Top R&D interview question asked to a Ph.D. scholar – Get Hired
Once you are done with your Ph.D., it is likely that you would opt for a research-based job. For such kind of job, you have to appear for several rounds of interview. Given your qualification, the recruiter would like to understand how your knowledge could be utilized in the best of the company’s interest. You will not only be asked questions about your area of expertise, but will also be given situations to test your personality.
Companies mainly work towards finding new solutions through research. While researching, you explore the possibilities of improvising an existing technology or prototyping a new one. So, as a candidate who just got done with Ph.D., here are a few questions you should be prepared to answer:
Tell us something about yourself and your interests?
To begin with, the interviewer generally asks you to describe yourself. The interviewer, a representative of the company, wants to know about you and your area of interest. They want to get a sketch of your personality from your own perspective. Here, you should start by telling your qualifications and area of interest in research. You could talk about your thesis paper and express desire to work further on it. Try to showcase your strengths here by explaining the things you are good at.
How do you deal with pressure?
Your answer to this question will interpret your behaviour in situations where the company has to meet a deadline. As in research, you could keep exploring endlessly, but to periodically deliver results often becomes an issue. So, time crunches play a big role in such companies. You could talk about your time management skills to break down the task and produce deliverables on time. You could even support such attributes with a real-life example such as a situation where you worked on a timeline and completed it successfully.
What would you bring to the company?
The interviewer would want to know how you would benefit the company. Obviously, you have mastered a particular field, but they would like to find out your contribution to the company’s progress.
You need to go about by mentioning your strong attributes. They should reflect your dedication towards work. If your paper has got published somewhere or you have had international exposure, then do bring it up. Discuss managing a team and achieving goals together. Your interest in the field of research should be evident enough for the interviewer to consider you for the position.
How would you encourage your team to invest in a particular field?
Research companies have dedicated a team to bring out that is worth delivering. For this, the team needs to stay motivated to develop new ideas. The company thus need a knowledgeable person to guide the team in a particular direction. So such questions should be answered by quoting examples of being an enthusiastic team player.
Examples of motivating the team to come up with innovative ideas by discussions, knowledge sharing sessions could be mentioned. Displaying that you are passionate about being up to date could put you at the benefit of leading others.
How would you deal with failures?
Often in research, you would not meet your set targets in the first go. Failures become a part and parcel in such fields. So, the company is trying to understand how you would respond to such failures. You will have to present your logical side to handle such questions well.
Your ability to learn from failures would be key in answering this question. For example, you can mention about instances of overcoming failures during an experiment could be used to shed light on your soft skills. You should also focus on talking about finding the root cause of failure for future enhancement. This would tell the interviewer that you plan ahead and are persistent throughout the experiment.
Why do you want to get into research and development and not academia?
This is a tricky question. Both basically are knowledge sharing. But as far as research is concerned it is mostly creating new products. So you need to highlight your inclination towards exploring existing information to find solutions to problems. Research companies are on a lookout to find innovative, feasible answers to resolve an issue. You should present your affection towards reading and understanding every minute detail related to the subject well. You should showcase your interest in learning new things, exploring new ideas and implementation in real life.
What do you think is your weakness?
Now here, they are asking you to speak about your weak area. The interviewer would like to see if you are realistic or not. Each one of us has areas that we are not good at or need to improve. Always choose a middle path here, showcase your weaknesses but in a positive way. Talk about your flaws and how much you are dedicated to overcoming it. It could be anything from not maintaining records to being a workaholic. Such questions help the interviewer in understanding your personality and thought process.
Well apart from the above-mentioned questions, you should be prepared to answer technical questions regarding your area of expertise. Also, make sure to bring the interviewer’s focus to your problem-solving capabilities. You should display confidence while answering questions and not beat around the bush unnecessarily. Keeping your answers crisp and to the point would be considered as a plus point.
All the best!