Slowly, experienced scientists and engineers are being
invited for employment interviews. Although it is true,
some employers prefer to interview and make offers
to people who are still employed (called “guerilla
recruiting“) . It is motivated by employers wanting to
signal to highly qualified people that they are hiring
and wanting to only hire the top people in the field
(they think). 1
There is an incalculable risk about hiring someone who
has been let go. This can be offset by preparation (letters
of reference from senior managers stating business
conditions or mergers caused job loss) and/or
an indication that you are eligible for rehire or
Recently I met with individuals who have been
seeking new job opportunities, after leaving relatively
large firms. They desire suggestions and counsel in
interview skills for senior level positions in smaller
(biotech) firms. One of the first introspective questions
to ask is will this be short-lived employment? Less
than a couple of years. If you seek a stable position,
similar to previous, it may not be possible in the current
conditions. Certainly, asking questions about funding,
business plans and turnover are relevant. It may be
a time to take on the excitement of the uncertain. 2
WHAT ARE YOUR EXTRA AREAS OF SKILL
When joining small firms one is expected to
“wear many hats” rather than be specialists.
What other skills or interests of value do you
bring? Can you help facilitate patenting?
Are insightful analytical methods an area of
interest? Are project management and integration
things you have a natural ability for?
SHARPEN UP YOUR STORY TELLING
As we know, hard data is harder to retain than
a story structured to provide behaviors and
accomplishments. Add management depth
by pointing out metrics. Add other thought-hooks
to aid connections.
PRACTICE READING BODY LANGUAGE
While interviews involve dynamic two way
communication of questions and responses,
sometimes there is agenda-co-creation. Be
willing to demonstrate this kind of flexibility.
Often the questions posed in interviews are
the vehicle for getting at key questions.
Have in mind the questions behind the
questions when devising your responses.
Further, recognize the importance of
body language, voice and enthusiasm
in both sides of the interview.