I recently found two very effective interview questions perfect for technology transfer jobs. They are variations of ones you may have used in your own interviewing. However, the reason I love them is their application in tech transfer.
Tech transfer is about building relationships. Soft skills matter. When you’re interviewing candidates you need to assess not only their soft skills but also their analytical ones. There’s a lot of problem solving required in technology transfer jobs. (But the analytical side is a post for another day).
Two Great Interview Questions and What Makes Them So
#1: What are the three things your supervisor would say are your strengths, and what three areas should be improved?
This question sounds a lot like the much anticipated, “What are your strengths/weaknesses?” but it asks them to interpret how others (most importantly their supervisor) see them. This gives the candidate a chance to speak more openly about their strengths because they’re not doing the bragging their “supervisor” is.
You’d also be surprised how many people will open up about lackluster supervisory relationships and what they’ve been told to improve upon. This provides good insight into how’d they’d be as an employee.
#2: What is your technology transfer philosophy?
Most people go into interviews expecting to be asked about themselves, their backgrounds, and their skills. This question forces them to look outside of their abilities to the department and industry at large. It helps you get a better idea of how they think on their feet and whether they enjoy this industry.
A broad question like this can’t be Googled and practiced. It speaks to vision and innovation and shows how they will represent you to others. It’s a very difficult question to answer with pat language and interviewing platitudes.
What’s the toughest question you’ve ever been asked as a candidate and what is your go-to question when you interview candidates for technology transfer jobs?