Laboratory managers work in private laboratories, hospitals, clinics and other research settings. Interview each candidate in a quiet office environment; assemble an interview team that can effectively assess the candidate. A human resources specialist or manager, together with a director from the laboratory and a member of the medical or clinical team, make an ideal interview panel for a laboratory manager interview.
Human Resources Skills
Laboratory managers supervise staff. Knowing that any manager in your organization, regardless of their specialty, is an effective manager of human resources is a must for any human resources manager hiring another manager. Ask questions such as, "How many people have you supervised in prior positions?", "How do you effectively manage people in your work?" and "How do you motivate your staff?"
Laboratory managers ensure the lab is following quality assurance procedures and associated policies. Ask questions such as, "How do you manage the quality assurance process?" and "How do you ensure your lab is always producing quality, accurate results?" Probe the candidate with questions that show how they deal with challenging situations, such as, "What do you do if you discover an error has been made?" Being aware of how prospective hires deal with difficult situations is an important part of the interview process.
Safety in a laboratory is of paramount importance. A candidate for this kind of management position requires knowledge of safety-best practices; proven success in implementing and promoting a culture of safety is also critical. Ask your candidates, "How do you develop and maintain a safe work environment?" and "How do you deal with a major accident in your lab? Tell us what you have done to prepare for, and how you would react if, something serious happened on your watch."
Teaching, Training and Mentoring
Many laboratory management positions involve mentoring and teaching student and intern workers. Managers also train new staff who are recruited for positions in the lab and supporting the lab. Gauge the teaching, training and mentoring capabilities of each candidate by asking, "What makes you an effective teacher of student hires?", "Why is mentoring important on teams you supervise?" and, finally, "How do you ensure each staff is fully trained and prepared for on-the-job success?"
A laboratory manager must have technical knowledge -- typically, this knowledge is gained through experience working at the junior ranks of the lab in positions like laboratory technologist, and doing assistant-level work. Ask managerial candidates, "How do you troubleshoot equipment and report IT issues in your laboratory?" and "Tell us about a time when you had to purchase new equipment with a limited budget."
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