What Employers Want to Hear in Behavioral Job Interviews

Published: Feb 20, 2014

What Employers Want To Hear In Behavioral Job Interviews
February 20, 2014
By BioSpace.com

Due to the growing demand for top-notch employees that can work effectively on a team, biopharma employers have turned to behavioral job interview questions to evaluate where the applicant might fit in the organization. Because biotech professionals hold a variety of degrees as well as experiences, it is important for the organization to choose the right candidate based on these behavioral interviews.

Some of these questions can seem out-of-place, intrusive, or even outrageous until you consider what the employer is trying to discern about your character, personality, and ethics. The following tips will help address behavioral job interview questions without stress and offer some answers that can help you present yourself more professionally. Don't forget that interviewers usually make their decisions in the first minute of the job interview, then look for reasons to support their conclusions. That means if there is a message you need to deliver, express it in the beginning of the job interview when the employer asks the first question. Here are common questions that you may encounter and what they are looking for in your response.

Q: Have you ever disagreed with your supervisor or team members on a decision they made? What did you do?
A: Your core ethics and whether you are too easily influenced.

Q: Talk about a task that required presentation skills and how you prepared for it.
A: Your ability to match your speaking style with the listener, instead of just repeating yourself in a louder voice.

Q: Describe a time you had to finish a project but did not have enough information.
A: If you are a research associate, the process you use to verify that you can provide accurate and complete data to a scientist.

Q: What are some goals that you achieved and how did you do it?
A: The goal and result are not important. This is a test of your confidence and enthusiasm in communication, which is critical to engaging with your manager and team members.

Q: What do you do to cope with stressful situations?
A: They want to make sure you do not have an explosive temper.

Q: Did you ever had to follow a policy you didn't agree with? What were the results?
A: Putting professionalism above ego.

Q: Can you point to a task that required extraordinary diligence?
A: Your ability to focus on a task to completion despite fatigue and distractions.

Q: If you must make a decision under time pressure, how do you prioritize?
A:Testing your temper and detail-orientation.

Q: How do you motivate other people to accomplish tasks that you have prioritized?
A: Leadership potential.

Q: As a research associate, have you ever had to organize, come up with experiment setup, and follow through on a compound on your own?
A:Your ability to work independently without management-intensive direction.

Prepare the most engaging stories about your skills and experience, then practice telling them in front of a friend or a video camera. Make these stories fit the questions that are asked, which requires that you listen very carefully to the interviewer's question. You will need to specifically address the question asked directly in the story, so repeat or paraphrase the question back to the interviewer if you need a moment to prepare. Good interviewers will understand that this is a stressful situation, and bad interviewers will be impressed with your listening skills.

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