By: Victoria Tracy, Executive Recruiter, Lighthouse Lab Services
From the first phone screen to the final onsite meeting, making a good impression and avoiding common mistakes is important for a successful interview when trying to start or advance your clinical lab career. Being well prepared is the first step in landing your next role. Below are tips to help you get started!
Do your research before the conversation
Chances are, you’ve sent out applications to multiple laboratories or healthcare systems for a variety of positions. Once you’ve landed your first prescreen or interview, it’s important to dig deeper and learn about the lab or system. Make sure to avoid confusing this role with others you may have applied to as well and refresh your memory by revisiting the job description. Check out the company website and make a list of any questions you want to ask about the role or company culture.
Be prepared and arrive early
With the switch in recent years to remote work, many first interviews are now in a virtual format. Test out your equipment beforehand, make sure your Wi-Fi is strong, and choose a location without a lot of background noise. Make sure you have the correct link to the meeting platform.
For those who are invited to an in-person interview, make sure you have the right address and the name of who you’re meeting. Plan some wiggle room into your travel time in case of traffic. To be safe, try to arrive at least 10 minutes early.
Even if you’re doing a virtual interview, it’s important to look presentable for the call. You can wear something as simple as a button down or blazer for an easy, polished look. Wear something you feel comfortable in, which will help boost your confidence.
Use the STAR method
The STAR method is an interview prep technique that stands for “Situation, Task, Action, and Result.” You can use this method to shape how you approach sharing past experiences. For example, if asked to share your biggest achievement, you can frame it by describing the situation, sharing your involvement, explaining which action you decided to take, and summarizing the outcome of your efforts.
Focus on your achievements
At the beginning of the interview, you’ll most likely be asked to describe your work history. Be prepared to give a brief description of your career so far. If you’re just beginning your clinical lab career and don’t have an extensive work history, that’s ok! Focus on your achievements from your education or earlier roles and use data to back up your statements. For example, instead of saying, “In my last role, I ran daily molecular tests,” try something like, “I helped process and test 45 patient samples each day.” These details will help you stick out among other candidates.
Ask the interviewer questions
Most interviewers will set aside a section of time at the end of the meeting to answer any questions. That’s why you should plan to bring three to four relevant questions that help show your knowledge and interest in the laboratory role you’re applying for. There’s also a chance some may be answered during the conversation, which is why having backup questions is important. Use this time to clarify the job duties, compensation, or schedule. For example, asking, “Can you walk me through what an average day will look like in this role?” will help supply deeper insight into the clinical lab career you’re applying for.
Send a ‘thank you’ email
Reach out to the interviewer or recruiter after your meeting to show appreciation. This can be as simple as a short email thanking them for their time. If you and the interviewer connected on something specific, feel free to mention that in your outreach. For example, if you spoke about a shared hobby, you could say, “Thanks for speaking to me about the position today. I hope we can continue our conversation about hiking in the future.”
If you need help getting started with your clinical lab career, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for a quick chat on how we assist candidates!