Another one for the "what was (s)he thinking?" file

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Another one for the "what was (s)he thinking?" file

Postby Ana » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:14 am

We are interviewing some candidates for industry postdoc positions and I’m amazed about how unprepared some people shows up for the interview. While frequent readers of this forum probably won’t make these mistakes, here is goes as a warning for candidates to industry positions:

(1) Prepare an answer to the question “why do you want this postdoc in industry?”. You need to expect that question, otherwise it will seem as you’ve never thought about that before. I’ve never seen an interview where the “why do you want this job” question was not asked.

(1b) When you answer the question above, don’t complain about how bad academia is. First, I actually don’t think academic research is non-sense and academics are horrible, so you won’t have my sympathy. Second, that doesn’t tell me why you would like THIS job as opposed to a job teaching, writing or just travelling the world.

(2) A typical HR question is “tell me about a time you had a problem with a colleague and how you addressed it” and variants of it. Don’t answer saying “that’s easy, I’ve never had a problem with anybody”. You have weaknesses and you’ve had problems like everybody else, we just need to know that you are aware of that and that you can learn from it. Also, if the interviewer tells you “that’s not a good answer, you certainly must have had at some point a disagreement or a misunderstanding” don’t insist you’ve never had… you are just having it right now with the interviewer!

(3) Last, it is a postdoc position, so don’t ask how much people you will direct….
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