Here are eight common chemist interviews was given by Pritish Kumar Halder questions and sample answers you can consider :
1. Why do you want to be a chemist?
Interviewers ask this question to understand your level of interest in chemistry and the company for which you are interviewing. You can demonstrate your determination for the role, career goals and plans for the future. While answering this question, you can indicate how you can be a suitable candidate for this position. You can include examples to explain how the job matches your work interests. Consider factors such as the job’s requirements, the company or the position’s alignment with your career plans.
Example: ”While completing my undergraduate degree, I realised I love working with chemicals. I enjoy the practical approach to problem-solving and the opportunity to experiment with new materials to create new solutions. I completed two internships at pharmaceutical companies during my graduation. Through these internships, I got experience working alongside other chemists and learned how to adhere to good manufacturing practices to create high-quality work.
Working as a chemist allows me to put my passion for chemistry to good use by helping others. My knowledge and skills can enable me to perform efficiently as a professional chemist.”
2. What makes you suitable for this role?
The interviewer may ask you this question to verify that you possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the position. Prior to the interview, you can read the job description to know about the necessary skills for this job. While responding to this question, you can mention those skills and demonstrate how your skills and experience can help you meet the position’s requirements. Consider providing examples of any experience you have that reflects your ability to apply those skills in a work environment.
Example: ”I am working in the chemistry field for a few years now, and I am aware of the importance of maintaining a high level of safety practices. I have strong attention to detail, which helps me ensure the safety of myself and my colleagues. During my last job, I provided training to junior team members about safety precautions, including proper glassware cleaning techniques and handling chemicals. This skill allows me to keep track of notes and documentation. My previous manager often praised me for my carefulness and accuracy.”
3. Describe GMPs and SOPs.
The hiring manager may ask you some questions to assess your technical knowledge and skills. While answering this question, consider defining the concepts mentioned in the job description to demonstrate your knowledge. You can also include your experience to demonstrate your qualifications.
Example: “The terms’ SOP’ and ‘GMP’ refer to standard operating procedures and good manufacturing practices, respectively. SOPs specify how employees can work with chemicals safely in a lab. GMPs refers to the techniques and procedures used to produce goods that meet specified quality standards. In my last job as an associate chemist, I was responsible for developing and implementing laboratory standard operating procedures. Since that was a pharmaceutical industry, I used GMPs to document and manage my team’s work to ensure we adhere to quality standards.”
4. Explain the difference between distillation and fractionation.
The hiring manager may ask you this question to ensure you have the right technical knowledge for the job. This question lets you demonstrate your practical understanding of chemistry. While answering this question, you may differentiate between distillation and fractionation based on their use.
Example: “We use both methods to separate the components present in the mixtures based on their boiling points. When the boiling point of chemicals is different in the mixtures, we use the distillation technique. Whereas we use the fractionation method when the boiling point of chemicals is close to each other in the mixtures.”
5. How do you manage conflicts with your colleagues in the lab?
Chemistry is a technical field that requires a variety of technical abilities. Still, the hiring manager may ask you behavioural questions to determine whether you possess the necessary soft skills to work and communicate with your team properly. As a chemist, you often work as a team to conduct research or experiments. While answering this question, consider demonstrating your collaboration skills and ability to build healthy relationships with your colleagues. Try to provide a specific example of a work conflict and how you resolved it.
Example: ”Whenever I have a conflict with a team member, I attempt to resolve it privately first. At my previous workplace, one of my colleagues would regularly leave the lab in an unclean state. I approached the person and explained that their behaviour disturbed my and other team members’ work. It affected the team’s workflow because we spent time cleaning up all the leftovers before starting our work. I also specified that a mess in the lab can cause lab safety issues.
Thankfully, my colleague acknowledged my concerns and assured me to be more cautious in the future. Establishing those expectations helped encourage my colleague to adhere more closely to our lab etiquettes. I know conflicts are not always easy to resolve. If, after the conversation and a few reminders, this colleague’s behaviour did not improve, I had planned to convey my concerns to a supervisor to help resolve the issue.”
6. How do you handle hazardous materials?
Depending on your specific job responsibilities, you may require handling hazardous chemicals or other unstable samples. The interviewer wants to ensure that you are comfortable performing such roles, and that you possess the necessary training and knowledge to keep yourself and your colleagues safe. Try to be confident and precise in your answer to this question. Consider providing detailed instructions on handling hazardous materials.
Example: “Before introducing the hazardous material, I want to ensure that my team and I have proper protective gear, as safety is my top priority. Then, I can organise the area where we are going to work with the hazardous substances by ensuring I have all the necessary tools and safety equipment, such as hand washing and eye washing stations. Finally, I take note of the material we take and ensure we do not waste or overuse any of our resources.”
7. What do you do to stay up-to-date on news and innovations in the chemistry field?
The interviewer can assess your interest in chemistry by enquiring about your exposure to the industry news and latest research. Demonstrating your familiarity with ongoing events and research can reassure the interviewer that you keep up-to-date knowledge. You can apply your updated industry knowledge to resolve workplace issues or implement new methods and techniques. In your response, you can detail the steps you take to stay up-to-date. You can also mention any recent trends or developments in the industry.
Example: “I am passionate about chemistry and spend my free time reading about the latest developments in the field. Usually, I spend my mornings browsing some of my favourite scientific news websites. Whenever I come across something interesting, I prefer bringing it up at work and discussing it with my colleagues. Often I realise what we read helps us enhance our work. I also follow some thought leaders in chemistry on social media and actively participate in online discussions about such topics.”
8. What do you do if you find any suspicious behaviour in your colleague?
The interviewer asks such questions to assess your work ethic and ability to follow protocols. Even if you do not have experience with this type of situation, consider providing an example of how you can handle it in your role as a chemist.
Example: “If I suspect a colleague engaging in unethical activities but do not have any evidence of their misconduct, I can reach out to them out of concern for their welfare. If my suspicions are true and I have evidence of it, I can suggest the management take appropriate action against them, even if that requires legal proceedings or termination.”