A: ASIDE FROM ENGINEERING ABILITY, I try to assess their skills related to explaining their subject, working in a team, and negotiating corporate bureaucracy. Technical professionals need to be able to explain concepts to people with a wide range of scientific acumen. Ask a candidate to explain one of their projects, or listen to them describe a technical drawing you show them. Have the candidate speak with interviewers from various job functions. Get the candidate to provide detailed descriptions of previous work environments. Watch how they function within the context of your job application process. The candidate’s reactions to your corporate processes ranging from parking to gate security to the cafeteria line may provide clues as to their ultimate fit with the organization.
Mark Petrich, Ph.D., PE
Mark is director, component engineering at Global Sterile & Validation Center of Excellence, Merck. He serves as second vice chair of the Bio-Process Systems Alliance.