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THE TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE PARADOX


By Penny Manasco - August 15, 2016

For everyone looking to hire a new person for a job in clinical research, dogma suggests that when two applicants meet your basic competency requirements, you should hire the person with the most experience.
 
Our findings suggest experience is not as valuable an asset for a potential employee when new technology and methodology are being used.
 
I know. It sounds like heresy to not hire the most experienced, clinical research ace you can. Assuming both applicants possess competent, basic technology skills, the inexperienced one offers advantages for your business the experienced one just can’t match.
 
The inexperienced candidate (newbie) eyes the new idea/field with no blinders, boundaries, or obstacles from the former technology/methodology. We see this with staff that come to us without the expectations of functional roles.  Our technology specialist did not know that it is not traditional for a data manager to design and build EDC, eTMF/eISF, and custom reports as well as training materials.   His broad understanding of the entire process helps us to better format our questions to optimize reports.  It’s like that optimistic aphorism “Inexperience means you have no bad habits.”
 
The next generation of Clinical Research Professionals grew up connected to the internet and devices.  Their natural curiosity and lack of fear of technology has led many to question why the industry uses such outdated approaches.  This translates into opportunity for organizations that are developing new approaches such as Risk Based Monitoring.
 
Hiring an experienced person may significant benefit your organization.  In certain situations, however, experience may be over-rated or at least embedded with intractable traits less desirable than inexperience. Even the most receptive to change, experienced person will have a hard time giving up some part of the old technology/methodology. At varying levels, resistance to change to new technology/methodology exists in every organization.
 
Let’s face it. Once someone masters a technology/methodology, few people will happily abandon all that time and effort previously invested and eagerly adopt the latest technology/methodology that will also require countless hours to master. There are legitimate reasons why proverbs, idioms, etc. like “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and “Old habits die hard” became clichés. Hiring a newbie avoids all these issues.
 
So here’s another example of where LESS (experience) may be MORE (valuable to your particular position/study/company) and creates the technology experience paradox.
 
Let me know your thoughts.