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How to interview like a Pro

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How to interview like a Pro

Postby Mac F. » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:54 am

Over the past 18 months Iv been working in the land of start-up. Not a super common path for many biological academics post PhD or post-doc, however, an area that will grow as a natural career path for a lot of academics in the near to distant future.

Running a life science start up requires you to learn a lot of new skills and interviewing prospective job candidates is a huge one. Over the past year we have both skype and IRL (In Real Life) interviewed over 40 candidates for roles that we have.

As our N starts to grow, our experience and observations of what makes a great interview is starting to take shape. Before I started on this start-up journey I saw the power of the CV and thought it was the key piece in securing that dream job with the interview being a supplement to what you have down on paper.

However, what I have come to realize is how much weight is placed on the interview rather than the CV.

Firstly, the CV is incredibly important and only a few small tips can help you get you through to the job interview which are: dont write too much, have a clear and concise overview of your journey, write a personalized cover letter and PROOF READ your CV. Once you have those three basic elements and you are at the experience level required you should get an interview.

Now is the hard part. Convincing the employer to take you on board. This is where you personality, preparation & perspective comes into play.

Personality: You can't change who you are and I dont suggest that. However, I would suggest practice being as confident as you can going into the interview. Nerves are a great motivator, but you need to focus on the positives to get you there.

Preparation: Please, please, please, prepare for the interview. Look up the company, find out what they do, read their "About Us", what products, functions, goals they may have. Do they have a mission statement? Will you meet the founders and what are their names? Learn a thing or two about a product they provide. It'll be priceless in an interview and make you stand out. Mainly because not many candidates put in the work. Since we supply ELISA Kits, which is our main product, you'd be surprised the level of knowledge candidates how in what we do.

Perspective: What an employer wants to know, is not only can you do the job, but how would you do the job, what processes would you follow, what experience do you have to get big jobs done. This is incredibly important as an employer wants to see how you deal with stress, working in teams, solving difficult problems and learning how to complete tasks you have little experience in.

Lastly, I would suggest having 10-20 examples of previous projects you have completed, who you worked with, what the job was and how you succeeded or failed in completing it. Having a candidate that can show a wealth of experience is great assurance for a prospective employer.
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Re: How to interview like a Pro

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:38 pm

Good advice Mac. I'd simply note that most people wouldn't want to interview like a "pro" because that implies, to me at least, that someone is very practiced at providing BS answers and playing the game of interviewing instead of being themselves.

Dave
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Re: How to interview like a Pro

Postby Mac F. » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:45 am

Thanks Dave, Catchy title :) But I do mention to be yourself, trying to make people think beyond having a good CV. Lot's of BS answers out there, but having the 1,2,3 of "About Us","What we provide" & and "how you'll be an asset" should be the essentials before anyone walks through the door.
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