Contracting: An Increasingly Attractive Career and Lifestyle Choice

The line between work and home life is becoming increasingly blurry, with many of us using mobile devices to stay connected with colleagues throughout the day and into the evening.  Our work lives and our personal lives are in constant competition for our time and attention. This competition for time is one of the reasons why the world of work is changing fast.

At CK, we see career development opportunities in both contract and permanent roles, but increasingly highly skilled people are looking at contracting as one of the ways to help them manage the growing demands on time.

There are perks and benefits of a permanent role like stability, security and pension contributions but there are also perks to being a contractor. More and more people are looking at contract work as an attractive career and lifestyle choice for the following reasons:

  • Higher Earning Potential
    Skilled contractors that are in high demand and short supply are often paid more per hour than their permanent counterparts. Obviously, there are perks and benefits that permanent workers receive such as enhanced pensions, paid leave and sick pay etc. but if you aren’t looking for these, contracting can be highly lucrative.
  • Take Back Control
    Contracting gives you the opportunity to decide what work you take on and when. If you are in a profession that means you can complete work outside of the office, you can also decide when and where you do the work.
  • Avoid Office Politics 
    As a contractor, you are not part of the business on a long term basis so do not have to get involved in jockeying for position or worrying about your next promotion or appraisal.  You can leave work at the end of the day and concentrate on your home life.
  • Flexibility
    If you are not tied to the office 9-5 for 48 weeks of the year, you can decide when you take breaks from contracts and plan holidays without having to worry about your annual allowance.
  • Increased Knowledge and Experience
    Contracting provides you with the opportunity to work with a range of companies on different projects which can accelerate the exposure you get to new experiences, technology and situations.
  • Network
    Building up your professional network through working in different companies and environments means that you can become well connected quickly. Building and maintaining good relationships with people you meet through contract work can lead to more work opportunities in the future.
  • See the World
    As a contractor you are likely to be highly skilled and in demand.  If you wanted to broaden your experience and see more of the world, why not consider short to medium contracts in other countries to get a taste of real life and culture in other countries whilst continue to further your professional development.

If you are considering your options as a contractor, the CK team are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your next career move.

If you’re looking to reduce stress, take a look a these four easy steps to leading a healthy work-life balance.

 

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Careers Advice, News

6 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job in 2019

There is a big difference between a job that simply pays the bills, and a fulfilling career that you are passionate about and enjoy.

According to a LinkedIn survey, sadly less than 30 percent of workers love their job, leaving many feeling like landing a dream job is simply an unattainable fantasy.

However, we believe that with the right strategy, perseverance and planning everyone can find a fulfilling career.

Here are the 6 steps to help you on your way to success, and ultimately achieve your dream job in 2019:

 

  1. Optimise your CV for algorithm screening

These days, when you apply for a job, algorithms are the first to check over your application. Many companies use software that scan resumes for keywords and qualifications, potentially rejecting candidates long before hiring managers can look over the application.

To make sure your CV gets noticed, optimise it by including the appropriate keywords related to the position. A good tip is to use the specific keywords that the recruiter or employer used in the job description.

 

  1. Build a strong network

Networking is an essential component of job hunting, and therefore an essential tool in landing your dream job. Hubspot reported that eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking.

To build a strong network it is important you stay proactive such as attending networking events and workshops. Alternatively, thanks to the likes of LinkedIn, you can now network from the comfort of your home by simply searching the site for contacts. If you have your eye on a specific job or industry, see if you have any related connections and reach out to them.

 

  1. Stay organised

Keeping track of all your job applications, networking events, job searches, and interviews can be extremely overwhelming. A survey showed that 26% of job-seekers find the process “extremely stressful”.  We have come up with a few tactical strategies to help you stay organised through your job search.

  • Get ahead of the game with search alerts, ensuring you get notifications every time job sites post a job that matches your skills and abilities.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of jobs, organisations, and deadline/completed application dates.
  • Create individual folders for each company you apply to with a customised and personalised resume, cover letter, full job descriptions, responsibilities, desired skills etc.

