How can you ensure you’re recruiting MSLs with a deep understanding of the industry’s and therapeutic area nuances? This week’s post explores some actions you can take to ensure you’re attracting the right talent to your job openings.

1. Recognize the Value of Industry Experience

Before delving into recruitment strategies, it’s essential to understand why industry experience is a game-changer for MSLs:

  • Regulatory Knowledge: The pharmaceutical sector is heavily regulated. MSLs with industry experience will be familiar with these regulations, ensuring compliance in all interactions.
  • Stakeholder Insights: Understanding the motivations and challenges of various stakeholders, from doctors to regulators, is crucial.
  • Product Lifecycle Understanding: Experienced MSLs will have insights into the entire lifecycle of a drug, from R&D to post-market surveillance.

2. Be Open to Candidates with a Perfect Scientific Expertise Match but no Industry Experience 

While industry experience provides that “needle in the haystack” ability, there is a lot to be considered with candidates who are excellent matches in Scientific/Clinical expertise despite not having industry experience. They often:

  • Provide a different, often clinical or laboratory perspective, often enabling internal cross-functional relationship building.
  • Are eager to learn and perform and are highly coachable
  • Are experts in the therapeutic area

3. Highlight Experience Requirements in Job Listings

In your job descriptions:

  • Emphasize the importance of prior industry or clinical experience.
  • Specify the number of years or types of experiences that are ideal.
  • Highlight any specific areas of expertise, such as oncology or rare diseases.

4. Network at Industry Events

To tap into a pool of MSLs:

  • Attend pharmaceutical conferences and workshops.
  • Engage with professionals at industry-specific networking events.
  • Utilize social medical to find additional candidates
  • Consider hosting webinars or panels discussing industry trends, attracting potential candidates.

5. Value Transferable Skills

While direct industry experience is valuable, related experiences can also be beneficial:

  • Consider candidates from related fields, such as clinical or academic roles, regulatory affairs or clinical research, who wish to transition into an MSL role.
  • Recognize the value of experiences in adjacent industries, like medical devices or biotech.

6. Offer Mentorship Programs

For MSLs looking to deepen their industry knowledge:

  • Pair newer MSLs with seasoned industry veterans for mentorship.
  • Encourage knowledge-sharing sessions within the team.

7. Promote Continuous Learning

The pharmaceutical industry is quickly evolving:

  • Offer opportunities for MSLs to attend industry courses or certifications.
  • Provide access to industry journals and publications.
  • Encourage attendance at regulatory workshops or FDA meetings.

8. Engage with Industry Associations

Associations like the Medical Science Liaison Society often have networks of experienced professionals:

  • Post job listings on association job boards.
  • Engage in discussions and forums to identify potential candidates.

9. Incorporate Industry-focused Interview Assessments

During interviews:

  • Include scenario-based questions that test industry knowledge.
  • Ask about past experiences navigating industry challenges or regulatory hurdles.

10. Showcase Company Achievements

Attract experienced MSLs by:

  • Highlighting the company’s successes in drug approvals or innovations.
  • Discussing the company’s reputation and standing in the industry.

11. Feedback and Continuous Improvement


  • Seek feedback from new MSLs about their integration experience.
  • Understand their industry-related needs and challenges.
  • Use this feedback to refine your hiring strategy and support programs.


In the pharmaceutical industry having MSLs with a deep industry and therapeutic area understanding can be a significant asset. By partnering with PharmacoTalent, you can ensure your teams are not only knowledgeable but also adept at navigating the industry’s complexities.