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Laboratory Assistant Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
What type of work environment allows you to be the most productive?
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How to Answer
Are you able to be productive in any environment? Are there particular types of settings that you find distracting? Discuss your preferences with the interviewer. Be sure to research the kind of environment present in this position before the interview.
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Top 25 Laboratory Assistant Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
What type of work environment allows you to be the most productive?
Are you able to be productive in any environment? Are there particular types of settings that you find distracting? Discuss your preferences with the interviewer. Be sure to research the kind of environment present in this position before the interview.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I understand that your lab environment is very collaborative. I come from a similar environment and found that I could be very productive when there was the "
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I work well in environments where I am trusted to do my job without micro-managing, after I learn the ropes of the business, of course."
Anonymous Answer
"I am the most productive in an environment with which I am very familiar. Of course, I understand that I will have to learn about my environment if it is new. A familiar environment allows me to work efficiently without interruption of workflow. I am also productive in an environment that allows me to learn and further improve my skills."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response is unique and very well stated. Nice work.
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Anonymous Answer
"I work well in an environment that is fast-paced and collaborative, one that encourages commitment and communication."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good! You are specific and your answer shows that you are ready to work hard and collaborate.
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2.
What are your career goals in the lab? Where do you see yourself in five years?
It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position. You can show the interviewer how driven you are when you answer this but be sure to remain realistic to typical industry growth.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Ideally, 5 years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within the lab. My career interests align very nicely with your facility's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If I am given the opportunity to join your clinic, I do see this as a long-term fit for me. Further down in my career, I would like to advance into a leadership role while remaining laboratory based."
Anonymous Answer
"In five years, I see myself working as a generally licensed clinical laboratory scientist and hopefully a shift supervisor. The possibilities are endless and I am willing to take any opportunity as long as I remain in the laboratory."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds like you have done your research on career growth, which is what the interviewer will want to see. Very good!
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Anonymous Answer
"My career goal in the lab is always to improve my lab ethics and better myself as lab personnel. I can see myself advancing my career from being a lab assistant to a clinical laboratory scientist within the next five years and always continue to grow in the clinical lab setting."
Rachelle's Answer
Your five-year goal is a great one! This is a good answer because it shows the interviewer that you have a plan. If you can, dive a bit further into the action steps you are going to take to achieve these goals.
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3.
How would a former co-worker or previous supervisor, describe you?
The interviewer would like to know if you receive positive feedback from your colleagues. All hiring authorities want to hire someone who has an excellent reputation in their industry. Give a specific example with your answer. What has a supervisor or colleague said about you? You can draw on a recent performance review if you have one. Also, this is a great time to offer up your references.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I consistently receive positive feedback on my strong communication skills. So, I would say that based on previous comments - I am a positive co-worker who is easy to approach. I am a good team player and very focused."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I just completed my Associate's Degree, and one compliment that stuck with me was when my Microbiology professor complimented me on my research skills. I am detail-oriented and conscious about submitting excellent work."
Anonymous Answer
"A previous supervisor can describe me as someone who doesn't complain when asked to complete a task. Someone who is willing to handle uncomfortable situations and always gets the job done thoroughly. Someone who works diligently and keeps the workflow at a steady pace."
Rachelle's Answer
Excellent answer! These are all qualities that any hiring authority should be pleased to have.
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Anonymous Answer
"When working at my university's chemistry laboratory as a student assistant, my laboratory manager constantly told me that I was his best student assistant because I knew how to ask the right questions at the right times in order to succeed at any given task."
Rachelle's Answer
This example is excellent! What a great compliment to receive :)
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4.
By this time in your career, you should have advanced further. What has slowed down your career progression?
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 just are not motivated to create growth in your career. If your job has progressed slower than you wish, you must be honest with the interviewer when discussing this.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I agree with you that my career progression has been slower than some. You will see that between 2005 - 2009 I worked for the same company without an increase in my job title. The company was too small to offer a promotion to me as the next level was directorship which I didn't have the educational credentials for. After this, from 2009-2012 I was on leave as I needed to care for my ailing parents. The growth since returning to work has been steady but those years were a bit of a standstill for me. I am ready to spring into action now, and forge ahead in my career as a lab assistant."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am happy with my progress as a lab assistant. My education did take me a bit longer to complete than I expected; however, I was working full time in tandem with my studies."
