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Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Interview Questions

29 interview questions and answers to help you prepare for an interview in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industry.

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Question 1 of 29

Why did you choose a career in the Pharma/Biotech industry?

How to Answer

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.

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29 Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Why did you choose a career in the Pharma/Biotech industry?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      2nd Answer Example

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My background is in science, and I have always been attracted to being involved in the cutting edge of medical technology. This industry is always evolving and feeds my competitive spirit."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great! You give a unique answer that is still pharma/biotech-centric.

  • 2. List 3 qualities that make you the best candidate for Company ABC.

      How to Answer

      After researching Company ABC 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.

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      2nd Answer Example

      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

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am service-oriented, tenacious, and accountable to both my success and setbacks. These would be the qualities I would look for in a person I would want to work with, so this is what makes me stand out!"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Yeah! This is perfect! I like that you didn't lean on the typical answers like good communicator, etc. This is a stand-out answer.

  • 3. How many years have you worked in the Pharma/Biotech industry? What keeps you interested in our line of work?

      How to Answer

      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 Company ABC long term.

      1st Answer Example

      "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 Company ABC."

      2nd Answer Example

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I've worked in the Pharma/Biotech world for over a decade. The industry is always changing and improving upon itself, and I like the opportunity to bring cutting edge medications to patients."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response! Your passion for the industry shines through.

  • 4. What industry related changes do you foresee in the next 12 months?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Medicare sets the standard for what private insurance is going to pay for, and I foresee many changes we will have to navigate through before this year is over. It will be important to remain adaptable and continue to meet the needs of our customers and their patients."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Try digging in a bit deeper into the changes, and the impact of these changes. This is a good start!

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  • 5. How do you stay informed on changes in the Pharma/Biotech industry?

      How to Answer

      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.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I stay abreast by reading about new therapies on line and following posts from my professional network."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Go further into this response by adding in which resources you use in your professional network. Perhaps you are referring to articles on LinkedIn?

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  • 6. This position requires a minimum Bachelor's Degree in a science related field. Walk me through your post-secondary education.

      How to Answer

      Your post-secondary career is significant when it comes to displaying your ability to complete a degree, multitask, and apply yourself. Walk the interviewer through your post-secondary experience making sure to highlight any recognition or awards you may have achieved.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Chemistry. What is not reflected on my resume is that I worked as a high school science teacher, applying what I learned in university."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! I like that you add in your teaching experience since it's very valuable. Depending on how engaged the interviewer is, they may ask why you left the teaching industry, so I recommend you be prepared with a concise response for that potential inquiry.

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  • 7. If you could choose any special area of focus with Company ABC, which would you choose?

      How to Answer

      Working for Company ABC 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 Company ABC.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Since my background is in science, I never got a formal education in marketing. That is an area of business that I would like to dig deep into as I feel it would greatly sharpen my understanding of how the business units collaborate and make me a better salesperson."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Having a clear understanding of marketing approaches is always helpful in sales. Good answer!

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  • 8. Would you further your post-secondary education to include a Ph.D. in your field?

      How to Answer

      Some upper-level positions within Company ABC may require a higher level of education. Assure the interviewer that you would be willing to discuss enhancing your knowledge to grow within the organization eventually.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have considered furthering my education to include an MBA. It would need to be in tandem with full-time employment. There are on-line services that feature courses offered from universities such as Michigan State, and while these courses do not provide college credit, they are worth while to take."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      The interviewer should appreciate that you have already done your homework on what type of continued-studies would be available to you. Good response!

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  • 9. In your opinion, what is the biggest development in Biotechnology in the past 3 years?

      How to Answer

      The term 'biotechnology' refers to the use of cells and molecules to create a product within medicine, genetic testing, or even agriculture. What do you foresee as the most significant development that has happened in the past few years?

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  • 10. In your opinion, what is the biggest development in Pharmaceuticals in the past 3 years?

      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?

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Vaccines fascinate me, and I believe our research and development in the field of HIV has produced a great many advances in the world of medicines. We now treat diseases we once thought were incurable."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer is specific and well thought out while remaining brief enough. Good work!

