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Novartis Interview
Questions

29 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Companies     Wellness     Pharmaceuticals And Biotechnology    
Question 1 of 29
In your opinion, what is the biggest development in Pharmaceuticals in the past 3 years?
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How to Answer
The term 'pharmaceutical' refers to the creation and sale of medicine. What do you foresee as the most significant development that has happened in the past few years?
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Answer Examples
1.
In your opinion, what is the biggest development in Pharmaceuticals in the past 3 years?
The term 'pharmaceutical' refers to the creation and sale of medicine. What do you foresee as the most significant development that has happened in the past few years?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"There have been so many developments in the pharmaceutical industry the past three years, but I do feel that the biggest was the creation of the first vaccine for Dengue."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am most impressed by the way the pharma industry has switched their focus from treatment to prevention. It's a great way to flip our thinking in the industry, and will save the lives of so many people."
2.
Who would you say inspires you?
Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewer about who has inspired your life and why.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like she did, as much as I can."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My previous manager was a huge inspiration to me. Her passion for this industry was motivating and put the fire in me to climb the ladder in my career."
Anonymous Answer
"My previous manager. She has 20+ yrs of experience in pharma and is still passionate about her job. She has given me a tremendous amount of advice. And I am impressed by, despite her hard work schedule, she makes time for herself and her passions."
Rachelle's Answer
Your previous manager sounds like an inspiration, indeed.
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3.
Why did you choose a career in the Pharma/Biotech industry?
The interviewer would like to know what drew you into a career within their industry. Show the hiring manager that you have a natural attraction to this particular industry and that you're here to stay.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I chose a career in Pharma/Biotech because I have always had an attraction to the study of medicine, and science, and the correlation between them. It's an ever-changing industry which never becomes dull."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The drive behind my choosing a career in Biotechnology was because I love science and helping others. With these two drivers combined, I knew it would be a career choice that I would be happy with for years to come."
4.
Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.
Talking about your most significant accomplishment will give the interviewer a definite idea of where you place your values. It will also show the interviewer more about your personality, how you like to be motivated, and how to coach you in the future. It is okay to brag a little bit when answering this question. Show that you are proud of yourself and your career accomplishments!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The greatest accomplishment in my career was graduating University as an honors student while still working full time in a related field. I was top of my class, and working full time. This success showed me that I could dedicate myself to my career, and reach the goals that I set for myself. It felt great to accomplish so much and receive recognition for my dedication."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am proud of having been chosen to be a mentor to new hires in the department. I think I've informally mentored and exhibited leadership since day one, and to be recognized for being a great teacher and being able to train and shape the new additions to the department is an awesome pat on the back."
5.
If you could research any particular disorder, disease, or illness which one would you choose, and why?
The interviewer would like to get to know you and your particular interests. If you had zero limitations, what area within pharmaceuticals would you focus on? Be sure to show your passion for your career path and tie your answer into an area of focus related to Novartis.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"At Novartis I know that one of your primary focus' is on XYZ. This particular focus is one of the reasons why I applied to work here; because the study of XYZ is a particular passion of mine."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"We have so many options when it comes to research topics. If I had to choose just one area of research, I would choose to research autism, and the spectrum, in full. My little brother received an autism diagnosis recently, and I have the drive to learn more about it."
6.
Describe to me your ideal employer.
A job search isn't just a one-sided hunt. You must also feel as though this is a good fit for yourself. Tell the interviewer what your ideal employer may be. Be specific and be sure to keep the conversation positive. Avoid speaking poorly of any previous managers or organizations.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My ideal employer is one that brings charisma and passion to their work. I work best with organizations who have a penchant for learning and promote their employees based on performance."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am looking to join an organization where I continued learning is encouraged. It's important to me, as I carve out my career, to learn new skills under an organization that wants me to grow with them."
7.
In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?
This answer may seem obvious to you because enjoying your time with coworkers is sometimes the best part of the job! If you aren't a naturally social person, this question may seem more challenging to answer.

