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Janssen Cancer Research Interview

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

Janssen Cancer Research is passionate about finding ways to help prevent cancer. What makes you feel like you would be a good fit here?

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Janssen Cancer Research Interview Questions


  1. Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer Research."


  1. 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."


  1. Although much research involves a team approach, Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer Research and would be willing to accept a position whether it is an individual or group assignment."


  1. 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."


  1. 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?
    • We all have opinions about ways that medical research and treatment could be improved. With cancer research, especially, it is frustrating when researchers want to cure a disease and can't explain the true cause. Do you think that there is inequality when comparing treatment vs. prevention in cancer care?

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I have heard people voice this concern before. However, I do not know if I think there is as great a different between the efforts to prevent or cure. All healthcare research requires a bit of a 'balancing act,' so to speak. That is why I think it is important to have a diversity of people involved in research projects. If we can divide groups of people and have each group focus on something different and then come together with our ideas and implement them, perhaps we can find a way to prevent new occurrences and cure those who have already been diagnosed."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "While I can understand the frustration of wanting to prevent cancer occurrence, I disagree with the statement that the focus of research is more on treatment than a cure. Cancer prevention can be increased by individuals participating in a healthier lifestyle. These are things that no amount of research can enforce. We can only educate. When others choose to participate in activities that cause cancer, we then are expected to provide a cure."


  1. 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?
    • There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I believe self-confidence and accountability are important. I hope to always display those characteristics and to encourage them in others."


  1. 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?
    • There are various reasons that people voice opposition to stem cell research. Even if you have never worked with stem cell research, you can share your thoughts about why some people may be opposed.

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I believe that the majority of people who oppose embryonic stem cell research do so because they don't have a clear understanding of what type of cells are used and the benefits that the research can accomplish. Embryonic stem cells are derived from the inner cells of human blastocysts, which occur 5-10 days after fertilization, but before implantation into the uterus. I honestly believe if those in opposition were educated to understand that embryonic stem cells are not taken from a living fetus they would be more supportive."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I believe there are many reasons that people oppose stem cell research. When the word 'embryonic' is used, the majority of the population relates this to an unborn child. If people can understand that a pregnancy has not been achieved at the time these cells are harvested and can know that cloning for reproductive purposes in human beings is not legal, they would be more open to the idea of this type of research."


  1. Have you ever had a disagreement with a co-worker, and, if so, how did you resolve it?
    • Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

      Darby's Answer #1

      "I believe if we think about it, each of us could remember at least one disagreement with a friend or co-worker. Although I consider myself to be pretty easy-going, I am also very passionate about my patients and the care that they receive. I have been aware of disagreements between other co-workers, but really like to think of myself as more of a peacekeeper. I feel like professional people should be able to discuss things logically and come to an agreement that is satisfactory for everyone involved."

      Darby's Answer #2

      "I think the most common disagreement between myself and others have involved our personal feelings about how healthcare should be carried out. However, I have learned, as have most of the people that I have worked with, that while our opinions are important, plans of care are designated by strict guidelines and with the input of everyone on the care team as well as the patient. Learning to respect those guidelines and patient wishes usually resolves issues that arise"


  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."


  1. 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.."


  1. Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer 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 Janssen Cancer Research."


  1. 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."


  1. 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."


  1. Janssen Cancer 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."


  1. Janssen Cancer 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."


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