34 Interview Questions for a Lab Technician Role (With Sample Answers)

Updated June 24, 2022

When employers are looking to hire a lab technician, they usually need someone with a background in science and research. Throughout the interview process for this role, employers may ask you questions about your interest in this job and your relevant skills to make sure you're qualified to be a lab technician.

By preparing for your interview question responses, you can show employers that you are the right fit for the job. In this article, we share 34 common interview questions for a lab technician and how to successfully answer a few of them.

Related: Learn About Being a Lab Technician

General questions

These general interview questions for a lab technician help an employer learn more about your personality and interest in their position:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself.

  • What are your interests outside of work?

  • How would your previous employer describe you?

  • What influenced you to get into this field?

  • Why do you want to work for our lab?

  • What about our research interests you?

  • How do you keep up with the latest innovations in our industry?

  • What scientific publications do you read?

  • Please explain the scientific method.

  • Why do you enjoy hands-on work?

Related: What Does a Medical Laboratory Technician Do?

Questions about experience and background

Employers may ask these interview questions to learn if your experience and background make you a qualified lab technician:

  • What lab equipment do you have experience using?

  • What steps do you take to avoid contamination?

  • What were your previous responsibilities in a lab setting?

  • What sterilization methods are you familiar with? Please explain each one.

  • What is your approach to working with large sets of data?

  • Explain good laboratory practice to me.

  • Explain what an aliquot is.

  • What techniques do you use to properly place a sample in a microscope?

  • Share your experience consulting with pathologists for diagnostic purposes.

  • Tell me how you organize and prioritize your work.

Related: Lab Technician Resume Samples

In-depth questions

These in-depth questions give employers insight into your specific skill set and the value you can bring to their team:

  • How would you address a problem that you detected?

  • What would you do in the case of a chemical spill?

  • What would you do if a colleague was not following the proper safety protocols?

  • What areas would you prepare for a clinical lab audit?

  • Share an example of a time your ethics were challenged. What did you do in this situation?

  • What steps would you take to collect information from multiple sources?

  • How would you handle working with someone you often disagreed with?

  • How would you demonstrate your active listening skills?

  • Share a time you had to overcome an obstacle in a lab setting. How did you handle this situation?

  • How would you effectively present research or results to someone with little scientific knowledge?

Interview questions with sample answers

These interview questions with sample answers can help you prepare for your next interview. Use these thoughtful responses as insight for your own answers:

  • What skills or characteristics make you qualified for a lab technician role?

  • What are some common pipette handling errors?

  • What steps do you take to ensure the safety of yourself and your colleagues?

  • Share an example of a time you exceeded expectations.

What skills or characteristics make you qualified for a lab technician role?

Lab technicians need to be attentive to detail, analytical and organized. An employer may ask this interview question to learn if you have the right skills for this role. Before your interview, read through the job description to see if there are any specific skills the employer requires for this role. In your answer, explain which of these skills you have and elaborate on any of your additional relevant skills.

Example: "While working in the lab, I know how important it is to be organized to stay on track and follow safety procedures. I've always been organized and attentive to detail. Throughout my work, I constantly double-check my work and fill in data as I am going to ensure better accuracy. I also have excellent time management skills. Meeting deadlines is a crucial part of this field, and I have the skill set to be able to prioritize my work and get things done on time. I am also willing to work overtime to get more urgent tasks completed."

Read more: Interview Question: "How Do You Prioritize Your Work?"

What are some common pipette handling errors?

As a lab technician, you need to be highly skilled in handling many kinds of tools and instruments. One common instrument you are likely to use is a pipette. Employers may ask this interview question to make sure you know the best practices for using a pipette and how to avoid mistakes in the lab. Review any materials that are relevant to the best practices regarding pipettes and other lab equipment. In your answer, share at least four or five common errors and how you might avoid them.

Example: "One common mistake I have noticed is when lab technicians work too quickly with their pipette. Precision is an important part of making sure you are following procedures properly. I've also seen colleagues use the incorrect pipette tips, which is why I always double-check mine. Forgetting to consider the temperate and wiping the tip too often are a couple of other common errors I have seen. I always think through a mental list to help myself remember to avoid these errors."

What steps do you take to ensure the safety of yourself and your colleagues?

Following safety procedures is an important part of a lab technician's job. Employers ask this question to learn if you know the proper lab safety procedures. Answer this question by explaining the safety procedures you followed in previous roles. Explain that you will also study what their lab's safety rules are.

Example: "Every day I would come to work prepared. Wearing closed-toe shoes, protective eyewear and clothing that covers my skin are the most basic safety procedures that I am always sure to follow. I also understand how important sample placement and labeling is. If I am ever unsure of what a sample is, I would triple check with my colleagues to make sure it is the proper sample. Proper communication is a huge component of maintaining lab safety.

After a day of work, I would make sure my workspace is clean and all my materials are in their correct place. I would also ensure I am following all the rules outlined in your lab safety handbook."

Read more: 10 Workplace Safety Tips to Stay Productive and Protected

Share an example of a time you exceeded expectations.

Employers are looking for a lab technician who can bring value to their team. This question helps them learn more about what kind of employee you are. In your answer, discuss a time you put in the extra effort that positively impacted your team. Share what role you had in this success.

Example: "In my previous research role, we needed 25 more samples to complete our study. We were unsure if we would still meet our deadline with that many samples left. I really wanted my team to complete this work on time, so I volunteered to work an additional two hours each night to ensure we got our work done. I was able to collect all the samples in time. All this effort was worth my time since our work was widely acclaimed across the university."

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