Hello there bloggies!

Just a mere 6 or so months ago, I was mired in the annoying part of life called the job hunt. That meant scores of interviews and trying to impress complete strangers. But now after 6 months at my current job, I find myself on the other side of the coin. I’m the one trying to learn about applicants and if they would be a good fit for our group.

With this strange change of events, I’m noticed some things about strong and not-so-strong candidates:

1) Think ahead man. Review the job posting and correspondence with your contact. A little preparation goes a long way in interviews and shows how you approach your professional life.

2) You need to have an answer for this one question that you will definitely get multiple times. Why do you want this job? And if you are moving to a different sector especially to industry, why are you leaving academia for industry? And for goodness sake, don’t say that you haven’t thought about it or that it is all about the current funding climate. Do some reflecting and come up with a more interesting answer that can start a conversation.

3) If you are staying in research, you will likely need to give some sort of research seminar. When you are making your slides, keep your audience and the job posting in mind. Don’t give a completely computationally focused talk if the organization focused on translation and biology. Maybe a past experience highlights a major need for the organization. Talk about it! The seminar is the one part of the interview that you can control. Exercise it!

4) We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses. Be aware of each. Identify your strengths and have examples to show how they have contributed to success. Weaknesses can be trickier, but denying them isn’t going to help anyone and so easy to see through. Find a way to frame it and discuss how to address it if taken on.

5) Interviews go both ways. You are interviewing them too! Observe how people interact with each other. Ask questions about typical work days, management styles, how good work is recognized, and other questions. Not only can you get more information about your next possible job, but you can convey your interest in the position.

6) And this should go without saying. But dress appropriately, take it seriously, and don’t swear. <Because I’ve experienced people not doing these recently>

The job hunt frankly is not fun but can lead to great opportunities. Becoming comfortable with the interview process takes time and practice. Keep at it and you’ll find the next great job for you.

What are your top interview tips? Any further questions? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

Have a great weekend,

-Dr. F

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