How to Shine at an Online Career Fair

On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, HealthEconomics.Com is hosting their 5th Online Career Fair specifically for the HEOR, Market Access and Real World Evidence audience.  The Career Fair is scheduled from 10am-2pm, and you can participate from anywhere in the world!  Ten employers will be there to recuit:  Boehringer-Ingelheim, Deloitte Belgium, Evidera, ICER (Institute for Clinical and Economic Review), Ipsos Healthcare, Lilly, PRMA Consulting, RTI Health Solutions, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Washington and Jefferson College.

If you aren’t registered yet, no worries!  It takes just minutes to register and you can interview, job search, or network from your smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer anywhere there is an active internet connection.  Register here.  If you’re an employer and you want to get in on the action, visit here.

To help job-seekers prepare for the unique environment of an Online Career Fair, we wanted to re-share portions of a previously-conducted interview  with Scott Kabo and Michael Litten of Klein Hersh International recruiting, a firm specializing in many areas of healthcare, including pharma HEOR.  Take a minute to read their advice and we’ll see you online!  Happy job hunting and recruiting! Knock it out of the park!

[Patti]  What three pieces of advice do you offer to a Job Seeker as they prepare for a Career Fair?

[KH]  In every job search, job seekers should focus on:

1. Preparation;

2. Due Diligence; and,

3. Creating an agenda with goals to accomplish during the Career Fair.

It is important to know the specific companies that will be present at the Career Fair, and in advance of the event, research the job openings and the individual position description.  Know what company and job you will visit first, second, and so on.  It is recommended that the candidate prepare a specific script targeted toward each job, explaining why he/she would be a great fit for that advertised position and the company as a whole.  The candidate should be strategic in their efforts during the career fair, and if they aren’t sure what the company is looking for, to be prepared with “qualifying questions” that help elicit specific traits, skills, and experience that the company desires in the person who will fill that role.  Conduct due diligence on the company by searching the corporate website, reviewing press releases and announcements, and familiarizing oneself with the product portfolio and strategic focus.  “The art of an interview is your ability to ask questions and engage in dialogue,” emphasizes Kabo.  Moreover, even at a virtual career fair, all candidates should come to the interview prepared with a list of questions that help him or her understand the company, its culture, the specific role, and the skills necessary to succeed.

[Patti]  How should an Employer prepare for a Career Fair? 

[KH]  Michael Litten notes that some of same advice given to candidates embarking on a Career Fair also applies to employers:  namely, Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.  Employers should be fully capable of discussing the corporate goals, areas of focus, and uniqueness.  They should also be prepared to field common questions that candidates in the field of HEOR would ask about the specific job.  Interviewing goes both ways, particularly in high-demand areas like HEOR and Pricing, Reimbursement, and Market Access.  All human resources personnel should know what makes their company “sizzle” and be prepared for delivering a pitch that would make someone want to make the leap from their present company to a new place of employment.

[Patti]  This is a virtual Career Fair.  How should employers and job seekers specifically prepare for this on-line experience?

[KH]  Litten and Kabo encourage everyone to participate because – as they say – there really are no barriers to one attending in terms of location, travel, cost, etc.  This Virtual Career Fair for Health Economics & Outcomes Research is incredibly unique and a fantastic idea.  There are, however, a few things both a candidate and an employer should remember about this on-line experience.  Litten believes that the virtual experience has some commonalities with a telephone interview.  Both the employer and the candidate should be prepared to quickly and efficiently steer the conversation toward a specific role and to be able to say a few words that highlight the skill set needed or that the candidate possesses, up front.  Because this is a virtual environment typing this information, so be prepared for this.  Also, be ready to migrate through the booths to visit as many companies as possible, and make sure to get individual follow-up information with email addresses so you can establish that relationship outside of the Career Fair.

[Patti] What is the most common mistake you have observed in the interviewing process?

[KH]  Litten notes that time delays, including drawn-out scheduling and/or decision-making in the job search process by the hiring company, is the biggest challenge to both the employer and the job seeker.  If the process goes stagnant, the candidate will move onto another opportunity.  Occasionally, a candidate may be uncomfortable stating that they are not interested in a position, but ultimately, this honesty works best for all parties involved.  Additionally, it is important that the company clearly state if they desire a specific type of skill set.  Likewise, the candidate needs to be transparent about what skills they possess and the areas in which they are less comfortable.  Another common fallacy is for the candidate to play their cards “close to the vest”.  Kabo notes that candidates should clearly communicate their enthusiasm for the position and the company, if it exists. The last thing one wants is for the company to have a debrief after an interview and note, “we really liked the candidate’s technical capabilities, but we just didn’t get the sense they were interested in us!”  If you like each other, let it be known!

[Patti] How can a resume stand out in today’s marketplace?

