33 Questions About Medical Writing for an Interview (With Samples)
A medical writer is a type of technical writer who focuses on medicine and related topics. A hiring manager is likely to ask about a medical writer’s subject knowledge and how well they can show off their skills during an interview. It’s important to be ready if you want to make a good impression and show that you’re the best person for a medical writing job.33 Questions About Medical Writing for an Interview (With Samples)
In this article, we look at 33 possible interview questions for a medical writing job and give you examples of how to answer some of them.
10 general questions about writing in medicine
In an interview, general questions do a couple of very important things. First, they help both the interviewer and the person being interviewed feel more comfortable with the structure of the interview. Second, they give the interviewer a general idea of who you are, both personally and professionally. The point is to see if you might be a good fit for the company. Take a look at the following general interview questions to get an idea of what the interviewer might want to know about you:
- How do you go about researching?
- How do you feel about criticism, especially from editors and other people who review your work?
- What do you know about how a medical communications company like ours works and what it does?
- What do you think makes a piece of medical writing good?
- How does writing about medicine fit into your long-term plans for your career?
- What kinds of medical topics have you written the most about?
- How comfortable are you with working every week toward a certain number of words?
- What parts of your medical writing do you think could use improvement?
- As a medical writer, what do you think are your best qualities?
- What made you want to become a medical writer?
10 questions about experience and background to help you write a medical paper
Questions about your experience and background are about where you went to school or what you did at your last job. These kinds of questions can help you show what you can do. Employers want to know that you are qualified for the position for which you are interviewing. You can show that you have these skills by showing evidence of your past successes. Here are 10 examples of questions about your experience and background that a medical writing interviewer might ask you:
- How many articles or documents do you write each week, on average?
- What styles of formatting and citing have you used the most often?
- Have you ever had to learn how to use new software or tools to do your job? If so, tell us why.
- How are you better now as a medical writer than when you first started out?
- Which of the things you’ve written and put out are you most proud of?
- How confident are you about writing about drugs?
- Tell me about a time when you and someone else worked together to write something. How did you do the job, and what did you get out of it?
- Tell me about a time when you decided you would write better than you thought you could. What was your goal, and how did you get there?
- Have you ever had to train or oversee the work of another writer?
- As a medical writer, what problems have you run into, and how did you solve them?
10 in-depth questions about writing in medicine
In-depth questions are usually hard to answer because they require more thought. Most of the time, hypothetical questions like these describe a situation and ask how you’d react if you were in it. The interviewer can guess how well you’d handle common problems on the job or in the company based on how you answer their questions. To aid with your preparation, consider these 10 instances of in-depth questions:
- What would your former editors and coworkers say about you and your writing?
- How would you go about writing a review of the literature?
- What sources would you use to learn about a medical topic that isn’t well known?
- How do you tell another writer something that isn’t good?
- How would you go about writing about something you don’t know much about?
- You and another writer are working on a project together, and you find several mistakes in the facts. How do you encourage the right way to check facts without hurting your relationship with the writer?
- Imagine that it’s the middle of the day and you get an assignment due at 5 o’clock that you know will take more time to write. What do you think?
- What would you do if you found a major mistake in your own writing after you had already turned it in?
- How would you feel if you had to work late nights for several nights in a row?
- What kinds of tasks would you give yourself if you were in charge of all of your work, and why?
3 questions about medical writing for an interview, with sample answers
Each of the three types of questions you might be asked in a medical writing interview is shown below, along with an example of the kind of answer you might give:
How do you decide which writing tasks come first?
The interviewer is trying to figure out how you work with this question. Companies that hire medical writers often expect a certain amount of work to be done each day or week. To meet your goals, you would need to approach your work in a way that is logical and sustainable. You might not be completely aware of how you set priorities for your work. To get ready for this question, think about how you do things. Be aware of how you choose which assignments to work on and where you make those choices. With this knowledge, you can give a good answer by just talking about a typical day at work.
Example: “I like to take a methodical approach to my work. Usually, I start the day by going over my schedule and putting tasks in order of when they need to be done. I work on the assignments with the earliest due dates first. If none of my assignments have urgent due dates, I try to find a way to work that balances getting things done now with getting things done in the future. For example, if I know a lot about one topic but not as much about another, I’m likely to talk about both on the same day. The topic I know well is easy for me to finish, but the one that is hard takes more time.”
Tell me about a time when an editor gave you feedback that you didn’t like. How did you deal with the problem?
The interviewer wants to know how you handled a difficult situation in your career. This is because how you handled it could show how you would handle a similar situation at their company. Show that you are both firm and reasonable in your answer. Good writing needs editors, and you’ll probably work closely with them on the job. However, you should also show that you care about the quality of the work.
The editor advised me to use a more official tone and vocabulary because the content was about specific infections while I was writing health-related content for a website. I didn’t agree because the piece was meant for the general public, so I tried to write in a way that was less technical and easier to understand. I did get what the editor meant, though, because we didn’t want to make the topic seem less important than it was. In response, I explained my point of view and then asked if we could work together to make something that wasn’t too easy or too hard.”
Imagine that you have a lot of tight deadlines to meet. How would you deal with the problem?
Medical writers often work on more than one project at the same time, which can make it hard to meet deadlines. The point of this hypothetical question is to find out more about how you write and how well you can work under pressure. Try to give a response that focuses as much as possible on preventing bottlenecks and has a system that can help you get through high-pressure situations.
Example: “I try to think about the future when I do my work. Early on, I work on setting priorities for tasks so that bottlenecks don’t happen. If I thought there might be a bottleneck, I’d start by going over my tasks and rearranging them so that I could finish every assignment on time. For the tightest deadlines, I’d be happy to work extra hours before and during the deadlines to make sure I turn in high-quality work on time.”
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