Talk to the interviewer about how you develop relationships with coworkers when you start a new job. Think about what is important to you about these relationships. Do your co-workers motivate you when you feel overworked? Do your coworkers give you a reason to show up to work when your boss has been giving you a hard time?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I value my relationships with my coworkers because we support each other and make each other laugh when the work environment becomes intense. I have a coworker that I eat lunch with every day. We've helped each other out by simply listening to what's going on in each other's lives. It's nice to have colleagues who understand you on a personal level."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"To accomplish anything in a job, you need your team members. Your team members are who you rely on to get a project done. You will often call them in when you need advice, or to help pick up the slack when you're in a pinch. If you don't have a good rapport with your co-workers, it can limit your ability to be great at your job."
Anonymous Answer
"Good relationships affect your motivation and let you go into the office every day with a good feeling. At the same time, having a positive climate allows you to learn from each other and work well as a team to deliver outstanding results. It also makes it easier to put in extra work when needed!"
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you find a lot of motivation through strong coworker relationships. Good answer!
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8.
How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?
When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Prioritizing is a skill that requires practice. There are many approaches you can take. Here are some suggestions:

1) Make a list. By thinking through and writing down each item that needs completion, you can see it on paper.
2) Mark what is urgent or essential. Take into account deadlines and meetings.
3) Order each task based on effort and estimated value. Considering due dates and how long it will take to do each item (also considering how much time you have).

In answering this question, show the interviewer that you have a system in place that helps you to think through what needs to happen, and when. The better you can prioritize, the more productive you will be, making you an asset to their company!"
Anonymous Answer
"Understand which tasks have the highest impact on the workflow and others. Be transparent; inform people if deadlines require adjustments."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a good way to determine priorities, and you provide a very professional response, should you find yourself in a situation where you may miss a deadline.
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9.
If you could choose any special area of focus with Novartis, which would you choose?
Working for Novartis could open a variety of career options for you. If you had your choice when it comes to a career path, which career do you think you would choose? Talk to the interviewer about where you'd like to see your career path go with Novartis.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am currently working as a Clinical Research Assistant and would like to eventually grow into a Principal Scientist role, or something of the like, with Novartis. My primary goal is to find a long-term home where I can continue to expand my knowledge in the area of (choose an area of study)."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"That is a challenging question when there are so many interesting options at my fingertips. If I had to choose just one area of specialty today, I would choose a topic within animal science. I am passionate about the health of animals."
10.
What are your strengths?
Which personal advantages make you excellent at your job? Strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks.

In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role.

Some great strengths to mention are:

- Communicative
- Loyal
- Collaborative
- Tech Savvy
- Flexible in Schedule/Availability
- Persistent and Determined
- Eager for Knowledge/New Skills

