Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
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I interviewed online. The process took 4 days - interviewed at Merck.Interview Details
Merck's hiring process is rather straight-forward and transparent. A former colleague sent me a link to a job posting on Merck's website, correctly (and thankfully) inferring that it would be of interest. The online application was standard, to a point, and the website worked well and guided me through the process. The website posting included some questions specific to the job to ensure only qualified candidates could apply.
Surprisingly, I was contacted by the hiring manager's admin the following day and asked to come in the day after for interviews. From anecdotal experience, this experience is not common but Merck does, in general, move pretty quickly from application to contact if they're interested. Sometimes applicants and postings fall through the cracks, however, so I wouldn't despair if the wait took weeks or even months. Also, keep checking the website to see if the position was reposted and reapply if so.
Merck interviews, as with most things Merck, are a team exercise. My interviews started at 9 and continued until 1. Their goal was to have me interviewed by each of the managers within the group. Upon being escorted from the security desk to a small conference room, I was met by the first interviewer. He explained that changes had been made to the itinerary they'd emailed me because a few of his colleagues were off-site. This would have lead to a shorter interview experience, but the group director was unexpectedly available in the afternoon and wished to speak with me for a while.
The interviewers, like the group and the company as a whole, had varied backgrounds, personalities, and approaches. My first interviewer was fairly intense so I expected all would be. I later came to learn that he's just a pretty intense guy. It's cliche, but I cannot recommend enough that interviewees be themselves. Your interviewers will likely compare notes and on the fly and alter questions accordingly. Therefor, answering questions honestly and candidly, calmly, and even with a sense of humor if your comfortable with that will make your day easier.
Merck HR provides a handbook of questions to their hiring managers. These questions are designed to not only assess candidates but to ensure there are no breaches of hiring practice laws. If it feels like you're being asked somewhat impersonal questions, it's because you are. The upside is that you won't be asked anything awkward or worse (I think we've all left an interview or two thinking the questions were inappropriate). These are your standard situational interview questions, e.g., "tell me about a time you worked on a project with a difficult individual and explain how you were able complete the task" types.
The interviewers will use your responses to craft follow-up questions or segue into discussion. Most of my interviewers took a casual approach and were very interested in discussing my questions. They want to ensure you're a good fit for the job, but also that the job's a good fit for you.
Finally, if you get the feeling that they know more about you than they're letting on, it's probably because they do. Pharma is, at least within certain regions, a surprisingly small family. The people at Merck often come to the company after they've gained experience elsewhere. They've also gained a broad network of contacts. I recommend using the interview as an opportunity to carefully address anything from your professional history that may appear questionable but, of course, do so tactfully and quickly explain that you learned from it, for example, and it made you a better employee. Your reputation may proceed you but don't rely on that fact or become overly concerned if you have an item or two you'd rather they didn't know. Merck employees like to make their own decisions and you wouldn't be interviewing if they weren't seriously interested in hiring you.Interview Questions
Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
- I attended the same university as one of my interviewers, though I didn't realize it. She smiled and said the first half of a chant common at our college football games... and I totally blew it. My mind was in "serious mode" and I felt pretty silly afterward. Answer Question
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