How to Prepare for a Biotech Interview Successfully
It’s extraordinary how much interview advice there is on the internet nowadays. Most of them tend to be very successful, but not all are targeted at a specific issue.
So why do you need to read information about preparing for an interview in biotech? Well, biotech has one of the trickiest interviews among all industries. Since it has a wide coverage, interviews can either be technical or less technical and easy or difficult. There is no middle ground.
In some companies, you’ll face two human resource people while others will give you a scientist-turned-businessman boss. Sometimes, you’re given a panel before going one-on-one. But there are candidates lucky enough to get hired without even going to an interview. See the kind of razzle-dazzle you’re just about to face when you step into a biotech interview?
To add to the terror, most interviews in Biotech or Biopharma industries can last longer than you think. According to a survey, a normal interview would last at least 40 minutes. But what you don’t know is that hiring managers can make a decision in as fast as 90 seconds.
Before you know it, you are already off their checklist.
But don’t worry. An interview process shouldn’t be that hard when you check this ultimate guide for a job interview success in biotech.
1. Look for Biotech job openings at the right place, don’t just search
Sometimes, Googling for jobs is not enough. If you want to find the best job offers from Biotech Industries, you need to look for them in the right place.
A better strategy is to visit websites that post verified biotech jobs with authentic information and of course you by now that BIOTECNIKA is the best choice. We post biotech job openings from R&D labs, Research Institute, Biotech Companies, Pharma Companies. Job position ranges from research-oriented jobs, Biotech Academics Jobs, Biotech Sales & Marketing Job and what not. Looking for a job in Biotech is just like fishing. If you want a salmon for dinner, you don’t fish in the small sea where you’ll get a variety of fishes but not salmon. Instead, you sail to a salmon-rich spot where you’ll get more salmons than less expected fishes and Biotecnika is the big sea, just dive and apply for that dream job of yours.
2. Dress up according to the company standards; don’t underdress or overdress
Don’t come to an interview wearing jeans and sneakers. This is not an interview for a part-time work at in your college days.
Don’t wear a gown and glittery pieces of jewelry. This is not a party either.
Here’s a fact – you’ve already been judged by the way you’re dressed before you get to answer a question. So the safest choice would be a corporate attire. For men, formal attire would be your best option. Avoid casual T-shirts & shirts.
For women, A Formal attire, Salwar suit or kurta is ideal. Avoid anything tight, sheer, and short. Also steer clear from flashy colors like neon and animal prints. When in doubt, always choose the simpler option.
Your footwear also does matter. Keep it formal & simple.
3. Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest developments in Biotech for possible technical conversations
Once you’re in the interview, you’ll need your brain to cooperate.
We all know that Biotech is an all-encompassing industry. You can expect questions from all aspects of biotech like agriculture, pharmacy, or bioengineering. So get ready to survive technical conversations which could happen anywhere in between your interview.
Chances are your potential employer will ask probing questions just to gauge how you would fare on the job. These questions can include very technical topics, current events, and latest biotech developments from the above-mentioned sub-industries.
Prepare by making sure you know about current events in biotech and knowing more about your chosen company. Subscribe to Biotecnika news alerts & Biotecnika Weekly Magazine so that you’ll be updated from time to time. Search for frequently asked questions and practice answering.
When you’re prepared, this stage should be very easy for you.
4. Avoid any attempt to be technical if hiring managers do not throw technical questions
Okay, so you’ve read quite a number of biotech news and recited several biotech principles. But during your interview, the employer was more interested in your work expectations and personal experience.
This is very normal, especially in biotech industries looking for individuals who can work with a team. As I’ve said there can be a lot of unexpected turn of events during an interview. So don’t be too pushy to show how much you know about Biotech. Otherwise, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot.
Dr. Dhiren Thakker of UNC’s Eshelan School of Pharmacy has once said, “Referencing a particular source is a risky business — if the individual has not been a regular subscriber or reader of that area, it could backfire.” Trying to be technical even when not needed will only make you sound weird, arrogant, and off-topic.
So if you’re in this situation, treat it as an opportunity to show yourself. It’s in your best interest, to be honest about your critical reflections, experience, qualifications including your strengths and weaknesses. Present yourself as favorably as possible without touching too much on your private life and indicate your leadership skills with simplicity.
5. Prepare smart answers in advance for some off-putting questions
As I said, there will be extremely unexpected questions during your interview in biotech.
For example, you might be asked if you’re planning to start a family. Many women applicants in their 30s have been asked this question, even though many HR managers are not technically allowed to. But don’t let questions like this upset you.
Politely ask, how the question relates to your qualification. Then slowly move to a more-related topic. Sometimes, HR managers are just looking for candidates who know how to navigate through stressful situations.
Other unexpected questions can include your political views, religious affiliations, hobbies, and favorite food. If in doubt if this could create a bias, a little white lie could save your career.
6. Show your interdisciplinary skills
It’s hard to demonstrate how good you are with interdisciplinary skills just by talking. Yet, an interview in the biotech will push you hard to the limit.
So for example, if you’re interviewing to be a chemist, speak like a “chemist and biologist”. Traditionally, biotech industries have chemist and biologists in their drug discovery teams. So you need to be conversant not just being a chemist but also in another field.
This will show your flexibility and ability to work with other specialists in the field, without having to demonstrate your skills.
As early as now, prepare by talking to other people with different field of specialization. Know their work and function, and how they move around the job. This will give you a broader idea of how everyone works in the team.
7. Know more about the company you are applying
Large biotech companies have different interview processes which are not present in smaller companies.
If you’re applying to large companies, you can expect the interview to be more focus on your technical and communication skills. Oftentimes, they will ask you to undergo a 30-minute seminar just to get to know you more.
However, if you’re applying to smaller companies you would probably be talking with the CEO and business developers. Instead of having seminars, interviews can be done with a smaller panel and more intimate.
Knowing the size of the company you’re applying is crucial in determining the amount of preparation you need to make. So try to research information about your company. Check their official website and visit the “About Us” section or simply ask a friend who has worked there.
8. Widen your network
Connections play a very important role in getting hired faster. Picture this – if you walk into a company without knowing anybody, you’ll feel more like a stranger. Yet, you will hear people talking about someone you know. It could be your ex-colleague, a college friend, or your previous boss.
So how could these people in the company know them but not you? In truth, the biotech industry and many of its sub-industries are very small worlds.
If you have a connection, it’s easier to get your name around. Your connection could buzz about your skills and make good recommendations, which can surely ignite some interest in your employer.
The best way to start building a network is during your Ph.D. years. However, making connections two weeks before your interview isn’t that bad. Today, there are various avenues where you can meet people and connect with potential influencers like LinkedIn.
You can also join discussion groups, conferences, and networking events where you can hear what other people have to say about biotech. Lastly, do not be afraid to contact your previous industry for help. Your past employers can actually make a recommendation letter to your potential employer.
So there you go. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my tips for a successful interview in biotech. When in doubt, take a breath, look down at the floor to focus, and respond. This will help you calm down and be more straightforward in answering questions.