Recruiter Perspective: Biostatistics & Programming

Mary Catherine Collins is a senior recruiter in PPD’s Morrisville, North Carolina, office. If you are interested in pursuing a career opportunity in programming, connect with Mary Catherine on LinkedIn.

Interviewer: Tell us about your role at PPD and the functions you recruit.

Collins: I support our biostatistics and programming needs in our Morrisville and Wilmington, North Carolina, offices. In addition, I support the North America pharmacovigilance teams. 

Interviewer: Where are PPD’s biostatistics and programming departments located?

Collins: We are a global team with offices in countries around the world. I specifically support our hiring needs for both our Morrisville and Wilmington, North Carolina, offices. 

Interviewer: What is the typical recruitment process for biostatistics and programming openings at PPD, and what sort of positions are available?

Collins: We have an ongoing need for programmers with experience working in the clinical research industry. If you meet the minimum qualifications for an open position, I will reach out to schedule a brief phone interview with you. If that goes well, my programming teams like to schedule a phone interview to discuss, in more detail, your technical skills. If that conversation indicates your skillset might be a good fit for our need, we will then set up a formal, in-person or Web-based interview. In that interview, you’ll be asked about specific work experiences you’ve had and how you’ve handled them. Once the interview team makes a decision about a candidate, I follow up with the candidate to discuss next steps. 

Interviewer: What would you see as the ideal biometrics candidate?

Collins: Ideal programming candidates come to us with previous programming experience at a contract research organization or in a clinical research environment. Three to five years of experience working in SAS using CDISC, SDTM and ADaM is critical. Successful candidates have great communication skills and a willingness to learn. At the senior level, teams really like to see candidates with project leadership skills who also enjoy mentoring and training others. Finally, candidates who are willing or able to work in an office to be a physical part of the team are highly desirable!

Interviewer: Do you have any hints and tips for the interview?

Collins: My best advice is to be yourself. If you have gaps in training and/or skills, be open and honest about them. We all have areas of improvement and development. It can be nerve-racking to go through an interview process, but we are here to help. We want to find the best fit as much as you do! 

Interviewer: What do you enjoy the most about working for PPD?

Collins: What I enjoy most about PPD are the people I work with. I enjoy the relationships I have with my managers and co-workers, and the fact that we work together toward a common goal. I also enjoy working in a fast-paced, energetic environment. That is something that certainly exists here!

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