Biotech & Pharmaceutical Careers

Job Search Tips


The Interview is the best means available for evaluating career options and you will invest a good deal of time and energy interviewing throughout your business career. The more you prepare, the less stressful the experience, and the greater your chances of landing your ideal job.

Interviewing should be seen as a job in and of itself. An interview is not a casual meeting between two parties with a common interest.  Instead it represents an opportunity for you to sell yourself and an opportunity for the employer to evaluate your skills.  Your future employer will assess a variety of skills such as your Enthusiasm, Energy, Stability, Intelligence, Knowledge, Maturity, Communication Skills, in addition to determining if you meet their minimum education and experience requirements.

1. Preparation Tips

  • Learn as much as you can about the company… its history, its mission statement, its products, its finances, its operations and its competitors
  • Obtain Annual Reports
  • Visit their Web Site
  • Follow the Company’s stock price.
  • Read some of the recent press releases, which can be found on Web Sites such as,, etc.
  • Learn as much as you can about the opportunity….titles, organizational chart, directions, responsibilities, etc.
  • Prepare a list of your accomplishments from school, personal and business that will appeal to their industry. Be specific with results.
  • Know yourself….career goals, strengths, job likes and dislikes, etc

2. Phone Interview Tips

  • Remember, that the phone interview objective is to gain an invitation for a personal interview and to gain more information to be used in future steps
  • Be in a quiet place and a calm mood. Avoid background noise, such as TV’s, stereo’s, conversations of other people. Make sure the connection is clear
  • Smile as you talk….it comes through the phone
  • Have your resume nearby and have a pencil and paper
  • Let the interviewer do most of the talking but use questions to stimulate the conversation as needed. Usually avoid simple “yes” and “no” answers, but, at the same time, give succinct answers
  • Be sure to get the caller’s name and position. Repeat it to him during the conversation
  • Do not discuss money, benefits or vacation at this stage
  • Near the end, ask for a personal interview

3. Interview Techniques

  • Be sure you understand what is being asked, listen carefully.
  • Be specific and concise in your answers.
  • Be truthful, and if you feel your answer appears weak to the interviewer, follow the truthful answer with a positive.
  • Treat your interviewer as an equal.
  • Postpone the issues of compensation.
  • Appearance, body language, and attitude are as important as what you actually say, so make sure to present yourself with professionalism and poise.
  • Be dynamic and friendly, but one notch lower than the person interviewing you.
  • Nodding in agreement encourages others to talk.
  • Eye contact shows confidence and is the most impacting use of body language.
  • Present a firm, but not crushing, handshake.
  • Wear what you would wear if your biggest customer were coming to visit. Present a clean-cut and conservative image.
  • Remember, “If you call, you’re never late.” But, be on time.
  • Tell the interviewer when you leave that you are interested in working for the firm; and if he is to be your supervisor, tell him that you are excited to work with him as well

4. Interview Questions to Prepare For

  • Why do you think you are qualified for the job?
  • Why are you considering leaving your current employer?
  • Give me examples of how you handled (a particular situation)?
  • What specific actions did you take?
  • What were the results?
  • What things are important for job satisfaction?
  • What particular strengths and weaknesses to you have?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How do your spouse and children feel about this career move?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • With what kind of people to you find it most difficult to work?
  • What are you looking for in your next job?
  • Where would you like to be in 5 years?
  • Are you willing to travel and relocate?
  • How many hours a week do you currently work?
  • What do your peers think of you?


Your resume can make a difference. After years of experience, here are some helpful tips that will make your resume more appealing to ensure you get an interview.

  • Tailor it to the reader.  They have certain key words, ie “warm words”, that they’re looking for. If you connect with at least 5 of these words, you’ll get a response. We can show you the right “warm words” for each job
  • Provide specifics on processes, materials, applications, techniques and results.
  • Keep it verb and action oriented
  • Leave out your assessment of subjective character traits like your description of management skills, communication skills, personality, etc. The reader will believe your accomplishments and technical skills but will wait for the interview to evaluate these subjective skills ‘face to face’.
  • Leave out the ‘Objective’. Have you ever seen one that didn’t state the obvious? They bore the reader and diffuse his interest….and can do more harm than good. Tell them what your objectives are in the interview process.
  • Resumes should be short and to the point.  They should not be an exhausted travel log of job experiences since you were 15.  Utilize the right layout and succinct wording.  Presentation (caps, underlines, italics, layout) can make a difference. We can make putting your best foot forward easy for you. Let us help
  • Make sure your resume format showcases your strengths and experiences in the best light. There are many resume formats available.  Depending on your job history other types of resume formats, such as a technical resume, might better communicate your qualifications as opposed to the traditional chronological resume.
  • Utilize your Education in the right way. If Education is a strong point, place it near the top of the page. If Education is a little less than the specific requirements, place it after the Employment section.
  • Don’t try to make it “pretty” by adorning your resume with special effects, graphics, etc.  It should be neat and organized not gimmicky.
  • Remember: the resume doesn’t get you the job, just the interview.  Keep it short, accomplishment oriented and to the point.

