Pacific Biosciences Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Staff Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in September 2010.
Interview Details – Phone screening, then full day on site interview with a variety of people from different teams. Mix of technical questions and just get to know you sort of things. Possible to split up an interview schedule so it isn't so arduous but you'd have to ask for that explicitly or they'll just book a whole day.
Interview Question – Don't remember exactly. Some variety of difficult technical questions to gauge depth and breadth. But no stress interview questions particularly. Answer Question
Senior Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in November 2012.
Interview Details – Submitted a resume on a tuesday night and received an e-mail within 24 hours scheduling a first phone screen/interview later that week. After a successful phone interview, I was invited the following week to be flown out and put up in a hotel to interview in Menlo Park. After a pretty intense 7 hour all day on-site interview, I felt confident, but of course still unsure whether or not I had gotten the job. The next day I received a phone call with a job offer and full expense paid relocation package.
Interview Question – Where do you picture yourself in 5 years? View Answer
Associate Product Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in February 2011.
Interview Details – The process involved first a phone interview and then an in-person interview on site. The in-person interview was very intense and lasted almost 7 hours. They didn't seem to have the process down very well, as I never got time for lunch or planned break. They also didn't have the timing right, one interviewer completely ran out of questions after 10 mins and we were supposed to talk for 45 mins. Overall the process was pretty repetitive; I felt like I was being asked the same things over and over by 8 different people. Lots of personality questions, felt like they were trying to trick you sometimes.
The employees all seemed to genuinely enjoy their job, but there was a certain air of superiority, as if they felt they were better than everyone else because they worked at PacBio.
Contract Recruiter Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in June 2010.
Interview Details – Applied directly online and received a phone call the next day. Senior Recruiter seemed very inexperienced despite having been there a few years. They asked several basic questions. I misunderstood a lot of what they were trying to ask and was constantly interrupted when giving my answer. They almost seemed to belittle my experience by comparing their "rapidly growing" company with my smaller one. They were looking for someone to start the very next week, encouraging me to quit my job on the fly for a contract position, almost implying that PacBio is superior and anyone with an opportunity to get in, should. Despite my experience, I moved to the next phase of interviews.
The director didn't seem too excited about the interview, almost as if they were just following protocol. Asked basic questions; nothing out of the ordinary. Gave a string of Boolean Logic and asked what each one meant. A few questions after that, they ended it quickly with a "We'll give you a call after we review."
No call back. Quite frankly, not sure I'd be able to work with the team.
Interview Question – Referring to Boolean string: (developer or engineer)
Why would I do this? View Answer
R&D Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
The process took a day - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in May 2010.
Interview Details – Perused the company website for positions and found one that fit my background and experience. Applied online, received email invitation for an on-site interview a week later. All correspondence with recruiter (scheduling) was all done by email. Online application system is great - must create an account, but site is easy to navigate and you can log back in at a later time to check how your application is moving along. The recruiting process appears to be done all electronically via this system.
I was told they usually bring in local candidates for 1:1 interview with the hiring manager in-lieu of a phone screen. 2-3 favorites get invited back for a second round of interviews with the team. First interview was with HM only. The majority of the interview was behavioral based questions pertaining to "WILL you do the job" and "CAN". Folks, come in prepared and stay sharp (ie. don't let your guard down!). Such a bummer I messed up on one "innocent" question. Oh well, lesson learned, but I still feel bad I blew it by not being more careful.
Research Associate Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in March 2012.
Interview Details – Stay alert and be prepare. They really asked step by step what yours skills set.
Interview Question – Why do you want to work here Answer Question
Director Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Pacific Biosciences in February 2011.
Interview Details – Fairly informal. Phone screen followed by panel interview, 1:1 and then finally interview with the "C" level person. Lot of questions around core competence and background. Very little on personality and culture fit. Overall, pretty positive experience. Nothing bad.
Interview Question – Questions around any previous start-up experience Answer Question