30 Biotechnology Interview Questions & Answers
When searching for the right talent to join their team, hiring managers will ask as many questions as necessary to assess potential candidates. Avoid drawing a blank during an interview by preparing ahead of time. The following guide contains some of the most common and favored biotech interview questions that an interviewer could ask you. If you’re preparing for a biotechnology interview, this guide will help you effectively express your skills, qualifications, and work ethic to leave the best impression on any hiring manager.
Why Did You Choose a Career in Biotechnology?
An interviewer might ask this question to understand what motivates you. Interviewers and hiring managers want to know that candidates are interested in the work done at the interviewing company. Answer this question by showing how you are naturally excited about biotechnology. Be honest about the things you enjoy within the industry. You can connect this to your long-term goals or the organization’s work. In asking this question, interviewers want to know that you are there for the long run.
How Many Years Have You Worked in the Biotech Industry?
The interviewer is likely asking this question to get a sense of your industry experience. Depending on the role you are interviewing for, you may need one to several years of experience. Your answer should reflect your most important positions and qualifications from your work history. Discuss how the year(s) of experience has prepared you for the desired role long-term. In addition to the previous question, an interviewer will listen for continued interest and commitment to the industry.
How Do You Stay Updated On the Industry (Journals, Research Papers, etc.)?
Based on the role you are applying for, it may be vital to know that you are up to date on the latest in industry news, regulations, or advancements. Use this question to demonstrate your current knowledge and desire to continuously learn a trade. Instead of listing journals, focus on a publication and expand on how it relates to your specializations and interests. An ideal candidate is curious and always pursuing knowledge. By asking this question, an interviewer assesses a candidate’s openness and enthusiasm to learning.
Which Biotechnology Are You Most Interested in and Why?
Interviewers may ask this question to understand your work history. This provides significant opportunity to show how your interest in a specific type of biotechnology aligns with the company’s mission. Answer this question with a brief history of biotech experience and what was most exciting about that type of biotech. Use examples that relate to the interviewing biotech company. An interviewer will note how this interest and experience can apply to current organizational needs.
What Are Your Thoughts On Biotech in the Context of the Current Events (COVID, etc.)?
When considering candidates for long-term roles, an interviewer might ask this question to gauge candidate foresight. To answer this question, provide your thoughts on current events and how they might affect the industry. Explain how this could alter current operations and procedures. Briefly connect this to problem-solving or quick-thinking skills. Interviewers know that the biotech landscape is constantly changing and are eager for candidates that can anticipate and adjust to changes.
Where Do You See the Industry Going in the Next Five Years?
An interviewer may use this question to measure your involvement and interest in the industry. Be honest about your knowledge and discuss any change you see occurring within the given timeline. A great way to answer this question is to discuss news or research from the interviewing company. State how you see those changes playing out within the industry in the next five years. Interviewers will listen for general life science industry knowledge and eagerness for a long-lasting career.
What is the Most Significant Development in the Biotech Industry in the Last Few Years?
This biotech interview question is a wonderful way to show your excitement about your occupational interests. Answer this question with a development you can tie into your technical skills and qualifications. Include any biotech products, processes, or equipment that may apply to the potential role. Examples can include drug development, new engineering tools and techniques, changes in production and many more. Let your answer assure the interviewer of your knowledge, skills, and anticipation for future development projects. An interviewer wants to know that you are excited to build upon and contribute to advancements.
What is Currently the Biggest Problem in the Biotech Industry?
When asking this question, an interviewer is getting an idea of what is most important to you. Ensure that your answer states the biggest challenge you’ve observed within the industry and how you would want to see it improved. Explain to the interviewer why you want to see this problem addressed. If it applies to the position you are interviewing for, note what steps you would take to address the issue. A hiring manager can better understand the problems and work you care about with a quick and easy answer.
What is the Most Challenging Part of Working in the Biotech Industry?
If asked, take this question as an opportunity to describe how you’ve overcome difficulties in the past. State what you believe to be the most challenging aspect of the biotech industry. In your answer, include your thought process on assessing this challenge. Briefly explain how a skill, such as patience, creative thinking, and problem solving can break any challenge down. In a fast-paced and high-stakes environment, a hiring manager is looking for candidates that can identify challenges and solutions.
