Tips on How to Get Hired From Roche

Roche Scientist

Most companies want the same thing from their employees — top skills, reliability, good education, experience, and an ability to work with a team and independently.

In terms of interviews, there are always certain basics — dress neatly and professionally, be friendly and courteous, be on time. Roche is no different than other companies, although there are some possible insights beyond those broad guidelines to make your experiences interviewing with Roche successful.

The Company

Not all big companies are noted for both being powerhouses in manufacturing and delivery of drugs, as well as in innovative research and development. Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is one of those companies. With slightly over 94,000 employees worldwide, the company has a deep menu of cutting-edge medications and in 2016 reported $50 billion of annual revenue.

Roche Holding AG is the holding company, while F. Hoffman-La Roche AG is the Swiss multinational healthcare company. It operates two divisions, Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Some of Roche’s companies are U.S.-based Genentech, Japanese biotechnology company Chugai Pharmaceuticals, and U.S.-based Ventana.

Generally viewed as the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, Roche focuses on oncology, neuroscience, infectious diseases, immunology, cardiovascular and metabolism, ophthalmology, hematology, and respiratory diseases.

Roche’s Advice

Roche has a webpage that offers 10 basic tips for the interview. None of them are exactly “inside baseball,” but they’re worth considering.

•  Look Sharp – appearance matters

•  Be on Time – even a little early is a good idea

•  Do Your Research – research the company to understand how you might fit in.

•  Be Prepared – at the very least, bring along a copy of your resume, references and letters of recommendation.

•  Show Enthusiasm – make eye contact, include a firm handshake, show an interest in the job and the company.

•  Listen – be a good listener.

•  Answer the Question Asked – don’t dodge and don’t be vague.

•  Give Specific Examples – or as the company notes, “One specific example of your background is worth 50 vague stories. Prepare your stories before the interview. Give examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness.”

•  Ask Questions – here’s where your research into the company will come in handy.

•  Follow Up – after the interview, send a thank-you note via email or regular mail.

The Culture

Glassdoor collects information and reviews about companies and their interview process. The site notes that about 66 percent of people cited the Roche interview experience as positive, with about half of the interviews found via online applications. The difficulty of the interviews was ranked as average.

A Senior Data Engineer who was not offered a position, described it as a “negative experience,” which isn’t uncommon when people don’t get the job. In his case, a recruiter found his LinkedIn profile and put him in touch with a senior software engineer at Roche. His description of the interview is a bit strange, focusing on coursework from his undergraduate degree he’d completed 10 years before he completed two other degrees.

Another review by a Field Service Engineer who took a job with Roche, noted it took about two weeks, had three parts with three different interviewers and was a “very friendly interview process. This is a company every employer should model after. They contacted me, then set up a time via email, they slotted a 30-minute slot and they called on time.” The primary questions related to his career path.

A Software Engineer who did not receive an offer noted, “The Diagnostics group is planning to do some wonderful things and the people I interviewed with were really positive. But be careful. It’s a growing team and it was difficult to get them to articulate what they needed or wanted. With the exception of one interview session, I was not asked questions which aligned with the technology area I had specifically applied for.” Interview questions were, “What would you like to do? What are your interests?”


Roche has jobs worldwide, including the U.S., Switzerland, United Kingdom, Brazil, China and much of Europe. Examples include:

Senior Finance Process Manager in South San Francisco, Calif. This individual will lead the review of company financial processes and policies. It requires a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or related disciplines with an MBA or CPA strongly preferred, as well as 8 years of relevant experience in biopharma or healthcare.

Research Associate II in Tucson, Ariz. This position will conduct research, development and manufacturing laboratory experimentation and other activities for Ventana projects. The position calls for a bachelor’s degree in science and two or more years of relevant experience.

Clinical Research Associate II in Pleasanton, Calif. This individual will work with virology and blood screening product lines. The position calls for a bachelor’s degree in science or related field or an equivalent combination of education and work experience. It also requires 2 to 6 years of clinical research experience, with a master’s degree preferred.

Scientist, Discovery Oncology at Genentech Research in South San Francisco. This position calls for a scientist to independently develop and lead innovative research efforts in chemical biology and/or functional genomics to discover and validate novel synthetic lethal interactions in cancer biology. The candidate requires a PhD in biochemistry, cell biology or related field with a minimum of 3 to 4 years of relevant post-doctoral research experience.

With such a large and diverse company, there are numerous exciting and challenging positions available worldwide in the sciences, management, sales and business areas. Brush up your resume, practice your interviews, and don’t forget to smile and provide a firm handshake. Good luck!

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