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Underwriters Laboratories Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 27

Do you have expertise in working in a team based lab environment?

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Underwriters Laboratories Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Do you have expertise in working in a team based lab environment?

      Depending on your laboratory background prior to this interview, you may be used to a smaller and more independent work environment. For this question, your interviewer is looking to gauge your experience and thoughts on working in a large lab environment at Underwriters Laboratories. If you don't have experience in a larger, team based environment, there is no need to fret. Simply explain that you are a team player and talk about the roles you have played in a team based environment in the past.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I do have experience in working as part of a much larger team during my time working for the University of X five years ago. In this environment, our research projects were assigned in teams. In this environment, I was comfortable taking a lead role among my fellow technicians while helping provide guidance and representation from my colleagues to team leaders. If hired for this position, I would be very grateful to step back into a fast paced, team based atmosphere here at Underwriters Laboratories."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "For the last five years starting my career out of college, I have worked as a Medical Laboratory Technician in a small clinical lab setting. While I have always found the work to be very rewarding and beneficial to other, my main reason for searching for a new career path was to be involved in a larger team environment like you have here at Underwriters Laboratories. I am a people person by nature and would love to bring my skills to the team based efforts that you put out on a daily basis."

  2. 2.

    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."

  3. 3.

    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 Underwriters Laboratories."

      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 Underwriters Laboratories, my clients would greatly benefit from my ability to both set and achieve goals with them."

  4. 4.

    Talk about a time you had to work with a very difficult person. What was the situation and how did you handle it?

      At some point in any person's career, they have to work with a colleague or customer who is extremely difficult. Rather than looking to hear the fine details as to why this person was difficult, your interviewer will be looking to gain insight into how you personally handled the situation and others like it to ensure that a sound relationship was fostered even when you faced difficult circumstances. In your answer, some key things to focus on are your ability to be tolerant, understanding and a great communicator in these situations.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I have a customer that flies off the handle very easily if things don't happen just right and I learned this from my first interactions with him. In seeing this happen from the start, I have always maintained a calm demeanor when he was upset and showed empathy by asking questions about his expectations and how to fix situations for him. To this day, I expect difficulty from him when we work together and the years we've had a working relationship together have better prepared me for more clients like him in the future."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "A couple of years ago, a close colleague of mine had a very abrupt turnaround in her attitude and performance on the job. She was very curt and abrasive in conversations when she was normally very talkative and friendly on the job. After noticing some concerns in her work, I approached her with an open mind and asked her what was going on to cause these things to change. I showed concern and approached her as a friend and this approach prompted her to tell me about some issues happening in her personal life. By taking this approach, rather than getting upset or even made with her, I showed her that I cared and valued her as a person and my approach helped her open up and turn her life at work back around to the positive side."

  5. 5.

    Underwriters Laboratories values philanthropy and community giving. How do you choose to give back to others?

      The interviewer would like to know that you are socially responsible and a team player - even outside of the workplace. Your answer can be as simple as babysitting your grand-kids every Sunday, to a standing-volunteer gig, to charitable contributions.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I work a lot but, when I do have free time, I spend that with my grand-kids. It helps to give my son a bit of a break as he is a full-time single dad. In addition to this, I volunteer at the local drop-in center every Christmas to help feed the homeless. Giving back is very important to me."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Volunteering and charitable acts are important to me. I spend time volunteering at the local drop-in center every Sunday."

  6. 6.

    What kind of people do you enjoy working with?

      Culture fit is a critical factor when looking for a new position. Talk to the interviewer about the types of personalities that you best work with. Be sure to remain positive and avoid using this as an opportunity to speak poorly of previous colleagues.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I best enjoy working with individuals who are driven, positive, energetic, and take accountability for their work. I do have the ability to work with a large variety of individuals; however, these are the ideal traits I would see in future colleagues."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Some other great characteristics of co-workers:

      - Encouraging
      - Helpful
      - Engaged
      - Positive
      - Hard-working
      - Punctual
      - Reliable"

  7. 7.

