Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join us as we talk about…

In this week’s episode…

  • You’ll learn why you never want to focus on your weaknesses during an interview
  • Next, you’ll learn why it is important to research a company before the interview.
  • Finally, you’ll learn about the “push” and the “pull”

Coming Into An Industry Interview With The Wrong Mindset Can Ruin Your Chances Of Getting Hired.

You’ve done everything right – you got the PhD, you may have even worked in academia after, and now you’re ready to leave academia for a job in industry.

You started your job search, worked hard, and finally landed the interview… but you’re not done yet.

In industry, you will interview with people who don’t know you, don’t know your work, and who don’t know how higher education works.

Instead, you’ll be talking to someone who wants to know whether or not you can solve a problem they have while getting along with their current team members in their current culture.

As a result, you need to show them your value in a different way than you would in an academic interview. Here, your academic accolades aren’t going to translate into strong reasons why industry employers should hire you.

Coming into an industry interview with the wrong mindset, using the wrong jargon, and building the wrong case for your candidacy can ruin your chances of getting hired.

The good news is, you’re an expert researcher. You can find out anything you need to know about what the company needs and what the employer needs to hear to hire you.

To start, you need to know what the company does, what its competitive landscape looks like, and what its customers want. Your job is to show the interviewer that the one thing their company culture is missing – is you.

When it comes to researching these answers, the company’s website is a good place to begin, but you can also look up their press releases, and find other useful information on industry-specific websites.

The more you know about the company, the better you’ll be able to ask questions in the interview, and the more you’ll be able to showcase your PhD and the skills you gained during your PhD in a way that helps you leverage them as a positive asset they’d be crazy to ignore.

The key is focusing your answers on your transferable skills and not projecting your weaknesses. Too many PhDs are so afraid of being asked about a gap on their resume, their lack of industry experience, their need for a visa on and on, that they end up steering the interview conversation towards these topics without realizing it.

Instead, do your research and take notes while researching. Create a list of 30 relevant reasons why the employer should hire. Create another list of 30 reasons why you want to work at that company specifically. Build your case for your value and their value. This is what they’re looking for in industry.

When asked why you’re leaving academia, don’t say you want to write less papers or less grants. Don’t focus on why you’re leaving. Instead, focus on where you’re going and why you actively decided to pursue a career in industry and why you specifically chose their company.

A report by Insider Higher Ed says that when talking about why you’re leaving academia in a professional setting, you should focus on the “pull” and eliminate the “push.” Talk about the things you’re interested in doing for their company, the things that “pull” you towards this job, not the often negative, though perhaps valid reasons, for leaving academia, or the “push.”

Most importantly, make sure you let them know you’re eager to apply your PhD training and skills to their company’s benefit.

Ready to start your transition into industryApply to book a free Transition Call with our founder, Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists here.

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