A medical writer is a type of technical writer who specializes in medicine and related topics. Qualified medical writers have a combination of subject knowledge and demonstrable skills that a hiring manager is likely to ask about during an interview questions. To make sure you make a good impression and show that you are the ideal candidate for a medical writing position, it is important to be prepared.
In this article, we’ll look at 34 interview questions you may encounter during a medical written interview and provide sample answers to a select few.
10 General Questions about Medical Writer
General interview questions serve several important functions. First, they help both the interviewer and the interviewee enter into the structure of the interview by establishing a baseline level of comfort between the participants. Second, they allow the interviewer to get a basic idea of what type of individual you are, both personally and professionally. The goal is to measure how good you are in the organization. Take a look at the following general interview questions to get an idea of what the interviewer might want to know about you:
- What factors motivated you to pursue a career in medical writing?
- What would you say are your greatest strengths as a medical writer?
- Explain areas of improvement have you identified in your medical writing repertoire?
- How satisfied are you with your efforts to meet your word count goal each week?
- What areas of medicine have you written about the most?
- How does medical writing fit into your long-term career goals?
- What is your approach to research?
- How satisfied are you with criticism, especially from editors and reviewers?
- How do you understand the operations and scope of a medical communications company like ours?
- What do you think are the hallmarks of high-quality medical writing?
10 Medical Writer Questions about Skills and Experience
Questions about your experience and background refer to your education or responsibilities at previous employers. These kinds of questions help reveal details about your abilities. Employers want to know that you have the skills necessary to perform the duties of the role you are interviewing for, and evidence of past achievements can demonstrate your expertise. Here are 10 examples of experience and basic questions an interviewer might ask you during a medical written interview:
- Approximately how many articles or papers per week on average?
- What formatting and referencing styles did you use most often?
- Have you ever had to learn new software or tools to fulfill your medical writing duties? If so, please explain.
- How have you improved compared to when you started your career as a medical writer?
- Of all the work you have published, which one are you most proud of?
- How comfortable are you writing about medicines?
- Tell me about a time you collaborated on writing. How did you approach the task and what was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you decided to push your own expectations as a writer. What was your intention and how did you do it?
- Have you ever had to supervise another writer’s work or provide training?
- What conflicts have you encountered as a medical writer and how have you resolved them?
10 In-Detail Interview Questions about Medical Writer
In-detail questions are usually complex and require more thought to answer correctly. Such questions are often hypothetical, describing a situation and asking how you would react if you were in it. The answers you provide allow the interviewer to predict how successfully you would handle challenges that are common to the job or within the company. Here are 10 examples of detailed questions to help you prepare:
- How would your previous editors and colleagues describe you and your writing?
- What would be your procedure for writing a literature review?
- What sources would you consult to get information about an obscure medical topic?
- How would you go about giving difficult feedback to another writer?
- How would you approach writing about a topic you are unfamiliar with?
- You are collaborating on an assignment with another author and notice several factual errors. What do you do to support an appropriate fact-checking protocol while maintaining your relationship with the author?
- Imagine it’s the middle of the day and you get an assignment due in 5 hours, but you know it takes more time to write. What would you do?
- If you discovered a critical error in your own writing after submitting the paper, how would you react?
- How would you feel if the assignment required you to work late at night?
- Describe the moment in your medical writing career you changed “no” to “yes”.
- If you had complete control over your workload, what types of tasks would you give yourself and why?
03 Medical Writer Interview Questions with Model Answers
Each of the following questions represents one of the three types of questions you might encounter in a medical written interview and an example of the type of answer you might give:
How do you prioritize writing assignments?
With this question, the interviewer is observing to know your workflow. Companies that hire medical writers often expect a certain amount of output per day or week, so a logical and sustainable approach to your work would be essential to achieving your goals. You may not be fully aware of how you prioritize your work, so prepare for this question by analyzing your process. Be mindful of how you decide which tasks to work on and the context in which you make those decisions. With this understanding, you can provide a high-quality answer by simply describing a typical work day.
Example: “I like to approach my workload in a systematic way. I normally start the day by going through the tasks in my agenda and sorting them by their due dates. The tasks with the closest due dates are the ones I address first. If there are no urgent deadlines for any of tasks, I strive for a workflow that balances current and future productivity. For example, if I see that there is a topic that I know well and a topic that I don’t, I’m likely to tackle both on the same day. I can easily complete the familiar topic while challenging it requires more time.’
Tell me about a time an editor gave you feedback that you disagreed with. How did you handle the situation?
The interviewer wants to know how you responded to a particular challenging case in your career because your handling of the situation might indicate how you might respond in a similar situation in their organization. Be decisive and reasonable in your response. Editors are important to producing good writing and you’ll likely work closely with them as you work, but it’s also important to show that you prioritize quality work.
Example: “I was working on health promotion content and the editor recommended adopting a higher tone and language due to the nature of the content, which included discussion of specific pathogens. I differed because the proposed readers were the general public, so I designed for a friendlier, less technical style. However, I understood what the editor meant, because we did not want to trivialize the seriousness of the subject. In response, I presented my case and then asked if we could work together to develop something that struck a balance between too simple and too complicated.”
Imagine you have several tight deadlines. How would you handle the situation?
Doctors are routinely multi-tasking, so there is considerable potential for tight deadlines. This hypothetical question seeks to elicit details about both your writing process and your ability to work under pressure. Try to provide an answer that focuses as much as possible on preventing bottlenecks and a systematic approach that can effectively guide you through high-pressure situations.
Example: “I try to manage my work in an advanced way. I focus on prioritizing tasks early so that I can avoid bottlenecks. In the event that there seems to be a possible bottleneck, I start by going through my tasks and reorganizing my workload to facilitate the timely completion of each task. For the tightest deadlines, I’m happy to put in the extra hours before and during the deadlines to ensure I deliver high quality work on time.”
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