[KH]  The most essential thing to remember is that people are busy, so conciseness is essential.  Your entire work career will likely not be reviewed job by job, bullet point by bullet point.  Litten strongly suggests including an “Expertise or Overall Summary of Profile” statement at the top of the resume, including relevant skill sets and today’s buzzwords.  He also notes that, in today’s environment, it is increasingly common for candidates to hold a series of short-term consulting jobs, often moving from one company to another in short-term contract positions.  If this is the case, it is essential to note that these moves were intentional and part of an organized process of consulting, and to note this at the top of the resume.   This immediately addresses the concern over the candidate being a “job-hopper”, and instead positions the candidate as someone who has chosen a particular tact to their career focused intentionally on short-term contracting positions.  This is acceptable, but an explanation at the top of the resume should indicate this approach.

If you are a hiring company and are interested in exhibiting or recruiting at the Career Fair contact Undine McEvoy at

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Purchasing Medical Innovation: The Implications for the Medical Device Industry

James Robinson’s book, entitled “Purchasing Medical Innovation: The Right Technology, for the Right Patient, at the Right Price” seeks to unpack the often precarious relationships among medical device makers, the purchasers of those devices, the insurers, who are often the ultimate payers for medical care innovation, and the end-users, or beneficiaries—the patients.  In this post, we recap the main points of Chapter 7 of Robinson’s book, which reviews the implications for the medical device industry.

In Robinson’s estimation, value-based purchasing, which is a program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that rewards acute-care hospitals with incentive payments for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare coverage, will change the future of the medical technology industry.  There will be an emphasis on comparative clinical effectiveness studies to support the cost of a technology.  Hospitals and their staff will need to work more closely with manufacturers and distributors of the new technologies in order to promote more efficient use of the technologies.  Patients will be more informed via consumer cost sharing, and therefore economic costs in addition to clinical benefit will have to be taken into serious consideration.

In the past, the FDA was viewed as a minor hurdle by the manufacturers of medical technology and drugs, but the landscape has clearly changed.  The FDA’s focus is shifting to post-launch surveillance for devices and drugs, especially ones that underwent accelerated review.  Instead of relying on off-label use of a drug to promote broader and more frequent use, drug companies must now expand their products’ labels to new clinical indications.  Growing increasingly important is the need for head-to-head product comparisons, and subsequent network meta-analyses necessary to make sense of multiple head-to-head and placebo trials within therapeutic areas.  Comparative effectiveness research offers one tool that can help physicians select the most appropriate technologies for patients, given the coverage restraints of purchasers and insurers.

In general, insurers and producers both want the most appropriate and best technologies for patients.  In the real world, however, both parties want what is best for them.  Insurers retain more money if patients do not use expensive tests and treatments, whereas producers of the technologies make more money when their products are being used; device makers want the broadest available use of their products. Herein lays the conflict, a tension that can impact innovation and impact the availability of new products and treatments.

Ideally, new products that prove to be better than their competitors should obtain full and prompt coverage, and when there are many therapeutically equivalent products, insurers can contract selectively with a smaller number of vendors to leverage purchasing power.  Technology firms need to accept that comparative effectiveness research (e.g., cost impact models, budget impact models, cost-effectiveness analyses, etc.) will be the “foundation for insurance coverage.”  Moreover, insurers need to pay well for new breakthrough technologies when those technologies are accompanied by robust and compelling evidence.  They need to recognize that innovations involve risk-taking and high expenses on behalf of the innovators for research and development.  The manufacturers also have a responsibility to charge prices proportional to their overall value and in alignment with reasonably close alternatives.

Med device 10.3.15 pic2Another important area of alignment is between physicians and hospitals– critical pieces of the health care value chain that, in the U.S., bill separately for their services and for the most part face divergent economic incentives.  The more closely aligned physicians and hospitals are, in general, the better it is for medical technologies with good evidence of effectiveness.  For many medical technologies, the integrated delivery system is now the manufacturer’s main customer, and manufacturers are not just vendors whose commodities can be purchased in bulk based on cozy relationships.  Evidence-based committee discussions need to happen.  Creating a relationship with manufacturers will benefit both parties, and it will lead to better innovations.   Hospitals can help the innovators improve their product designs, with physicians giving input on how to make devices overall better.  Both parties will profit greatly from a tight, collaborative engagement.

Underlying these economic relationships are patients, who have their own preferences and their own incentives—both of which are playing an increasingly vital role in the 21st century health industry.  The effectiveness of a new test or treatment depends on the patient’s understanding of his/her options, adherence of the patient to the chosen care path, and the decision to change behavior to encourage good outcomes.  As the pressure builds on the innovators to demonstrate their value, real-world use of the technology will become increasingly important.  Many manufacturers already aid in the patients’ financial access to their products by covering copayments, and in some cases manufacturers will cover the cost for the uninsured.  Innovation needs to consider the needs, preferences, and budgets of consumers.  Products cannot cost more than the value placed on them by users.  The future of medical technology industry will consist of cost-effective products that are within constrained budgets. As Robinson concludes, “Innovation is the bond between the present and the future, a transfer of resources from today’s society that finances research to tomorrow’s society that benefits from new treatments.”


-Cara M. Scheibling & John E. Schneider, PhD


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