The 72 Hour Countdown To Your Life Science Interview
September 06, 2016
When applying for a job in the life sciences field, the one thing you can count on; the interviewers will want to experience from you a clear sense that you are well-prepared with all the facts, examples, and results that will demonstrate you are the best possible candidate for the job.
In the life science sector, the burden of proof most certainly rests on you and your ability to present a clear case.
To prepare in the final days before your interview, we’ve put together a checklist of things you can do to increase your chances of performing well in the interview and securing that dream role.
1. Have a thorough conversation with your search consultant to glean any information you might have previously missed. This is a good time to double-check the basic details such as interview location and time, the names of the interviewers and the style of the interview, but it’s also a chance to ascertain any inside information about what the company is truly looking for in their successful candidate, company culture, and how you might set yourself apart.
2. If you haven’t already, it’s time to study the organisation its people, and its competitors. Review the company’s website and social media, check out the key players’ profiles on LinkedIn, and research the major competitors and any current trends within the sector.
3. Carefully consider the questions you might be asked, and prepare some loosely-scripted answers. Don’t get too wedded to these ‘imaginary scenarios ‘or you might find yourself flat-footed if they don’t come up during the interview; but just run through as many possibilities as you can and consider what you’d say in response.
4. Prepare some well-structured and probing questions that you might want to ask in the interview. Whether based on the information you’ve garnered about the company or questions about how your success will be measured in the role, the quality of questions you ask during the interview can mark you out as an exceptional candidate, or a mediocre one.
5. Have every scrap of your past employment data to hand. Whether this is examples of results you gained in a past research team, a link to your dissertation, a glowing reference, your past sales performance, or a paper you wrote, it’s vital to ensure that your body of work is organised, up to date, and easy to access if requested during the interview.
6. For the scientists and sales reps among you, there’s also a very good chance that your presentation skills will also be scrutinised, so be prepared to demonstrate your presenting ability, whether that’s with a short presentation within the interview itself, or providing them with video evidence of past presentations.
7. Consider how you will highlight your ability to work in a team and take feedback. Some life science professionals are perhaps known to be brilliant but solitary, and hiring managers will be on the alert to see that you are able to work well with others and accept direction and feedback well.
8. Take at least three achievements from your work history that you are proud of, and consider how you might use these past successes to reflect why you will perform well in this role. Scrutinise your CV to relate your work history to the key competencies in the job specification, so that you can easily point to the relevant skills and achievements when asked.
9. Be prepared with some examples of where you didn’t do well, and what you learnt from it. Your gracious acceptance of past failures (with a keen eye on how you came back from them) will be a key indicator to interviewers that you have a growth mindset that can learn from mistakes, so use your past ‘failures’ cleverly in the interview to show how you’ve developed over your career.
10. Carefully consider how you will respond when asked why you left your last employer, or how you will explain any gaps or discrepancies in your CV. Bear in mind that badmouthing past employers is an unwise course of action that will almost certainly put you out of contention.
The final details:
- Check 2 days prior to the interview that your interview outfit doesn’t need dry cleaning or ironing. Have it perfectly clean and laid out ready to go the night before the interview.
- If you’re at all uncertain about the location of the interview, this is the chance to do a trial run, mapping out different routes for the drive or public transport- even with delays.
- Exercise before the interview. Exercise not only burns off excess energy and releases endorphins.
Life science interviews take extremely thorough preparation. Prepare as intensely as you can so you can walk into that interview with high levels of confidence and armed with the facts to prove that you are an outstanding candidate.
Talentmark was established 45 years ago. It was one of the first search and recruitment organisations of its kind to recognise the unique needs of the life science and pharmaceutical sector.
Run by medical and recruitment specialists, Talentmark not only provides executive search and recruitment solutions globally, but also a range of bespoke consultancy services delivered by the industry’s leading thinkers. To find out more visit call
+44(0)345 095 2626.