The best time of the year to look for jobs is during January/February, due to many feeling the need for change in the New Year. Companies predict this and therefore often start a hiring process at the start of the year.

 

  1. Take a few risks

Taking risks is often a necessary step in actively pursuing success in your career. Taking a risk is an opportunity to make yourself stand out and show yourself as a confident leader.  Furthermore, it can open you up to a world of possibilities you have yet to consider.

Here are a few examples of risks worth taking, whenever the opportunity arises.

  • Do it alone – Ever wanted the freedom of being your own boss? Consider becoming a contract worker? Find out more here.
  • Make a career change – Making a change for something you are more passionate about will help you feel more dedicated and motivated.
  • Take a job abroad – This will give you the chance to develop different skills such as learning a foreign language, honing social and communication skills, not to mention improve your confidence. Why not start a new job in Switzerland? Get in contact with us to find out more.

 

  1. Keep learning

The more qualified you are, the higher your chances of finding your ideal job.

Capitalize on your free time and every opportunity that comes your way; sign up for classes, attend seminars, and work on adding professional certifications, or even a degree to your resume. It is always a great idea to gain more knowledge, and with it will come confidence and expertise to help you excel in your career.

 

  1. Practice your interview techniques

Once you have landed an interview for your dream job, it is essential you make a positive first impression. A survey showed that out of 2,000 hiring managers, 33% knew whether they would hire someone in the first 90 seconds, and 50% of interviewers eliminated candidates based on the way they dressed, acted or walked through the door.

Preparation is key when planning for an interview, ensuring you sell yourself in the best possible light.

  • Analyse your CV and application form in advance
  • Ensure you have a detailed brief of the job description
  • Practice answers to most common interview questions, relating them to the company and position
  • Research the company and job description
  • Print out directions to the interview, and make sure you are on time

Securing your dream job in 2019 won’t happen by itself. This advice will hopefully give you some inspiration on where to start, and how to refine your skills and improve your employability.

Here at the CK Group we are committed to helping you find the right career path for you.Contact us today to see how we can help you land your dream job.

Posted in Articles, Careers Advice, News

Four easy steps to leading a healthy work-life balance

Today the perception of work has shifted. Having a healthy work-life balance has become a necessity for many, so much so that millennials prioritise this over pay and career advancement. Yet with social media and our ever-growing addiction to technology, it is more difficult than ever to switch off and escape the demands of work outside the office.

Mental health issues are currently on the rise, with 74% of individuals in the last year feeling so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. The Mental Health Foundation calls the increasingly demanding work culture in the UK “perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population”

With work related stress costing Britain 10.4 million working days per year, maybe it is time we pay more attention and prioritise our own work-life balance.

To help get you started we have created 4 simple steps to improve your work-life balance.

 

Step 1: Turn off technology

We live in a world that never sleeps. Smartphone users unlock their phones on average 85 times daily and use it for over five hours a day. With the constant distraction of emails and social media, it is extremely hard to set boundaries of when our working day begins and ends. Furthermore, using our phones at home not only disrupts family time but also affects sleep.

As a tip, to help separate your personal life from your home life, make a rule not to answer any emails in the evening and be present with your family, or take part in a sport or hobby to help you switch off.

 

Step 2: Work smarter not harder

Rushing around and chasing the clock seems to be the norm in today’s society. Most individuals feel they never have enough time to get everything done. However, this can be tackled by improving your own time management skills.

To help feel on top of life and tasks, it is extremely important that you learn how to work smarter, and not harder, to make the most effective use of your time.

  • Ensure you organise your day appropriately by creating a to do list and focusing on the most important tasks
  • Review all work meetings to see if they are necessary, and if they are, make sure they are sharp and straight to the point. Try limiting them to 30 minutes with a specific desired outcome.
  • Devote your entire focus to the task at hand. Many people think that they will get more done when multitasking, however multi-tasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. Put your phone away, close browsers and concentrate on one task at a time.

 

Step 3: Take time to exercise

One of the most beneficial activities to participate in before or after work is exercise. Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever and improves our sense of well-being and overall mood. It is estimated that exercising three times per week can reduce the risk of depression by up to 20%. This In turn helps us be more productive at work.

