Interview Tips

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Before interviewing with a biotech or pharmaceuticals company you should learn everything you can about the company, its core science and technology, and its business strategy. Being knowledgeable about the company will allow you to highlight your most relevant skills and accomplishments and will also help you develop thoughtful questions for your interviewers. Here are some additional tips to help you prepare:

  1. Questions: Expect questions that probe both your technical and non-technical skills.
  2. Interdisciplinary: Be ready to articulate your interdisciplinary skills. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies function through the collaboration of interdisciplinary teams, so having the ability to communicate well with people of different educational backgrounds is crucial to being a successful candidate for a role in biotech or pharma.
  3. Trends: learn about current trends in biotech and pharmaceuticals by reading scientific news and blogs [Drug Discovery TodayNature, and Chemical and Engineering News.]
  4. Biotechnology Company vs. Pharmaceutical Company Interviews: Candidates at pharmaceutical companies will most often be interviewed by bench level scientists, who will ask questions that assess the candidate’s technical and communication skills. Candidates interviewing for research positions will often be asked to give 30 – 45 minute seminars based on their research. Interviews at biotechnology companies, however, may be conducted by the CEO or a higher-up with a business development role. Instead of giving a research presentation, candidates will likely have one-on-one or small group discussions about their research.

Interview Attire

While workers at biotech and pharmaceutical companies will dress at varying levels of formality depending on their roles (researchers may wear white coats or informal attire, while people in business-related roles may dress more formally), as an interviewee you should err on the side of formality. Consider wearing a suit or a blazer with dress pants or a skirt.

Sample Interviewing Questions and Prompts

  • Why do you want to work at our company?
  • Why do you want to work in this industry?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Walk us through your resume—what are your greatest accomplishments?
  • Tell us about a time you creatively solved a problem.
  • Tell us about a time you led a team.
  • How would your team members describe you?
  • Tell us about a time you had a conflict with a team member.
  • What do you know about us?
  • What are the most difficult challenges facing biotech/the pharmaceutical industry?
  • Tell us about a time you failed.
  • Why are you the best candidate for this position?