Describe Your Previous Laboratory Experience
An interviewer will likely ask this biotechnology question to gauge your technical experience. Describe tasks you have undertaken in a previous role. Touch on experiment plans and procedures, samples worked with, data collection, and analysis. Interviewers listen for the ability to navigate health and safety standards within a lab. Their ideal candidate can demonstrate that they can conceive and see through the development of projects.
Describe a Previous Experience When You Were Faced With Unexpected Results. How Did You Handle it?
As everyone knows, things don’t always go according to plan. When an interviewer asks this question, they assess a candidate’s behavioral response to the unexpected. Start your answer by explaining the unforeseen results and how you adapted to the situation. An interviewer will look for a statement that suggests a candidate can be flexible and adjust during high-pressure situations. Ideal candidates are excited by discoveries and new information.
Describe a Previous Experience When Clinical Research Impacted Your Work. How Did You Handle it?
For candidates that it relates to, an interviewer may ask this question to learn about your specific technical background. Prepare an anecdote ahead of time that you can easily recall during the interview. Give a brief explanation of the research you were performing and describe how it affected your projects on a larger scale. This can be a great way of showing that you understand the bigger picture within the industry. An interviewer will listen for answers that convince them a candidate is capable of problem solving and advancing research and development projects.
Describe a Previous Experience When New Regulations Impacted Your Work. How Did You Handle it?
The biotechnology industry is a fast-moving environment with changing procedures and regulations. Interviewers might ask this question to determine analytical and investigative skills. Have a moment in mind where such a change occurred. Walk the interviewer through your thought process and steps taken to adjust. A hiring manager will pay attention to candidates that note quick adjustments. Problem-solving skills paired with technical knowledge create a highly sought candidate.
What Standards and Protocols Do You Have Experience With?
To gauge related hard-skill experience, an interviewer may ask this biotech question. Clearly state all standards and protocols you are familiar with and with what research you followed these procedures. Demonstrate your knowledge of maintaining healthy and safe working environments. An interviewer wants to ensure they are hiring a competent candidate who will uphold these practices to maintain a standard for quality of research and development.
Do You Have More Academic or Industry Experience?
The interviewer is likely asking this question to understand your hands-on technical experience. For some roles, previous academic and industry experience may be required. Answer the question honestly and provide a brief background of your experience. Include anything that demonstrates the qualifications and knowledge required for the position. Interviewers will listen for internships, previous jobs, lab experience, volunteer work and more to determine if your hands-on skills are a good fit for the role.
Do You Have Any Experience in Publishing a Research Paper?
When a hiring manager asks this biotech interview question, they are measuring your expertise and knowledge. Answer this question by providing any publications you have worked on and include a general scope of your research and development experience. Explain your specific contributions to the paper. If you have no experience publishing a research paper, consider discussing any long form written reports you’ve completed. In your answer, an interviewer will listen for items in your work history to validate your research background and know you can conclude a project.
What is Your Level of Experience With [area]?
An interviewer will ask this question to understand your specific technical skills and background. To answer, let the interviewer know how many years of experience you have in the area and note your skills unique to that specialization. Let your answer demonstrate your competency in the inquired area. Hiring managers look for qualities in candidates that can be developed and collaborate well with other team members.
Do You Prefer Working With Studies Related to Animals, Humans, or Plant Life?
When discussing research preferences, an interviewer may ask this question. Be honest about your inclinations if you have any, and keep answers positive. You don’t want to miss an opportunity by shutting the possibility off with too much dislike towards a subject. An interviewer will listen for your interests and take this into account when considering your preferences for research possibilities within the potential role.
If You Could Choose One Area in Your Field to Study Which One Would it Be and Why?
An interviewer will ask this question to understand your biotechnology or pharmaceutical passions. Tell the interviewer about your favorite field to study and answer why you would choose that particular field. Include for the interviewer how your strengths in this area can apply to the role and company objectives. Interviewers are interested to know what drives your research and career goals.
If You Could Choose One Illness to Study Which One Would it Be and Why?
