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EMSL Analytical Interview
Questions

26 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Published October 11th, 2019 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 26
Talk about your ability to prioritize record keeping in the lab setting. How have you effectively done this in your past work?
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How to Answer
Keeping and maintaining accurate records in a lab is vitally important, for many reasons. This is certainly no different at EMSL Analytical. To give your interview a feel for how you prioritize and keep accurate records, talk about the steps you take in ensuring each specimen is recorded and labeled while also talking about any documentation systems that you have used in the past. Make sure your interviewer walks away knowing that documentation and record keeping is an important job for you.
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Top 25 EMSL Analytical Interview Questions
1.
Talk about your ability to prioritize record keeping in the lab setting. How have you effectively done this in your past work?
Keeping and maintaining accurate records in a lab is vitally important, for many reasons. This is certainly no different at EMSL Analytical. To give your interview a feel for how you prioritize and keep accurate records, talk about the steps you take in ensuring each specimen is recorded and labeled while also talking about any documentation systems that you have used in the past. Make sure your interviewer walks away knowing that documentation and record keeping is an important job for you.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role, I am required to keep a notebook with my work that I do each and every day. In the notebook, I record all of the samples that I test. On a weekly basis, our department secretary enters important notes into an electronic record keeping system. Before moving on to my next task, I always ensure that I document my work before moving on. This ensures that my work is fresh in my mind and documented properly. Are you able to expand on record keeping procedures in the lab here at EMSL Analytical?"
Ryan's Answer #2
"In the medical lab setting where I currently work, we have to document many things on a daily basis. I update medical records in our EHR on specimens that I examine. I am required to update maintenance and cleaning logs on all of the equipment that I use. I also am required to take temperature and humidity reading twice per day and document them in an online log that we use. All of these tasks are important in keeping our patient records accurate and our laboratory clean and safe."
2.
Outside of work, what type of creative activities do you like to pursue?
A genuinely creative minded person will have outside activities aside from what's happening in the workplace. Tell the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you express your creativity.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Outside of work I like to attend dance classes and I also attend the odd paint and sip wine nights at a local wine shop. I also enjoy reading as a way of nurturing my creative side."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I think it's important to exercise creativity in a variety of ways. This reasoning is why I am involved in a variety of things such as team sports, reading, and art classes."
3.
Talk about a time that you successfully educated another individual or group in your area of expertise. What made your educational experience effective?
The role that you are interviewing for with EMSL Analytical will likely involve providing education to clients in your area of expertise. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are comfortable and effective in providing education by having you talk about a time that you have done so. In the example that you provide, try to point out some key items to making business education successful like developing a plan/goals, respecting differing viewpoints/opinions, making it hands on and making it fun.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Probably the aspect that I love the most about my current job is being the lead for training new hires into our department. Because of my years of experience and my innate ability to effectively orientate new employees, my director asked me to take this duty about four years ago. My approach with any new hire is to customize their training based on their knowledge and experience so the training is effective for them. What works for one person may not work for another and I always need to be fluid with this. I also prioritize the need to make orientation and training a hands on experience for the new hire because classroom learning can only take a person so far in the learning process."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last seven years working in the corporate tax field. While in this job, I worked very independently for a private organization, so I've been out of the training and education side for a while now. During my first job out of college as a CPA though, I was very adept at providing education to the clients that I worked with on a daily basis. What I learned in that experience was the importance of putting material out there in a manner that the person being trained understood. As well, talking to clients and understanding my client's wants and needs were very important for me to be able to best educate them. I really believe that these skills would enable me to hit the ground running with EMSL Analytical and your clients would benefit greatly."
4.
Would you say that you are a goal oriented person on the job? Why would you say that?
Success in business consulting is most often measured in the achievement of goals for clients and for this question, your interviewer will ideally be looking to hear that you are driven by goals and that you have the ability to set them as well. In your answer, give your interviewer the sense that you are goal oriented by giving an example or two of a time where you set and worked towards a goal as part of a team effort. Explain your part in the achievement of the goals and your ability to stay focused on the end result.

