Cyber Monday Banner

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.

To learn more about how to write a killer resume and other essential tips on how to land your dream job in industry, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the <ahref=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Cheeky Scientist Association.

Join Cheeky Scientist Association
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD Chief Executive Officer at Cheeky Scientist

Isaiah Hankel holds a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology. An expert in the biotechnology industry, he specializes in helping other PhDs transition into cutting-edge industry career tracks.

Isaiah believes--from personal experience--that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life, it’s a clear sign that you need to make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.

Isaiah is an internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, and author of the straight-talk bestsellers Black Hole Focus and The Science of Intelligent Achievement.

Similar Articles

5 Questions PhDs Should Expect During A Job Interview (& How To Answer Them)

5 Questions PhDs Should Expect During A Job Interview (& How To Answer Them)

By: Elizabeth Deyett

The first time I had an interview it was a disaster. I answered all the questions wrong. I had never interviewed before, but for some reason I thought I was going to do great.  Right from the beginning it was bad. The first question they asked me: “How are you?” For which I gave my generic automatic answer Fine how are you. My interviewer also said fine and asked if I could tell him a little bit about myself. So, I proceeded to tell him that I was a PhD student.  I kept my answer rather succinct because I’d read how…

How to Conduct An Informational Interview Like A Boss

How to Conduct An Informational Interview Like A Boss

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

When I first decided to do an informational interview, I was nervous.  I’d sit down in front of my computer and look over my dozens of questions. When the time came I clicked on the zoom link and waited for my interviewee to come on. I was always early. I thought that would help me prepare and become less anxious.  However; the waiting always made me less confident. And when the informational interview started, I fumbled through my questions.  The conversation was rigid, forced and awkward silences made up the majority of the time. At the end of every informational…

5 Onboarding Steps For PhDs That Protect Your New Industry Job

5 Onboarding Steps For PhDs That Protect Your New Industry Job

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

Onboarding expert and contributing author Sarah Smith, PhD, shares her company onboarding experience. The day I had been waiting for was finally here. My first day in industry. I had been looking for a job for nearly a year, and this one seemed like a great fit for me. I couldn’t wait to get started…But when I showed up, no one was prepared for me to be there. I had no desk. One of my coworkers seemed very annoyed that they had to find a random table for me to sit at. I didn’t have a computer either. I was…

Recessions Are Tough - 3 Ways PhDs Can Be Tougher

Recessions Are Tough - 3 Ways PhDs Can Be Tougher

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Let’s talk about frustration particularly during a recession.  I’m talking about the frustration of a rejection in your job search.  Many PhDs are experiencing this kind of frustration in their post-pandemic job search. It’s important for you to understand that Cheeky Scientist has been through this before.  Cheeky Scientist actually came out of the financial crash of 2008 when we were in a recession.  I can tell you firsthand that the mood of the public changes during a recession.  There are fewer jobs.  There’s a greater sense of urgency.  This causes people to get more rejections. And rejection leads to…

7 Video Resume Failures That Make Employers Press “Pause”

7 Video Resume Failures That Make Employers Press “Pause”

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

My very first video resume was embarrassing. At the time, I thought it was pretty good. I had some music going in the background because it seemed like a way to add personality. Bad idea. After reviewing my recording, I noticed there was also a dog barking somewhere in the background. On top of that, the lighting wasn’t very good in the room where I filmed myself. I had shadows on my face, and it made my eyes look a little sunken… However, this seemed fine to me – after all, I was applying for a PhD-level position not a…

5 Ways To Protect Your Informational Interview And Get A Job Referral

5 Ways To Protect Your Informational Interview And Get A Job Referral

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

The world is your canvas and informational interviews are your paintbrush. What does that even mean? I was a PhD looking for an industry job, and that was the kind of advice I used to get. But this one I really struggled with: You’re a PhD – you can do anything. Hearing this sentiment over and over again was not empowering for me, but infuriating. Why? Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Sure, I could do anything…  But that still left me very lost. The tide shifted when I discovered informational interviews. An informational interview is when…

You're A PhD Who Revealed Your Salary. You Won't Like What Happens Next...

You're A PhD Who Revealed Your Salary. You Won't Like What Happens Next...

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

Your salary should always remain a secret from interviewers and potential employers. Contributing author Sarah Smith, PhD, explains why… And how PhDs can deflect questions about their current salary. After 2 postdocs at 2 different universities, I realized something… I didn’t enjoy what I was doing anymore. The academic career wasn’t what I had envisioned. All I did was sit at a desk and work on my research in isolation. I had lost my passion – my future in academia was painfully limited. So at a networking event, I took a deep breath and awkwardly introduced myself to a prominent…

The Job Was Mine Until These 5 Unexpected R&D Interview Questions

The Job Was Mine Until These 5 Unexpected R&D Interview Questions

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Undercover Recruiter found that 33% of interviewers take only 90 seconds to determine whether they’ll hire you. As an employer myself these days, I can confirm that sometimes, 90 seconds--or less--really is all it takes This does NOT mean you can drop your guard after the first 5% of the interview! While some interviewers may privately decide to hire you almost right away, it’s still possible that you’ll struggle with a key question and change their mind for the worse. Especially when the questions catch you off guard and you end up looking confused or unprepared. Employers want R&D specialists…

7 Top Job Skills That PhDs Can Leverage To Get Hired Fast

7 Top Job Skills That PhDs Can Leverage To Get Hired Fast

By: Surayya Taranum

The key to making a successful transition to industry is through developing and highlighting your transferable skills. And yes, as a PhD you already have the transferable skills you need for your future career. Now you must learn to leverage these skills to build a career in industry. Your potential employer knows that you have deep technical skills in your field, what they need to see is that you have the ‘soft-skills’ they are looking for in their next hire. You need to show to potential employers that you are a well-rounded individual with the transferable skills needed to be…

Top Industry Career eBooks

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.

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the top 20 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.