    We value diversity at Underwriters Laboratories. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people?

      Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. Together, we manage our business and effectiveness. I enjoy the diversity component."

  8. 8.

    Talk about a time that you applied a new technology or new information to your work as an engineer?

      During your career as an engineer up to this point, you've likely had to learn and work with new technology or information that has improved the way that you perform your work. Ideally with this question, your interviewer is looking to see that you are flexible in working with new technologies and/or processes as you consults across different businesses and industries. Prior to your interview, think of an example of a time that showed your ability to be open to new ways of doing things through advancements in technology and talk about why this ability is important in a consulting role.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having been an engineer for over 20 years, today's digital age has certainly altered the way that we work on a day to day basis and I've loved every minute of being on the forefront of these changes. In my current role, I am utilizing nanotechnology that wasn't available even five years ago to create UV resistant and waterproof glass that just wasn't able to be produced before. I'd love to help bring innovation to the clients here at Underwriters Laboratories in this consultant role."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As a manufacturing engineer by trade, I've worked with many of the recent advancements in robotic technology to help boost production output and quality. Last year, I helped implement a new production line for light bulbs that utilized a fully automated assembly process where machine tenders were operating all processes from a touch screen. The project required a lot of research and education for my engineering team and we all welcomed that with open arms."

  9. 9.

    What do you feel makes you qualified for a Laboratory Technician position here with Underwriters Laboratories?

      Based on your application and resume, your interviewer can get a really good sense for your experience and education. For this question, they are looking to hear from you directly on why you feel you are the best candidate for this position. Prior to your interview, be sure to research Underwriters Laboratories and the specific lab services that they provide and match your interests to that work. As well, be sure to point out that you are comfortable in a small, intimate lab environment as a detailed technician.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In looking to come work for Underwriters Laboratories, I bring a wide skill set as a Lab Technician. While casually looking for a new position, I love the fact that this organization does such great work in the food and pharmaceutical industries. My experience in sample preparation and pH adjustments in my current role would bode well in getting up to speed and productive quickly in this role."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Based on everything I've read about Underwriters Laboratories and learned from our conversation so far today, I would be very comfortable stepping in to the lab environment here. I am a very independent worker that can take work and run with it with little direction. As well, my experience in the hospital setting has prepared me for a more focused role in microbiology here at Underwriters Laboratories."

  10. 10.

    We value accountability at Underwriters Laboratories. If a customer sent a formal complaint about an interaction with you, how would you handle it?

      Assure the interviewer that you are a person of integrity who will take responsibility for any shortcomings in the workplace. Briefly explain to the interviewer that you will handle Underwriters Laboratories customers with great care.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I understand that Underwriters Laboratories has put a lot of work into building these long-term client relationships. If one of your clients complained about my communication with them, I would take full responsibility for my actions and issue an apology. I would also be open to feedback to avoid future incidences. Rest assured, in my 15 years of employment, I have not had any clients complain to my employer about my work ethic or delivery of service."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Constructive feedback is difficult to swallow at times, but it's helpful for me to remember that everyone receives constructive feedback from time to time. I will always do what is required of me to renew a client relationship."

  11. 11.

    What lab equipment do you have experience working with and how would you rate your proficiency in learning new equipment?

      In the varying types of environments that Lab Technicians can work in, there is a wide variety of equipment that needs to be learned and mastered to do your job effectively. While you may not have had exposure to every type of equipment you'll be working on if hired at Underwriters Laboratories, it is important for you to demonstrate your ability to learn and become proficient in the equipment you'll be working on. Talk about the experiences you've had up to this point while explaining your ability to be open minded in training on new tools.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, my experience in the medical field has exposed me to working on microscopes, colorimeters, RIA's and other standard lab equipment like burettes, beakers and petri dishes. Since my studies in college, I've shown a great knack for being technologically advanced and I've always welcomed new advancements in our field. If hired for this position, my first priority would be to learn how to proficiently use all of the equipment needed for my job."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Throughout my career as a Laboratory Technician, I've been exposed to and mastered many useful tools to help me do my job and I look forward to doing this for the remainder of my career. Just last year, my current employer purchased an ion chromatograph to help better analyze water samples. Prior to coming to our site, I spent two days offsite training on the new machine. From the first day in use, I was able to operate and train others how to operate the tool."

