Recruiting Process for Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology

To increase your chances of landing a job, it is important for you to use all of your available resources. The recruiting process has many steps including career exploration, industry & organization research, applications, networking and interviewing. The Villanova Career Center has resources including Handshake, Big Interview, Vault Career Guides and many others (including our staff) to help you along the way.

  • Common Entry Level Jobs in STEM may be lab-based and include titles such as Associate, Analyst, Scientist, Technician and Process Engineer
  • Application timelines vary for summer internships and full-time positions; larger companies tend to recruit, especially for full-time, in early fall with co-ops and internships in the spring
  • Check employer websites for interviewing information & application details
  • Search for jobs and internships on Handshake, CareerShift, company websites, social media, industry and job association sites, professional associations, through university recruiting programs and recruiters. 
  • For more information on the recruiting process, specific internship programs and professional associations, visit the “Know the Field” chapter in the Vault Career Guide to Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology.
  • For more information on interviews in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, visit the “Tips for Entry” chapter in the Vault Career Guide to Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology or “Interviewing” on the main Vault page.
  • The Career Center offers one-hour, behavioral mock interview appointments that can be scheduled via Handshake to further develop interview skills and receive feedback. Students can also reserve interview rooms within the Employer Engagement Suite. For more information on interviewing, please visit the Career Center’s Interviewing webpage.

Behavioral & Technical Interviews:

  • Behavioral Interview Questions: set of questions to assess whether you have the soft skills and motivation to succeed at that organization. These often include general questions about your background and why you want to work for the organization, combined with behavioral-based questions asking you to give examples of past experiences. Use the S.T.A.R. approach to structure your examples; Situation/Task that you were facing, Approach and actions you took to address the issue, Result of the actions you took. Learn more about “Developing Your Interview Stories” in Big Interview.
  • Technical Interview Questions: these are meant to test your knowledge of the job and industry. Drawing from courses, lab experiences, and conducting external research will help in preparing for these types of knowledge-based questions.
  • Practice with Big Interview. You can select industry-based questions for areas such as Biotech and Pharmaceutical Sales.  

Additional steps to be aware of:

  • Resume: For science and engineering roles, it is important to detail any technical and research experience you possess on your resume.
  • Lab Tour: For lab roles, you may be given a tour of the lab facilities as part of your interview. Interviewers are looking for candidates who show interest in the equipment, ask thoughtful questions and make connections to their own lab experience (class and/or internship-based).
  • Presentations: Applicants for research jobs are sometimes asked to give a presentation of their past work.
  • Assessments: For some positions, applicants must take tests in addition to interviews. Sometimes, interviewers will want to see you in action; for example, a sales worker might be asked to sell a pencil or other handy item to the interviewer.