Phone interview in 2 days, please help..

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Phone interview in 2 days, please help..

Postby VSN » Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:49 pm


I will be taking a phone interview for an Application Scientist position in a well known HTS assay development company in 2 days. The opportunity came on a short notice through one of my professional networking connections, and the VP of the company is calling me directly. So I am bit nervous. The person who recommended me to VP asked me to study the company inside out, don't pretend as an expert as I have limited expertise in the field, and asked me to be myself and personable (He is a faculty and one of my collaborators). I went through Dave Jensen's nice article about Application scientist jobs. I am familiar with the company technology and trying to get as much information as possible from their website. However, I don't have much time and need some help. So please chip in..

I am a postdoc for 5 years with no industry experience. The position require lot of customer interaction, technical preparations, presentations, collaborations with marketing and sales department. So can I do the following if he ask me how my academic skills fit for this industry position?

1) Presentations and talks: I give routine presentations in the departmental research meetings, science clubs, and conference talks & posters. Also I taught as a TA.

2) Technical literature preparation: I create technical reports, protocols, research manuscripts, and book chapters during phd and postdoc, and this experience can be directly applied to the new job.

3) Collaborations: I heavily collaborated with other research groups. In fact the referee is my collaborator and I published 7 papers (genomics, neuroscience) last year alone from my collaborations, mostly as First author or second author. So I can provide these points as the evidence of my collaborative and team skills. Additionally, I mentor and train many undergraduate and high school students.

Please let me know whether I am in the right direction and I welcome your valuable suggestions.
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Re: Phone interview in 2 days, please help..

Postby Ana » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:23 pm

Do you have first hand experience using the technology that this company will need you to support? having been "the customer" or having first hand experience with that type of approach (if not the same techniques) should be an important part of the job that you should highlight.

I think highlighting your transferable skills as you are doing is a good idea. And as the applications scientist you should complement those with a good understanding of the science that you will be supporting.
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Re: Phone interview in 2 days, please help..

Postby Dave Walker » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:17 pm

First: read this: ... 0175588167

Second: keep your answers short and concise. Your three-point answer to "how do your academic skills fit this industry position" is far too long. Just one major thing would be sufficient, at the most two if you don't have a great one.

The thing that helped me the most in my phone interviews was to think about what the other person wanted to hear. You are applying for a FAS job? What do you think they'll want to hear?

- You've used the equipment, or something similar. (You can be trained on new equipment very quickly since you use it all the time.)
- You have taught others how to use it; you know the scientific principles behind it.
- You don't have industry experience, but you have interacted with other FAS people who came to your lab. You know what works and what doesn't. (One example of each if necessary.)
- This job is the perfect fit for your career path. This means you really want to learn it, and do it well, because it will be a springboard for your career.

And finally, get the right mental attitude. Ask yourself, "Can I do this job?" The answer should be yes. Upgrade that to: "I would be really good at this job. I'm a natural fit for this job."

(Don't really say that last part out loud. But you should believe it's true!)
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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