Similar to the previous question, interviewers might ask this to get to know your interests. Discuss with the interviewer about your choice and explain why. Emphasize your passion for your biotech or pharmaceutical career path. You can also tie this into an area of interest related to the company. Biotech interviewers listen for excitement within the industry and a genuine curiosity for knowledge.
How Would You Evaluate Data Before Starting the Project?
An interviewer will likely ask this question to get a sense of your thought process when beginning a project. Answer with a specific plan and walk the interviewer through key points you take into evaluating data. Your answer should be clear and concise to demonstrate your competency. Interviewers are looking for responses that show a candidate’s experience with critical thinking around projects.
How Do You Design and Implement Studies?
Hiring managers will ask this question to ensure that candidates can develop well-designed studies. Describe a general idea of your design process. Answer how you would implement the study. Note what you’ve done in the past and how some studies differed or were similar. During the interview, a hiring manager will listen to a response that demonstrates prior experience.
What Factors Do You Consider When Designing Studies?
Like the previous question, utilize this question to go into detail of factors in designing studies. To answer, mention all items to consider such as budget, equipment, ethics, time, and other factors. Interviewers will listen for evidence that you can successfully work within company parameters and that you can identify the possibilities and limitations of designing a study.
When Working Within a Group Which Role Do You Prefer?
In understanding your general comfort in different working environments, an interviewer will likely ask this question. To start, mention leadership as well as teamwork skills. Connect this to one or two situations where you have demonstrated initiative and supportive roles. Interviewers will compare your work preferences and their organization’s needs. They will listen for examples of collaboration, leadership, and the ability to work in group environments as a team member contributing to a goal.
Describe Your Process of Troubleshooting a Problem.
As a general interview question, interviewers will ask this when they want to understand a candidate’s experience with problem solving. In your answer, describe situations that required quick thinking or asking for advice. Offer the interviewer relevant examples of your ability to think outside the box. Interviewers listen for examples that demonstrate confidence in decision-making. They want to see your knowledge and ability to address problems.
Would You Consider Getting an MA/Ph.D. to Further Your Career?
An interviewer may ask this question depending on the role. Some positions have graduate degree requirements or lead to job roles that have education requirements. In your answer, be sure to note an openness for a discussion in the future. Interviewers look for answers concerning a genuine pursuit and curiosity for expanding knowledge.
How Does This Position Fit Into Your Career Plan?
Hiring managers want to make sure they are considering candidates who are a good fit for the particular position. Assure the interviewer that your career goals are aligned with the challenges and responsibilities the role provides. Explain to the interviewer your overall goals and that you are eager to develop within the job role. Interviewers are looking for candidates that are dedicated and committed rather than looking for something temporary.
What Made You Interested in Our Company?
An interviewer is likely to ask this question to determine what you know about the company’s mission and values. Prior to the interview, research the company and reference any points of interest from their goals. In your answer, mention a few of these goals and how they relate to your own values. Communicate how and why you want to contribute to the company’s long-term goals. Interviewers want to know if your drive aligns with the company mission.
Which [item] in Our Portfolio Interested You the Most and Why?
Use this question as an opportunity to express your interest in products, services, or pipelines the company is pushing. Interviewers ask this question when gauging how much you know about the company and if you are excited by the work. Before the interview, ensure you’ve researched the company and have examples ready. Explain to the interviewer any products or projects that intrigued you and how this relates to your work history. Demonstrate your knowledge of their products. The interviewer will listen for answers that detail genuine interest in company projects.
What Makes Our Company Stand Out From Others?
An interviewer may ask this question to understand why you applied for this role and company. Utilize this question to note your interest in qualities such as research techniques, department leadership and experts, unique industry knowledge, work life balance and more. There are several factors your attention was drawn to the company over others, and no detail is too small or large. Paint a picture for the interviewer on how this company is unique and why you see yourself there. Hiring managers want candidates who are knowledgeable about the industry, excited to contribute, and are a great fit for the company.
When preparing for a biotechnology interview, review this guide as a resource. Remember to be authentic and honest throughout the process. At BioPhase Solutions, we help you connect with hiring managers, look over your resume, and prepare for interviews. As biotech recruiters, we work hard to ensure that your application stands out among the rest. We take the pressure and stress off your plate so you can feel confident and focused for your interviews. Ready to get started? Send us your resume today!