When preparing for your next pharma job interview, you need to think about the questions you might be asked and practice answering them beforehand. Whilst you can’t predict exactly how an interview will go, knowing some of the most commonly asked questions will help you prepare for the unexpected, and get you thinking about the most important things you want to mention to your interviewer.
In this article, we list some of the most commonly asked job interview questions, along with tips on how to answer them…
Questions About You
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your biggest strengths?
- What are some of your weaknesses?
- What are you looking for in your next role?
- What type of working environment do you prefer?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- How would your friends describe you?
- How do you deal with pressure?
- What do you do outside of work?
- How do you organise your workload?
- How do you prioritise tasks?
- What are you passionate about?
- What motivates you?
- How do you like to be managed?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What makes you different to other candidates?
- Tell us about your biggest achievement.
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you looking for a new position?
- What is your dream job?
- What is a skill or trait you wish you had?
TIP: When interviewers ask about you, they’re not only wanting to find out about your skills and experiences but also how well you’d fit in with the company culture. Before your interview, make sure you have a good understanding of the organisation’s culture, and try to demonstrate how your values, goals and working styles align with theirs in your answers.
Questions About Your Work Experience
- Tell us about a time you went above and beyond at work.
- Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your manager. What did you do?
- Tell us about a time you faced a conflict at work and how you resolved it.
- Tell us about a time where you demonstrated good leadership skills.
- Have you ever made a mistake at work? If so, how did you resolve it?
- Why are you leaving your current role?
- Can you explain why you decided to change career paths?
- Who was your favourite manager and why?
- What has been the most rewarding experience in your career so far?
- Describe a time when you used your initiative to overcome a challenge at work.
- What do you think you could have done better in your previous role?
- What was the last project you led and what was the outcome?
TIP: When answering competency-based questions, practice using STAR to give structured answers. Outline the Situation you were in, the Task or challenge you were faced with, the Actions you took and the Results of your actions. These are the main things interviewers want to know when asking these questions, so practicing using STAR will make sure you don’t miss out anything important.
Questions About the Role
- Why do you want to work in this role?
- What do you think are the most important qualities needed to succeed in this role?
- What do you think success looks like in this role?
- How did you find out about this role?
- What are your salary expectations for this role?
- What do you want to accomplish in your first 30 days in this role?
- What do you think will be the most rewarding parts of this role?
- What do you think will be the biggest challenge in this role?
TIP: Go beyond memorising what’s on the job advert and description when it comes to learning about a role. Especially if it’s not one you’ve done before, talk to people in a similar field, look out for ‘day in the life of a…’ blogs, talk to employees, and really immerse yourself in it as much as you can. Knowing more about it than what’s on the job advert will help you to stand out and reassure interviewers that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Questions About the Industry
- What do you like the most about working in this industry?
- What do you like the least about working in this industry?
- What do you think are some of the biggest opportunities in this industry currently?
- What do you think are some of the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing?
- What do you know about this industry?
TIP: Being knowledgeable about the pharma industry is a big part of understanding what the organisation does and how your role fits in with its overall goals. Keep up with industry news, follow key industry influencers, grow your network with other professionals in the industry on LinkedIn and make the most of virtual pharma conferences and events while you can. This will show interviewers that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in the industry.
Questions About the Company
- Who do you think are our biggest competitors?
- What do you know about us and what we do?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What can you bring to the company?
- Is there anything you think we could be doing better or differently?
- What do you understand about our company culture?
- How do you think you would fit in with our company culture?
TIP: As well as doing extra research on the role, you should also do more research on a company than simply reading their ‘About Us’ page. Try to understand more about what they do, their company culture, and some of their biggest challenges and opportunities. Make sure you really understand what you can bring to the company and what they need from a future employee.
Practice and Preparation are Key…
You’ll never get asked all of these questions in one job interview, but practicing answering as many as you can will help you get used to talking about all your different skills and experiences, and should help you prepare for the unexpected.
Visit PharmiWeb.Jobs for more pharma job interview tips or to start searching for your next pharma job.