for in a candidate. What skills are necessary to get the job done effectively? What experience will best position this medical writer for success at our company? Meet with the hiring manager and other team leaders to discuss the skills top candidates will need to possess.

Then, break down that list of skills into two different categories: your "must-haves" — those that every medical writer needs to excel, like clinical research experience and knowledge of regulatory documents — and your "nice-to-haves" — skills that would definitely be a bonus but aren't necessarily essential or can be developed on the job, like proficiency in statistical analysis.

Below are the skills that are most requested of medical writers, based on 2,000 job postings:

medical writing

clinical research

regulatory documents

clinical study reports

project management

biotechnology

oncology

4. write an eye-catching job description

A strong job description can immediately grab a candidate's attention and excite them to be a part of your company. So keep these three points top of mind when crafting your next alluring description: 

don't write like a robot
Your job description shouldn't read like a checklist of tasks and duties. Medical writers are expert wordsmiths, so they'll be wary of stiff, matter-of-fact sentences that plainly outline expectations and responsibilities. To attract top writers, you'll need to spotlight the human aspects of the job as well as your company's vision and points of pride, like work/life balance and professional development.

Using personable language and highlighting the people aspects of the role and how valued medical writers are at your organization is much more alluring. Start by thinking of the questions most candidates will have from the get-go, like:

  • Who will I be reporting to?

  • What's the workplace atmosphere like? Does the company actively promote a positive internal culture?

  • How large will my team be, and what other teams or stakeholders will I build relationships with?

  • What's the scope of the projects I'll be working on?

Then, be sure your job description answers them in an engaging way.

show how the job is meaningful
For job seekers today, a sense of purpose in one's work is a driving factor when choosing an employer. Medical writers are a crucial part of the company's success as a whole, as their work guides products through the FDA and out to the market — and to the patients who need them — so be sure to highlight the larger purpose their job contributes to. They're not only consequential to any given project, but their work can be lifesaving to the people who need these new drugs or medical devices. 

Candidates will also want to know if the position has the flexibility to work on projects that will cater to their professional interests. Will they be working with innovative medical technologies? Will they work with drugs that target certain diseases that may have impacted their own lives? 

Medical writers will also be discerning how technologically savvy your company is. In an ultra-competitive field like the life sciences, candidates will want to contribute to an organization actively investing in the latest and greatest tech available. Knowing that they can learn about emerging platforms and tools that will put them at the forefront of their industry will compel them to apply.

use your job description to answer questions candidates will have before applying.

make it easy to skim
The main objective of a job description is to paint the most appealing and accurate picture in as attractive and concise a way as possible. So to make sure potential candidates get all the critical information they need without feeling overwhelmed by thick paragraphs of text, your description needs to be easy to skim.

And how do you make it skimmable?

  • Use front-loaded sentences, where the action verb comes first.

  • Break the info across short paragraphs with descriptive subheadings ("The Role," "The Team," "Our Vision").

  • Create bulleted lists for quick info points or statements.

  • Stick to a clear, consistent format throughout.

For even more tips and insights, read our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.

5. brush up on the latest industry trends

Understanding the latest trends in the life sciences industry will not only impact the quality and quantity of your hires, it will also strengthen your recruitment strategy, since you'll be in a position to proactively determine the factors that will drive your future hiring needs. 

Here are a few of the trends to make note of: 

  • In 2019, for the first time ever, there were more job openings in the life sciences industry than there were job seekers.

  • Innovation across the sector is driving this rapid growth, and while competition for top talent will remain high for all roles, highly specialized life sciences talent will continue to be increasingly scarce.

  • The five states with the most opportunities for medical writers are California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois — so employers in these markets are going to have to be extra competitive when it comes to recruiting talent.

To get a deeper look, read through our 2019 guide to hiring trends in life sciences.

in 2019, job openings in the life sciences industry outnumbered the number of job seekers.

6. choose your channels to find candidates 

There are many different avenues in which an employer can source talent for open positions, including job boards, employee referrals and LinkedIn searches. But not all ways of hiring are equal, so you need to think about where your potential candidates are — and then meet them there. And because of the impact a medical writer has on your organization, it's critical to fill this role with the best person available.  

To find top candidates, it can be especially beneficial to work with a professional staffing firm. Partnering with a staffing firm will give you access to candidates from their talent network who have been prescreened and vetted. Plus, their team of staffing experts have deep knowledge of the industry, and can help guide your hiring strategy and decision-making in both the short and long terms.

If that sounds like the right direction for you, reach out to Randstad's life sciences experts today to discuss your medical writer needs today. Or, if you'd like to browse our pool of top candidates on your own first, head on over to our Find Employees portal.

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