Try to keep your exercise plan flexible and make it fit around your timetable. For example, you could include lunch-time walks or runs, early morning workouts, or a fitness class on your way home. Try and strike a balance between cardio, weights, and relaxing workouts such as stretching or yoga, to best reap the benefits, otherwise you could end up doing more harm than good.

 

Step 4: Learn to say no

Despite everyone leading busy lives, many of us often find ourselves taking on tasks that we don’t have time for or would rather not do. Whether it’s agreeing to overtime, doing someone a favour, or socialising when you don’t want to, if these activities are causing you to feel exhausted or stressed, it is time to learn to say no more often.

Steve Jobs once said “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

Saying no can have a very positive influence on your life and is essential when it comes to your work-life balance. Saying no shows you value your time, you understand what you want, and makes it easier to fill your life with activities and people who bring you true happiness.

 

It is important to realise that a healthy work-life balance means something different to everyone and it is crucial to find the right balance for you. However, no matter what career you’re in, or however many additional commitments you have, creating a healthy balance between work, play, and recharging, is essential to leading a happy, healthy and productive life, both at home and in the workplace.

 

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Homepage Candidates, Industry News, News

5 simple ways to ace a job interview

How do you introduce yourself in a job interview?

First impressions play a major role in securing a job. In fact, research shows that 33% of employers know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone. It is therefore vital that you present yourself in the right way.

Interviews can be extremely exciting, or extremely dreadful. Before your interview, there are several key things you need to consider, and prepare, to ensure you are setting yourself up for success.

 

  1. Dress appropriately

Appearance plays an important role when meeting someone new and is ultimately the first thing an employer will notice when you walk through the door.

65% of employers indicate that clothes could be a deciding factor between two almost-identical candidates.

It is a good idea to research the companies dress code before you choose your interview attire. A clinical consultant interview will likely require more formal dress than that of an engineer. Ensure you choose to dress more on the professional side, in an outfit which you feel both comfortable and confident in.

 

  1. Brush up on manners and body language

Regardless of what job you are applying for, it is essential that you show good manners throughout the interview. When introduced to your interviewer, give them a firm handshake and remember to smile.

Once you sit down, position yourself so that you are facing your interviewer, with your body, legs, and feet pointing in their direction. This shows you are engaged and prepared to start the interview.

Furthermore, ensure you pay your full attention throughout, with plenty of eye contact.

67% of employers say that failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake, with it making you look uninterested, disconnected and bored.

 

  1. Come prepared and do your research

Many people are often spot on when talking about themselves in an interview, however often struggle when the questions turn to talking about the company itself.

Researching the company prior to an interview will give you the much-needed confidence to answer questions appropriately. It will help you tailor your answers to suit the company’s needs, proving that you are a perfect match for the organisation.

The company’s website is the best place to start, which will hold information such as their mission statement, values, history, and products or services.

Social media sites are also a great way to find out more in-depth information about the company culture; LinkedIn is particularly useful and enables you to see if you have any connections to the company.

 

  1. Take the time to practice

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Practicing for an interview is essential to ensure you are as prepared as you can be.

CK have written several articles to help you overcome the fear of interview questions including an advice article on how to prepare for dreaded behavioural interview questions.

It’s a good idea to rehearse some questions at home with a family member or friend, asking them for honest, constructive feedback, jotting down notes and practicing as many times as you need. This is a great way to reduce interview stress, sharpen your skills, and increase your confidence.

 

  1. Ask plenty of questions

Asking questions shows you are truly interested in the job, and strong appropriate questions show that you have done your research properly. For example, if you are applying for a lab role ask about the techniques they use, and what they are currently investigating.

If you don’t ask questions, you could appear disinterested, or less enthusiastic than other candidates in the running.

Last of all do not forget to send a “Thank You” email once you have had the interview, thanking them for their time and the opportunity of an interview. If you haven’t heard back from them after one to two weeks, send a follow up email asking for feedback. Keep it simple and straight forward, making sure you are friendly and polite rather than pushy. Follow-up emails are a successful indication of your keen interest in the job and assertiveness, traits which any potential employer would want to see.

