Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Job candidates, references lower expectations before interview

CHEMISTRYTOWN (CJ Press) -- In an unusual move, accomplished graduate student and job interviewee Lisa Brown has decided to lower expectations for her upcoming interview at MegaPharma. When informed of her on-site interview, she informed her site host, "Wow -- what an opportunity! I am so excited to talk about my work at Fancy Pants University. But interviews and public speaking is really hard, and I haven't really had time to practice. I just hope to do my best -- I hear other candidates are very impressive speakers."

When her graduate school adviser was called by the interview committee, Professor F.M. Jones also downplayed Ms. Brown's chances of success at the Megapharm interview. "Lisa is an excellent chemist and an accomplished scientist. However, I understand that Megapharm interviewers ask very difficult questions. Powerpoint slide transitions are unusually complex, though -- I think Lisa will have her work cut out for her in front of that very tough audience."

Surprisingly, Matthew Chang of Elegant Institute of Technology, another interviewee for the same position at Megapharma also downplayed expectations for his upcoming talk. "Lisa is a tremendous communicator of science and her work has really had a lot of impact in the community -- I just hope not to trip over myself on the way to the front of the room." Mr. Chang's adviser, Professor L.E. Levelle was also modest in his comments: "Matt's 5 JACS communications are nice work, but nothing really earth-shattering -- I'm sure that Lisa will have more impressive work to show."

Megapharma scientists and managers are somewhat bemused by the breakout of modesty amongst their interview candidates, but are hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  


  1. I just wish they would answer the questioned asked instead of the question they want to answer!

    1. "Thanks for that interesting question on the kinetics of that reaction. As you know, I love kinetics in all of its forms. But I'd really like to talk about the yield of that reaction, which is a remarkable 98% yield with a 95:5 diastereoselectivity. For the number of bonds formed, that's a really nice result, and one that I'm proud to associate myself with."

    2. Why would they want to discuss their real weaknesses? Or divulge their real opinion on diversity? Or give give anything but the boilerplate bs answers to all the other boilerplate bs questions?

  2. I'm reminded of the Lowered Expectations SNL skits.