What Employers are Looking for in an Interview

Anyone who has gotten a job has been interviewed to some extent. Medical Laboratory ScienceThe medical laboratory science field is no exception. I recently had the opportunity to sit on some interviews that our lab was having after two fellow co-workers decided to retire. Having moved up to become the Lead in the Chemistry Department my manager thought it would be a good experience for me. I was excited to have this new experience and to be on the other side of the table for a change. I learned a lot during the interviews.  I now understand what goes on after the interview is over, I learned what my company was looking for in an employee and what the thought process is of a Manager is when they are looking to hire someone. The following information will hopefully be helpful for when you interview with potential employers.

As I have had time to reflect on my opportunity to interview prospective medical laboratory science employees I noticed the same two questions being asked after each interview. The questions that were asked were: How would this person fit in with our current lab and do they possess they values our company endorses. Being a good fit means having the values and a work ethic that will complement the other individuals in the company.  Not everyone has to get along at a work place, but if someone had a trait that would be an issue later on like anger, poor communication skills or sub par work ethic they would not necessarily fit in. Some of the values my company endorses are respect, integrity, excellence, kindness, and collaboration. During the interview process I had these values in the back of my mind and would make a note if I believed they possessed these traits. Interacting with someone for sixty minutes does not give you enough time to find out everything but it can give you some valuable information on what kind of person they are.

Before you even say a word in the interview we are gathering information. Two things we look at are how do you look and what is your body language. If you do not wear professional clothes or have a decent personal appearance we notice that, and it affects negatively upon you. When I interviewed for my current position I was sure to brush my teeth, comb my hair and put on a nice shirt and some nice pants. I dressed appropriately for the job I was applying for. You do not have to be dressed like you are going to a wedding, but by putting on professional attire you will come across as a serious candidate. Besides the clothes you wear and the personal appearance, body language is equally important. It can tell a lot about the person.  During the interview I looked to see if the applicant was engaged, making good eye contact and had good posture. When I was hired for my current position I sat on the edge of my seat to ensure good posture and made sure I had direct eye contact. These are important things and will convey that you are confident and serious about getting hired.

The next thing we look for in an interview is how well do you communicate. Asking questions is the only way to find out about the applicant and how they might fit into the open position. When we ask questions we are looking for clear and straight forward answers. None of the questions that have been asked during the interviews that I have sat in on are difficult. The questions we ask are trying to give you a better understanding of who you are. The following questions have been asked during interviews that I have been on:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How do you handle a conflict with a fellow employee? Give me an example.
  • What were your current boss say about your work?
  • What do you like about working the laboratory field?
  • Tell me a little about yourself (previous work experience, schooling, hobbies etc).
  • Why are you leaving your current position?
  • What prompted you to apply for this position?

We ask these questions because we want to find out about you and want to know that you can communicate your thoughts. When you work with other employees communication plays a large part in our overall success as a company. Some labs will ask you job related questions to test your knowledge so it is good to be prepared for that as well. Keep your answers succinct and straight forward. This can be done by gathering your thoughts before you start to give an answer.

Medical laboratory science interviews can be challenging no matter how prepared you feel. Not knowing the questions you are going to be asked can produce anxiety. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to give yourself a better chance at having a successful interview. Have someone ask you potential interview questions and practice what you might say. Also, come up with examples you can use based on your past work experience. If they ask you to come up with examples of work issues especially issues where you had to deal with conflict you will be prepared. Besides asking you questions, we also look at your references. Using professional people as your references is a great way for you to stand out. List people that know your work ethic and your personality. I used my former instructor at school, my pastor and my former boss. Listing friends or family members can come across as unprofessional. When the interview is over be sure to ask questions. It is best to come up with these questions before you come to the interview. This will show you are interested in the company you are applying to.

Being interviewed for a potential job can be exciting but it also can be stressful. Hopefully, the information I have provided will help you know what to expect and will give you an advantage over the other applicants you might face on your next interview. What you wear, how you communicate, and your body language are all information that helps us decide if you will be a hired or not. You won’t always get the medical laboratory science job you apply for, but the experience of going on an actual interview is invaluable.


Photo Credit – https://us.experteer.com/magazine/how-the-job-industry-works/