Who is a chemist? A chemist is a scientist who researches chemical substances, performs experiments with the properties of chemical substances, measures the effects of chemical compounds, and studies inter-chemical reactions.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
In this question, the interviewer expects you to talk about the reasons why you want to work for them. Consider talking about putting your skills into place and learning from your recruiter company as well.
“I was motivated to apply for this post because first of all, I have all the requirements that I need to have to secure this post. It would be best for me if I used the skills and knowledge that I have in this industry to do a good job somewhere. Also, I would like to say that I would be delighted if I gained some more experience and knowledge from your company as well. We always learn as we work. Lastly, I would also like to fulfill my career goals by working for a big busy facility that needs my skills to better the lives of others.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Chemist?
The interviewer expects you to talk about what chemists are supposed to do according to their professionalism. Talk about the main duties and responsibilities of a chemist.
“There are several duties and responsibilities that I am entitled to as a chemist. Among the many duties, the key ones are;
i) Preparing test solutions, compounds, and reagents for conducting tests, and coordinating test procedures.
ii) Developing, improving and customizing chemical products, equipment formula, processes, and analytical methods.
iii) Determining chemical and physical properties, compositions, structures, relationships, and reactions of organic and inorganic compounds.
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iv) Consulting and conferencing with scientists and engineers to analyse, interpret, and develop tests.
v) Writing technical papers and specifications for processes, tests, and procedures.
vi) Maintaining, troubleshooting, and purchasing lab equipment
These are the main duties that I am entitled to perform as a chemist. I would be happy to perform them in your facility.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Chemist Need To Be Successful?
The interviewer expects you to tell them about what qualities and skills you should have as a chemist. Talk about the qualities, skills that you possess and think that they can make you successful in this role.
“Despite having all the experience and academic qualifications, there are qualities that as a chemist I need to have. As a chemist, I should have analytical skills since there is a lot of analysing and examining in this career. I should also have good communication skills since there is a lot of communication while presenting lab results and tests. As a chemist, critical thinking is essential. There are matters that require instant thinking and decision making especially in emergency situations. Mathematical skills and organizational skills are also important to a chemist. Lastly, I should be able to solve problems with professionalism whenever they arise.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage?
The interviewer wants to know what difficulties you came across in your previous role and how you were able to manage them. Talk about the main challenges you came across in your previous role.
“Since we are still struggling to control the deadly virus, Coronavirus, many chemists have been involved in making tests for samples which may be harmful to them. In my previous role, I was involved in doing research about the virus. This was a kind of sweating situation for me. I have never met this virus before, and you don’t know what mistake you can make and the virus catches you. Dealing with viruses is most difficult in this role. Though, we can’t run from it. It’s our duty to do research and test samples. All I have to do is wear my personal protective gears and follow all the guidelines that are put into place. Dealing with viruses is challenging in this sector.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Chemist?
The interviewer wants to know what schedule you will be using daily to perform your daily tasks. Give them a very organized schedule starting from the first activity of the day until the last.
“After arriving at my workplace, I would start by reviewing any new analytical requests, and accommodating any urgent requests. If there is any analysis I have been working on, I would prepare the report and submit it as soon as possible. That would be my daily desk work. After having finished all the pending desk work, I start my tests on samples that have been submitted to me. I analyse using machines and equipment that should be used for this particular purpose. I would then go back to desk work and prepare a report about the findings and submit them to the requestor. That would be a busy and perfect day at work.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
Here, your interviewer wants to know your previous skills and experience that you have gained in your previous workplaces. Talk about experience from relevant fields and for how long you worked.
“After completing my master’s programme in chemistry, I was privileged to work as an intern in a government hospital for a year. Here, I was able to meet a lot of people who really equipped me with knowledge relevant to this field. I was able to meet and use machines and equipment that are used in the laboratory. After completing my intern programme, I was then employed in the same hospital as a chemist. I worked there as a chemist for five years. That gives me a total of six years working experience in this field. I would be glad to use the experience to work in your facility too.”
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
The interviewer wants to know what your attitude towards this role is. Talk about your attitude and strategies that you think are important to this role.
“As a chemist, the main focus is to collect as many findings as possible out of a test and accurate ones. Of course, we need to detail focus on a sample and get as much as we can so that we can give clear results. Detail focusing is very important when you are examining and analysing results. At the same time we have to use the minimum time possible since some of the samples sent in are urgent and need to be attended to as soon as possible. A chemist should have a mind of using the least time possible to give detailed and full reports about a sample they have been working on.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
The interviewer expects you to talk from experience what challenge you think might affect this industry in the future. Talk about the main challenge that is likely to happen.
“In the future, there should be a lot of emphasis on green chemistry. Most of the chemicals that are used in the laboratory and other examining sites might be very harmful to the environment and human beings too. The way we dispose of our end products is also a big concern. There are disposal methods like burning that can harm our environment. This is a blame that is directed to the chemistry department. In the future we need to have modern ways of disposal that do not interfere with the environment.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
Your interviewer wants to know what keeps your daily morale high while you are working. Consider talking about achievements in your career as your motivators.
