Top Biology Interview Questions With Example Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 20 September 2022
Published 4 October 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Preparing for an interview usually involves a lot of research and practice. Reviewing and practising common interview questions for a particular position can make you feel confident during the interview. This can also help you make a positive impression and increase your chance of succeeding in the interview. While it is challenging to predict what questions your interviewer may ask you, there are some common biology interview questions that you can practice. In this article, we discuss some of the top questions you are likely to be asked during a biology interview with examples of responses to help you succeed.
Biology Interview Questions With Sample Answers
Below are common biology interview questions with sample answers:
1. Why did you choose biology as a profession?
The purpose of this question is to know about your interests and passion for biology. Interviewers may start with this question to know about you and your background. You can begin by providing a summary of your present job or projects, followed by the most essential and relevant highlights from your history that qualify you for the post. Try to be as precise as possible about your passion and how your abilities may help in the lab. You can also mention your professional advancement goals and objectives to assist you in showing your sincerity towards this field.
Example: “I chose biology because of the numerous prospects for a successful career. I like evaluating data, tracking trends and assisting people in making health-related decisions. I engaged in this course to gain a better understanding of living creatures and to gain expertise in the different levels of biology.”
2. Why are you interested in collaborating with us?
The interviewer is interested in seeing how much you know about the company/institution culture and whether you can blend with its values and vision. Doing research and learning about the company's products, services, mission, history and culture is the best approach to prepare for this question.
Example: “The objective of your company to assist other groups with their researches and inventions appeals to me. I have been in that scenario before, and I want to work for a firm that makes a difference. Throughout my job hunt, I have prioritised finding an organisation with a pleasant work environment and values that fit with my own, and this organisation is at the top of the list.”
3. What challenges do you expect to experience as a research biologist?
The best approach to respond to questions about the challenges is to talk about how you like to use your talents and expertise successfully if you were recruited for the position. You may also mention how challenges that drive you, how you can successfully face obstacles and that you have the flexibility and abilities to handle challenging work. You can give specific examples of obstacles you have overcome in your past experiences and objectives that you have fulfilled.
Example: “I am good at problem-solving. I enjoy looking over material to discover answers to challenges. It is like putting together a puzzle. It's something I have always been good at and like doing. Finding innovative ways to solve complicated issues is a big part of the research, which drew me to this field in the first place.”
4. What is the significance of the human genome project?
The purpose of this question is to assess your understanding of important biological discoveries, inventions and important projects undertaken in this field. You may explain the project in brief, including any facts.
Example: "The Human Genome Effort (HGP) was an international scientific research project that was completed in 2003 by sequencing the whole 3.3 billion base pair human genome. Bioinformatics, a huge field of science, grew as a result of the HGP. The successful sequencing of the human genome solved the enigma of many human diseases and provided us with a means of dealing with them."
5. How does DNA fingerprinting work? What is its use?
Organisations dealing in fields like biotech might ask this question and it might be helpful to prepare this topic beforehand. You may explain what DNA is and the advantages of DNA fingerprinting if asked this question.
Example: “Chemicals are used to separate strands of DNA and expose the unique elements of the genome in DNA fingerprinting. The results appear as a striped pattern that may be compared to other samples. It is used to physically link a piece of evidence to a person or eliminate a suspect. It helps to list the parents, siblings and any relatives of an individual. DNA also helps in recognising the identity of deceased people whose bodies are non-identifiable from normal means.”
6. Why is Darwin regarded as a great biologist?
This is a general question designed to test your basic understanding of the subject. You can define his theory and provide instances to demonstrate your knowledge. Also, prepare to know other prominent scientists in the field.
Example: “Charles Darwin is regarded as one of the best minds this world has seen. He was the first person to make people aware of their position in the evolutionary process. His 'theory of evolution by natural selection' answers how organisms evolve over generations through behavioural and physical traits inherited from ancestors. His idea is still widely regarded as the most logical answer for how life evolved on this planet.”
7. Give an example of how specialist biological knowledge has helped food production.
This question tests your knowledge of recent advancements in various fields connected to biology. You can include examples that you know of with some additional information on key terms in one or two sentences to make your response more relevant.
Example: “Biological knowledge enables the large-scale production of items with uniform flavour, colour and texture. This also helps specialists to develop food that can boost our immune system, protect us from disease and even make us stronger by combining existing and newly discovered ingredients to create novel recipes. For example, modifying foods to create fat-free products or ready meals.”
8. Is it easier for organisms to live in the sea or on land?
This is a typical question interviewers use to assess your fundamental knowledge and your ability to discover solutions to unexpected topics. You can discuss the effect of salinity in the sea and how this causes salt-water creatures to require more specialised symptoms to maintain osmolality.
Example: “When it comes to breathing, living on land is easier since oxygen is more readily available, but when it comes to thermoregulation, living in a body of water provides a more consistent temperature because water is typically harder to heat up.”
9. How does the immune system recognise invading pathogens as foreign cells?
You can respond to this question by describing the role of pathogens in the immune system. Employers may ask these questions regardless of your qualification level. You can memorise the terms used in this area to answer this question correctly.
Example: “When a pathogen enters the body, cells in the blood and lymph detect the pathogen's surface for particular pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMPs are carbohydrate, polypeptide and nucleic acid signatures produced by viruses, bacteria and parasites that vary from molecules produced by host cells. These PAMPs help the immune system to distinguish between self and others, preventing the host from being destroyed.”
10. When do birds use their teeth?
While employers may not ask this exact question, it gives you an idea of the trick questions they may ask to test your basic knowledge. Refresh your memory on basic ideas to demonstrate that you can provide straightforward answers. Anticipate what kind of trick questions they may ask by reading through the job description.
Example: “Birds don't have teeth. So birds can't chew their food to crumbs in their mouth as humans do. Instead, birds rely on the gizzard, a muscular stomach-like pouch, to smash their food.”
11. Do you have any questions?
This may be one of the most essential questions asked throughout the interview process since it allows you to delve deeper into any topics that haven't been covered before and tell the interviewer that you are enthusiastic about the position. Most likely you would have covered most of the fundamentals regarding the position and the firm at this stage, so take advantage of the opportunity to ask the interviewer about their own experiences with the company and get advice on how to thrive if recruited.
Example: “What do you enjoy most about working for this company?” for example. What would it take to be successful in this position? What are some of the common problems that people in this position face?”
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