Whilst your CV tells recruiters and hiring managers how qualified you are for a role on paper, your job interview gives you an opportunity to sell your suitability for the role and set yourself apart from equally qualified peers.
To help with your pharma job search, we’ve put together these 13 tips to help you make your job interview one to remember, from how to prepare for your interview to creating your post-interview routine…
Being fully prepared for your job interview means you’ll be able to focus entirely on presenting yourself as a strong candidate. You can walk into the room confidently, ready to show your interviewer that you’ve done your research, and that you genuinely care about the interview going well.
Download our free job interview preparation checklist here.
Do Your Research
It’s not enough to have a quick scroll through the company’s ‘About’ page on their website. As well as understanding what the company does, you should also do your research on:
- The company culture
- Competitor activity
- Industry developments, challenges, opportunities, and threats
You won’t be expected to know everything about the company, but showing that you really understand the work they do and the current state of the industry will give you something extra to talk about.
Prepare Your Answers
Although you won’t know exactly what your interviewer will ask you, you will have knowledge of the key skills and traits required for the role. For each of these, write down examples of when you have demonstrated these, following the STAR method to provide credibility and context to your answers.
To practise answering less role-specific questions, do your research on some of the most commonly asked job interview questions, again remembering to structure your answers and link them to the job description.
Practise Your Answers
Having an answer rehearsed in your head and saying that answer out loud in response to a question are two very different things. Have a friend ask you some of the questions you’ve got an answer for, and even some that you don’t, and record yourself answering to see where you could improve.
Prepare Some Questions of Your Own
Asking questions at the end of an interview will demonstrate your genuine interest in the role and will also give you the opportunity to ensure the role and company is right for you. It may also steer the conversation into a direction it otherwise wouldn’t have gone, giving you an extra opportunity to sell yourself.
Here are 27 questions to ask at the end of a job interview to get you started.
Acknowledge Your Weaknesses
As well as planning out how to emphasise your strengths, don’t ignore your weaknesses. For example, if there’s one key skill that you don’t currently have, you could start an online course and start developing it before your interview. The goal here isn’t to become a master in this skill in a week, but rather to be able to demonstrate how you’re taking your learning and development seriously, and that you’re committed to learning for this role.
Don’t Turn Up Empty Handed
Consider bringing along the following:
- A form of ID
- Your brag file, tailored to the role
- A copy of your CV
- A notepad and pen to take notes
- A bottle of water
It’s better to have everything to hand just in case rather than getting caught out on the day.
Remember the Interview Begins When You Arrive
Especially for in-person interviews, keep in mind that the interview begins before you’ve sat down in the room. All of these can impact the first impression you create:
- The time you arrive: Being too early can be just as bad as being late!
- How you walk into the building: Rushing in minutes before your meeting time won’t go unnoticed
- What you do whilst you wait to be collected: Going over your notes or making polite conversation with the receptionist is a much better use of your time than scrolling through social media
- Your body language when you meet your interviewer: Wringing your hands, keeping your head down and avoiding eye contact won’t help you to build rapport before the interview
- The small talk you have with your interviewer: Finding mutual ground before you sit down for the interview can help you to relax and build rapport
Whether it’s talking about something you’re lacking, or answering a potentially negative question such as “What didn’t you enjoy about your last role?”, put a positive spin on your answers. Answer this question without getting personal and bashing your previous employers/managers, and link everything back to why you’re interviewing for this new role.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Your body language often says more about you than what you actually say, and is an important part of the first impression you’ll create on your interviewer. Take a look at these dos and don’ts when it comes to body language, and remember to pay close attention to your behaviour from the moment you walk into the building to the moment you leave.
If you think you’ve found your ideal job, it can be tempting to lie or exaggerate about your skills, qualifications, and experience in order to morph into the perfect candidate. However, this isn’t going to help your career in the long run. Lying in your job interview might get you through to the next round, or may even get you a job offer, but the lies will eventually come back to bite you if you can’t carry out to the role.
Finish With a Strong Summary
Conclude the interview by expressing gratitude for the interviewer’s time and assure them that after learning more about the role and company, you’re still eager to fill the position and confident that you’d thrive in it. Also use this as an opportunity to ask for clarity on next steps, and when you should expect to hear from them.
Create a Post-Interview Routine
After each job interview you have, take notes on what you learned and how you think you did. Was there a particular question you found challenging? Did you find out something new about the company or the team you’d be working with? Make notes on these as soon as possible whilst everything’s fresh in your mind and keep these safe for future reference.
Read our recent article on 11 things to do after a job interview for more ideas on what to add to your routine.