A highly qualified member currently engaged
in a post-doc in neuroscience and sensor
development asked two questions in relation
to a phone screening interview. He indicated
that the interviewer was seeking a physical
chemist with good background in chemical
kinetics for a medical sensor development project.
First question: How should a question be
responded to if a person does not have
experience in photo physics, “we need a
person who can teach us that” how can one
deal with not having direct experience in a
particular aspect of a job description?
Second question: Last Friday I called to
inquire about the position. They responded
that they were interviewing a candidate with
the exact background for the position and if
she interviews well they will extend an offer.
Should I call them later?
These are judgment questions so I posed
them to several colleagues for their
DIRECT EXPERIENCE QUESTION: When
interviewing the hiring manager will have
preconceived notions of specific background
she seeks in a preferred candidate. It is very
(1) you can have her tell you those things.
Then, it is your task to
(2) show how your background prepares
you to meet the tasks. One might ask
questions to show how when you are faced
with an uncertain project or question you learn
quickly and “connect the dots” and propose
experiments or methods. One can perhaps
(3) ask what is known already and what is
I question whether responding that you can
learn this is a sufficient response.
I believe you want to
(4) show how quickly you can learn and
apply new information and
(5) display enthusiasm that shows you are
interested in the problem. You will be
presented with “roadblocks” all the time in
projects, one might want to show that you
are up to the challenges.
(2) “SHOULD I CALL THEM LATER”
There are many occasions when you
can speak with people or make contacts
informally or formally. If you sound anxious
and desperate, in a phone call, it is a
So, if you do have a reason to call, whether
if it is an expense form, or you wanted to
personally thank someone for meeting,
don’t sound desperate.
Other perspectives are contained in the