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Interview tomorrow, a few questions

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Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Ben T. » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:15 pm

Hey all, I have an interview tomorrow for a job in a Fortune 500 company as a lab technician. A few questions:

1. Is the generic advice found online such as this:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife ... questions/

Helpful/relevant for entry level lab technician jobs? Will they ask similar questions?

2. What are some questions I can expect that they'll ask that they would never ask in interviews for different fields?

3. Is it a good or bad sign if they spend a significant amount of time explaining the job, what they do, or giving a tour rather than actually asking questions?

Thanks.
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:46 pm

Ben, those "snappy answers to tough interview questions" articles or books are usually really bad news for scientific/technical staff. They just don't come off right in an interview.

I would strongly recommend you view the articles on THIS site, and not something that is made for general consumption. Check out the Tooling Up interview advice columns, for example.

http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/0000/tooling_up_index

Best regards

Dave
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Rich Lemert » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:17 pm

Ben T. wrote:3. Is it a good or bad sign if they spend a significant amount of time explaining the job, what they do, or giving a tour rather than actually asking questions?


A job interview is actually intended to be a two-way information flow. Obviously, they are trying to decide if you would be a good fit for their position. HOWEVER, at the same time they know that you are trying to determine if their position is a good fit for your goals.

Bottom line: It's a good thing from the standpoint of providing you with more information - but it doesn't really signify anything one way or the other about your standing.
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Abby » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:47 pm

You can get really good information from the tour and it is a great casual place to ask your questions too!

1) does it look like they have enough good condition equipment? A big company probably won't have a problem with this but it is something I always look for and ask about, especially at academic labs and smaller companies.

2) do the people look like they are having fun? It doesn't have to be hysterical laughter but they shouldn't look like the guys rowing in the bottom of the ship either :)

3) the people showing you around should seem genuinely interested in what is going on there- want to show you around and tell you what they are doing.

Good luck.
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Ben T. » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:23 pm

Thanks for the very helpful replies. One more question: Is a suit absolutely required or is just dress pants/shirt and tie acceptable?
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:25 pm

Ben,

Have a sport coat, blazer, or nice sweater to put on top of that shirt and tie? (Provided it is sweater weather where you are . . . ).

For a technician position, that's probably fine!

Dave
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby P. Lues » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:37 am

Since your interview is tomorrow, it's probably too late already (esp. if you are on the east coast). They will probably want to know more about your scientific background and skill set for a technician job, but will probably ask a few generic interview questions as well. Most of those generic job advice columns are terrible. Dave's advice column is really good but there are too many articles to go through in a short period of time (not that that's a bad thing but it can be overwhelming).

Last time I prepared for a job interview, I read the advice on this link
http://newgradlife.blogspot.ca/2010/06/ ... s-and.html
and used it to formulate my answers according to my own background/experience (especially with stuff like "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" or "what's your greatest weakness?") None of the advice in that link is science-related but it helped me put things in a language that employers can relate to in a positive way (and it worked as I got the job).

Good luck tomorrow.
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:23 am

P. Lues wrote:Since your interview is tomorrow, it's probably too late already (esp. if you are on the east coast). They will probably want to know more about your scientific background and skill set for a technician job, but will probably ask a few generic interview questions as well. Most of those generic job advice columns are terrible. Dave's advice column is really good but there are too many articles to go through in a short period of time (not that that's a bad thing but it can be overwhelming).

Last time I prepared for a job interview, I read the advice on this link
http://newgradlife.blogspot.ca/2010/06/ ... s-and.html
and used it to formulate my answers according to my own background/experience (especially with stuff like "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" or "what's your greatest weakness?") None of the advice in that link is science-related but it helped me put things in a language that employers can relate to in a positive way (and it worked as I got the job).

Good luck tomorrow.


Hey, thanks for the compliment, but my point was that stuffing someone else's answers into your mouth is not a wise idea. Those on the employer side will tell you here exactly how it looks and feels when someone answers the question "What is your greatest weakness?" with the answer, gleaned from articles like this one, "Well, I tend to work too hard and I need to put more effort into other aspects of my life."

dave
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby P. Lues » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:31 am

What is your greatest weakness?" with the answer, gleaned from articles like this one, "Well, I tend to work too hard and I need to put more effort into other aspects of my life."


Hi Dave,

The article says that "I tend to work too hard" is the bad answer. Their advice is to use something like "I'm bad at public speaking". However, I wouldn't use this answer for any job interview where you are expected to present your findings at a meeting (pretty much any science job). Like I said, not all of their advice applies to science jobs. I would find something else to say. In my case, the last time I interviewed I mentioned my lack of mouse experience as my weakness, which I believe is an honest assessment of what I am lacking. But this was for an internship position so the expectation was that I am coming there to learn.

But the link has some good answers. For example, for 5. Where do you see yourself in five years? it says:
“In five years I’d like to have an even better understanding of this industry. Also, I really love working with people. Ultimately, I’d like to be in some type of managerial role at this company, where I can use my people skills and industry knowledge to benefit the people working for me, and the company as a whole."

I could be wrong but I think it's fine to use this answer, as long as you tailor it to your own personal experience and the job in question (for example, if you are interviewing for a technician job, don't say I'd like be a manager in 5 years, but say something like " in 5 years I'd like to be in a senior technician position where I can use my scientific and technical expertise to benefit my team and the company as a whole"). It's hard to prepare for a job interview, I think sometimes it helps to have a template to work off of.
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Re: Interview tomorrow, a few questions

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:27 pm

P. Lues wrote:
What is your greatest weakness?" with the answer, gleaned from articles like this one, "Well, I tend to work too hard and I need to put more effort into other aspects of my life."


Hi Dave,

The article says that "I tend to work too hard" is the bad answer. Their advice is to use something like "I'm bad at public speaking". However, I wouldn't use this answer for any job interview where you are expected to present your findings at a meeting (pretty much any science job). Like I said, not all of their advice applies to science jobs. I would find something else to say. In my case, the last time I interviewed I mentioned my lack of mouse experience as my weakness, which I believe is an honest assessment of what I am lacking. But this was for an internship position so the expectation was that I am coming there to learn.

But the link has some good answers. For example, for 5. Where do you see yourself in five years? it says:
“In five years I’d like to have an even better understanding of this industry. Also, I really love working with people. Ultimately, I’d like to be in some type of managerial role at this company, where I can use my people skills and industry knowledge to benefit the people working for me, and the company as a whole."

I could be wrong but I think it's fine to use this answer, as long as you tailor it to your own personal experience and the job in question (for example, if you are interviewing for a technician job, don't say I'd like be a manager in 5 years, but say something like " in 5 years I'd like to be in a senior technician position where I can use my scientific and technical expertise to benefit my team and the company as a whole"). It's hard to prepare for a job interview, I think sometimes it helps to have a template to work off of.


I didn't read that article. Any article that tries to tell you how to answer questions is full of BS. You'll be spotted. Think it sounds great? Use it at your peril.

H/R and hiring managers are not as stupid as you think They will spot someone else's words that you've transplanted into your mouth.

Dave
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"I know Dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?”
― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury
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