Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

...forgot to answer a Dapi question... Know the company

Dapi pointed out that I didn't answer what I meant by "know the company". Quite right...

Umm.... know them!

Know the Press Releases they have put out so that you know what is going on to them as a business.
Know their technology/products so that you can speak to the technology.
Know the workflow that would be around their products. By this I mean know WHY people would use the product, WHAT questions the people are asking when they use the product, and what the next step in the experiments is that you do when you are asking those questions.

An example workflow might be.

Microarray -> Informatics -> QPCR -> Western

with the idea being that you find some genes your interested in, confirm them with QPCR, and then move to western blots to look at what the protein did. Simple workflow, and not totally complete, but I hope you get the idea. For whatever it is that you are interviewing on (and I have to admit to trying to guess based on where you are flying to, but you should NOT post the answer) you should be able to write/say some sort of workflow like this. Coupled to that, you should be able to talk a bit about how problems in 1 step can affect other steps etc...

Basically show that you know what a scientist would be doing with whatever it is that you are selling.

You can't know everything about the company, so don't try. You do, however, need to show that you bothered to look up as much as you could. Google the people you will be interviewing with. Google the company and read anything you find.

Knowledge is your friend in this case, and anything helps. Showing that you put in effort is what you want the outcome to be. Don't brag about it, just do it and trot the information out when it is needed.

I would NOT be too worried about being able to comment on something about every executive. I would, however, know their names and roles. i.e. Know who the CEO is, who the CFO is etc... You don't need to memorize where they went to grad school or what degrees they have, but you should know their names. I would spend more time making sure I had the tech under control than I would on this, but you need to know the names.


Anonymous said...


So I'm back from my whirlwind interview and it was pretty intensive and also fun! I took your advice and impressed them when i brought up the press release info and their competitors! Also knew their company histroy! BUT I also focused on the technology because I was asked to interview with their FAS, engineers and prouduct manager!

OK, I'll break this up into 3 parts! The good, the bad and the Ugly!

The good:

What I liked about them:

1) Had a GREAT time talking to them!

2) Great company which has grown well in the last few years, profitable and nice dynamic people there

3) Good working environment- still growing I didnt get a bad gut reaction or ask myself why I'm doing this...always good to NOT have these feelings during an interview! So no doubt in my mind that this is THE company for me! Challenging BUT I can definitely grow with them!

What they liked about me:

1) They thought I was a great canidate, friendly, talkative, passionate and eager to learn!
They thought I asked good questions and I could do the job. I would fit well with the company!

2) I was coachable since I lacked industry experience

3) I was talkative,

The bad:

1) what industry experience I did have apparently i learnt was not THAT applicable- yes i have skill sets which will help but not actual experience. The 1 year stint at that small start up wheer i organised a conference didnt do it that much for them. I had also organised a conference back home during my PhD and did PR work promoting science to public for research foundation etc...also no biggy...i think you orginally said also it wasnt a biggy!

2) the visa issue- its complicated but they took a copy of my H1B visa and will get HR to research it (I'm an overseas postdoc). This is a potential deal breaker...need a flexible visa allowing me to live/workin US for Canadian company!

3) my STRONG academic record!!! They normally dont take on people who are so academic (normally fresh PhD's)-yes you are soo right! the postdoc hurt me!)...my resume was TOO good in that area...hahaha....scientists at that level become stuck in an academic mind set and they were worried about how i'd do in industry which is more detachable and fasted past...BUT they liked me and i proved to them that I'm not the typical academic! I worked hard to prove to them i was serious and ready for this job and this is what Ive wanted all along. Also said I was willing to learn and be trained!

4) I was TOO talkative- I agree! I was running on adrenaline plus i really wantd them to see that i was a people person...normally I am talkative but I have to admit I didnt want to create a void of silence...BUT again they said that they can help me with that and the VP of business development had the same problem (he was interviewing me) and he said he got a coach to help him not ramble!! haha I learnt a valuable lesson- in business...silence is good also! The talkativeness was however NOT a deal breaker!

5) They are launching product in the fall and Im getting married in Sept. I told them if it would help the paper work then I can get married at the court house tomorrow if need be but I would still need to have my wedding reception in Sept because..well we've gone too far with deposits etc and plus its my wedding and my family are flying over! They were cool with this and appreciated my flexibility and will try and work with me on this.

1) The recruiter made a mistake- its NOT $80K and because of my lack of experience in industry they were thinking more like $60K! Which to me is too low....considering the extensive travel. Plus after receiving your post I did contact a friend of mine in sales and she asked her colleagues and they said "up to $75K" with "up to 30% bonus depending on what they sell... for a beginner straight from PhD..

what do you think?

The recruiter apologised and said there was a miscommunication between him and the VP and that he WASNT trying to scam me (used another word) but it was an honest mistake...i'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and I said I understand but I'd like him to try and get the best price for me.

2) I definitely think $60 for 70% travel is too low, even if i dont have any industry experience. I am going to aim for $75K what do you think?

So the recruiter says that the company does want me..pending on checking out the logistics of the visa and they are likely to make an offer....we havent discussed the benefits yet so im waiting for that but this is the info that i do have:

Can you see if these are reasonable benefits:

1) Salary- still negotiating

2) $700 a month ($8400 pa) for car expenses....

3) "up to" $20K bonus available could be any where from $2-$5K every quarter.... (he said most companys give 10%...what is the policy at your company?

4) home office equipment, pay for phone lines, DSL etc

5) Will most likely fly me back to US during the weekends when i am training for a month in Canada

I'd apprciate it if you could let me know what your expert opinion is!

Have a wonderful weekend! I took yesterday off so now I'm in thelab to catch up :)

Please enlighten me when you ahve time!


Anonymous said...

opp's i also forgot to mention health benefits with ppo system!