Cheeky Logo
Ready To Get Hired?
Apply To Book A Free Call With Our Transition Specialist Team

Top 10 Articles To Help PhDs Ace Their Industry Job Interview And Get Hired

My transition from academia to industry has been a tiresome but enriching journey.

I actively looked for new opportunities for about a year.

There were lots of failures, rejections, and sleepless nights.

But, I was committed to finding an industry position that suited me and my skill set.

I applied to 40 positions, after researching more than 500 positions I thought might be a good fit for me.

Out of the 40, I got phone screened for more than 50% and landed onsite interviews with 10 of them.

Having so many job leads kept me busy, but it also kept me motivated in my job search, as there was always something happening.

It was a crazy time and I did lots of preparing.

I conducted informational interviews to learn more about the roles and what it’s like to work in industry.

I did mock interviews with colleagues.

I did anything that would make me more prepared and make me a better candidate.

And, soon enough, I had a breakthrough.

The interview that ultimately landed me a job started with a phone screen, and then I was invited for an onsite interview that same week!

I rushed to prepare.

The full-day interview consisted of several interviews, with multiple people who were mostly higher management.

Based on the responses I received from my post-interview thank-you emails, I knew I had left a very good impression.

And, I felt confident.

Interestingly, I had to do another behavioral interview over the phone, the day after the onsite interview.

Then, after a week, I had another phone interview with a person who I would be working with directly.

But, I was ready for each of these interviews, because I had put in the work to be well-prepared.

Eventually, after about a week, HR called me for salary negotiations and other logistics.

I was extremely delighted!

Two days later, they formally made the offer, which I accepted.

It was hard work networking, researching, and preparing during my job search, but it was all worth it.

And now, I am enjoying my work as a Quality Associate III in the Advanced Surgery division of a major international organization.

Why PhDs Must Know How To Stand Out (In A Good Way) At An Interview

First of all, you are not the only person looking for a job.

According to a Gallup survey, 51% of employees are looking for a new opportunity.

That means you are competing against lots of other people to get hired, so you must know how to stand out.

You must understand what hiring managers are looking for in top candidates.

How do you stand out from the other candidates?

How do you show your value as a PhD?

By thoroughly preparing for your interview.

By investigating what the company is looking for in a new hire.

By learning how to communicate your skills.

According to Glassdoor, 72% of CEOs are worried about job candidates not having key skills.

You need to show them you have the right skills and show them your commitment.

And, “show” means more than just what you say verbally.

In an interview, your body language is saying a lot about your personality and your level of competence.

As reported by Undercover Recruiter, 67% of executives reported rejecting a candidate because they lacked eye contact, 33% rejected a candidate because they were fidgeting, and
21% of executives rejected a candidate because they touched their hair or face during the interview.

It sounds harsh, but it’s true.

There are so many facets to an interview.

What you say, how you act, how you dress, how you present…

Properly preparing is hard work, but the reward of getting hired into the industry position of your choice is worth it.

So, do your homework and learn how you must prepare for an industry interview.

Cheeky Scientist Top 10 Onsite Interview Articles

At your onsite interview, everything you do will be assessed and contribute to whether you get the job or not.

Some companies even have cameras in the parking lot so they can see how you act when you don’t think anyone is looking.

Are you prepared for that level of scrutiny?

Are you ready to give an industry-style presentation?

Do you know what questions you should be asking during your interview?

Most PhDs don’t know what to expect at an industry interview, or how to prepare.

This article is designed to help you…

Here are the top 10 Cheeky Scientist articles to help PhDs properly prepare for their next onsite interview…

3 Common Interview Mistakes That Keep Qualified PhDs From Getting Job Offers

Put as much effort into preparing for the interview as you would to prepare for your dissertation defense.

You will be competing against people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

You must prove that even though you are an academic PhD, you have the transferable skills, along with the business and commercial acumen needed, to excel in industry.

Most importantly, you must avoid the easily overlooked aspects preventing you from performing well during an industry interview.

You are a highly qualified candidate and, 9 times out of 10, it’s a mistake you made that cost you the job — not that there was a more qualified candidate.

So, learn how to not screw up your interview.

Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid during your first or next industry interview…

3 Interview Preparation Tips For PhDs Applying For Biotech Or Biopharma Industry Jobs

Not every PhD can show up to an interview, make a great first impression, show off his or her interpersonal skills and knowledge of the company, and get a job offer.

But, that is your goal.

To learn how to make the best impression in an interview, so you get hired.

But, how?

The answer is simple — be extremely prepared.

Prepare intensely for every interview and express yourself exceptionally well during those first few minutes after you sit across from the company’s decision-makers.

To do this, you must not only know what to do during an interview, but also what NOT to do.

Here are 3 things NOT to do during an industry interview…

4 Types Of Interview Questions PhDs Will Need To Answer

In the book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success, a large-scale survey was reported where hundreds of employers were asked, “What are the most important traits you look for when hiring?”

A surprising 98% responded that communication skills are the most important traits they are looking for in new hires.

How you answer interview questions will be the final metric used to determine whether or not you’ll get a job offer, no matter what you look like on paper.

You could be the perfect candidate on paper but, if you don’t communicate well, you will never get hired.

Months of work undone in just a few seconds.

You could be the perfect candidate on paper but, if you don’t communicate well, you will never get hired.

However, you can practice and prepare for common interview questions so, even if you are nervous, you can communicate well.

As a PhD, there are 4 different kinds of questions you are likely to face in an industry interview.

Here is a detailed explanation on how to handle each of the 4 types of questions PhDs are asked during interviews…

6 Questions To Ask At A Job Interview

Remember, at an interview, it’s not just you who should be answering questions.

You need to flip the table and put your interviewers in the hot seat, too.

Show them you have done your homework by asking thoughtful questions about the company and about each interviewer.

You should also ask questions to determine if this position is right for you.

As a PhD, you deserve a job where you can do meaningful work but to do that, you must ask questions.

Preparing for an interview can be overwhelming, but the competition will be fierce, so you must do your best to set yourself apart from everyone else.

Here are 6 questions that you must ask at an industry interview…

5 Tips To Guide PhDs In Preparing To Pass Their First Industry Interview

Hiring managers will probably try to paint you as “just an academic”.

This is a part of making the transition from academia to industry — you must learn how to tie your academic experience to industry-relevant results.

It is your job to show them how your academic experiences have prepared you for industry.

If you want to get hired fast in competitive job markets, you need to show hiring managers that you are qualified.

You need to show them that you would make a great addition to their team.

You need to make them want to hire you, even though you don’t have industry experience.

And, that is possible.

The following guide will help you, as a PhD, to prepare to win your first industry interview…

Common Interview Mistakes Made By PhDs And How To Avoid Them

Many PhDs fail their first non-academic interview because they treat it like an academic interview.

Huge mistake.

It will probably take you months to get your first industry interview and, if you prepare like you would for an academic interview, you will blow this opportunity in the first 90 seconds.

Months of work undone in just a few seconds.

PhDs do this all the time.

But, you don’t have to make this common mistake.

You can learn from the countless mistakes that PhDs have made before you so that your next industry interview leads to a job offer.

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid during your next non-academic interview…

I Didn’t Get A Job Offer Until I Started Asking These 7 Questions In Interviews

Yes, of course you need to prepare answers to common interview questions.

Learn the STAR method, practice in the mirror, and practice mock interviews with friends.

But, this is not all you need to prepare.

You also need to be the interviewer and have questions ready to ask.

Show the interviewers your interest in the company, and that you did your homework by asking them great questions.

This is also the only way you will know if the position is a good fit for you.

Here are 7 questions you can ask at your interview to show your interest in the position and set yourself apart from the other candidates…

Interview Questions To Ask Before, During And After A Non-Academic Site Visit

As a PhD, you know how to do research, and you’re clearly intelligent and motivated.

But, if this doesn’t come across in the interview, you won’t stand out.

So, you need to prepare by asking specific questions before, during, and after your interview.

Before the interview, ask questions that will help you prepare.

During the interview, ask questions that show your knowledge of the company and help you learn more about the company.

After the interview, ask relevant follow-up questions.

Here is a list of questions to get you on the right track for your next industry interview…

If You Are A PhD, Then You Need This 21-Point Interview Presentation Checklist

Most PhD jobs will require you to give a presentation at the onsite interview.

