How to Prepare for a Biotech Interview in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Research the Company

Before you interview, your first and most vital step is to research the company! Let’s face it, this probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this advice. That’s because hiring managers have specific reasons for asking you questions about your background, career interests, and reasons for applying. When you research a company, you can emphasize the company’s mission, values, and products or services within your interview responses. Frame these core aspects of a company around your industry experience so that a hiring manager can visualize exactly how you fit into their company. One method for researching a company is to spend time on its website and LinkedIn company page. With a better understanding of a company, you can take your background and their future to meet at the point of opportunity. Thorough research will go a long way in a biotech interview just as much as in a biotech career.

Step 2: Review the Job Description

Your second step is to review the job description. Doing this simple task before the interview will help keep in the back of your mind what a hiring manager is looking for in their ideal candidate. Job descriptions should tell you all the key responsibilities and qualifications. During an interview, demonstrate these traits with your background or experience. This is also a great way to prepare if there are any gaps in your knowledge. Beforehand, make sure to understand where you can grow and have answers ahead of time if an interviewer asks about any qualifications you might not fulfill. Reviewing the job description is an easy way to begin forming your answers to technical questions and is a great practice for all biotech careers.

Step 3: Prepare for Behavioral Questions

Hiring managers want to ensure they hire someone who will be an asset to their team. One of the ways they do this is by asking behavioral questions during the interview. Many biotech careers involve working in multi-disciplinary teams or closely with other departments. When productivity and results rely on communication, behavioral questions determine if candidates can work in these environments. You’ve probably heard behavioral questions before as they ask about your soft skills. Soft skills can include leadership, teamwork, communication, and more. These questions will ask how you react in different scenarios. Here are some examples: Describe your process when troubleshooting a problem. When working within a group, which role do you prefer? What factors do you consider when designing studies? To answer these questions, remember that this aligns with the job description and use situations from your experience. Recall one or two experiences that can display your skills when preparing for behavioral biotech interview questions.

Step 4: Review Your Resume and Cover Letter

Similar to steps two and three, review your resume and cover letter. Identify your strengths and how they can be applied to the role by comparing your skills from your experience with the job description. It is also important to note any weaknesses you might have. Perhaps these can be one year less of experience than desired or a lack of knowledge with a specific program or technique. Remember that if you’ve made it to the interview portion of your job search, hiring managers already like what they’ve seen from your background. Once you identify your weaknesses, use these as points of growth and opportunity in your interview responses. Pair these with your strengths to show that you are an overall well-rounded and eager candidate.

Step 5: Practice Your Elevator Pitch

Your interview elevator pitch is a quick snapshot of your professional life. You may not use this for all interviews, but some interviewers might start the conversation by asking about yourself and your background. Your elevator pitch or introduction should be about two quick sentences. Your first sentence introduces who you are and summarizes what you do or specialize in. Your second sentence should show interest in the company and describe what you want in an opportunity. For example, I’m a clinical trial assistant with experience in [specialty], and I appreciate the innovative work your company does with drug discovery. I’m positive my experience can help with [result or outcome]. The best elevator pitches are short, summarizing, and to the point. Practice this a few times to yourself or by writing it down. This is a quick method for networking at biotech conferences or events too!

Step 6: Prepare Questions to Ask the Interviewer

For step six, you should prepare questions to ask the interviewer. Near the end of your interview, your interviewer might ask if you have any questions for them, which is a great time to clear up any information on qualifications, company culture, or role expectations. Show your interest in the company by asking about their career growth opportunities, expectations for the first 90 days in the role, or current goals there are for the team. Make sure questions are unique to the company and humble. You don’t want to close the interview assuming you have the job or asking if you got the role. Staying respectful and interested in the company is key when preparing these questions for your interview.

Step 7: Dress Professionally

Have you heard someone say to dress the part? This advice is handy when you want to dress professionally for an interview. Some interviews may be more casual than others, but you can check in beforehand or arrive business casual as a rule of thumb. You want to guarantee that you show up at an interview confident and prepared, whether your biotech interview is in-person or virtual. Showing up prepared lets hiring managers know you will show up for a day of work ready to go. Set your clothes aside a day in advance as one less thing to think about the day of the interview. If necessary, iron your outfit the day before to avoid wrinkles, and ensure there are no noticeable pet hair or holes and rips in the clothing. Dress professionally, and most importantly, dress comfortably! You want to feel authentically you and ready to showcase your personality in the interview.

Step 8: Arrive on Time

One of the best ways to prepare for your biotech interview is to plan to arrive on time or even a little bit early. If yours is in person, anticipate time for traffic, parking, and any last-minute touch-ups or searching for the right office. Map out your route beforehand and plan your schedule accordingly. Give yourself ample time to arrive early and avoid extra stress or headaches. The same goes for if your biotech interview is virtual. Ensure all equipment is fully charged and connected to a strong network. Keep in mind problems happen all the time! When running behind by a few minutes or troubleshooting technical difficulties, update the interviewer on your arrival status. Let them know you’re still eager for the opportunity to meet. Arriving on time is vital for letting hiring managers know you’re excited to be there. It also is a great way to avoid stress so you can focus on a successful interview!

Step 9: Follow Up After the Interview

Your biotech interview is over, but there are still a couple steps to take. After the interview, follow up with the company via email by sending a thank you note. For some people, thank you notes are common practice, and for others, it may be their first time ever sending one. For some biotech companies and hiring managers, following up after your interview is reassuring. As a candidate, it’s a method to make another impression and keep the dialogue going. Our follow-up tips? Send a thank you email to your interviewer within the next day or two. Thank them for their time and consideration. Don’t make the mistake of sending too many follow-ups or reaching out on other platforms, as this may be considered unprofessional. After your biotech interview, if you feel the role is not a good fit for you, use a follow-up as a professional way to thank the interviewer and gracefully withdraw your application. Maybe they decline you for the role. Still, send a thank you. You never know if they may consider you for future opportunities.

Step 10: Reflect on the Interview

The interview is over, and now you wait. The nerves are calming down, but the waiting game can feel worse. At this point, for your final step in the interview process, a productive distraction is to reflect on the interview. What questions did you feel you had strong answers to? What questions should you prepare better in the future? Think about how your interaction was with the interviewer. Did you still feel comfortable and excited about the opportunity after the conversation ended? Reflecting on how you felt and where you can improve will help you identify areas of improvement. Self-evaluation also helps determine if the company is right for you!

On Preparing for a Biotech Interview

Our 10 easy steps to preparing for your biotech interview are meant to break down the process so you aren’t overwhelmed with tasks. Breaking your preparation into bite-sized tasks can help you mitigate any anxiety. You can walk into your interview confident and ready to make your best impression. If you want even more help with resume building, networking, and interview preparation consider working with a life science recruiter. Put these interview steps into practice, and good luck with your biotech interviews!