Hosted By

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

Join Isaiah as he discusses the importance of self awareness when you interact with industry employers during the interview process

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah tells why PhDs often annoy industry employers using his own story as a reference
  • Next, Isaiah talks about the information you should have to make yourself presentable to employers and the importance of self awareness
  • Finally, Isaiah explains the most important aspect of a hiring process and how you should prepare for it

From This Week’s Show… 

Why PhDs Often Annoy Industry Employers

What’s worse – being invisible to industry employers, or being seen but being seen as another annoying PhD?

I know for a fact that I annoyed the first few industry employers I reached out to when I was starting my job search because I made it all about me. I need a job! Pay attention to me! Read my resume! Help! I’m desperate. It was an awful way to present myself.

On top of this, I was experimenting in my job search. I was trying things out. I figured trial and error worked well in research so why not apply it to my job search.

What I should have been doing is learning as much as possible about the employers I was interested in working with and contacting them professionally, while presenting myself as the perfect solution to a specific problem they were having.

The Information You Should Have When Applying To Industry Positions

As a PhD working to transition into industry, you need to be prepared to present yourself as a credible and viable solution to the problem an industry employer is facing.

After all, the employer has a job opening because they have a need. Do you know what that need is? Do you have any idea why the job is open in the first place? If not, you need to find out before you interview with the company.

To get a job offer following any real-time interviewing interaction with an employer requires you to display a certain level of mastery—not mastery over your skills or over the job at hand but mastery over yourself. Self awareness, more than anything else, is what you are being evaluated on during any industry interview. Most PhDs find this very hard to believe, but it is absolutely true.

Why Employers Put So Much Value On Self Awareness

Few employers will require anything beyond answering a few questions during an interview, which, if you think about it, is absolutely nuts. Industry employers will pay you tens of thousands of dollars a month based on the answers you give during a few short meetings. They’re going to commit not only their money but their people and numerous other resources to you based on what you say about yourself during a few real-time interactions.

This is still the most reasonable means of hiring top talent today. Imagine applying to an industry job only to have the hiring manager bring you into the interview and say, “Okay, today you’re going to manage three of our team members all day while we shadow you and evaluate your every move.” Or “Today, we’re going to stand over you while you run ten different lab experiments.”

This doesn’t happen for a variety of reasons. To start, you have not been onboarded by the company or trained in the company’s processes. The company’s team of current employees does not know who you are or how to work with you.

Instead, these employers will evaluate your behavior. They will see how you master yourself under stress.

This is why studying common interview questions is a waste of time. It’s also why waiting until you get an interview to prepare for an interview (or “cramming”) is ineffective. You need to practice interacting with other professionals in a very professional way behaviorally.

You need to work hard on how you are presenting yourself to industry employers. You need to gain some professional awareness, and you need to start now.

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.

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