Anonymous Answer
"I do not believe that my career has not progressed. I am going at a pace that I am comfortable with but at the same time I am going at a pace that I am challenging myself. I never thought I would be working and going to school while being able to graduate with honors so I believe nothing has slowed me down."
Rachelle's Answer
This response is so great! This question may not apply to your career progression; however, you still executed your response perfectly.
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5.
Describe your experience working beyond the laboratory. What unique skills have you developed?
The interviewer would like to know what transferable skills you bring. This is your time to talk about other positions you have held before your career as a laboratory assistant. You can talk about your interests, volunteer work, and other hidden talents. Just be sure to tie them into how they would benefit this particular laboratory.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Before I began laboratory work, I worked in a retail environment. The skills that were instilled in me during those years are skills that I still bring with me to work every day. They include stellar organization, excellent listening skills and the ability to ask discovery-based questions to uncover the needs of others."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some transferable skills you may have gained along the way:

- Experience leading a team
- Evident communication skills and ability to help share the company vision
- Research experience and expertise to analyze data
- Ability to motivate others on the job, and keep yourself motivated even on the tough days
- Strong time-management and organizational skills
- Ability to effectively prioritize tasks when multiple deadlines are due"
Anonymous Answer
"I have developed the skills to manage my time efficiently which allowed me to prioritize tasks between work, family, and school properly. Being in a sorority and obtaining a leadership position in philanthropy has helped me gain the skills to work well with others while leading a small group of women to achieve a similar goal. I am good at separating work from my personal problems, so I try my best to maintain a positive attitude."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response couldn't be more perfect. Nice!
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Anonymous Answer
"I use to work at McDonald's as a Crew Member where I would work in different areas in the kitchen such as cafe cashier, drive-thru window, restock supplies, and a runner. I learned how to work in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a steady workflow. I currently volunteer in the lab at a Good Samaritan Hospital, where I send out specimens to their respective departments, double-check for correct labeling, and centrifuge specimens."
Rachelle's Answer
McDonald's is known for a fast pace and great customer service training, so this is a solid example of outside skills development. It's great that you brought in your volunteer experience, as well. Studies show that 85% of hiring authorities prefer to hire those with volunteer experience :)
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6.
How do you handle stressful situations?
The interviewer would like some insight into how well you manage stress. Be sure to keep this answer positive and stay focused on the question. It is easy to get derailed and start talking about people or situations that irritate you. That would be the wrong thing to do. Talk about your ability to manage pressure in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been told by my previous and current supervisor that I manage stress very well. Being a laboratory assistant is a demanding position, and I knew that before I committed to this career path. I stay calm by being an open communicator and keeping the end goal in mind."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I learned how to deal with stress while attending university. You become great with stress management when juggling work and school assignments! Stress is part of any demanding job, and I will embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."
Anonymous Answer
"I usually take big deep breaths and try to regroup myself mentally. I try to remain calm and begin to think of ways to solve stressful situations. I also try to put aside my personal feelings, so I'm not too distracted."
Rachelle's Answer
Your approach to stress management sounds very mature. Nice work!
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7.
As a lab assistant, many safety protocols need to be followed. How do you ensure compliance?
Compliance is critical in a lab environment. Assure the interviewer that you are aware of the consequences if you do not follow safety protocols. Discuss any safety or policy-related training you may have.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have received strong training in safety and compliance and learned a great deal from my clinical experience practicum. I am not too proud to ask for help when I am unsure of a policy or answer."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my current role, I am tasked with training new lab assistants on our particular safety and compliance protocols. I am very confident in my abilities to comply and have never encountered a safety issue as a result of my error."
Anonymous Answer
"I ensure my compliance with safety protocols by receiving proper training. I am also not afraid of asking for clarification when I am unsure. When I am unsure but know where to find the information on safety protocols, I am willing to take my time outside of clocked-in hours to understand them."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response shows initiative, and a willingness to continually learn. Very well done.
