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Important Questions to Ask in an Interview


Interviews can be intimidating and nerve-wracking as you are generally required to answer many questions pertaining to your background, skills, and employment history.  It can be difficult to talk about yourself as that is not something people generally do very often.  However, if you come into the interview thinking of it as a conversation, and not a one-sided interrogation, you will have a much better experience.  In order to create a conversation, you must come prepared with multiple questions to ask during and at the end of the interview.  Asking questions not only creates a better flow to the conversation, but also shows that you are clearly interested and motivated for the position you are interviewing for.  Included below are 5 questions that can benefit your interview experience and your chance of landing your dream position.



1. What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

This question shows the hiring manager that you want to make sure you are a great fit for the position, and that the position is a great fit for you.  It also proves to your interviewer that you are serious about your job search and the role you are interviewing for.


2. What do you like best about working for this company?

This is a very beneficial question for you.  When you are in an interview, the interviewer is trying to determine if you are good fit for the position and the company. However, this is also your chance to see if the organization will be a good fit for you.  If you are seeking long term employment, you want to find a company that fits within your values, and is somewhere that you are going to enjoy spending a lot of your time at.


3. How does the position fit in relation to the rest of the organization?

This question shows that you are interested in the bigger picture.  A red flag for interviewers is that a candidate doesn't care where they work, they are just looking for any job. This can be worrying for hiring managers as there is less of a guarantee that the candidate would stay at their position long term.  This question helps remove that worry and shows that you are specifically interested in that one position at the one company and are curious as to how your work will benefit the overall organization.


4. What are the prospects for growth?

This question, again, shows that you are interested in staying at one particular company long term.  It gives the hiring manager a clear picture you are hoping to work your way up in the company and that you are hoping to be there for many years.



5. What are the next steps in the interview process?

This question show the hiring manager that you are still very interested in the position after the interview.  If you leave the interview without saying anything, the hiring manager cannot read your mind and may worry that you are no longer interested.  This proves that you are still excited about moving forward with the interview and hiring process.


Post College Plans? Grad School vs. Joining the Work Force


Deciding if or where you want to go to college after high school is a big decision, but deciding what to do after college can be even more confusing and intimidating.  From my personal experience as a Chemistry major, many college professors tend to make it seem like going on to graduate school after undergrad is the obvious and only correct option.  To some students, it might be.  However, it is absolutely not the only option! 


Explore Scientific Roles in Industry: Find a position working in your field of interest. Explore roles such as Laboratory Technician, Data Specialist, Sample Coordinator, Project Coordinator, etc.  There are many different opportunities inside and outside of the lab that you have yet to experience.  Take a year or two to explore different positions and you may just find your dream job that doesn't require any additional schooling!

  • Below is an article of a scientist named Paris Grey, written by Maggie Kuo in Science Careers.  The story depicts the life of Paris, who started off as an entry level laboratory technician right after finishing her undergraduate degree, and landed her dream job without attending graduate school: Should you go to grad school?


Join the Work Force Before Attending Graduate School: Most graduate school programs are very specialized.  You may have graduated with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, but now you must choose to go to grad school for Medical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, etc.  Some students might know exactly what specialty they are interested, but sometimes it is hard to know for sure when most undergraduate chemistry programs only offer 1-2 courses in each discipline of Chemistry.  The benefit of working in an industry role before attending graduate school is you can figure out what specialty is right for you.  You may have loved your Analytical Chemistry course in college, but working as an Analytical Chemist might be very different in the work force. Once you find what specialty you are passionate about, then you can apply for that specialty in graduate school without any hesitations!



Just remember that there is no obvious or correct choice when deciding what to do after you have graduated college.  Take the time to think about what is best for yourself before jumping into anything.



Reference: Kuo, Maggie. “Should You Go to Grad School?” Science, vol. 360, no. 6392, 1 June 2018, doi:10.1126/science.caredit.aap8018.



Resume and Interview Tips for Science Graduates


Laboratory Staffing works with many new college graduates, primarily in the scientific fields.  Below are a few tips that we have found to be helpful!


Resume Length:

  • Resumes can be over a page long!  Do not remove important information to keep your resume on one single page.  Employers are more interested in the content on your resume, not the length.

Skills Section on your Resume:

  • Be sure to include ALL of your relevant skills on your resume.  If you are a science major, this would include your coursework (class and lab), laboratory techniques, laboratory instruments, and software. 


Resume Organization:

  • It is important to list relevant information on the top of your resume.  This would include: Education, Coursework, Laboratory Skills/Techniques, and Research Experience(s).  

Research Experience on your Resume:

  • Add all of your specific research experiences to your resume.  This would include the research title, what your main focus of your research was, the details regarding what you did, what techniques/instruments were used, and how those skills were specifically used. 


Research Experience for an Interview:

  • Practice giving a 60 second explanation of your research experiences for an interview.  Include the previously stated information in the point above.

Semester Long Research Projects:

  • If you did not get a chance to work as an Undergraduate Researcher in college, include all relevant semester long research projects that were required through coursework.  Semester long research projects are very beneficial to add to your resume!