Onyx Pharmaceuticals Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Senior Scientist Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals.
Interview Details – Got the phone interview through a recruiter followed by an onsite full day interview. Relatively tough technical questions by couple of them.
Interview Question – None of the questions or the process was really unexpected. Answer Question
Associate Director, Medical Writing Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in April 2012.
Interview Details – After submitting my resume and cover letter online, a recruiter called to acknowledge receipt and set up a phone screen with the hiring manager. That phone screen occurred approximately 1 week later, and an interview arranged for 2 weeks after that. The interview consisted of a series of half-hour discussions with managers from various disciplines within the company; two such people had to bow out at the last minute. I was contacted about a week later and the company decided to go with a stronger candidate.
Principal Programmer Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in October 2012.
Interview Details – I actually had a great interview with 5 of the 6 people but it only took 1 really bad interviewer to really spoil my view of the company. In actuality the company seems great but the one bad interviewer was the person I would have to directly report to. Anyway long story short, after answering all the programming related questions correctly, this manager asks me why I never went for my masters or PhD. I was sort of stunned anyone would ask me that since I had FIFTEEN YEARS PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE. Then she goes on a 10 minute diatribe of how she had a doctorate and that an advanced degree opens doors. I was then told the company had only one other principal programmer ever and that they normally never hire at the principal level. I took that as she's the manager and she doesn't want anyone remotely close to her experience or skill level. She then went on to ask me what the federal law (21CFR Part 11) was on electronic data capture which no programmer really seriously knows off the top of their head since most programming and clinical data departments have that law built into their SOPs anyway. My favorite was when she asked me to describe what kind of data is captured in an SDTM DS domain and I told her in generic terms exactly what went into it. She then goes on to "correct" me using specific examples that my generic explanation already covered. I have interviewed at many a large pharma and small in my 15 year career and have never dealt with such a blatantly insulting and insecure interviewer. Sadly I could have really helped their department alot given my expertise in CDISC work since I was trained by one of the EDITORS OF THE CDISC SDTM IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE. So if you're a principal level programmer, you should probably come prepared with at least a master's degree and the federal law on electronic data capture memorized. Quite honestly very few if any of the questions were programming based. Seems the programming staff is more concerned what your academic pedigree is than what your technical knowledge is. Other than this horrifically insecure manager, the rest of the interviewers were friendly and courteous and seemed genuinely interested in me which is why their HR had called to extend me an offer but I told them in a polite way I had no desire to work for them.
Interview Question – Why didn't you go for a graduate degree? What is 21CFR Part 11? What is GCP? Answer Question
Reason for Declining – Because the manager seemed threatened by my experience which would probably mean a bad working relationship.
Senior Compensation/Benefits Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in November 2012.
Interview Details – Extremely thorough. I interview twice and met 8 people. This gave me the opportunity to meet with individuals I would be working with. Everyone was very professional and really open and honest about the job and the company. The recruiter kept me in the loop and contacted me frequently on the process. Best experience i've ever had.
Interview Question – They were very through asking behavioral based questions to determine if I had the skillset I was applying for. I appreciate this line of questioning and was prepared. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No need to negotite they were more than fair and there benefits are out of this world.
DSA II Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in May 2010.
Interview Details – Interview was a couple hours long and you meet with the Director, Assoc Director and colleagues. Round robin type of interview, you field random questions. After the interview, they have a useless review of the candidate where they seem to try to find the best reason NOT to hire you.
Interview Question – Standard interview questions Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Initially they try and low ball you but they forget they're a small company still and cant compete with other giants like GNE.
Intern Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
Interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals
Interview Details – I had an initial phone interview with the direct supervisor of the position, which was more like an introduction to the company and a get-to-know-you type of thing. Next, I was invited in for an on-site interview. This is where the trouble started. The supervisor/manager gave me a one week window to come in for the on-site, and when I told him I couldn't make it in that week (I am a student, and I had midterms/major assignments every single day that week), he basically said, "Sorry, then we're just not going to hire you because we need to make a decision ASAP." I asked them to reconsider, and finally they agreed to let me come in the following week.
During the on-site, I met with the director of the department and two other scientists. They asked me very detailed questions about my research experience and very few behavioral questions. I was pretty surprised at the nature of their questions, especially since the intern position didn't seem to require much prior knowledge/experience. Then at the end, I met with the direct supervisor who straight up told me, "I have hesitations about hiring you because I don't know how much I can personally teach you, and I don't think you'll be able to learn much from this internship." He then went on to explain how he barely had any research experience himself and strongly urged me to consider any offers that I had.... uhh great. At this point, I knew that I wouldn't get the position, and it seemed that the reason was because I was over-qualified. Or if you look at it from another standpoint, the supervisor was UNDER-qualified to be in charge of this internship. Although this wasn't my ideal internship, a student's gotta make a living, you know.
Basically, get your act together, Onyx! I felt that if they were looking for someone with less experience, that's understandable, to an extent... but then what was the whole point of grilling me with all those technical questions? To add insult to injury, they delayed relaying their final decision... so what was all that commotion about almost denying me an on-site because "we need to make a decision ASAP"? I am very appalled by the whole process. Never again.
Interview Question – Do you feel you are given enough independence in your current lab? Answer Question
Medical Director Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in August 2011.
Interview Details – Organized, efficient, good questions, nice folks were all present at my interveiw. I did return for a second interview which was time consuming but it all worked out. Very good picture of the folks I would work with in the company. Great HR staff with good follow up and communication.
Interview Question – What would I bring to the company that others wouldn't? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Easy
Intern Program Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in February 2013.
Interview Details – Very well structured. 1st round is phone interview with hiring manager, primarily on behavior and technical. 2nd round is in-person interview with 3 managers or higher level leaders.
Interview Question – If you're good at your job it's not difficult. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Director, Biometric Standards and Operation Interview (Negative Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3+ weeks - interviewed at Onyx Pharmaceuticals in April 2014.
Interview Details – I got a call from HR recruiter (an ADP recruiter from PA), though the job is located in CA. He asked general questions and promised to connect me with "one of the Vice presidents" to talk to me within the next couple of days. A week went by before he called back and then scheduled a phone interview with a senior director of statistical programming. The appointment was moved around more than three times, a sign of confusion and instability. After about two weeks of indecision, she called me and told me about the job and then asked what I have been doing and how I can help their organization. I provided her a broad perspectives on my skills and experience with specifics on strategic evaluation of current situation, CDISC strategy and implementation, NDA/BLA submissions, short-term and long-term strategy and the management of standards across multi-disciplinary groups (Biostatistics, Programming, Data management, Electronic Submissions and collaboration with clinical operations & IT).
She responded with: "This is exactly what we need". She promised to direct HR to follow up with me and gave me her phone number.
After a week was gone and no contact, I called the HR recruiter (left a message for him) and followed up with email. He never replied. Another week was gone, I called the hiring manager (left a message for her, but no reply). After a couple of more weeks, I tried each one again, no reply, there and then, I concluded that the organization was still in a shock of acquisition and re-organization.
My general impression is that this company seems to be in a state of low morale and "unknowns" and with some insecurity wind blowing across the organization. They could do a better job by respecting the time and efforts of potential candidates with some effective communication. It does not take much to call or send a message to candidate stating: "Thanks for your time, we are not interested".
Interview Question – The hiring manager did not actually ask any challenging, technical, behavioral, or intellectually stimulating question. She seemed blank out. Answer Question