Illustration of a doctor in an exam room working on a computer

Why this matters:

When the methods are employed correctly, sterilization kills 100% of microorganisms — including viruses, bacteria, and fungi — which could potentially contaminate a specimen. Lab equipment may be sterilized using several different methods, depending on the type of testing or analysis that will be performed. A candidate should demonstrate familiarity with at least one of the most commonly used sterilization practices.

What to listen for:

  • Confident use of the proper scientific terminology
  • A description of dry heat, wet heat (autoclaving), filtration, radiation, solvent, or gas sterilization
  • Understanding that different types of sterilization can be selected for different purposes

Why this matters:

Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) is a framework for planning, performing, monitoring, recording, reporting, and archiving scientific results. GLP standards minimize the risk of human error and increase the likelihood of passing audits. A candidate who understands this framework can help maintain regulatory requirements, reduce costs, as well as recreate studies from recorded data as necessary.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of standard operating procedures and quality control documentation
  • Understanding that GLP is necessary to establish credibility and trace lab data
  • Discussion of studies where adherence to GLP is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or equivalent

Why this matters:

Pipetting techniques to measure and dispense liquid materials can greatly impact accuracy and quality in a variety of chemistry, biotech, medicine, and natural science experiments. A well-trained laboratory technician understands what can go wrong in handling this tool and takes steps to avoid pitfalls that could jeopardize the integrity of the test results.

What to listen for:

  • Care, diligence, and adherence to core practice to minimize risk
  • Discussion of factors like working too quickly, frequent tip wiping, and using the wrong angle or tips
  • Technical knowledge of base standards for setting up and checking quality of one’s pipetting technique

Why this matters:

Biotech laboratory technicians perform routine work essential to the lab’s success, but they are often isolated from upper management. This divide can potentially result in worker unhappiness and lost opportunities to improve working conditions. A candidate committed to open, honest, and frequent communication with management enables leaders to make more informed decisions and is more likely to remain engaged at work.

What to listen for:

  • Soft skills in problem-solving and interpersonal communication
  • Resilience in dealing with different personality types at work
  • Description of a specific work experience that shows commitment to breaking down silos

Why this matters:

Laboratory settings are subject to frequently changing conditions. Business may be slow one minute and extremely busy the next. Labs are frequently short-staffed, requiring frequent training of new employees and existing employees picking up the extra slack. Technicians should be able to cope with stressful situations requiring fast turnaround, in addition to the ability to find work that needs to be done during slow times.

What to listen for:

  • Previous work experience in a challenging environment, where no two days are identical
  • Strong understanding of role-specific expectations and commitment to deadlines
  • Flexibility, a positive attitude, and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances

Why this matters:

Test outcomes can sometimes deviate from expected results. Laboratory technicians may need to think outside the box and deduce the cause for the anomaly. Problem-solving skills and mental flexibility are required to resolve unique situations that can arise in the lab for a myriad of reasons.

What to listen for:

  • Problem-solving abilities, as exemplified by a personal work anecdote
  • The ability to break down problems logically and mental flexibility to explore all possibilities
  • Firm resolve to discover the underlying conditions that led to the issue

Why this matters:

Biotech laboratory technicians must possess soft skills like patience, attentiveness to detail, and organization. They must be analytical, careful, thorough, self-motivated, and comfortable following detailed sets of instructions. A candidate with these characteristics will be well-suited for the role and able to handle whatever challenges arise.

What to listen for:

  • A description of soft skill characteristics that match the demands of the role
  • Willingness to ensure accuracy, but also manage time wisely and put in extra effort when necessary 
  • Work experiences with following instruction, adherence to protocol, and double-checking results

Why this matters:

Biotech laboratory technicians work as part of a team, which requires interpersonal communication soft skills. A candidate may end up in a situation where confidence, tact, and company advocacy come into play. Observational skills are important to isolate quality control issues, while conflict management skills will be necessary to address the situation in the appropriate manner.

What to listen for:

  • Common sense judgment in assessing the threat to the company caused by a coworker’s actions
  • Confidence in speaking up to the coworker and/or the proper authority to prevent further issues
  • Conflict management skills in seeking a resolution

Why this matters:

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a biotech laboratory technician is working on the forefront of research and discovery. Candidates should possess soft skills like a natural curiosity and willingness to experience and learn something new daily. The candidate that has extensively researched the company prior to applying has the opportunity to demonstrate passion and preparedness when answering this question.

What to listen for:

  • A well-researched answer that demonstrates familiarity with the company’s mission and research
  • Curiosity and interest in ongoing training and education, at formal and informal levels
  • Relevant interests or enthusiasm in working for the company
chatting over desk with laptops and coffee

Contact a sales specialist.

By submitting this form, you agree that we may use the data you provide to contact you with information related to your request/submission and LinkedIn's products and services. If you are a LinkedIn member, you can control the messages you receive from LinkedIn in your settings. If you are a guest, you can unsubscribe from LinkedIn marketing emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the email. Your data will be used subject to LinkedIn's Privacy Policy.