Registering with a headhunting firm like us is a good idea for your long-term career path. We have had some of our best Resumes in our files for over 15 years and help place them in each new advancing position. We can get more or less active according to your timetable and we can contact you when we see significant advancement opportunities. A Professional Recruiting Consultant will not abuse your confidentiality or waste your time with unsuitable.  Our 20 years of satisfied customers attests to our proper use of these methods.


There is a headhunter on the other end of the telephone line telling you that a well known and reputable organization has generous stock options, a 30% increase in salary, challenging and meaningful work, and a clear line to the Vice Presidency (plus a home on a hill in a great school district with a view of ski slopes and the beach waiting just for you). You don’t buy all of it right away but you are interested. What should you do, fax your CV? Maybe.  But you should ask some questions first.

Search firms can help you find your next job. They can help you identify openings that are not advertised and help after you have submitted your resume. However, in some cases, sending your resume is not worth the energy it takes to point and click. Even worse, if you value your privacy, some search firms may hurt you. While there is no reason to be overly skeptical, there are plenty of reasons to ask questions and find out who you are dealing with before you send your resume on its way.

We suggest the following questions to open the discussion. They will, if nothing else, ensure the headhunter is aware that you know what you are doing.

  • Q.) How long have you been in the search business?
  • E.) Technically, anyone with a phone and a fax can set up a search firm (they won’t last long but they may be around long enough to call you). Successful firms are not measured by size but longevity.  If a firm has been in business for a few years, they are doing most parts of the job correctly.
  • Q.) Do you have a direct charter from the company to conduct this search?
  • E.) Contracts between headhunters and companies vary widely, however there should be a direct and explicit agreement between the two parties. Don’t expect them to send you a copy of it, but you should ask them to tell you about it. The headhunter should be willing to tell you whether he has an exclusive, retained, or contingency contract. If there is no explicit agreement most likely the headhunter is trying to send your resume unsolicited. Very few companies accept unsolicited resumes from headhunters and, consequently, they will be of no help to you.
  • Q.) Have you met the people you are sending the resume to?
  • E.) Much of what a headhunter can do for you depends on his relationship with the people in the organization. If a headhunter has a good relationship with the people and knows the organization he can offer you some important insights into the dynamics of the company that can help prepare you for interviews. Additionally, a good headhunter stays with you every step of the way by first presenting your background with your resume, then tracking you paper trail through the company channels, and following up with the company after interviews.  As search firms become increasingly mainstream and used for a broader range of positions, companies realize that headhunters who know the organization personally are far more effective in finding candidates who are well suited to the organization.
  • Q.) Have you worked with this company before?
  • E.) Search firms, like any other service company, thrive on repeat business.  If they have a history with the company they know how to work successfully with them and, therefore, are a greater asset to you. Any honest headhunter will tell you that the first placement with a company is the toughest.
  • Q.) If the company is not interested, what happens to my resume?
  • E.) A good headhunter will assure you that they will never send your paperwork to anyone without getting your approval. As reasonable and ethical as this may appear, it is a “gray” area with some firms.

If you trust the headhunting firm, it is a good idea to let them keep your CV on file because they could come across a job in the future that might interest you.  Your resume will remind him to give you a call.

  • Q.) Can you present my qualifications without revealing my name?
  • E.) Some companies will not accept an anonymous background. If anonymity is important to you, ask about the possibilities. The headhunter should be willing to discuss the pros and cons with you.
  • Q.) Are you going to work with me through the process and be available for me to consult with you?
  • E.) The best headhunters would not dream of doing otherwise. They will care about you, your career, and your family as well as the client companies who are paying their fees. They will care that you trust them and like them. They will be available to you.

In conclusion, we suggest that headhunters will not become extinct until other means of recruiting top level professionals become much less expensive than they are now and can match the search firm in efficiency and effectiveness. Most companies have realized that using headhunters is, in the long run, cost effective. Love them or hate them, where there is talent they will be also. What are you going to do when they come for you? We don’t know (yet) but we hope this information helps.

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