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The Interview Fundamentals

​Interviewing is a skill, and just like any other skill, it can be perfected. That’s not to say it makes the process any less nerve-wracking at the time. A dose of nervous energy isn’t always a bad thing, nor should it stand in the way of a dream opportunity.

Interviews come in all shapes and sizes ­– some weird, some whacky, some wonderful, but the fundamentals of preparing for them remain (mostly) unchanged. For anyone hoping to bolster their interviewing skillset, it’s worth checking out our favourite tips below.

Do a Deep Dive

The value of doing your research cannot be underestimated. This involves more than a glance at the company mission statement, it means reading up on:

- News, events, and press releases involving your prospective employer

- The products, services, and workstreams the company offer

- What the company culture looks like

- Competitors

- What the leadership structure looks like

- The company’s achievements, values, progress, and brand story

A good recruiter should be able to supply you with this information, so don’t be afraid to ask questions – they’re looking out for your best interests after all.

  • Why Should I? It shows that you’re authentically invested in the position you’re applying for. Research can help you build confidence before the interview, inform your answers, and demonstrate your ability to prepare efficiently.

Avoid Talking Badly About Previous or Current Employers

Even if the singular reason you’re at the interview is to escape your current role, talking negatively about others can paint you in a bad light. If you’re asked about why you’re leaving (or have left) a role, try and rephrase your negatives as positives.

For example, ‘I’m leaving my current role because my employers are malicious tyrants,’ turns into, ‘I’m hoping to explore a workplace that prioritises innovation, which is one of the main reasons I was drawn here.’

  • Why Should I? We’re yet to meet an interviewer that likes hearing candidates talk trash about employers. You should radiate positivity at an interview, and the glass-half-empty approach won’t help.

Give Concise and Relevant Answers

Wafflers beware, interviewers are typically looking for concision. You can practice your answers beforehand and try and boil them down to the best parts. Following the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) can help if you’re struggling.

Another way you can do this is to pause and take a beat to think before you answer. It’s perfectly normal, and it shows that you're contemplating what you have to say! One thoughtful and concise sentence beats a thesaurus full of filler.

  • ·Why Should I? Concise answers convey confidence, highlights your communication skills and push the conversation forward. Plus, it stops you from rambling.

Ask the Right Questions

A job interview is a two-way street. Part of why you’re there is to get a feel for the company, which can be a struggle if you don’t ask the right questions. Asking questions shows off your curiosity, intuition and interest. Think about asking:

·      Why is the position open?

·      What do you like most about working here?

·      What does a typical working day look like in this role?

·      Can you tell me more about the structure of the team?

·      How do you define success here?

It gets easier to ask questions once you’ve done your research, and it helps you to avoid asking questions that you’re expected to have the answer to already.

  • Why Should I? Questions can help you build a rapport and drive

Ask Yourself Why

Why do you want the job? Your prospective employers want to know, so it’s worth making sure you know yourself. When they ask you this, they’re also asking you how much you know about their company.

We always help candidates prepare by making sure they have specific reasons for why they’re interested in their prospective company. In the life sciences especially, many employers are hiring for a particular type of person and skillset, so it can be a game-changer when candidates can effectively communicate: “This is why I want to work for YOUR company, instead of the other 20 companies that do the same thing.

  • Why Should I? Asking yourself why you want the job can help you narrow down your options (in a good way), and it doesn’t leave you stumped when you’re asked by the interviewers.

 Ask Your Recruiter for Support

Your recruiter should have the insight you need to get yourself fully prepared for the interview. Not only that, but they should also have the tools, experience, and passion needed to support you along every step of the journey. This is where BioTalent comes in.

If you’re getting ready to explore the next big opportunity, check out the support available on our website, or reach out to me directly on LinkedIn, I’m here to help.