The Votes Are In!

Over the past year, our team at PharmaFinders has been asking our Medical Affair followers various questions regarding interviewing trends, growth opportunities and more! Our goal as recruiters is to not only network and share exciting job opportunities. We strive to stay on top of common trends in Med Affairs, which is why we love continuously learning from you all and asking your feedback and opinions. We are excited to share the results and our thoughts below:

We asked from a hiring manager’s perspective, what is more appealing in a candidate: An MSL who has specialized in one therapy or an MSL who has a diverse background in multiple therapies? 62% said that they would prefer a candidate with multiple therapeutic experiences, while only 9% said one specific therapeutic experience would be ideal. 29% of you said that really, it depends on the hiring manager whether the candidate should have one or many therapeutic focuses.

This is an interesting topic that has evolved over the years. Prior, we used to see a majority of hiring manager’s preferring one specialty. The oncology space remains the same to this day (mainly), but more and more we are seeing candidates being favored for bringing a unique perspective scientifically. Also, although the graph mentioned only 9% of you said one specialty is preferred. Truly, we feel there is no downside to that. Ultimately the MSL who lands the job are those that can showcase they have a deep scientific understanding of the space they are interviewing for.

We asked current MSLs if you were to make a move to a new company, what type of position would you be looking for? The results were very close, with 35% of MSLs looking to move into an in-house MA Role (Med Strategy, Med Director, Med Excellence, etc.). Behind that was a MSL Manager at 24%, and then a MSL Trainer/Medical Excellence role at 21%. Sr or Executive MSL title came in closely at 20%.

This poll is extremely consistent with why being an MSL is so rewarding. There isn’t one linear path for growth. You can take your career wherever you want it to go, whether that’s people management, in-house roles or being a lifer MSL! We love specializing in Medical Affairs recruitment for this reason.

We asked those that are Medical Affairs Directors or those working in a traditional in-house Medical Affairs role what “in-house” truly means since COVID-19. Does that mean you are working 5 days a week at home or 5 days a week at the HQ office?  43% of you are fully remote! However, at least 46% of you must commute to the office at least once a week. More specifically, 23% work in-house 5 days a week and 23% work hybrid. 13% of you did mention only having occasional in-house travel.

In my opinion, it’s still too early to tell if we will start to find most in-house Medical Affairs positions posted as fully remote. What is important to note from this poll is that prior to the pandemic, this “hybrid” work style didn’t even exist. Companies are becoming much more flexible and starting to realize that not all employees need to be in the office 5 days a week to perform at their highest.

Earlier this year, we started to notice more companies move back to a traditional interview process for their MSLs, which meant meeting in person. We wanted to see how MSLs were feeling about that: Did you prefer an in-person interview, or would you prefer a completely virtual interview process? The results were close! 52% preferred virtual interviews while 45% preferred in-person interviews. We should note that a smaller 3% of people weren’t sure which method they preferred at this time, which was over the summer 2022.  

Our observation over the year has been very similar to the results above. Most of our companies are still holding interview processes completely virtually, but we are starting to see more implementation of at least a field visit or meeting before making an offer. Overall, as mentioned above, the jury is still out on what will stick in the virtual world! It will be interesting to see over time if complete virtual interview processes will be here to stay and if they have any effect on tenure at a company. After all, it’s hard to argue that virtual interactions mean as much as in-person ones.  

We asked what the most common video conference platform was that is being used by Medical Affair professionals. Turns out, Teams is number 1 with 57% usage followed by Zoom at 36% and WebEx at 6%. We even offered a write in option for other platforms, which did not get any write in votes.

Since the pandemic, all video platforms in general have become extremely popular. For any candidate interviewing, be prepared to familiarize yourself with all three platforms. You never know what you could use in an interview process and as this poll shows, companies can differ. Being prepared and decreasing your chance of hitting technical snags during an interview will help you land the job you want!

We asked you all how you’d like to receive interview feedback. 73% of people prefer to be told they are not moving forward in an interview process or being considered for a position via email. 27% are okay with a call and just a mere 1% want a text.

We were surprised by the results as typically calls are seen as more personal method and you can go through all feedback to improve upon down the road. Note that we purposefully didn’t include ghosting because you always should hear one way or another!

Do you agree or disagree with any of the thoughts above? Did any of the results surprise you? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!