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Careers Advice, News

The CK New Scientist Live Careers Hub

We were delighted to be the Official Recruitment Sponsors at New Scientist Live at the ExCeL in London in September.

What an event it was, from the Mars Rover, the Slime Olympics to Tim Peake’s talk, it was incredible.  Thank you to everyone who came to the New Scientist Jobs and CK Group Careers Hub.

We were overwhelmed with how many people wanted careers advice, many of whom are aspiring scientists as well as people working in the industry already.

Many people wanted advice as to the best route into industry, what to do after their education and quite a lot brought their own CV’s to the careers hub for improvement tips.

It was great to meet so many people who wanted to pursue a career in STEM. Here are a few photos from our stand:

Naynesh at New Scientist Live
The team at New Scientist Live giving careers advice

If you are still looking for careers advice, we have teamed up with New Scientist Jobs to provide essential career advice tips, take a look at our latest article here.

We also have a whole host of careers, job hunting and work place advice articles and videos in our Career Zone, take a look at these here.

If you are searching for a new role, take a look at our latest jobs here and if you would like to make the job applying process a little bit quicker, join CK Plus here.

Thank you to everyone who came to the Careers Hub and we hope to see you next year.

Posted in Articles, Industry News, News

The pros and cons of a 4-day work week

In September the TUC made headlines by proposing a four-day work week, without a pay cut. Their argument is that technology has got to a point where it is significantly speeding up the way we work, and that the five-day week is no longer necessary.

The five-day week was invented in the 19th century to suit the factory environments and needs at that time. However, a lot has changed since then and it may be time to reassess the way we work and find a solution more in line with the present.

The four-day week concept has already been implemented in various countries around the world such as New Zealand and Sweden, and has proven pretty successful. It is, however, a big change for a company to take on, and to help understand the benefits and drawbacks for employees as well as employers we have summarised the key points.

 

The advantages of a four-day week

It helps improve overall productivity

According to a recent study, only 2 out of 5 employees currently work at full capacity in any given company. This is mainly because they are distracted and demotivated, due to exhaustion and working too hard.

The idea behind a shorter week is that employees would have the opportunity to spend time on their other commitments outside of work, and therefore would be more focused on their job when in the workplace.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand firm, trialed this and found that 78% of employees could more effectively balance their work and home life working a four-day week, compared to 54% prior to the experiment.

 

Better employee satisfaction

A three-day weekend means employees have more time to do the things they love such as spending time with their families, enjoying their hobbies or working on side projects, and are therefore happier overall. Employees who are satisfied at home tend to work better in the office.

Additionally, discontent staff tend to distract their coworkers, so keeping everyone happy will avoid creating waves in your workforce.

 

Fewer health issues

According to the app Mappiness, work is the second main reason people are unhappy, after ill health.

Longer weekends would mean people would have more time to spend exercising and focusing on their wellbeing. This paired up with less days at work could help prevent work-related mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

This is particularly important as according to a Mental Health at Work Report, 77% of employees have experienced symptoms of poor mental health in their lives. Creating workplace initiatives to help improve employee mental health could mean more productive staff as well as avoiding future issues.

 

Reduced costs

A four-day week could reduce costs for everyone. Employees could save money on commuting costs and childcare, but companies could also reduce their costs. Although wages would stay the same, staggering your workers’ day off throughout the week could mean renting smaller offices, and ultimately lower utility bills and operational costs.

 

Recruitment and retention

People increasingly look for flexibility at work. Offering people the option to work a four-day week will make any company a lot more desirable.

The feeling of getting a three-day weekend will keep employees motivated week-on-week, making them feel positive about their workplace. As this offering is still quite rare, it will give them an incentive to stay working for that company.

In this day and age where millennials stay, on average, 3 years in a job, having a perk which persuades employees to stay at a company longer is definitely worth it.

 

Disadvantages

Longer hours

As good as this all sounds, if this was implemented the reality is companies would not stick to 28-hour contracts for the same salary. Employees will most probably be expected to work the same 40-hour weeks, but in four days instead of five.

