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AbbVie Oncology Research Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Darby Faubion

Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice.
Question 1 of 30
Since February 2009, over 40 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed globally. Have you studied this vaccine, and what are your thoughts on its use?
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How to Answer
Gardasil is a vaccine for use in the prevention of certain strains of human papillomavirus, specifically HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. This vaccine is one of the most recent vaccines included on the childhood immunization schedule. Many parents have conflicted feelings about their children being given this vaccine. Remember, when an interviewer asks your opinion, he may not always expect you to agree with his. Nevertheless, be respectful with your answer no matter what your opinion is.
30 AbbVie Oncology Research Interview Questions
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  1. Since February 2009, over 40 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed globally. Have you studied this vaccine, and what are your thoughts on its use?
  2. Are you familiar with what nitrites are and how they affect the human body?
  3. AbbVie Oncology Research is supportive of employers who interested in continuing their education. Have you thought of furthering your degree, and if so, would you stay within the research industry?
  4. An estimated 12,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States annually. Have you ever participated in any research that is focused on childhood cancer?
  5. Research has shown that postmenopausal women who are more physically active are less likely to die from breast cancer. What are your thoughts as to why this may be so?
  6. Research has shown that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer seen in the United States. Have you ever studied skin cancer or the possible ways to decrease the risk of developing it?
  7. AbbVie Oncology Research likes to find areas of interest to our employees when assigning different research projects. Is there a particular cancer that you would be interested in conducting a research project on?
  8. While doing research or cancer studies, what is something you have learned that others may not know? This can be a cancer fact or something related to cancer patients.
  9. AbbVie Oncology Research works with a variety of physicians, scientists, and special researchers. One specialty we consult with is nutritionists. What is your understanding of how nutrition may play a role in the development of certain cancers?
  10. Statistics have shown that cancer patients who are married are more likely to survive than those who are single. Do you have thoughts that may support this statement?
  11. One of the most frustrating things for anyone in the healthcare industry, especially medical research, is the fact that we have to treat cancer victims who were exposed to cancer-causing agents by others. Can you think of an example of this?
  12. What made you choose a career in cancer research?
  13. AbbVie Oncology Research is passionate about finding ways to help prevent cancer. What makes you feel like you would be a good fit here?
  14. What would your previous co-workers say were the best and worst qualities about you?
  15. Although much research involves a team approach, AbbVie Oncology Research has many employees who work independently and then participate in groups to share information. Do you prefer a team or individual work environment?
  16. While many new medicines are now available to treat certain cancers, many of them are only available for clinical trials. Have you ever worked with clinical studies?
  17. Some physicians and scientist argue that too much of the 'War on Cancer' is misdirected by focusing more on treatment rather than on prevention. Do you agree with this?
  18. Have you ever done any volunteer work or public education related to cancer research?
  19. Have you ever been involved with any efforts to secure funding for cancer research?
  20. Many people have voiced different opinions regarding embryonic stem cell research. What is your understanding of this branch of research and do you have thoughts about why some people are opposed to this?
  21. In a recent poll, much of the general population stated that they were unaware that men can develop breast cancer. Have you ever researched anything regarding the occurrence of breast cancer in men?
  22. AbbVie Oncology Research would like to employ researchers who are interested in working on long-term projects. With that in mind, what changes do you anticipate to occur within the next 2-3 years?
  23. The medical research industry has a diverse workforce. Have you ever worked with a diverse group of pe
  24. Any time there is a work environment with groups of people, it is important to have effective relationship-building skills. What makes you a strong relationship builder?
  25. Have you ever had a disagreement with a co-worker, and, if so, how did you resolve it?
  26. If you were the person responsible for hiring new employees, what qualities would you be looking for during the interview? Do you feel that you display those qualities yourself?
  27. Being a medical researcher is rewarding, but can also be very stressful at times. Can you share a situation that was difficult for you and how you worked through it?
  28. If you are offered a position with AbbVie Oncology Research that required travel, would you accept it?
  29. If you were asked to choose a research specialty other than cancer, what would you next choice be?
  30. Have you ever personally participated in a clinical trial?
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15 AbbVie Oncology Research Answer Examples
1.
Since February 2009, over 40 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed globally. Have you studied this vaccine, and what are your thoughts on its use?
Gardasil is a vaccine for use in the prevention of certain strains of human papillomavirus, specifically HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. This vaccine is one of the most recent vaccines included on the childhood immunization schedule. Many parents have conflicted feelings about their children being given this vaccine. Remember, when an interviewer asks your opinion, he may not always expect you to agree with his. Nevertheless, be respectful with your answer no matter what your opinion is.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have studied FDA and CDC recommendations regarding vaccines in limited detail. Like most new medications or research projects, vaccines are commonly under scrutiny. It is understandable that a person who is not educated on how vaccines work would be apprehensive about them. For me, personally, if there is anything I can do to help reduce the risk of developing cancer, I want to do it."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have studied the use of Gardisil as a preventive vaccine. While I understand that some people view vaccines as a negative option in preventive care, I am supportive of any attempt to help reduce the risk of disease. I have found that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with Gardisil, like any other vaccine."
2.
Are you familiar with what nitrites are and how they affect the human body?
The goal of research is to recognize ways to prevent or develop ways to effectively treat and cure. Those who work in cancer research support that idea that a healthy diet is one thing we all can do in an effort to maintain wellness. Nitrites are chemical additives used to preserve and add flavoring to most lunch meats, including cold cuts and hot dogs. Once in the body, they react with body chemicals and turn into cancer-causing carcinogens. Having knowledge of things like nitrites will show the interviewer your level of interest in learning and educating others. Share any knowledge you have.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have always found it interesting how the foods we consume affect us on a cellular level. The effect that nitrites have on a body is astounding, especially knowing the amount of processed foods that so many people consume. I have participated in some continuing education classes and have taught a few classes regarding cancer fighting foods."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have recently spent some time researching optimal diets for cancer patients. One thing that all researchers agreed upon was that processed foods, especially lunch meats and hotdogs should be avoided because of the nitrites in those types of foods.."
3.
AbbVie Oncology Research is supportive of employers who interested in continuing their education. Have you thought of furthering your degree, and if so, would you stay within the research industry?
There are people who choose a career and later return to school. Some have the objective is to get a higher degree in the same field or to change careers altogether. This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to know you and what your future plans may be. In turn, your answer allows the interviewer the chance to see where you may fit within AbbVie Oncology Research now and in the future. If you have thoughts of continuing your education, don't be afraid to share that with the interviewer. Just remember to point out why you feel you would be an asset to AbbVie Oncology Research now.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have considered going back to college a few times, but at this point in my life, research is my passion. I feel I am already in an industry that is important and growing. I feel like, if I were to take any additional classes, I would want them to be something that would add value to the education and experience I have now."
Darby's Answer #2
"I love research and am comfortable where I am, at this point in my career. I have considered in years to come, when I am older, I may transition slightly into the realm of education within medical research. That way I can still do research and have some input, but I could also educate those who are coming into the field after me. For now, though, I am very happy with what I am doing and really look forward to seeing where you think I will be the greatest asset at AbbVie Oncology Research."
4.
An estimated 12,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States annually. Have you ever participated in any research that is focused on childhood cancer?
While cancer is a devastating diagnosis, childhood cancer is all the more devastating. The thought behind this is that, while some cancers are not caused by lifestyles such as smoking or other risk factors, most childhood cancers deal with some type of genetics or unintentional exposure to carcinogens. Some researchers focus only on childhood cancer causes and efforts for a cure. If you have never participated in any specific childhood cancer study, you may have attended a lecture or heard of some type of research. Anything you can share with the interviewer that shows your interest will be a positive part of this interview.

