turn the interview into a conversation.

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You put a lot of time, effort and money into identifying and recruiting the best candidates, but that just gets them in the door for an interview. Don’t limit the interview to only confirming that their skill sets match your requirements. It’s also your best opportunity to sell your organization as the best choice for their career development and personal satisfaction. The key is not to just hold a Q&A session, but to turn the interview into a two-way conversation that teaches candidates as much about your company as it does you about their qualifications.

Here are five questions you should ask during your next life sciences interview to determine if your job candidate would be a good fit for your organization. 

Which accomplishment, report or presentation that you recently completed made you most proud and why?

Don’t simply ask for a skill set overview, you can get that information by looking at a resume. Prompting candidates to describe specific projects will likely get them talking passionately about the work they find most interesting and rewarding. Along with learning whether their passions match the goals your company has set for the coming year and even the long term, you’ll also get a sense of whether candidates take pride in their work. If someone struggles to answer, or comes off as dispassionate, chances are that attitude will follow them to the job.

Describe a situation when you had too much work to complete by a deadline. What did you do?

It’s likely that every person you decide to interview has the necessary degrees and relevant work experience. But often, people do not think to include other important business skills on their resumes or job applications that may set them apart from the pack. This question will help you learn how strong a candidate is when it comes to time management, organization, directing a project team and managing budgets. 

Tell me about a time a team member was not pulling their weight. How did you handle it?

These questions present candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate how well (or not) they work as part of a team. Most companies have formal policies for handling workplace or safety violations. Ask for a summary of how they addressed the issues with their colleagues, and listen for a description of the formal notification and review process. If the answer is something along the lines of “I didn’t report them because I didn’t want to get them in trouble,” that’s a red flag.

What personal best practices have you developed for ensuring proper documentation of work?

This question will provide you with insight into whether a candidate understands the external factors that create business, legal or compliance risks to your organization. It’s fine if they’re not aware of every single law or industry regulation that may apply to the jobs they’re interviewing for, but they should be aware that violating regulations carry severe consequences for the business. You don’t want to hire someone who requires extensive time in the risk manager’s office learning the basics. After all, time is money.

Tell me about a time where you took initiative beyond what was expected. What did you do?

If candidates can describe one such instance, great. If they can discuss more than one, even better. But if they struggle to come up with one, it’s time to remove them from the list. 

Be sure to leave plenty of time for a candidate to ask you questions, and devote the same level of preparation to that part of the interview. Try to anticipate what questions you’ll field so you can provide answers that paint a picture of a challenging and rewarding workplace. If you end the interview feeling like you’ve identified the perfect candidate, but that person leaves feeling less enthusiastic, you’ve likely lost them to another suitor.

Learn more about how Randstad can assist in all of your life sciences staffing and business needs. Contact us today!

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