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I think my strengths are in my perceptiveness and ability to be observant of the needs of others. These strengths are part of what makes me an excellent performer in a client facing role."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am not sure what others would pick, but I feel that my strengths are my dedication, determination, and ability to build long-lasting and trusting professional relationships."
Anonymous Answer
"I connect to people easily and form good relationships, which allow me to fall back onto when needed. I also consider myself to take high ownership in my work and love acquiring knowledge, job-related as well as any matters of self-improvement. And I am good at scientific writing."
Rachelle's Answer
Your strengths are unique and very important in this industry. Be sure to make a final statement re: the fact that these skills will help you to succeed in this role with Novartis.
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11.
What industry related changes do you foresee in the next 12 months?
Assure the interviewer that you have a keen and honest interest in this industry by discussing the growth and change that you foresee in this next year. If the organization itself has any upcoming news or changes, be sure to mention these as well.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I read on your website that Novartis is expected to see a 43% increase in the sales of product ABC. This fact piqued my interest as I have seen reports that forecast a strong increase in the use of product ABC for alternative medical therapies. There are continual changes in this industry, but I see this particular one being very significant in the upcoming months."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I was recently reading an article by Q1 Productions that addressed this exact topic. They mentioned in the article that 2018 is going to be a great year for the pharma industry due to the economic upturn. The thought is that this will increase stock prices; thus, allowing pharma companies to grow their offerings, expand operations, and further their research and reach. It's an exciting thought!"
Anonymous Answer
"Cell and gene therapy are becoming essential in many therapeutic areas to treat complex diseases. Novartis already has cutting-edge treatments available; for example, the gene therapy Luxturna, and more will be available in the coming years."
Rachelle's Answer
It's great that you gave a specific example of what Novartis is doing to shake up the pharma industry. Excellent response!
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12.
When have you had to be extra thorough in completing tasks?
Some tasks will require a keener eye and additional diligence. Discuss a time when you were extra thorough during a work-related project.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have to be extra thorough from time to time when I have clients that are especially detail oriented. Often this will mean spending additional time on calls with them to highlight project changes. I am okay with being extra thorough when needed."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am always thorough, but we do have monthly team meetings where we discuss our performance metrics. That reporting takes a little longer."
13.
How do you stay informed on changes in the Pharma/Biotech industry?
The Pharma/Biotech industry is fast moving with changes and developments happening all the time. Assure the interviewer that you are engaged when it comes to industry related changes.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I follow multiple medical journals and blogs related to changes in the Pharma/Biotech industry. My favorite is wiley.com which is a strong source for updates in a variety of related medical studies."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have set up some industry related google alerts, and I also subscribe to Pharma Forum, Science Direct, and Medical Futurist, online. I am always looking for new opportunities to learn so if you have recommendations, I am happy to hear them!"
Anonymous Answer
"I have a very good network on LinkedIn that shares the latest trends and updates about the industry. I also enjoy reading the PharmaTimes website and newsletter."
Rachelle's Answer
Great specifics! Nice work.
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14.
How many years have you worked in the Pharma/Biotech industry? What keeps you interested in our line of work?
Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your work history, highlighting the most relevant positions and skills. Talk to the interviewer about your desire to work for Novartis long term.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have worked within Pharma/Biotech for the past 15 years. I started in a lab assistant role and am now at the supervisory level with my current company. I stay in this industry because the opportunities are endless. I would be thrilled to continue my career growth in this industry with Novartis."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am new to the Pharmaceuticals industry and recently graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Science. I plan to remain in this industry for the entire length of my career. At this point, starting in this apprenticeship role and then, moving forward into a role further focused on the development of new treatments."
Anonymous Answer
"I worked directly with two pharmaceutical companies for two years, where I worked as a product manager and a sales representative. As a pharmacist, I always wanted to work for the pharmaceutical industry to be able to market cutting-edge treatments to help people have a better life."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response shows a genuine interest in the pharma industry. Good answer!
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15.
List 3 qualities that make you the best candidate for Novartis.
After researching Novartis you should have a firm idea of the qualities they admire most in their candidates. Discuss the attributes that will help you to stand out as a top candidate.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I understand that this role requires stand-out skills in organization, leadership, and an energetic demeanor. I would say that these are 3 of my top skills, and I have many others! My references would attest to these skills as well."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some qualities that make you a great candidate for any company:

- A robust existing network in the industry
- A great reputation
- Leadership capabilities and experience
- Integrity and likability
- Strong minded
- Thirst for knowledge"
Anonymous Answer
"I am a great team player. In my past experiences, I had the chance to collaborate with many people with different personalities and backgrounds. I've always thrived working with different teams. I am someone who hits the ground running. I have worked on projects from scratch to finish, where I have managed tight deadlines and budgets. As a pharmacist, I've always been curious and a quick learner. I believe these qualities are a good fit for the position you are offering."
Rachelle's Answer
Good response and nicely organized with great examples to back your qualities. Well done!
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More Interview Q&As
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29 Novartis Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest development in Pharmaceuticals in the past 3 years?
  2. Who would you say inspires you?
  3. Why did you choose a career in the Pharma/Biotech industry?
  4. Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.
  5. If you could research any particular disorder, disease, or illness which one would you choose, and why?
  6. Describe to me your ideal employer.
  7. In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?
  8. How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?
  9. If you could choose any special area of focus with Novartis, which would you choose?
  10. What are your strengths?
  11. What industry related changes do you foresee in the next 12 months?
  12. When have you had to be extra thorough in completing tasks?
  13. How do you stay informed on changes in the Pharma/Biotech industry?
  14. How many years have you worked in the Pharma/Biotech industry? What keeps you interested in our line of work?
  15. List 3 qualities that make you the best candidate for Novartis.
  16. This position requires a minimum Bachelor's Degree in a science related field. Walk me through your post-secondary education.
  17. Would you further your post-secondary education to include a Ph.D. in your field?
  18. In your opinion, what is the biggest development in Biotechnology in the past 3 years?
  19. If you could choose any area in your field to study further, which area would you focus on? How you do feel that would help you with a career at Novartis?
  20. Do you prefer to work with studies related to humans, animals, or plant life?
  21. By this time in your career, you should have advanced further, what has slowed down your career progression?
  22. How does this position fit into your career goals?
  23. What sources do you look to when you need to solve a complicated problem?
  24. When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond?
  25. When have you shown great integrity at work?
  26. How do you define success?
  27. What are your salary expectations?
  28. Are you applying for any other jobs?
  29. How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?
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