How to Nail Your First Biopharma Interview After College
Employment for medical scientists, biochemists and biophysicists is projected to grow approximately 11-13% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This is a great field to be in, however, the competition can be fierce. Scientists may not always find the job supply and demand equation to be in their favor. Landing a biopharma job after college is not a slam dunk, as there is one step to landing a job that can lead to a rejection letter.
We are talking about the first biopharma interview after college.
You are about to make all of the hard work preparing for a biopharma career pay off. If you have just earned your post doctorate degree, there is still one significant hurdle to jump over before you cross the career finish line. Even with a biopharma degree, the finish line can be delayed because of a poor performance during that first interview after college.
The first biopharma interview after college will increase your stress and anxiety. However, we offer a few time-tested tips to help you nail your first interview.
Preparation is Key
The Boy Scouts have long followed the catchy motto called “Be prepared.” It should also be the motto for job seekers getting ready for interviews. Preparation is the key to nailing any type of interview, such as the first biopharma interview after college.
Here is how you prepare:
- Know your resume like the back of your hand.
- Review and memorize every detail about the job description.
- Perform thorough research on the company.
- Anticipate questions by referring to biopharma industry-related job boards and websites.
- Practice answering anticipated interview questions.
- Prepare questions to ask the biopharma recruiter.
Dress the Part
Yes, biopharma scientists may typically wear a white coat that covers some type of business apparel. However, for the first pharma interview after college, you want to send a positive first impression by leaving the coat at home and dressing in business attire.
You might have heard about the importance of arriving on time for an interview. Well, arriving on time is not good enough. You should plan to arrive early to prevent an unforeseen event from making you late. Arriving late to any type of interview is a surefire way to lose the interviewer’s interest.
Does Technical Knowledge Matter?
There is a hot debate within the biopharma industry about the importance of mastering technical questions during a biopharma interview. For the first interview after college, the recruiter will probably spend much more time determining how well you will work with your professional peers. You will need to project a positive disposition, as well as emphasize your ability to work as a part of a team of biopharma scientists.
You need to clear your head before you walk through the company’s front door. Seasoned recruiters know when job candidates are not fully engaged during an interview. Job candidates that fidget and/or fail to pay attention to questions can expect a letter or an email to arrive that reads “After reviewing your qualifications, we have decided to move forward with another job candidate.” Pay attention and if needed, recite interview questions back to the recruiter to demonstrate your focus.
Some interview questions can fluster the most focused job candidates. For example:
“Where do you want to be in five years?” “10 years?”
“Describe a time when you failed.”
“How do you handle pressure?”
These questions often lead to vague, long-winded answers that turn off recruiters. We already mentioned you need to develop your answers to anticipated questions before the first biopharma scientist interview after college. Make sure the answers are succinct and offer insight into the value you will provide the company.
Talk about Your Work Experience
Up to now, most of your accomplishments have probably come from educational achievements. After all, earning a degree to work as a scientist in the biopharma industry takes longer than most other types of academic degrees. Nonetheless, you have most likely worked in a research lab. Make sure to incorporate some of your work experience into your interview performance.
Do Not Discuss Money
Biopharma scientist careers usually grow into positions that pay well. However, the first biopharma interview after college is the worst time to discuss money. Even if the recruiter mentions money, deflect the question back by stating you are more worried about job performance, and the level of your job performance will eventually dictate how much money you will earn during your pharmacy career.
“Why Should We Hire You?”
Of all the questions asked during the first interview after college, “Why should we hire you” is the one that trips up most job candidates. You have to walk the fine line between making a cheesy answer and coming across as over confident. Focus the answer on your career development with the same company, and you should bring a smile to the recruiter’s face.
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