A microbiology technician spends her time in a lab with microscopic organisms -- a field for which there is an increasing demand. After you have the education -- a bachelor’s degree in biology, plus some hands-on lab experience -- you can join other women entering this field. All that’s required is that you ace the job interview that your qualifications will help you secure.
During the initial portion of the interview you may be asked some questions to help the interviewer get a sense of who you are. These questions could include: “What interests you about being a lab technician in the field of microbiology?”; “What prompted you to apply for a job with this company?”; “What kind of work did you do at your last position and why did you leave?”; and, “Describe your strengths and weaknesses as they apply to this position?” Your answers should be honest and direct. Make your responses stand out by inserting a sincere sense of how hiring you would be mutually beneficial.
Working with Others
The interviewer might ask some questions to find out something about how you work with others. These questions could include: “Have you worked as part of a team?” Your response should indicate your ability to work closely with others when necessary, and that you understand the division of responsibilities between technicians and scientists or physicians. Another question might be, “Can you give me an example of a time when you provided direct support to one of the scientists?” Be sure to provide the details of your interaction with that individual.
Your Personal Work Style
To determine how you do your work, an interviewer may ask something like, “Describe an example of your normal routine when in the lab.” An appropriate reply should give the interviewer a good idea of how thorough and detail-oriented you are. For instance, you might go into detail about your methods for looking for bacteria or other microorganisms -- how you set up your equipment, your procedure for logging information and other such technicalities. To find out whether you know your limits, the interviewer might ask, “Give me an example, and the outcome, of a time you went to another lab to ask for assistance.” Don’t be afraid to admit you needed help; it’s a good sign when you’re comfortable asking for support from others who might be more knowledgeable.
Familiarity with the Environment
The interviewer may want to get an idea about how savvy you are in a laboratory. One such question could be, “What type of equipment have you used in a lab, and what’s your skill level in their use?” You want to describe your comfort level with the various types of equipment you’ve used. If you’re asked whether you’re familiar with a specific tool with which you haven’t had experience, such as a new microscope, admit that you haven't had hands-on experience, and then describe your expertise with other microscopes you do know. Another question you could be asked is, “Tell me your procedure for cleaning, maintaining and preparing supplies within the lab” Your reply will demonstrate that you know your way around a lab.
2016 Salary Information for Biological Technicians
Biological technicians earned a median annual salary of $42,520 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, biological technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $33,840, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $54,990, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 82,100 people were employed in the U.S. as biological technicians.
- Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Biological Technicians
- Cool Interview: Microbiology Interview Questions and Answers
- Sociobiology: How to Interview Technician Job Candidates
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Biological Technicians
- Career Trend: Biological Technicians
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.