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  • 11. If you could choose any area in your field to study further, which area would you focus on? How do you feel that would help you with a career at Company ABC?

      How to Answer

      Talk to the interviewer about your favorite area of study when it comes to pharma /biotech. Why would you choose to focus on that area? Share with the interviewer why you feel that strengthened skills, in this particular area, will help you to achieve your goals with Company ABC.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "If I could focus on just one thing, it would be in the field of stem cell research. We are only beginning to understand what this type of therapy can do."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Fantastic! The stem cell is a topic that any interviewer could further discuss so; a great conversation could come of this.

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  • 12. Do you prefer to work with studies related to humans, animals, or plant life?

      How to Answer

      Perhaps you have a preference, and maybe you don't. However, you answer this question, be sure to keep your reply positive. (IE: Avoid saying "I dislike studies related to animals." You don't want to shut down any particular practice.)

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  • 13. If you could research any particular disorder, disease, or illness which one would you choose, and why?

      How to Answer

      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 Company ABC.

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  • 14. Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.

      How to Answer

      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!

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  • 15. In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?

      How to Answer

      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?

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  • 16. When have you had to be extra thorough in completing tasks?

      How to Answer

      Some tasks will require a keener eye and additional diligence. Discuss a time when you were extra thorough during a work-related project.

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  • 17. By this time in your career, you should have advanced further. What has slowed down your career progression?

      How to Answer

      When an interviewer sees slow career progression on your resume, they will immediately want to determine whether this is by your own choice, any outside circumstances, or if you are not motivated to create growth. If your career has progressed slower than you wish, you must be honest with the interviewer when discussing this.

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  • 18. How does this position fit into your career goals?

      How to Answer

      Is this particular position a good fit? Is it a step up in your career or - a stagnant move that you are just complacent with taking until something better comes along? Assure the interviewer that this position will be challenging for you, is a step up in responsibilities, and that it fits with your overall career goals.



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  • 19. Who would you say inspires you?

      How to Answer

      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.

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  • 20. What are your strengths?

      How to Answer

      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

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  • 21. What sources do you look to when you need to solve a complicated problem?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you can think outside the box, or even ask for help when you are stuck on a complicated problem.

      Maybe you look to a mentor or boss for advice. Perhaps you have handbooks, manuals and systems you turn to for help. Offer some relevant examples based on your industry. If you work in the medical field, you may turn to textbooks, online research, colleagues or even patient's history to find the right solution. If you work in customer service, you may ask the customer what they need to find the best way to solve the problem.

      Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and equipped to handle these types of scenarios.

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  • 22. When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond?

      How to Answer

      When it comes to complex problem solving, the decisions do not always arrive quickly. It takes practice, experience, and confidence to learn what sorts of decisions yield the best results.
      Problems that require you to act quickly can be emergency situations such as knowing where the fire extinguisher is and grabbing it fast enough to put out a small grease fire in the company kitchen. Other quick decisions could be if you are asked to take on a new responsibility and only given five minutes to decide if it's something you are prepared to take on.

      Going with your gut is a skill, and the more you learn to trust your intuition, the easier it becomes to make these types of decisions. Demonstrate that you are confident and able to react swiftly when the need arises.

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  • 23. How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?

      How to Answer

      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.

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  • 24. When have you shown great integrity at work?

      How to Answer

      Integrity comes from honesty and consistent moral values. Talk to the interviewer about the way (s) that you show your integrity in the workplace.

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  • 25. How do you define success?

      How to Answer

      What does success mean to you? Tell the interviewer how you see success and be sure to tie your answer into the success that you plan to bring to this particular position, should you be offered the role.

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  • 26. Describe to me your ideal employer.

      How to Answer

      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.

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  • 27. What are your salary expectations?

      How to Answer

      The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

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  • 28. Are you applying for any other jobs?

      How to Answer

      It always puts a little bit of fire under the hiring manager if they are aware that you are actively looking for a new position. Tell the interviewer about your search so far.

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  • 29. How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

      How to Answer

      This question can create feelings of stress and anxiety, so it's best to be prepared. Be honest with the interviewer on how you feel the interview has gone so far.

      If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: "I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"

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