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University of Pennsylvania Research Specialist Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 11, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

55%
10%
10%

Interview Experience  

66%
11%
22%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
11 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty

No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Research Specialist A Interview

Research Specialist A

I applied online and interviewed at University of Pennsylvania.

Interview Details – My interview was scheduled directly with the P.I. through email. I interviewed a week after the initial contact, and was given their decision two weeks after the interview date. I interviewed with three different lab personnel. The interview was informal and I wasn't asked too many questions. They did most of the talking and I was asked only about my previous research experience.

Interview Question – None of the questions were difficult or unexpected   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Research Specialist A Interview

Research Specialist A

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania.

Interview Details – After applying online, was contacted by lab PI to interview on-site. Learned the laboratory's research interests and current projects, then was asked about my research experience and motivation. After meeting with current members of the lab, met with PI again to discuss my potential role. An offer was sent a few weeks later.

Interview Question – What are your career goals?   Answer Question


No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Research Specialist Interview

Research Specialist

I applied online and interviewed at University of Pennsylvania.

Interview Details – I interviewed here twice- same position in two different departments about 6 months apart. Both experiences were crummy.

Experience #1- Long phone interview, then in-person interview. Travel was (very) partially reimbursed but only after reminding them more than once. They were looking to hire 'in a few months' but still interviewed me. I followed up maybe two months later and was told that they had put the search on hold but would let me know either way. Then I never heard from them again and saw the position reposted a few weeks ago. The people were very nice but I think when applicants spend a significant amount of time and effort going to interviews, we're owed a polite rejection. It's not that hard.

Experience #2- No initial phone interview, instead I was invited for an in-person interview and given very rigid time frames. When I explained that I'd be traveling from out of state (which was clearly listed on my resume) and the times didn't work for me because of travel restrictions, they said they'd get back to me about times in the future because the PI would be traveling. I was able to rearrange my schedule and make one of their times work but wish I hadn't. These people were unnecessarily rude and acted as if I should feel privileged that they even deigned to be in the same room with me. They said they wanted to fill the position ASAP but certainly within the month. Then they introduced me around and just left me standing there with someone in the office for at least 20 minutes… he had to go and track my interviewer back down and then she just told me I was all done. They didn't even acknowledge that I came from out of state on my own dime, last minute, and rearranged my schedule to meet with them.

I never heard from them again (surprise) except when HR sent me an email saying that this position matched my profile and inviting me to apply for it… it was the same position I had just interviewed for a month earlier! And my HR profile was marked as 'interviewed' so it seemed pretty obvious.

It also seemed obvious that no one communicates with one another and they don't know what they want, they just like to 'window shop' candidates. It seems that neither of these positions have been filled.

I'm sure Penn has the cream of the crop to pick from because they are certainly acting as such. But I certainly will not waste my time applying with them in the future. It seems like it'd be a pretty good place to work overall but when you can spot the dysfunction within a one-hour interview, there's more than likely tons more to be seen…

Interview Question – The questions were general experience questions, nothing crazy.   Answer Question


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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Specialist A Interview

Research Specialist A

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania in October 2010.

Interview Details – After filling out an online application, I was contacted by an administrative assistant who scheduled my interview. I met with the Principal Investigator first and we went over my work experience, college courses, and what the position would entail. Next, the admin assistant walked me to the lab where I met a few grad students and was shown around the lab. Apparently this is how each candidate was vetted. The grad students had a large say in who was hired and they had access to each candidate's resume.

Interview Question – I was asked if I had questions that I wanted answered. Since I didn't know anything about the lab or my position until I had the interview, I didn't have anything prepared   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation, paperwork was already printed up for me to sign.


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Research Specialist B Interview

Research Specialist B

The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania.

Interview Details – It took about two weeks for a hiring manager to make initial contact. It consisted of a panel interview. The panel seemed uninterested from the start. I was not offered an opportunity to ask questions about the position. I was practically pushed out of the door and a comment by the hiring interviewer stating that it would be a very long time before I heard from them because they are going through to motions of HR requirements about paperwork and performing a certain number of interviews needed for documentation (Perhaps they meant the affirmative action paperwork that makes them tally how many minorities they interview per job). Never heard from them again.

Interview Question – No trick questions, they weren't interested from the start.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Research Specialist B Interview

Research Specialist B

I applied in-person and the process took 2 months - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania in March 2013.

Interview Details – They often like to give med students or people that already work for Penn Medicine preference when it comes to final interviews. Therefore, it is helpful to know some one within the department.

Interview Question – Describe all the steps of (xxxxx) protocol. People don't typically memorize trivial procedures   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Academia doesn't pay great but they have very attractive benefits.


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Research Specialist A Interview

Research Specialist A
Philadelphia, PA

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania in April 2012.

Interview Details – I was contacted via email by the principal investigator (PI). We set up for an interview, which was very casual and laid back. Everyone in the department I interviewed in was helpful, as finding my way to the Principal Investigator's office was a task. When the interview was over, the PI promised to get in touch with me within two weeks. I got the job, and the rest is history.

Interview Question – There was none. The interview was very easy, thankfully.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I was unable to negotiate.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Research Specialist B Interview

Research Specialist B
Philadelphia, PA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania in January 2012.

Interview Details – I applied online. After following up, I was contacted by the lab manager and came in to interview. I went through very laid back, informal 30 minute interviews with about 6 different members of the lab. The interviews were all very standard, no behavioral questions.

Interview Question – Why do you want this job?   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Research Specialist A Interview

Research Specialist A
Philadelphia, PA

The process took a day - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania in September 2011.

Interview Details – I received an email from the office of the PI for whose lab I had applied to. The interview was scheduled entirely through email. The process consisted of a one on one interview with the PI, who had seen my qualifications on my resume and had been curious as to the fact that I went to the same graduate school as the one she'd been teaching at until recently. However, this seemed about as far as her interest went as far as I was concerned.

She said up front without barely asking any questions that the job she had in mind probably wasn't a good fit for me, but reassured me that I should keep looking for a job and if I didn't find one within a few weeks to contact her again for another position that she might need filling in the future.

It was a very odd experience, but one that I came out of fairly happy.

Interview Question – What sort of experience and techniques do you have in the lab?   View Answer


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Research Specialist A Interview

Research Specialist A

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at University of Pennsylvania.

Interview Details – I was referred by a former employer. The hiring and interview process took three weeks.

Interview Question – I wasn't asked too many questions. The employer was already familiar with my work.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I was able to negotiate.

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