Darby's Answer #1
"While I have not participated in focused childhood cancer studies, I have attended some seminars regarding cancer research and some of the long-term effects that childhood cancer survivors experience vs. adult cancer survivors. If I were given an opportunity to participate in a focused study, childhood cancer would be one of the things I would choose."
Darby's Answer #2
"When I was beginning my career in research, I was given an assignment to choose a topic related to childhood cancer patients/survivors and present a report on that topic. I chose to focus on fertility issues related to childhood cancer survivors. I researched studies that had been conducted and interviewed some survivors. Many of those patients experienced premature menopause and were not able to have children of their own. While not all childhood cancer survivors experience this, based on the prior treatment that each of the survivors I interviewed had, the study revealed that radiation and chemotherapy treatment affected the ovaries and caused premature menopause. It was an interesting study."
5.
Research has shown that postmenopausal women who are more physically active are less likely to die from breast cancer. What are your thoughts as to why this may be so?
Estrogen is necessary for the body to function. In women, the ovaries are the main source of estrogen. In men, an enzyme converts testosterone to estrogen. Fat cells in both men and women can also make estrogen. This is why too much estrogen is commonly seen in obesity. In women, too much estrogen is linked to an increased risk for post-menopausal breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
While not everyone understands the link between obesity and cancer risks, having some general knowledge such as the facts stated here, is beneficial. Share your knowledge with the interviewer.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have to admit, I learned the hard way about obesity's relation to increased cancer risks. For most of my adult life, I battled obesity. My family practitioner gave me some educational material to read that was focused on health risks related to obesity. In that literature, there was an article about post-menopausal women who were obese having a higher risk for developing breast cancer. Until then, I never thought about the fat cells in our bodies creating estrogen. I think so much focus is put on the ovaries being the estrogen producing organ that we often overlook other factors."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have researched some studies regarding the occurrence of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Many people don't realize that,although ovaries produce estrogen, fat cells in our bodies also produce it. Although men and women both have estrogen in our bodies, women have a higher amount. Even after menopause, those who are overweight have an increased amount of estrogen in their bodies because of the fat cells producing it. Estrogen can cause an increased risk of breast cancer occurrence."
6.
Research has shown that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer seen in the United States. Have you ever studied skin cancer or the possible ways to decrease the risk of developing it?
Although there are risk factors for all cancers, skin cancer preventive measures are simple, yet often neglected by others. Share your thoughts with the interviewer regarding ways to prevent this cancer and any knowledge you may have from your research.