Ryan's Answer #1
"If hired for this position, one of the first things that you'll learn about me is that I am very driven to succeed in all that I do on the job. For me, personal drive definitely centers around goals and my desire to achieve them. I have the focus to set goals myself and to work towards goals that are set by my organization, my leaders or my customers and I would bring this ability with each client that I work with here at EMSL Analytical."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I would definitely say that I am goal oriented in the work that I do on a daily basis. In project management, I work off of both time related goals and production related goals and these really drive my daily tasks and my delegation of responsibilities to other team members. If given the opportunity to come work for EMSL Analytical, my clients would greatly benefit from my ability to both set and achieve goals with them."
5.
If you are hired for this position here at EMSL Analytical, what do you think the biggest hurdle for you would be from the start?
For this question, you can showcase your research that you've done on both EMSL Analytical and the role you are interviewing for by being upfront and honest about what you feel would be the biggest learning curve for you if hired for the position and giving your plan for how you would approach this hurdle. In your answer, make sure that you highlight your skills and abilities in making a molehill out of a mountain on your way to success in this role.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As you can see from my resume, most of my career experience is in the food industry. If fortunate enough to be hired for this position, the biggest area for learning for me would be the finance side of other industries like technology, telecommunications and healthcare. From day one, I would begin by thoroughly research the clients here at EMSL Analytical and speaking with as many industry experts that I know through business networking. While learning the ins and outs of other industries is the biggest learning curve for me, I see it as a great opportunity for me to become more proficient and effective in the work that I'd be doing for you."
Ryan's Answer #2
"While this may sound funny to you at first, I think the biggest challenge for me from the start will be adapting to the great corporate lifestyle and culture here at EMSL Analytical. When I saw this position being open for applicants and I did my research, I was extremely excited to hear about the flexibility and openness to the ideas of your staff members. I've been working for six years in an environment that is very opposite of an open culture for new ideas and for me personally, it will feel foreign for me to bring new ideas to the team here and have them be accepted."
6.
Customer service is our top priority at EMSL Analytical. What is your customer service philosophy?
Because EMSL Analytical puts so much effort into their customer service reputation, the interviewer needs to be confident that your customer service values align with theirs. Be sure to research the EMSL Analytical website and take note of any keywords they use when it comes to their customers. Match your language with theirs.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I noticed on your website that you put a lot of value into your customers by actively listening to their needs. You also survey them regularly while staying on top of industry trends so that you can provide them with innovative new services. To me, customer service goes beyond friendliness and efficiency. You need to understand your customer's business needs and have the ability to analyze their future needs so that you can respond appropriately to their business landscape changes."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As overused as this phrase may be, 'Service with a smile' has always been my customer service philosophy. Very few people can resist a great smile and a friendly interaction! Friendliness warms customers up, makes them more inclined to work with you, and also diffuses a conflict quickly."
7.
Have you ever been involved in a lab audit process before? What steps do you do in your daily work to ensure that audits go as smoothly as possible?
In any industry that laboratories are utilized, the labs are subjected to scrutinizing audit processes to ensure that lab operations are safe, effective and operating within all aspects of laws and regulations. For this question, the main focus of your answer should be on the fact that you understand what an audit can entail and the work you do to ensure that your lab is in the best shape possible at all times should an unannounced audit happen.

Ryan's Answer
"Just a couple of months ago, the clinical lab that I work in was a part of a Joint Commission audit and our whole team was extremely proud after minimal findings in the audit. Having trained and worked in one of the best labs in the country prior to taking my current role, I knew the importance of having standardized processes documented and followed on a daily basis and the importance of standard record keeping practices. These really paid off during the audit and if hired for this position, one of my top priorities would be learning the laws, regulations and audit processes in a new lab industry."
8.
What types of experience do you have in distribution center or warehousing logistics?
For many of the clients at EMSL Analytical, warehousing and/or distribution center operations are a key function of the success of their business financially and your interviewer is looking to gain insight beyond your resume into where your experience in this are falls. Talk in detail about your experience in warehouse operations, technology and customers service and tie that experience to working with the clients of EMSL Analytical.

Ryan's Answer #1
"My warehousing experience started while obtaining my undergraduate degree when I worked for a large retailer distribution center. In this role, I learned that basics of order picking, customer service and the programs that helped workflow run smoothly. This really started my passion in the field. Since obtaining my bachelor's degree, the steel manufacturer that I've worked for for over 10 years has several large warehouse operations that I oversee all operations in. In looking to move to a consulting role with EMSL Analytical, this experience will prove to be vital with the clients here."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In my current role as a supply chain manager with ABC Manufacturing, I have worked on a several warehouse optimization projects that have greatly improved our operations and profitability. Last year, I was part of a team that revamped our warehouse organization and storage flow to better make use of both the space and the time of our workers. We spent a good amount of time analyzing current work flows, brainstorming new strategies and implementing the final layout with much success."
9.
At EMSL Analytical we seek to hire those who think outside the box. When was the last time you made a suggestion for workplace improvement? What was the outcome?
The interviewer would like to know if you are an engaged employee; offering suggestions and providing more profound thought when it comes to processing improvement in the workplace. Give an example of a time when you suggested an improvement in the workplace. It can be big or small! Did anything significant come out of your suggestion?