So, be prepared.

Before your presentation, call and find out what type of presentation the company wants you to give.

Don’t be scared to ask about the topic of the presentation, or afraid you will look stupid by asking.

The reality is that you will look very silly if you prepare a presentation of your research, but they wanted you to do a presentation about one of their products.

And, once you know what they want, it’s time to prepare.

Because, an industry presentation is very different from an academic presentation.

Here is a 21-point checklist for PhDs preparing for an industry interview presentation…

I Was Rejected For Fidgeting In Interviews But These 5 Body Language Hacks Changed Everything

PhDs like data and information.

So naturally, you place a high importance on the things you say in an interview.

But, what you say is just the tip of the iceberg.

The nuances of body language are constantly influencing the situations you are in, in ways that you are probably unaware of.

Mastering your body language will give you a huge advantage in your job search and your industry career.

But, you will have to learn and try new techniques.

You will never see a different result if you keep doing the same things — it’s true in the lab and it’s true with your job search.

Here are 5 unusual body language hacks you can use to influence people and get hired…

You know that you need to prepare for your interview.

You know that this is an essential step in getting hired.

You know you will be judged.

But, knowing how to prepare the right way is what most PhDs are missing.

Most PhDs assume an industry interview will be like an academic interview, and this sets them up for failure.

Don’t make that mistake.

Take the time and put in the effort to properly prepare for your industry interview so that you can get hired into the industry job that is right for you.

These 10 articles will help you prepare for and ace your next interview.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

Book a Transition Call
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly

ABOUT ISAIAH HANKEL, PHD

CEO, CHEEKY SCIENTIST & SUCCESS MENTOR TO PHDS

Dr. Isaiah Hankel is the Founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist. His articles, podcasts and trainings are consumed annually by millions of PhDs and other professionals in hundreds of different countries. He has helped PhDs transition into top companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Intel, Dow Chemical, BASF, Merck, Genentech, Home Depot, Nestle, Hilton, SpaceX, Tesla, Syngenta, the CDC, UN and Ford Foundation.

Dr. Hankel has published 3X bestselling books and his latest book, The Power of a PhD, debuted on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list. His methods for getting PhDs hired have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Nature, Forbes, The Guardian, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and Success Magazine.

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Similar Articles

How To Answer “Why Are You Leaving Academia?” (& 4 Scientific Ways To Convince Employers To Hire You) 

How To Answer “Why Are You Leaving Academia?” (& 4 Scientific Ways To Convince Employers To Hire You) 

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“‘Why do you want to work here more than anywhere else? And why are you leaving academia?’ Those are the questions I got stuck on, Isaiah.  I told them why I liked their company, mainly because it was aligned with my values, but I also wanted to be fair and ethical so I told them that I was considering other companies. Then I explained that academia was no longer a good fit because I wanted to do more than write grants all day.”  “Okay, I replied, anything else? What did you say after that?” “I asked them a few clarifying…

Should You Apply To More Than One Job At A Company? (& 3 Other Tough Job Search Questions Answered)

Should You Apply To More Than One Job At A Company? (& 3 Other Tough Job Search Questions Answered)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Isaiah, I applied to ThermoFisher two weeks ago and a hiring manager got in touch with me and I had my first interview…. But then a second hiring manager reached out to me about another job I applied to there.  I started talking to this second manager and they asked if I applied to any other positions there.  I couldn’t lie so I told them about the other job and the other hiring manager.  Now, neither of the hiring managers will get back to me.  What should I do?”  This is what a PhD told me over the phone last…

How LinkedIn Ranks Job Seekers With PhDs, EdDs & Other Degrees

How LinkedIn Ranks Job Seekers With PhDs, EdDs & Other Degrees

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Be real Isaiah, there’s not a government bureau keeping track of how our resumes perform.”  This is what a frustrated job seeker said to me recently.  “What do you mean I have a reputation score?” they asked.  “Of course there’s not a bureau dedicated to this, at least not yet” I said.  “But you absolutely are being scored and ranked” I went on, “and your ranking is used to indicate how reputable you are as a job seeker.”  This is what I’ve explained to countless people looking for a job in today’s job market, most of whom were getting initial…