This might mean working 10-hour shifts, by starting an hour earlier and finishing an hour later.

To some people this would still be a preferable option, but it does also have its limitations.

Working longer days might have an inverse effect regarding work-related stress issues, as people will be more tired and have to endure more in a single day than previously. This in itself may have an adverse effect on productivity.

Additionally, this could cause problems in term of childcare as a 10-hour childcare solution could prove difficult for parents.

 

It doesn’t suit everyone

And finally, a four-day week model doesn’t suit everyone and every business. This option would only be viable to those companies who could re-adapt their whole business to function in this way.

 

Whether a 4-day week is the solution or not, these recent headlines have led to many questions about how best to structure the workplace to suit our way of working and living in the 21st century.

Some are going a step further and have questioned whether having a routine at all is really necessary. Technology now allows people to work when and where they want, so do we actually need set working times or a set workplace at all?

 

Posted in Articles, Homepage Clients, News

Remote working – how to work effectively from home

In a recent survey, over a third of people claimed they would rather work flexible hours than get a pay rise.

The concept of working from home often receives mixed reviews, with many being skeptical that workers can be as productive at home as in the office.

However, with advancements in technology, communication methods and global working, some organisations are beginning to see flexible working as an option. For example, thanks to instant messaging and video calling, teams can stay instantly connected even if they are not under the same roof – making remote working completely possible.

Proving all cynics of remote working wrong, CK Clinical’s Medical Manager Julia Day works remotely and recently won Sales Consultant Of The Year voted by SMT and Staff Sales Person Of The Year voted by the staff, for all her hard work and efforts.

Julia started working for us in 2015 and currently works from home to avoid long commutes and to suit her working style. This year she exceeded all her sales targets, reinforcing the fact that working from home is a prosperous set-up for both her and CK Clinical.

But working remotely in an effective manner takes effort – so here are some top tips to stay productive whilst in the comfort of your home.

 

  • Find your work space

Some people think working from home means lying on the couch with the TV on. Working like this is not viable, and certainly not productive.

If you are working remotely make sure you have a home office or suitable desk space dedicated to work, with little distractions around you.

This will not only help you concentrate but will also allow you to leave your dedicated work area and disconnect once your working day is over. Julia explains that, after a day of work, she shuts the door of her office to feel like she is back at home.

 

  • Introduce routine

When you work from home it is easy to lose routine as well as get physically lazy –and this in turn can affect your way of working.

A good idea is to start the day as you would if you were leaving the house– for example get ready, have breakfast and go for a walk – to get prepped for the busy day ahead.

Julia adds “I’ve learned you do need to be strict with yourself, ensure you have regular breaks and stop for lunch. I’ve also found getting a dog is a great help. Not only does she ensure I have a routine as I walk her before and after my working day, but she also keeps me company at work!”.

 

  • Make sure you stay connected with your team.

Working successfully with your peers is the key to working productively.

In an office you automatically form relationships with colleagues by spending your breaks with them, discussing your weekend plans or making cups of coffee. This regular interaction consequently makes working together easier as you already have their trust.

Yet, working away from the office makes it hard to form relationships and fit into the office community. This can cause obstacles when working with your team; they may be less loyal to you and asking them for work favours can feel more awkward without that much-needed personal connection.

When working from home it is important to be seen as proactive, and not be scared to ask for help or to share information that could help your team. This regular interaction is vital to stay in touch.

Julia overcame this problem by spending time in the office. When she started at CK she alternated her time in different offices and spent at least one night away from home every other week. This allowed her to travel, see people from work and tie in external meetings.

If you work hours away from the office, and cannot make regular visits, then connecting often with your team face-to-face (via video) is an alternative suggestion. Studies have proven that seeing someone and their body language helps you understand them, and therefore work better together.

 

  • Provide regular updates

When working from home there can be trust issues between you and your team and managers.

To overcome this, proactively keep them up-to-date – for example send them your daily schedule at the start of the day and what you have accomplished at the end of the day. This will give your team and superiors confidence that you are contributing.

Remember to communicate the good and the bad, so that they are kept in the loop with your line of work.

