Step #4: Ace Your Interview
Interviews are not as difficult as they may sound.
As often, it’s more about preparation and practice than any other “miracle tip”. There is no secret – however, there is a good way to prepare correctly for any interview (a method), and this method works well.
Step #4 to getting your dream job is: Be Well Prepared for Your Interviews.
Time to free up: 1 hour alone for the notes preparation, 1/2 hour with a friend or with a consultant for a rehearsal, 1/2 hour for set up rehearsal if the interview is online.
A_Know Your Basics. (1 hour preparation)
Write down all the important information that you should have in mind for the interview:
– Important information about the company
You should be able to demonstrate that you understand what the company does, what their key missions and current challenges are and that you “did your homework”.
If there was a recent press release about the company, read it. Know what’s going on – it’s ok not to know everything, but if you ignore the most obvious things about the company, you might come across as you came at the interview with “the hands in your pocket”.
– Know your Strenghts and Weaknesses.
A lot of recruiters will ask you this. Of course, adapt your answer to every job. Your selected strenghts should show the recruiter jow your personality and profile matches the needs of the job. In terms of weaknesses, never pick something which would be an actual issue for the job like “not experienced enough on some of the tasks” or, worse, “not on time”, etc.
Instead, explain that you might not be excellent yet at something, but explain how you are already working on it and how you will keep improving in the future. You can also simply say that you don’t think you have particular weaknesses for performing this job, which will show you feel confident about your abilities.
– Prepare concrete examples from your previous work experience:
1 successful project, and 1 difficult situation that you had to cope with and how you reacted. (of course, the latter needs to end up well!).
Also prepare 4 to 5 examples of activities you were doing in previous activities, that highlights your skills needed for the new job.
Think “why, what, outcome” when speaking about your past achievements and experiences: why you were doing this, what you were doing exactly, and what was the result. Be specific.
E.g.: “My purpose was to help the sites to improve the number of recruited subjects for a given study, whether it was oncology, rare disease or COVID-19 studies. Therefore, I was reviewing the subject recruitment advertisement. The recruitment target was met on time for 100% of the studies, and over-achieved in 55% of the cases”.
-Know your salary expectations
If the questions comes up – which might be a good sign – be prepared to give your preferred range. Put the lower figure 10% above your real expectations to start a potential negotiation. Do not hesitate for too long if this question comes up, as you would sound as if you do not mind the salary so much, and therefore as if you would easily accept something lower.
This is also a part of the “Know Your Future Company” in some way. Show that you have a great interest in the role by asking things you are genuinely curious about, to better understand your future role and your future company.
Also project yourself: “If I were to start in this role, what would be the most important project I would support during my first weeks? Is there a project in particular where the team needs help at the moment?”
B_ Prepare with a Friend or Professional Expert. (1/2 hour)
Ask someone to do a rehearsal together. You should try to do this as seriously as possible and without interruptions, and the other person should keep all comments and feedback for the end of the dummy interview.
This will help you prepare mentally to the interview “exercice” which is answering questions directly, without any “lead time” to put your answers together apart from a couple of seconds to think about your answer structure.
C_ Don’t neglect the “Set Up” part. (1/2 hour)
Most interviews at the moment are still virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This might sound basic, but the simple fact that you are well prepared and that the interview is flawless, with a smooth start and no technical hiccups, will be a nice way to show the recruiter that you feel confident with technology and online tools.
So, don’t forget:
– Test the link to the online interview beforehand. Download the needed client or software beforehand, if needed.
– Dress professionally and test the camera and audio beforehand. Make sure the video looks good: light, your face centered, and talking to the screen in front of you – not looking at a second screen. Your background should be clear (not overloaded with personal items), and you should make sure no one will walk or move behind you (try to be in a closed room which says “do not disturb”, so that the recruiter can focus on you, not the background.
– Block 1/2 hour before the interview in your calendar.
– Have everything you will need ready and finalized the day before (paper notes, clear desk, clothes you will wear).
– Be completely ready to connect to the call 5 minutes before the hour.
– Don’t hesitate to send your phone number to the recruiter before the interview, or keep this possibility to send it to them per email, in the unfortunate case of repetitive WiFi interruption.
– Technology might go wrong sometimes: don’t panic! Stay in control. If you did everything in C/, the interview will most likely go very well at least from a technical point of view, and it will go even better if you follow A/ and B/.
D_ During the interview, only one tip for today:
-Always be positive
Never criticize negatively a former colleague or company. While it’s ok to say that an experience did not match your aspirations at the time, you will need to find positive outcomes about each of your experience, and when you had bad situations or challenges, show how you reacted to overcome them.
We hope these tips will be helpful to you. These are just some of the basics. Other candidates will come well-prepared. To go even further and really stand out from the crowd, you can hear more detailed and advanced advices from our expert recruiters who will coach you. Book your session or consider signing up for a full training, in which case you will have 2 coaching sessions for free.
No better time than now
There is no better time than “right now” to grow your Clinical Research Career as there are tremendous needs for talented and trained new employees in Europe, Canada and the USA currently.
If you go for a VIARES Training program, we will not only train you on a job.
We will get you certified. We will also support you with our job services, exclusive to VIARES participants.
You will get coached by experienced recruiters and you will gain access to exclusive job offers offered by our partner companies (prestigious global CROs, large Pharma Staffing Companies, etc.)