“I must say that achievements are my daily motivators. Whenever my report is used to solve a patient’s problem of a patient, I feel that I have used my knowledge and skills to help someone. That is always my motivation. Using my skills and knowledge to help physicians and any other department to advise or cure a patient. I would also like to achieve more of this in your facility.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lessons You Learnt
The interviewer is asking you about an event when you made a mistake, and as a result, the results were not as expected.
“Proper handling of samples before and after examination is very crucial in this sector. In my entry level, I was working on a sample and I must say that I did not handle it properly. In the process of examining it, it fell down. Of course, it must have got some contamination from the floor. It is of no use any more. I had to ask for more samples from the patient. This was a mistake that should not occur in this industry. I learned that it is very crucial to handle samples properly when they get to the laboratory.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Most Suited For This Role?
The interviewer wants to know why you think that you are the most suited for that role but not any other candidate that is attending an interview as you. You need to talk about your unique qualities, experience, and skills that make you unique.
“First of all, this is a very crucial role that needs a highly experienced candidate. I have gained a lot of experience working in a government facility where I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience in handling samples and using all the tools and equipment that are used in the laboratory. In addition, I have furthered my studies to a master’s level which gives me an added knowledge relevant to this field. I believe that that makes me the only candidate that you are looking for. I would be very delighted to secure this position and continue working in your facility.”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
The interviewer wants to know what are the greatest goals that you have attained in your career. Talk about any promotions, awards, and goals that you have attained in this field.
“When the world was struck by the pandemic, every country needed a chemist to be in the front line to study and know more about this virus. I was one of the few chemists that were chosen to represent this country. I must say that this was a kind of appreciation of the work of my hands. I must have done a great job to reach there. That was one of my greatest achievements in my career, being among the best.”
13. List Five Apparatus Used In The Laboratory And Their Uses.
The interviewer is testing your knowledge on what apparatus should be used in a laboratory. List and explain five of them.
“The various apparatus that are used in the laboratory are
i) Beaker- It is used for mixing, stirring and heating chemicals in the laboratory.
ii) Florence flask- It is used to hold liquids.
iii) Funnels- It is used to pour liquids easily without any losses
iv) Volumetric flask- It is used to measure amount of liquids
v) Burets- It is used for exact addition of liquids.
Those are some of the apparatus that I use in the laboratory.”
14. Tell Us The Basic Safety Measures In A Laboratory.
The interviewer wants to know whether you are familiar with the precautions and measures that should be observed in the laboratory. Talk about the basic rules and regulations.
“When working in a laboratory, there are a lot of risks that you are exposed to. However you are supposed to adhere to these rules and regulations which should be well labelled in a laboratory.
i) Know locations of laboratory safety showers, eyewash stations, and fire extinguishers
ii) Know all the emergency exits
iii) Minimize all chemical exposure
iv) Assume all chemical of unknown toxicity are highly toxic
v) Use equipment only for the designated purpose
These rules should be highly observed.”
15. Mention Five Types Of Chemists That You Know Of
The interviewer wants you to tell them the types of chemists that you know of. Clearly mention the five of them
“There are several types of chemists that are in this industry. Five among them are;
i) Analytical chemist
ii) Chemical engineer
iv) Forensic scientist
v) Hazardous waste chemist.”
16. What are the types of samples that are tested in health facilities?
The interviewer wants to know whether you know which samples are tested in a healthy facility. Talk about the main types of specimens in health facilities.
“Some of the samples that we examine in health facilities are urine, serum, which is the most common specimen that is tested in health facilities. We also have plasma which is obtained by centrifugation of anticoagulated blood. We also have enzymes, hormones, lipids, and many others.”
17. What Is Titration?
The interviewer wants you to define the term. Clearly and correctly define it.
“Titration is a process of determining molarity of a base or an acid.”
18. What Is Your Biggest Strength In Your Career?
The interviewer wants to know what it is that you are best at while working. Talk about your biggest strength in your career.
“As far as my career is concerned, I would say that the sample examination is what I am best at. When I get to the examination, I give very accurate and clear results. This must be my biggest strength in my career. I will continue majoring in this field to be producing more good work in the future. I hope that I will continue this good work in your facility. I promise to give the best results.”
19. What Is Your Biggest Fear In Your Career?
Here, talk about what it is that you wouldn’t want to experience in your entire career.
“In my whole career, my biggest fear would be failure. Failing in my career would be a hit hard for me. I always focus on success. Although failures are some of the ways that people learn through, to me success would teach me more than failing in my entire career.”
20. What Are Your Goals In The First One Year Of Working With Us.
The interviewer wants to know your potential within the first year. Guarantee them positive results.
“In my first year of working for you, I will ensure that I give my all towards giving the right and an accurate result as far as chemistry is concerned. I will mainly focus on implementing my experience to better than performance.”
Passing a chemist interview is very easy as long as you use the above guidelines while answering the interview questions. Answer them with confidence and you will secure that post. All the best!