In medical affairs, although technical expertise and clinical knowledge are paramount, there is a skillset underlying achieving all medical objectives which relies on a strong foundation in soft skills. These intangible yet vital traits determines a professional’s success in their role, shaping their interactions, collaborations, and problem-solving abilities. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of soft skills in medical affairs and provide insights for hiring managers on how to evaluate these essential qualities.

1. Understanding Soft Skills in Medical Affairs

Soft skills, often termed as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills,” encompass a range of abilities that facilitate effective communication, collaboration, and adaptability. In medical affairs, these skills become especially crucial as professionals often serve as the bridge between cross-functional teams, healthcare providers, and patients.

2. Why Soft Skills Matter

  • Building Trust: Establishing trust with diverse stakeholders, from patients to healthcare professionals, is essential. Soft skills play a pivotal role in building and nurturing these relationships.
  • Driving Collaboration: The success of projects in medical affairs often hinges on effective collaboration across departments or with external partners. Strong interpersonal skills ensure seamless teamwork and mutual respect.
  • Driving Medical Strategy: Medical affairs departments have ambitious strategies that heavily rely on Medical Science Liaisons and other positions in the department. MSLs in particular are uniquely positioned to utilize soft skills in achieving their medical objectives. 

3. Evaluating Soft Skills in the Hiring Process

  • Behavioral Interviews: By asking candidates to describe past situations where they’ve demonstrated specific interpersonal skills, hiring managers can gain insights into their soft skill competencies.
  • Role-playing Scenarios: Through simulated real-world challenges, it’s possible to assess a candidate’s problem-solving, adaptability, and communication skills.
  • Group Interviews: Observing interactions in a group setting can provide a glimpse into how a candidate collaborates and communicates with peers.
  • Feedback from References: Past colleagues and supervisors can be invaluable in offering insights into a candidate’s interpersonal skills and their ability to navigate complex situations.

4. Cultivating a Culture that Values Soft Skills

Recognizing the importance of soft skills is just the beginning. For an organization to truly thrive, it must foster a culture where these skills are nurtured, developed, and rewarded. This can be achieved through targeted training programs, mentorship initiatives, and a continuous feedback loop.


In the intricate landscape of medical affairs, while technical knowledge remains foundational, soft skills have emerged as equally crucial. They shape interactions, influence collaborations, and drive medical strategies. 

At PharmacoTalent we prioritize and evaluate these skills in the hiring process. This ensures that we only bring onboard talent that resonates with your mission, values, and objectives. Ask us how your team can benefit from our specialized focus on these skills.

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