Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Do You Have Any Questions For Me? 5 Lab Related Questions You Can Ask in an Interview


So you’ve just finished your interview for the perfect lab position and now you’re at the end where you get asked by the interviewer the dreaded “Do you have any questions for me?”

As an interviewee, you should always answer YES.

Nothing is worse than saying “not at this time” or “no” – no matter how amazing and thorough the interviewer is.  There is always something more you can expand on and show how interested you are in the position and workplace. But what can you ask that sounds like a well-thought out question? I've thought up some of my favourites below:

1. What types of professional development opportunities do you have?
As a MLT, you know we are required by license to obtain a certain number of learning hours per year to maintain your license. It’s a great way to find out what types of seminars and overall learning culture the workplace provides. Do they have their own learning system? Weekly Lunch and Learns? Are you going to have to be proactive and attend courses yourself or will your future workplace fulfill that requirement for you?

2. Do you offer any educational funding to employees?
This is another great way to find out how invested the workplace is in education opportunities.  Some workplaces have a yearly grant for an employee to attend a conference like LabCon or CSM which is a nice bonus for a free (or discounted) vacation coupled with a pile of learning hours. Others have a yearly allowance for each employee to attend classes or workshops to help you grow in your career. 


3. What type of patient population do you serve?
This is one of my favourite questions because you can really get a sense for what type of lab you are interviewing for. It tells you what type of workload you can expect and the variety of work you might see. Maybe you’re looking for a high paced lab for the unpredictability or a slower one for consistent hours. Do they receive cancer centre samples? Dialysis unit? A Cystic Fibrosis clinic? Homeless centre? City Health Units? Maybe you have a calling for NICU samples? Either way asking this will show you are interested in the people you are serving and how the workplace operates.

4. What type of analyzers (Technology) will I be using on the job?
 It’s always smart to find out from the start what types of analyzers (or lack of analyzers) you’ll be using. Some jobs may be more technologically advanced than others and if that’s not your strong suit it’s a good time to find out if you can stick to what you already know. On the other side, maybe you’re looking for a lab running the latest and greatest of technology like the MALDI-TOF. By asking this question, the interviewer can brag about what fabulous analyzers they have and what they have planning for future.

5. How often do you change testing or test methods?
This ties a little into question 4 but is still great to ask. How innovative is your prospective employer? Are they the last to get changes and keep using what’s tried tested and true? Or are they able to try new techniques out and add new tests when it’s available? The laboratory world is rapidly evolving with new testing so how ready is your lab to make these changes?  This depends a lot of the laboratory director/manager and funding so this is another great way to learn about those things without directly asking.
  
These questions just scratch this surface on what can be asked but hopefully they give you a few ideas instead of saying the typical “no!” Not only will this help you stand out in the interview process but will also give you some insight into your prospective employer and if they’d be the right fit for you! 


-K

5 comments:

  1. Hi Krista! Just found your blog, and although I'm a MLT student in the US so much of your information is still helpful. I start a "pre-clinical" rotation in the lab tomorrow and I'm so nervous but excited!! Look forward to seeing more of your posts soon!

    Caroline

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  2. Hey krista!
    My name is Valerie, I am a 17 year old girl from Peru who is studying medicine. Here in my country is 7 years. I first wanted to study biology but its really hard to do it here because there not much job oportunities and you either end uo being a teacher or with no job. But I have the belief that a doctor could do research in basic science and clinical issues too. So my dream is to become a physician scientist researcher. Well, since i am a freshman student i dont know much about those things but I hope one day i do. Lately I went to the lab of my university and made friends with the guys who were doing their thesis, (they are in 6th year of medical school) Their proyect is about fluorescence aptamers to detect malaria and its being paid by canadian companies. i was helping them with some things like Pcr gel electroforesis, gel of acrilamide, espectrophotometry, induction, culture of Ecoli resistant to Kan., etc.. i was being taught by them how to do those things. and its been really cool but I still dont understand many things about their proyect. anyways, its a nice experience but I still have curiosity about working on other stuff like stem cells, they really fascinate me, for what I've read! Have you ever worked with them? What kind of work have you done? Is it possible for a physician to do research and to become a physician researcher? What medical speciality do you suggest me to take when I get my MD, i mean one where I could actually do research and work with biologist, etc, I first thought onocology or epidemiology. Well anyways, its really cool what you do honestly. I wish one day I could join a research program, science is really a passion i share! Greets! Xo Valerie

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  3. Hey Krista !!!!!!
    I am Manas working as mlt last 12 years, i am certified as mlt from india and last 3 years i am working in cayman islands. Please tell me what to do to work in Canada,is that mendatory to be csmls .

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  4. Bless you, woman. I'm finishing up my clinical practicum and sitting the CSMLS in Alberta this October. It is a stressful time to be both studying and job hunting, so I really appreciate your blog.

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