How The Academic PhD Job Market Was Destroyed

How The Academic PhD Job Market Was Destroyed

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“I spent over a year looking for a job in academia and flew to multiple interviews. I didn’t get one offer.” A PhD told me this recently and many other PhDs have told me similar stories.  Of course, the stories involve more than just looking for a job for a year.  They involve living on a meager academic budget, trying to support themselves and their families, often in very expensive cities where many of the biggest universities are located.  They involve decisions to never go on a vacation, to feed their kids cheaper, less healthy food, and to work all…

Give Yourself The Gift Of Leaving Academia Forever

Give Yourself The Gift Of Leaving Academia Forever

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

My last year in academia, I didn’t have enough money to fly home for Christmas. So I spent it in Iowa City, mostly alone.  I was broke (of course) so I decided to shovel snow out of driveways for $10 per driveway. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was to be a PhD shoveling snow for money. “What I wouldn’t give to have a better job”, I thought.  That was the gift I wanted for Christmas and the holidays.  A better job.  Not to be a student or a postdoc or an academic PhD getting paid less than I was…

The Ideal Keyword Density For Targeting Your PhD Resume To An Industry Job Posting

The Ideal Keyword Density For Targeting Your PhD Resume To An Industry Job Posting

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Writing a resume for an industry job is one of the biggest sticking points I see with PhDs entering the job market.  What worked even a year ago is not working today due to recent and rapidly accelerating advances in Applicant Tracking Systems.  These systems, called ATS or just AI today, are software tools used by companies to filter resumes.  They scan for specific keywords related to the job role, abilities, credentials, and qualities desired in a candidate.  As a PhD seeking very competitive roles, including relevant keywords in your resume is essential to pass through these systems and get…

AI Is Replacing Recruiters. Here’s How PhD Job Seekers Should Adapt

AI Is Replacing Recruiters. Here’s How PhD Job Seekers Should Adapt

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“I had a recruiter reach out to me, Isaiah, and after I gave them my resume and answered their questions, they never got back to me. What should I do?”  I hear this a lot.  I also hear, “Isaiah, I was on the phone with a recruiter and as soon as they heard that I needed a visa, they hung up” …”or as soon as they heard I had no industry experience, they hung up.”  Man, I personally hate this. What a waste of time. The recruitment industry is broken.  The good news is its being devoured by Artificial Intelligence,…

Why PhDs Are Powerhouses Of Productivity (& How It Can Get Your Hired)

Why PhDs Are Powerhouses Of Productivity (& How It Can Get Your Hired)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Nothing makes sense today in the job market”, a PhD expressed to me recently.  “No one is responding to my resumes. I don’t understand why they would ask for a scientist at the company and then not even want to talk to me”, they said. They went on: “I’ve even had some friends refer to me, but still didn’t get an interview. I feel like I made a mistake getting my PhD.”  It’s hard hearing this from PhDs who invested so much in their education and in advancing research for humanity.  Still, I hear it a lot.  My response is…

Employers Are Hiring PhDs Because They Learn Faster Than Other Job Candidates

Employers Are Hiring PhDs Because They Learn Faster Than Other Job Candidates

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

“Why would any employers hire me… I don’t have industry experience, my skills don’t match the positions I want, and I’m not hearing back from any positions I’ve applied to… Plus, I don’t know anyone in industry.” I heard this from a PhD recently who was mentally broken from their job search.  They had been applying to jobs for months and either hearing nothing back or getting rejected very quickly.  When they asked their peers for insights as to why, they heard the usual stuff, “maybe you’re overqualified?” Or… “Actually, you’re underqualified because you don’t have industry experience.” “You can’t…

Top Industry Career eBooks

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the best 63 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.

AI & ATS Resume Filters

AI & ATS Resume Filters

Isaiah Hankel

In today's competitive job market, understanding the impact of AI is crucial for career success. This involves ensuring your resume stands out in the digital realm, mastering your online presence, and being aware of how AI assigns reputation scores. Discovering how to leverage AI to your advantage is essential, as it plays a pivotal role in shaping professional opportunities.

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.