Behavioral questions ask candidates to use their past experiences to explain how they might respond in a new role. It also gives you a sense if they’re a good culture fit on the team you’re hiring for.

These are some of our favorite behavioral interview questions.

  • Describe a project, of any kind, that you are proud of. What was the goal? How did you approach it? Who did you work with? What would you do differently if you could redo it?
  • Tell us about a team that you’ve loved being a part of. What did you bring to that team and why did you love it?
  • Thinking back to a significant project you worked on in the past, what’s the most important thing you’d tell your then-self to do differently?
  • Tell me about yourself – where did you grow up and what brought you here today?
  • Describe a unique network that you have cultivated that has value to our work as a company.

For further reading, these are interview questions compiled by HR and recruitment experts.

Scenario-based interviews are when you ask a candidate to think through how they might solve a problem they’ll likely encounter in the role, live during an interview. 

While every role and company is different, here are a few questions we’d ask for scientific candidates at a biotech company.

  • Let’s look at the results of an experiment we conducted recently. Give your interpretation of the results and recommend next steps
  • Given a new resource or time constraint at our company, how would you recommend revising research priorities?
  • Give a job talk on your previous technical work, including why you made specific decisions, the results, and your learnings (e.g. what you would do differently if given a second chance).
  • Plan an experiment – what questions would you ask and how would you go about answering them?

Work assignments can be given to candidates before or after the interview as a way of seeing the type of work they’d produce – i.e. show us how’d you solve this specific problem.

We recommend making the work assignment

  1. As close to the actual work as they will be doing as possible so you’ll be able to get a sense of how they think and how they’ll work through decisions
  2. The project should be manageable for the candidate to complete – 3 hours on average. Remember they have a full-time job in addition to interviewing at your company!

These are some examples of work assignments, but we recommend customizing the prompt to fit the role you’re hiring for and your company’s product.