Also, make yourself accessible by always answering the phone when you can, and replying to messages promptly – to avoid any misconceptions. Let them know if you are busy or in a meeting, in case they try and contact you then.

To work from home successfully you need to build up trust more than you would if you were sitting by your superiors.

 

  • Take accountability for your work and push yourself

Finally, work for yourself and not for others. This will help you feel proud of your work and push yourself to achieve your goals.

Another useful tip is to write a schedule daily and ensure you complete all your tasks by the end of the day.

Julia did just that – she made sure she not only achieved her targets but went above and beyond her responsibilities.

However, she also adds that “you can easily take working from home to the other extreme and simply not stop” by fear of being perceived as not being productive enough. It’s all about finding the right balance to suit your workload and your lifestyle.

 

If working remotely is important for you, make sure you find a company that will respect this.

For more information about our remote working opportunities contact us.

Posted in Articles, Industry News, News

Job of the week: Clinical Trial Liaison Manager

We are recruiting for a Clinical Trial Liaison Manager to join a very successful drug development company to support a global Phase II respiratory study.

  • A fantastic and rare opportunity to join an innovative and successful global drug development company
  • This role will be perfect for someone with a mixture of clinical operations and liaison experience.
  • Home based from anywhere in Europe or the US.
  • This role will involve working closely with the sponsor, CRO and investigator sites to ensure the smooth running of clinical studies, ensuring that everyone involved is trained to the highest standards, that sites are inspection ready at all times and that any issues are resolved promptly and appropriately.

Read the full job description or apply here

Posted in Articles, General, Homepage, Job of the Week, News

The Australian flu – why can’t we control it?

 

The Australian flu epidemic attacked the southern hemisphere in the winter of 2017 and has now, as feared, come to the UK and is rapidly causing a state of chaos for doctors, hospitals and the NHS in general.

Britain is facing one of the worst flu crises in 20 years. It is estimated that one in five people being hospitalised with flu is suffering from the Australian flu strain, 85 people have already died and according to specialists, this is only the beginning.

 

What is the Australian flu- aka the H3N2 influenza A strain?

Despite prevailing belief, there is no one flu virus. There are actually four closely related viruses, that we have umbrellaed under the term “flu”; influenza A, B, C and D.

When we worry about “the flu” we tend to be talking about influenza A and influenza B. Influenza D is especially found in pigs and cows but cannot infect humans.

Influenza A is the most common type of flu and can be a danger to young children and the elderly. It has been known to be transferred between animals and humans, for example, bird flu and swine flu were both influenza A viruses.

Individual influenza A and B strains are often called after the proteins they carry on their surface – hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). These Hs and Ns are continuously changing, hence why year-on-year each winter we come across new types of flu strains circulating. This also explains why we get re-infected every year.

The term Aussie flu or Australian flu refers to one kind of influenza A virus strain, the H3N2 strain. It was dubbed the Australian flu following its damaging effects in Australia during winter 2017. It is now the latest deadly flu strain circulating around the UK.

Every year there are various flu strains that appear, however, H3N2 is having more deadly effects than others and has so far been the cause of death for 85 people in Britain since the beginning of winter 2017.

The H3N2 strain is particularly violent due to its severe symptoms, its prolonged recovery time and its tolerance to the normal flu vaccine. The CDC estimates that the flu vaccine is only 20-30% effective against the H3N2 strain.

 

Why is the flu vaccine only 20-30% effective against the H3N2 strain?

Although the current flu vaccine we have in the UK is good at protecting us from other strains of flu, we have not yet managed to create an effective one against H3N2. The main reason for this is that producing flu vaccines is a long and complex process.

Every year, the World Health Organisation advise what to put in that year’s flu vaccine. Each flu vaccine tends to be designed to protect against three or four strains that are particularly prominent that year. However, flu viruses mutate quickly and during the time it takes to create a vaccine, the chosen flu strains will have already evolved and developed, and often so much so that the antibodies stimulated by the vaccine are not able to protect against the virus.

Another reason for the failure of flu jabs is the way that they are currently produced. For now, the most common way of incubating the flu virus for vaccine development is in chicken eggs. However, according to GlaxoSmithKline, the H3N2 strain has been particularly difficult to incubate in eggs.