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Anonymous Answer
"As a laboratory assistant at my previous job, I have received training in safety and compliance from our head of the safety department. I would attend our daily safety meeting to ensure that I am aware of any changes in our safety protocols or policy. I would also read and review the policies and procedures before performing any tests and ask questions on policies I am unsure of."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful response! You showcase the fact that you are studious and thorough. Well done.
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8.
What's your ideal company to work for?
A good fit goes two ways! The interviewer would like to know if their environment is the fit for which you are looking. This is why researching on the clinic, before your interview, is such an essential first step. Do you know their workplace culture? What is it about this clinic that makes you want to work for them?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My ideal company will have a very inclusive and positive work environment. They will encourage continued training and embrace a team environment. How would you describe your culture?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My ideal company is an organization where research, curiosity, growth, and learning is not only accepted but encouraged. Are you able to give me examples of how your organization embodies these qualities?"
Anonymous Answer
"I want to work for a company that allows and encourages me to learn and improve my skills. I am very eager to learn, and I cannot work for a company that does not allow me to grow as an individual."
Rachelle's Answer
Try to stick with a positive note here, by omitting the final statement.
"My ideal company to work for is one that encourages me to learn, and improve my skills. I am eager to build on my lab knowledge and look forward to doing so with the support of your clinic."
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Anonymous Answer
"A clinical lab setting dealing with patient specimens such as blood, urine, and other bodily fluids. I enjoy dealing with the technology used to diagnose patient samples and to aid the physician in finding the perfect care for their patients."
Rachelle's Answer
You do a wonderful job describing your ideal setting! Be sure to complete your response by tying in the ways that this company meets your desires.
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9.
Tell me about your education/training.
The interviewer would like further details on the type of training you have received, as a laboratory assistant. Your answer will help the interviewer to determine if your current education and training are enough or if they will need to fill some gaps in your training. You can answer this question in a very matter-of-fact way, but you can also finish with a question regarding their educational preferences.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have my diploma as a Medical Laboratory Assistant. If required, I would be very willing to expand on that training. Is there a specific designation that you are looking for in your next employee?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I recently completed my Associate's Degree as a Medical Laboratory Technician from Northcentral Technical College. My best courses were related to hematology and microbiology. I was top of my class in those courses."
Anonymous Answer
"I have my Bachelor's Degree in Biological Science, major in Biology and minor in Chemistry. Although I have only been a laboratory assistant for six months, I would like to continue this career at your company if given the opportunity."
Rachelle's Answer
Rather than using the word 'Although' (makes it sound like a drawback) try switching your response to make it a positive. I have provided an example, below.
"I have my Bachelor's Degree in Biological Science, major in Biology and minor in Chemistry. My strong education and training have helped me immensely as I have proven myself to be a well-trained and highly-equipped laboratory assistant. I look forward to continuing this success with ."
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10.
What do you like most about being a lab assistant?
The interviewer would like to know more about what aspects of this job you enjoy most. Answer from the heart and be sure to show your excitement for your career choice.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The part that I enjoy most about being a laboratory assistant is the variety of knowledge that I gain in a day. There are always new medical terms to learn, and I am consistently feeling challenged."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am new to my career as a laboratory assistant; however, I believe that the aspect I will most enjoy will be the variety of tasks and research in a day. I am an active learner and appreciate the opportunity you will give me to begin growing my career."
Anonymous Answer
"What I like the most about being a student lab assistant at my university's chemistry department is that the work that I do is fun. Even though this is not my final choice of career, I enjoy the work that I do, and I enjoy being able to learn. I hope that one day, the skills that I learn here will be useful in the lab in which I end up."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response is positive and shows a willingness to try a variety of career paths. I have reworked the grammar a touch to avoid run-on sentences.
"What I like the most about being a student lab assistant at my university's chemistry department is that the work that I do is fun. Even though this is not my final choice of career, I enjoy the work that I do, and I appreciate being able to learn continually. I believe the skills I have gained in this role will be useful, here."
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Anonymous Answer
"I am new to this job position. Still, I believe that being a lab assistant can help me understand more what it is like to be in a lab setting, become more familiarized with the system, how labs are supposed to run and gain the hands-on experience of being part of the lab staff."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you have a clear idea of what you will learn in this role. Nice job.
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