When I was first interviewing for jobs I got the question “what are your career goals?” The question was something I had given a lot of thought to but I’d never actually transferred these ideas into an interview appropriate answer before. I muddled through that interview, but I realized I could do much better if I forced myself to put my thoughts into actual words, so I started preparing for interviews by writing down potential interview questions and answers. I think this has helped to make me more clear and succinct (when I’m nervous I tend to ramble) and I like that I get the chance to review what I said for previous interviews.
Recently, a lot of my friends and family have been applying to new jobs/promotions and I’ve been running practice interviews with them. It feels good to have another use for all the research I put into finding/coming up with/remembering potential interview questions, so I’ve decided to also compile them here for our readers. Please feel free to comment with any other questions you’ve come across.
Two general thoughts on interviewing…
- Make your answers short and specific.
- Keep things positive, if you want to highlight aspects that you didn’t like, try to put a positive spin on things, eg show how would improve things.
Best of luck to all the job applicants out there, I hope this helps!
– Tell me about yourself/how would you describe yourself? This should be geared toward the job you are applying for not a general introduction.
– Tell me about your experience at ____ prior company/lab___.
– What did you like about ______ prior company/lab___?
– What do you wish was different about ___ prior company/lab___?
– Why do you want to leave your current position?
– What do you know about this position/company?
– What techniques/methods are you accustomed to using?
– What is your work style/how do you like to approach your work?
– What are your top 3 strengths/weaknesses? Make sure to tailor this to the position. If it was a R&D job I might feel ok mentioning that I get nervous talking in front of crowds (true) but if I was going for a science liaison position I would probably choose something else.
– Why are you interested in this job/company/institution?
– What are your expectations for this job/company?
– What is your management style/how do you like to be managed?
– Tell me about how you like to interact with your lab mates.
– How do you deal with conflict?
– What do you bring to this job/company? This is an awesome opportunity to brag and really highlight why you should get the job
– Describe a setback and how you overcame it.
– Describe a conflict and how you overcame it.
– Describe a time you were working under pressure to get a project completed.
– Describe a mistake and what you did to correct it.
– Give an example of when you used scientific problem solving/a creative scientific approach to solve a problem.
– What motivates you scientifically?
– What are your career goals?
– Why are you leaving academia?
– What are your hobbies?
– Do you have any questions for me/us? You will probably use some up during the course of the conversation, so have a bunch.
– Do you have any concerns for us?
– How much do you want to make? I hate this one… I always try to say something like; I’m excited about this position and I would just like to be appropriately compensated. Ugh.