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Microbiologist Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Heather Douglass

Updated September 20th, 2020 | Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.
Job Interviews     Careers     Sciences    
Question 1 of 30
What are your career goals?
View Answer
How to Answer
Answer this question with a career goal as something that will show that you are ready to rise to the top. Tell the interviewer about 2 or 3 honorable things you hope to accomplish in your career. Winning a prestigious award, being published or discovering a cure for a disease can be a few things you discuss.
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Answer Examples
1.
What are your career goals?
Answer this question with a career goal as something that will show that you are ready to rise to the top. Tell the interviewer about 2 or 3 honorable things you hope to accomplish in your career. Winning a prestigious award, being published or discovering a cure for a disease can be a few things you discuss.

Heather's Answer
"I'd like to continue my education in veterinary studies."
2.
Give me example of a project or task you started on your own.
The interviewer wants to know if you are capable of initiating and completing projects on your own. This will be helpful in determining if you are a good fit for the organization's future plans which may require you to start working on some new projects. If you are a new graduate, describe a school project or a task that you started on your own and were able to complete successfully. If you worked on discovering findings on a project provide the details, what role you held and what the outcome was. Be sure to mention if you were praised for your efforts.
3.
How do you feel about supervising others and their work?
The position you are interviewing for may require you to supervise a few people or a whole team. Focus on your team management and leadership skills and relay that you are more than capable of managing a team whenever there is a need. You know your job responsibilities and you are capable of delegating the job responsibilities to the others according to the requirement of the job.
4.
Have you ever had the desire to teach Microbiology?
Community colleges and universities are popular places for microbiologists to lecture about the systems and advances of microbiology. Tell the interviewer if you have been fascinated with the field so much that you've decided to teach others.
5.
How would you handle a difficult work relationship?
You may not always like the people you work but you don't let it affect your work. As a Microbiologist, you may have experienced a confrontation or an uncomfortable situation with a coworker. Briefly, describe the situation and how you handled it. Be sure not to name names or get emotional when answering the question.
6.
Describe the types of teams you've been involved with. What were your roles?
By asking this question the interviewer wants to know that you are comfortable in working in all kinds of situations and with all kind of people. You can be a part of a team and you may have to work individually as well. To answer this question mention the types of teams you have worked with and your role within the team. Don't worry if you've never held a leadership role, describe your role as a researcher and describe the nature and importance of the data you collected.
7.
What do you know about our organization?
With any job interview, it is crucial to understand the organization you are applying to. Visit the organization's website to learn key information such as studies they've been involved in, specialties and community impact. Knowing how the organization started, who started the organization, mission statement, vision statement, and core values will be sure to impress the interviewer.
8.
What kind of work did you do at your last position and why did you leave?
The interviewer is asking this question to get an idea of why you've left or are considering leaving your current position. Describe your role, if you've held a leadership position and what you are currently working on. If you are considering leaving your position for more money skip that response. By telling the interviewer that you want more money that will only tell them that you will be willing to leave them if something higher paying comes along. Tell the interviewer that you are leaving to work in a particular field, a position that has advancements or where you have the opportunity to work in a different environment.
9.
Have you ever worked within the food industry?
If the interview you are attending is for the food industry be sure to keep your answers relevant. As a food microbiologists, you work on the front line of food safety. You are employed by food manufacturers, the government, and universities. Tell the interviewer what research you have performed lately and what the outcomes were.

Heather's Answer
"In my current position I work for a large manufacturer and monitor their processing and packaging of food products affects food preservation over time."
10.
What made you choose to become a Microbiologist?
The interviewer is interested in knowing about the reason that motivated you to choose this career. It can be anything, ranging from your parents, some relative, your school teacher, or even your curiosity towards the micro-organisms etc. Whatever is your reason, be honest about it and inform it to the interviewer in a nice positive manner.
Sometimes, money is also our motivation behind making a career choice but this is not something that you might want to use for this answer. So, use something that sounds unique and assures the interviewer about the fact that you are in this profession to make a change and not just for the money.

Heather's Answer
"I want to become a microbiologist because I have always been curious about the effects of microorganisms on the environment and its inhabitants. I want to be a part of the solutions to our environmental problems."
11.
Describe an example of your normal routine when in the lab.
The interviewer is asking you this question to get a good idea of how thorough and detail-oriented you are. For instance, you might go into detail about your methods for looking for bacteria or other microorganisms. Tell the interviewer how you setup your equipment, your procedure for logging information and other such technicalities.
12.
Describe an instance where you had a test result that was not expected. What steps did you take after you received the result? What was the outcome?
As a Microbiologist, unexpected and uncommon outcomes are common in your line of work. Tell the interviewer about an experiment or test you performed as a part of your job in the laboratory or in the field. Tell the interviewer what steps you took to perform the test, annotation, and how you achieved the results.
13.
How do you prioritize when you have multiple deadlines?
Tell the interviewer if you keep a to-do list or meet with staff members each morning to discuss what is on the agenda and what deadlines are pending. Let the interviewer know how you are organized and how you prioritize your work. Nothing wrong with mentioning that you like to check in with supervisors to assure that you have prioritized as they see fit.

Heather's Answer
"I have a very detailed to-do list. Throughout the day I add, delete and prioritize my workload as the day progresses and requirements change."
14.
Why are you the best candidate for us?
This is one of the most common interview questions. Talking about ourselves in this way can be challenging. We recommend reaching out to a few colleagues, family members, and friends for their opinion. Their answers will give you the response to the question. Tell the interviewer what sets you apart, and explain how your colleagues, family members, and friends have encouraged you with your gift in this area.
15.
What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
Answer this question with a weakness that can be improved with experience and is not a vital skill needed in the job. Be sure you have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness too. Perhaps you are watching TED Talks about the weakness, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center in the near future.

Heather's Answer
"My weakness is public speaking. I've recently started teaching 2 nights a week at our local community college to improve my techniques and overcome my anxiety. I've been teaching for two months and it has helped me immensley."
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30 Microbiologist Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. What are your career goals?
  2. Give me example of a project or task you started on your own.
  3. How do you feel about supervising others and their work?
  4. Have you ever had the desire to teach Microbiology?
  5. How would you handle a difficult work relationship?
  6. Describe the types of teams you've been involved with. What were your roles?
  7. What do you know about our organization?
  8. What kind of work did you do at your last position and why did you leave?
  9. Have you ever worked within the food industry?
  10. What made you choose to become a Microbiologist?
  11. Describe an example of your normal routine when in the lab.
  12. Describe an instance where you had a test result that was not expected. What steps did you take after you received the result? What was the outcome?
  13. How do you prioritize when you have multiple deadlines?
  14. Why are you the best candidate for us?
  15. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  16. Give me an example, and the outcome, of a time you went to another lab to ask for assistance.
  17. What is your experience in creating grant proposals?
  18. Tell me your procedure for cleaning, maintaining and preparing supplies within the lab.
  19. What type of equipment have you used in a lab, and what’s your skill level in their use?
  20. How do you handle stressful situations?
  21. Would you report the correct lab results for food samples even if it will cost the company a lot of money?
  22. Do you have any questions for us?
  23. What is your greatest strength?
  24. Are you a detail oriented person?
  25. What kinds of communication situations cause you difficulty? Give an example.
  26. What are your key skills?
  27. What have you done to further your own professional development in the past 5 years.
  28. What is the most difficult part of being a Microbiologist for you?
  29. What do you like least about being a Microbiologist?
  30. What do you like most about being a Microbiologist?
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