  12. 12.

    How do you stay organized and on track when working on a long-term project?

      Working for Underwriters Laboratories in the role you are interviewing for will require an innate ability to manage projects from conception to final implementation. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have the ability to maintain organization to meet deadlines and customer expectations. Talk about your personal methods for organizing project work and give any examples that you have of your methods being successful. In the consulting and advisory industry, customer satisfaction and word of mouth are integral to success and growth of a business and effective project management is key in satisfaction.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I really pride myself on my ability to multitask and my ability to stay organized in key in multitasking. For me personally, organization starts with using technology to my advantage and I do this through the use of my Outlook calendar and tasks functions. I take time each day to update my tasks and project work and use my ability to prioritize tasks to ensure that the right things are being worked on. In looking to bring these skills to long-term project work with your clients, staying organized and on task will be extremely important for the success of both Underwriters Laboratories and your clients."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my work, the ability to stay organized and on track comes down to having a plan of attack for each project and keeping track of the plan as milestones are hit. If you are familiar with the program Trello, it really helps me organize all of the components of the projects that I work on and give me the ability to track who is doing what, what deadlines are coming and what milestones have been hit. But even with a great program like this, I always have the ability to re-prioritize due dates and new tasks as needed with any project."

  13. 13.

    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 Underwriters Laboratories 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 Underwriters Laboratories and your clients would benefit greatly."

  14. 14.

    If you are hired for this position here at Underwriters Laboratories, 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 Underwriters Laboratories 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 Underwriters Laboratories 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 Underwriters Laboratories. 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."

  15. 15.

    What have you found to be the most effective methods for training workers? Are there any you've found to be very ineffective?

      Underwriters Laboratories works with clients on a daily basis to help improve their day to day processes as an organization and part of that improvement stems from training. Your role as a consultant with Underwriters Laboratories can entail recommending and even facilitating training for staff and your interviewer is looking to gain insight into your thoughts and experiences with different methods of training. For your answer, be honest about your thoughts while also showing an open mind to considering other methods as well.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having been in the corporate training and developing world over the past ten years, I can say that the best training method for a company or a group of employees is very situational. I have experience conducting classroom style trainings and they can be very effective for high needs situations. I also have experience designing and implementing e-learning programs for my organization and this has been extremely beneficial for simple, yet necessary, trainings for a busy workforce. If hired for this position, I'll be able to assess the needs of my clients and work with them on creative and effective solutions that meet their training needs."

  16. 16.

    Have you ever had any formal training in Lean Six Sigma that you could bring to Underwriters Laboratories and our clients?

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  17. 17.

    At Underwriters Laboratories, workloads in our lab setting can vary on a daily and weekly basis. How do you prioritize your time on the busiest of days?

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  18. 18.

    In your eyes, what makes a compliance program effective?

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  19. 19.

    In this role with Underwriters Laboratories, working with regulatory bodies in many different industries will be imperative. What regulatory bodies have you reported to during your time working in compliance?

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  20. 20.

    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?

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  21. 21.

    At Underwriters Laboratories we value continued education and training. Tell me about your education.

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  22. 22.

    What roles are you comfortable assuming in working as part of a larger team?

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  23. 23.

    Tell me about a time when you used good judgement and logic to solve a problem.

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  24. 24.

    Throughout your career, what types of roles and positions have you worked closely with and which roles are you most comfortable working with?

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  25. 25.

    When a problem arises, what is your first reaction?

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  26. 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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  27. 27.

    Based on your work experience, where do you feel your strongest skills in supply chain management would benefit our clients here at Underwriters Laboratories?

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