Ryan's Answer #1
"Last year I made a recommendation for our office to incorporate a recycling program. We were going through a lot of single-use coffee pods. It bothered me how wasteful it all seemed. I presented a spreadsheet to my supervisor comparing the single-use pods vs. investing in a built-in coffee machine. The savings over two years were significant, and my boss has now presented my idea to our head office. It feels nice to be heard in the workplace, so I continue to keep my eyes out for opportunities for process improvements."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I made some recommendations for change in our CRM system. The suggestions were surrounding how items received documentation and how outstanding tasks became highlighted. Our head office made the changes and a lot of people in our office commented on how much they liked the changes."
10.
Where have you seen common failures or breakdowns in customer service and how would you address these issues with the clients here at EMSL Analytical?
When a consulting company like EMSL Analytical is called, it is likely that that organization has seen some failure in the service that they have been providing to customers. In this role as a consultant, you will be asked to help diagnose the issues and help fix them for your clients. For this question, your interviewer is first seeking to see what you have seen in your career as common failures in customer service. Second, and most importantly, your interviewer is looking to hear how you would go about solving the issue with clients. Make sure to be as detailed as possible in this aspect of your answer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In today's digital age where people are looking for results and looking for them now, time is a huge hindrance in providing excellent service to customers and I've personally witnessed timing issues and helped diagnose them for my employers. Most important is setting realistic time expectations with customers that you are able to deliver on every time. In some instances, this has been easily remedied with simple education between departments. In other instances, it has been solved through the creation and implementation of timing policies for customers."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Having consulted now for five years and having worked across many industries, the most common failures in customer service stem from staff that are poorly trained and/or poorly equipped to do their job. Assessing the competency of employees is my first step when consulting a new business and based off my assessments, I can make recommendations for education and training for the staff. Often, general customer service training suffices. At times though, this training needs to be very industry or product specific and I've helped create several specific training programs for employers."
11.
When a problem arises, what is your first reaction?
The interviewer wants to know if your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. How you react will significantly determine how you fit with the team at EMSL Analytical.

Perhaps your computer crashes, and you realize you may have just lost all of your hard work. Or maybe you are limited on time and have a deadline rapidly approaching. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you take a very methodical approach to problem-solving, rather than reacting in an impulsive way when a problem occurs.

Ryan's Answer #1
"When a major problem arises, my first instinct is to take a step back and absorb what just happened. I then go into "
Ryan's Answer #2
"I have taught myself to become much calmer with my first reactions when problems arise. Now, I will step back and review my options for solving the problem rather than allow myself to become frustrated."
12.
At EMSL Analytical, workloads in our lab setting can vary on a daily and weekly basis. How do you prioritize your time on the busiest of days?
As you've likely experienced throughout your career up to this point, no two days are alike in a laboratory setting. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear about your ability to plan and prioritize your work based on need while also having the ability to take on high need items that pop up throughout the day. If possible, try explaining this by walking through an example of a hectic day that you've had to deal with in the past that demonstrates your ability to be planned, flexible and accomplished at the end of the day.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Honestly, the biggest aspect I love about my job as a Clinical Lab Scientist is the variety of work that I do. A couple of months ago, our lab had a Monday morning where we were slammed with a lot of high priority tasks that needed to be done by the following morning. I took the lead in getting together with our Lab Technicians in making a plan for getting everything done. My philosophy is always to focus on one task at a time and finishing it to completion before moving on the next task. This plan worked well through diligence, focus and teamwork and our Director was very pleased the next morning with the accolades that we received."
Ryan's Answer #2
"At the beginning of each work day, I take five to ten minutes to make a priority list of my work that day. I take into account the customer that needs the work done and deadlines when prioritizing. Being that my current organization works across multiple states and communication is almost solely electronic, I make time each day for working through email. More often than not, high priority items come up that need to get added high on my list and I am very confident in my abilities to prioritize work in any setting."
13.
Due to the nature of EMSL Analytical business and services we may ask that you complete a full background check. Are you willing to comply?
Many companies will ask for a background check before employing you. This due diligence could include a criminal record check, a credit check, a drivers' abstract, and education verification. The request will vary from company to company so you should always be prepared to comply with all requests. If there is a mark on your record, this is the best time to disclose that information.

If you have a clean record: "I can fully understand why EMSL Analytical would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I have a squeaky clean record and am happy to comply with any of your requests."
Ryan's Answer #1
"I can fully understand why EMSL Analytical would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I have a squeaky clean record and am happy to comply with any of your requests."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If you have a mark on your record: "I can fully understand why EMSL Analytical would need to conduct background checks on all potential employees. I did have a charge against me approximately six years ago for a DUI. I have gained my drivers' license back since then, but I thought I should disclose that to you ahead of time."
14.
What are the most common sterilization techniques you've used in a laboratory setting during your career?
In asking this question, your interviewer is very aware that there are many methods, each with their own pros and cons, in sterilizing a laboratory setting. With this question, they are looking to see the different methods that you are familiar with and why they work. But more importantly, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand the importance of a sterile setting and that you take priority in this in your work.

Ryan's Answer
"The method I use with my current employer is an autoclave system that applies both pressure and heat to our equipment to sterilize it prior to and at the end of each use. From my training on the system, this is the most effective method for killing microbial cells in a lab environment and ensuring that no future samples are tainted. Making sure that equipment is sterilized is a part of my mental checklist that I walk through with each sample and it has become very ingrained into the routine of my work."
15.
Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?

Ryan's Answer #1
"I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator, so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."
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