Making a career change can be scary, but ultimately it can be what leads you to bigger opportunities in your career path! Here are tips from our Life Sciences team on what type of questions to ask in an interview and how to prepare!
Michele Baxley– Life Science Recruiter and Practice Lead
- What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate? This is a great open-ended question that will have the interviewer put his or her cards on the table and state exactly what the employer is looking for. If the interviewer mentions something you didn’t cover yet, now is your chance.
- What is the single largest problem facing your staff and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem? This question not only shows that you are immediately thinking about how you can help the team, it also encourages the interviewer to envision you working at the position.
- What have you enjoyed most about working here? This question allows the interviewer to connect with you on a more personal level, sharing his or her feelings. The answer will also give you unique insight into how satisfied people are with their jobs there. If the interviewer is pained to come up with an answer to your question, it’s a big red flag.
- What constitutes success at this position in the company? This question shows your interest in being successful there, and the answer will show you both how to get ahead and whether it is a good fit for you.
- Can you tell me about someone in this position who did a terrific job, and what made it terrific? One purpose behind this question is to identify inconsistencies between what you said would be important to the candidate’s performance (question 3) and what actually made someone a success. Also, this question requires a factual, detailed response; if this cannot be provided, the candidate may infer that success is not easy to achieve, or that you aren’t up to speed on what the job is all about.
- Would you describe your salary review and performance review processes? For starters, great candidates want to know that you have salary and performance review processes — another indication that the candidate thinks like a professional. Shaky, vague processes equate to a shaky, vague future that great candidates will reject.
- In what ways does company leadership demonstrate its commitment to employees and to the success of the business? The candidate is interested in personal success and the overall success of the enterprise –- excellent! Candidates know they’ve lobbed you a soft ball with this question, and if you don’t hit it out of the park, they’ll know your firm is striking out with employees and strategic planning.
- What are the biggest challenges or headaches that go with the territory in this position and at this company? Can you speak frankly and critically about your firm, or are you merely a corporate mouthpiece? Your response to this question speaks volumes about your corporate culture, in addition to providing a fair and full understanding about what the candidate would be getting into.
- What do you see as my greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses as an applicant? Your response tells candidates how well they’ve presented themselves, how well you understand them, and how good a fit the position is shaping up to be.
- What can I do as a next step in the process/Can I have the job? Great candidates let you know they are here for a job, not to kill time or go through the motions. This question reminds you again that they are serious, and lets you know they are willing to push for results. If that quality is important for success, you’ll want to keep talking to candidates who are professionally aggressive in pursuit of the position
Heather Meadows– Life Science Recruiter with Animal Health Distribution Specialty
- If I am the selected candidate, what would I need to accomplish in the first 6 months in order for you to feel like you made a good hire?
- Where do you see the company in 3 years?
- What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the company/department right now?
Debbie Caldwell– Life Science Recruiter with Animal Health Specialty
Let’s face it, no one likes to go through an interview, most people have a lot of anxiety about it. Preparing for upcoming interviews can actually help reduce that anxiety, the more prepared you feel, the less anxiety you will have.
- Start with your homework.
- Research the company. Look up the company online, see what has happened recently, get a general overview and company mission.
- Look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn, see what you have in common, this helps build a connection.
- Relate your experience to the job description.
- Prepare specific information about what you have done, your expertise and skillset.
- Be ready for behavioral questions—be able to describe your strengths AND weaknesses. When speaking about weaknesses, be sure to relay how you have addressed the weaknesses and made improvements.
- Build a short list of questions to ask the interviewer. That will help demonstrate your knowledge for this role as well as your industry knowledge. The interview process is a 2-way street—you are gaining knowledge about the role to judge whether you can be happy and successful in that role—so ask questions to help you gain that knowledge.
Questions such as:
- What challenges face the person in the role?
- What are expectations in the first few months?
- How big is the team?
- What things are happening with the company in the next year?
- Make sure to ask about the next steps in the interview process and indicate your continued interest in the role.
- Thank the interviewer(s) for their time and indicate that you look forward to speaking with them again.
- Send a thank you email