Darby's Answer #1
"Being someone with fair skin, I have always had to take measures to protect my skin. One of the most difficult things, for me, is having to cover my skin when out in the sun because I love having a suntan and the feeling of the sun on my skin. I think many people, especially younger people, neglect to understand the seriousness of this type of cancer."
Darby's Answer #2
"I did not have a great deal of knowledge about skin cancer until I began considering a career in cancer research. I actually thought it would be an easier topic for me to study as I began to transition into this career. It wasn't until I really started studying that I discovered how common skin cancer is and the many ways that people can help protect themselves and reduce the risk of developing it. Simple things like wearing sunscreen with a high SPF or clothing to cover the skin when out in the sun are a great way to help."
7.
AbbVie Oncology Research likes to find areas of interest to our employees when assigning different research projects. Is there a particular cancer that you would be interested in conducting a research project on?
Being given the opportunity to say what area of research is most interesting to you will allow the interviewer to see if there is a place where employment needs meet your interest which creates a win-win. This is a chance to say what you want without seeming demanding. Share what interests you and why.

Darby's Answer #1
"I read an article recently about prostate cancer. The article said that prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among African American men. I would be very interested in studying this and do a comparison on its occurrence and prognosis across racial and cultural backgrounds."
Darby's Answer #2
"I would like to do a study on metastatic breast cancer. I have known some women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. One of them experienced metastasis while the others did not. I would like to do a case study on the causes of metastasis and possible ways of preventing recurrence."
8.
While doing research or cancer studies, what is something you have learned that others may not know? This can be a cancer fact or something related to cancer patients.
Often, interviewers will ask questions that include 'what is your opinion....' or 'what have you learned...'. These type of questions are useful for an interviewer to see where your interests lie and how motivated you are with regard to learning independently. Share something you learned while researching cancer and include in the answer why it is of interest to you or what makes it important in providing care to cancer patients.

Darby's Answer #1
"I once did a study on depression and anxiety disorders that developed after a cancer diagnosis. In that study I found that cancer victims are twice as likely to commit suicide than the general population. Additionally, male cancer victims were more likely to commit suicide soon after their diagnosis. With the advances in cancer treatment globally, realizing the number of people who still feel the need to end their own lives was a stark discovery for me personally."
Darby's Answer #2
"I conducted some interviews among oncologists and did some statistic research. I learned that there are presently over 13 million cancer survivors living in the United States presently. To me, this is something that can offer hope to newly diagnosed patients and their families."
9.
AbbVie Oncology Research works with a variety of physicians, scientists, and special researchers. One specialty we consult with is nutritionists. What is your understanding of how nutrition may play a role in the development of certain cancers?
The link between cancer and diet is just as mysterious as the disease itself. Much research has pointed toward certain foods and nutrients that may help prevent--or, conversely, contribute to--certain types of cancer. Do you have any experience linking nutritional status to the development or prevention of certain cancers?

Darby's Answer #1
"Some of the research I conducted previously showed that because adipose tissue is hormonally active, excess body fat changes the hormonal environment of the body. Body fat secretes particular chemical signals that alter normal cell functioning. When we lose body fat and maintain a lean body, certain hormones drop and this may be why risk is reduced."
Darby's Answer #2
"I took a nutrition class in college and one of the classes focused on healthful foods that were thought to have cancer fighting qualities. It was an eye-opening opportunity for me that led me to not only change the way I eat, but has also helped me as I have studied nutrition and cancer on a more in depth level."
10.
Statistics have shown that cancer patients who are married are more likely to survive than those who are single. Do you have thoughts that may support this statement?
Research shows that when you're married, you're less likely to die from major illnesses, including heart disease and cancer as well. A study published recently in the journal Cancer looked at more than 780,000 Californians diagnosed with cancer over a nine-year period. It found that single men were 27 percent more likely to die from their condition than married men were. For single women, the mortality rate was 19 percent higher than for their married counterparts. What are some reasons you can think of that may support these findings?