A chicken egg is a different environment to a human body, and consequently, the flu virus in the chicken egg adapts to its surroundings and mutates. Over the course of the development of the vaccine, it can become a different virus to the original flu virus. This, in many cases, makes the vaccine redundant.

These issues have made it very hard for scientists to find effective ways to control mutating flu strains like the H3N2. Various companies across the globe are looking at new and unconventional ways of creating flu vaccines altogether. Some are attempting to develop a more general flu vaccine to protect against all flu strains, as opposed to a selection.

 

Improving the efficiency of the flu vaccine

Seqirus, the vaccine unit of Australian manufacturer CSL, have been looking at growing the influenza virus in cells as opposed to growing the virus in chicken eggs. It is thought that this could be more effective, as growing the virus in cells is more comparable to how the virus would act naturally when it is in circulation.

Additionally, Protein Sciences, a company acquired by Sanofi last year has been manufacturing vaccines in insect cells. The next step for them is attempting to use this technique on a larger scale.

Other scientists worldwide are working on producing a vaccine against all types of flu strains. This would avoid the issue of trying to target individual flu strains and failing because the strains are constantly mutating. One vaccine to combat all flu strains would mean not having to create a new vaccine every year and would protect more people more efficiently against any flu strain.

One example of a company working on this is Vaccitech, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute. They are creating an unconventional type of vaccine that, rather than going after an antibody response, targets the bottom part of the protein on flu viruses to induce a T-cell response.

 

However, although the flu vaccine is a field that has seen an enormous amount of research and development over time, these clinical tests are still in progress. Vaccitech are projecting that their flu vaccine should be ready by 2023. Meanwhile, doctors and specialists are still encouraging people to get the existing flu jab despite its negatives, as it is currently our only solution and some protection is better than none.

 

Take a look at more industry news here

Posted in Articles, General, Industry News

How to prepare for a senior Medical Affairs interview

The importance of preparing for an interview is often over looked but we cannot emphasis the importance enough. Always prepare… make sure you know the basic 1-0-1 information, such as:

  • Where are you going?
  • When are you going?
  • How are you getting there?
  • Who are you meeting?
  • What is the format – is there anything additional you need to prepare (such as a presentation)?

Interview Tips and Preparation Advise

Look at who would be working in the team around you, what is their background? What are there roles and how do they fit with the team? Think about the structures you currently or have previously worked within and how you can relate. This will really help bring you’re story to life as well as demonstrating insight and understanding.

Know your own strengths and don’t be shy in selling them during your interview – Medical Affairs is so cross functional and having the presence and confidence in yourself and your abilities is as important in the job as it is at interview so demonstrate it.

If you’ve not done something directly before be prepared to demonstrate your input, awareness, willing ness to learn and how you would tackle the given task or situation if you were successful. For example, if you’ve not been responsible for producing the medical strategy plan, talk through your input and how you have seen it done successfully. If you’ve not had a huge amount of direct management experience, talk through your dotted line management / mentoring experience, involvement in training others (who and what) and how you have managed matrix relationships, particularly on a given project. Again this will help it be real and allow you to really engage.

Read about their products – know their therapeutic focus and research marketed products as well as those in development (what phase are they in? do they have ongoing IIT’s?).

Interviews are a two way process so you also need to ensure its right for you! Within medical there are so many variables to consider from the initial job, future progression and product pipeline to the companies compliance frameworks and risk appetite. You need to make sure the fit is mutual, so think of questions around the things important to you and that you will need to make a decision to join the organisation and accept this role.

During the interview – own the space you’re in – sounds silly but put your feet on the floor, shoulders back, make eye contact and engage! This is a senior role, an integral hire and the company are looking for someone to lead in terms of people, strategy and direction. (They have the advantage of knowing the individuals in the team who are undoubtable a mixed group – demonstrate your ability in dealing with a variety of different people and functions.)

For more advice on interview preparation read our personal SWOT article

 

Or take a look at our other interview advice articles here

 

Or find out more about the STAR interview technique click here to view our infographic

 

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