Darby's Answer #1
"I can understand the idea that states married people may survive longer. In fact, I would venture to say that anyone with a strong support system or a long-term commitment with a significant other will be more likely to survive any illness. I believe this is in part because when a patient is going through a tough treatment plan like chemotherapy, having someone to encourage them through it helps them to endure the difficultly and complete the plan."
Darby's Answer #2
"I can think of a few reasons that this may be true. One factor that I think is conceivable is that a married couple often has two incomes which allows them to afford healthcare costs. Also, if someone has a spouse or partner, that person often encourages them to seek a diagnosis and treatment plan in hopes of becoming well again."
11.
One of the most frustrating things for anyone in the healthcare industry, especially medical research, is the fact that we have to treat cancer victims who were exposed to cancer-causing agents by others. Can you think of an example of this?
Lifestyle habits are often associated with the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, there are things that can people can be exposed to that are not because of personal choices. Are you familiar with any of these instances? Share your experience with the interviewer.

Darby's Answer #1
"One of the most common things I can think of is the development of lung cancer in patients who have never smoked. While those who choose to smoke are aware of the risks and take those chances willingly, it is unfortunate that those who choose to refrain from smoking are still at risk due to exposure to second-hand smoke."
Darby's Answer #2
"I can think of a few examples of patients who are exposed to a cancer-causing agent. For instance, exposure to HPV infection is a risk factor. I think the risk of developing cancer because of HPV is an important opportunity for education on safe sex practices and the option of taking immunizations, such as the vaccine, Gardisil."
12.
What made you choose a career in cancer research?
Medical research is essential in finding causes and possible cures of many diseases. With the many healthcare career options available, what made you choose research?

Darby's Answer #1
"I have always been intrigued by medicine and wellness. When I began to try and decide on a long-term career, I felt that becoming a researcher may give me an opportunity to find ways to care for others that would last a lifetime."
Darby's Answer #2
"From the time I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to be involved in some type of medical research. After my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, I decided that cancer research was what I wanted to do. I think that participating in an effort to find a cure is one way that I have been able to honor her memory."
13.
AbbVie Oncology Research is passionate about finding ways to help prevent cancer. What makes you feel like you would be a good fit here?
All employers want to know that an employee is as passionate about their cause as the company is. What made you feel interested in AbbVie Oncology Research? Share your thoughts with the interviewer.

Darby's Answer #1
"I am passionate about cancer research. I realize that there are other companies who conduct cancer research, but knowing that AbbVie Oncology Research is as focused on prevention as a cure really drew me to apply here."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have been involved in research for quite a while, but I wanted to find somewhere that I could focus on disease prevention specifically. I looked at different research companies and felt that :company's: mission statement was the most in line with my goals of finding ways of prevention. I look forward to seeing where I will best fit with AbbVie Oncology Research."
14.
What would your previous co-workers say were the best and worst qualities about you?
No one wants to share anything negative about themselves. However, any honest person will admit that he has both good and bad characteristics. The important thing is recognizing the things that may need to be improved and being willing to address them. Share some things about your personal qualities with the interviewer and remember, when sharing any quality that could be improved, tell how you are working to make a change.

Darby's Answer #1
"I would have to say that one of the things I'd like to improve about myself and that most people recognize about me is I always want to be the 'fixer.' While I know that this is not always a negative thing, for me, I have often let the fact that I couldn't fix a certain situation be something that troubled me. On a lighter note, I believe I have a positive, out-going personality. I enjoy getting to know others and like to make them feel comfortable."
Darby's Answer #2
"My best quality, I believe, is that I am willing to work on any project I am asked to take on. My worst quality is that I am willing to take on too many projects at once. I've had to learn to pace myself and prioritize things that need to be done so that am not overwhelmed and so that my quality of work does not suffer because I am too busy."
15.
Although much research involves a team approach, AbbVie Oncology Research has many employees who work independently and then participate in groups to share information. Do you prefer a team or individual work environment?
Your preference of working individually or within a team is important. Given the form of this question, expressing one preference over the other will not disqualify you from employment. This is your chance to have some say in where you may be placed. Remember, though, to add that you want to be a part of AbbVie Oncology Research and are willing to take a position if offered, even if it is not your first preference.

Darby's Answer #1
"I consider myself an easy-going person and I enjoy being challenged. While I don't mind working independently, I like working in a group. I enjoy working in a group because I get to learn from other's experience and opinions."
Darby's Answer #2
"Although I work well with others, I enjoy independent projects. I have a more reserved personality and enjoy challenging myself. However, I am excited about the prospect of becoming a part of AbbVie Oncology Research and would be willing to accept a position whether it is an individual or group assignment."
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