17 Chemical Laboratory Technician Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a chemical laboratory technician, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

A chemical laboratory technician is responsible for conducting experiments and tests in a chemical laboratory. They work with a variety of chemicals and must be able to safely handle and dispose of them. Chemical laboratory technicians must be able to follow instructions and procedures and have a keen eye for detail.

If you’re applying for a job as a chemical laboratory technician, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions in your interview. These questions will assess your technical skills, knowledge of chemicals and laboratory procedures, and your ability to work independently and follow instructions. We’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Are you comfortable working with hazardous materials in the lab?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your comfort level with working in a lab environment that involves hazardous materials. Your answer should show the interviewer that you have experience working with these types of chemicals and can do so safely.

Example: “Yes, I am comfortable working with hazardous materials in the lab. In my previous role as a chemical laboratory technician, I worked with many different types of hazardous materials including acids, bases and flammable liquids. I always followed all safety protocols when handling these substances, which included wearing protective gear like gloves and goggles. I also made sure to follow proper disposal procedures for any waste products.”

What are some of the safety procedures you follow when working with hazardous materials?

Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of following safety procedures and how they can help protect yourself, your coworkers and others in the workplace. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you followed proper safety procedures and what happened as a result.

Example: “I always follow proper safety procedures when working with hazardous materials because I know that doing so can prevent accidents from happening. For example, at my last job, we were working with highly flammable chemicals. One day, one of my coworkers was using a Bunsen burner without wearing any protective gloves. He accidentally spilled some of the chemical on his hand, which caused him to immediately drop the Bunsen burner. Luckily, he didn’t get burned, but if he had been wearing gloves, it would have prevented the spill.”

How would you handle a situation where you made a mistake while working with a sample?

Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to admit your mistakes and learn from them. In your answer, try to explain what steps you would take to correct the mistake and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Example: “If I made a mistake while working with a sample, I would first apologize to my supervisor for making the error. Then, I would immediately begin testing the sample again to ensure that I got accurate results. Finally, I would write up a report detailing exactly what happened and how I fixed it so that I could use these notes as a reference if something similar ever occurred in the future.”

What is your process for handling and disposing of hazardous waste?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your knowledge of handling hazardous waste in the lab. Use examples from your experience to explain how you handle and dispose of hazardous waste properly.

Example: “In my last role, I was responsible for disposing of all hazardous waste generated by our team. I used a disposal company that specialized in recycling hazardous materials. This allowed me to send off any waste we produced without having to worry about proper disposal methods. However, if I had to handle the disposal myself, I would have followed specific guidelines for disposing of hazardous waste. For example, I would have placed it in a sealed container before sending it off to a designated facility.”

Provide an example of a time when you helped troubleshoot a problem in the lab.

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your problem-solving skills and how you apply them in the workplace. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you used your critical thinking skills to solve a problem or challenge that arose at work.

Example: “At my previous job, I was working with a team of other lab technicians when we noticed some errors in our data collection. We all worked together to figure out what caused these errors so we could fix them before moving forward with our research. After looking over our notes and double-checking our calculations, we realized that one of our colleagues had made an error while entering data into the computer system. Once we fixed this issue, we were able to continue our research without any further complications.”

If you were given a task and the instructions were unclear, how would you approach the situation?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you respond to challenges and whether you would be able to ask for clarification or assistance. Your answer should show that you are willing to take initiative, communicate with others and solve problems.

Example: “If I was given a task and the instructions were unclear, I would first try to clarify what exactly I needed to do. If I still didn’t understand, I would contact my supervisor immediately so they could provide further instruction or assign someone else to complete the task. In this situation, it is important to follow up with your supervisor after completing the task to ensure that everything went as expected.”

What would you do if you noticed a coworker was not following safety procedures?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are a team player and that you care about the safety of your coworkers. In your answer, try to show that you would approach the coworker in private and explain why their actions were unsafe. You can also mention that you would offer to help them understand how to do things safely.

Example: “If I noticed a coworker was not following safety procedures, I would first talk to them privately. I would explain why what they were doing was dangerous and offer to help them learn how to do it correctly. If they refused my help, I would continue to watch them closely and report any other infractions to my supervisor.”

How well do you pay attention to detail when performing experiments?

Attention to detail is an important skill for a chemical laboratory technician. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to perform experiments accurately and thoroughly. When answering, explain that you are able to pay attention to detail in your work. Explain how this helps you complete tasks efficiently and effectively.

Example: “I am very good at paying attention to detail when performing experiments. I find it helpful to write down every step of my experiment so I can remember what I did. This has helped me avoid making mistakes or overlooking details while working on projects. In my last role, I was tasked with creating a new formula for a cleaning product. I wrote down each ingredient as I added it to the mixture. By doing this, I avoided adding too much of one ingredient and causing the entire batch to be ruined.”

Do you have experience using lab equipment? Which examples can you provide?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience level and how you might fit into their organization. If you have no prior experience, consider describing what you would do if faced with a situation where you needed to use lab equipment.

Example: “I’ve worked in a chemistry lab for five years now, so I’m very familiar with most of the common lab equipment used in my field. However, I also know that each company has its own unique equipment, so I am always open to learning new things. When I first started working at my current job, I was tasked with using a gas chromatograph, which is an instrument that separates compounds by their chemical properties. I took some time to learn about it, but after a few weeks, I felt comfortable enough to operate it on my own.”

When performing quality checks, what metrics do you typically look for?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the industry and how you apply it in your work. When answering, consider mentioning a few metrics that are important for quality control and why they’re necessary.

Example: “I always look at accuracy, precision, linearity, range and stability when performing quality checks. Accuracy is the ability of a test result to reflect the actual value of what’s being tested. Precision refers to the repeatability of a test result. Linearity means that the relationship between the input and output remains consistent over time. Range refers to the minimum and maximum values of a test result. Stability refers to whether or not a test result changes over time.”

We want to increase our efficiency when conducting experiments. What strategies would you use to streamline the chemical laboratory process?

This question allows you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills and ability to work as part of a team. Your answer should include specific strategies that you have used in the past to increase efficiency in chemical laboratory processes.

Example: “I would implement an electronic data management system for tracking experiments, which can help streamline the process by eliminating paper records. I also believe it’s important to use standard operating procedures when conducting experiments so that everyone is working from the same information. This helps ensure accuracy and consistency in the results.”

Describe your experience working with computer software used in the lab.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your computer skills and how you use them in the lab. Use your answer to describe which software you’re familiar with and what you’ve used it for, such as entering data or creating reports.

Example: “In my previous role, I worked primarily with Microsoft Access, but I also had some experience using Excel and PowerPoint. In my current position, we use all three of these programs regularly, so I have become quite comfortable with each one. For example, I recently created a database that tracked our inventory levels for various chemicals. We then used the information from the database to create weekly reports on the chemical usage in the lab.”

What makes you the best candidate for this chemical laboratory technician position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Consider including any certifications or training you have completed in the past.

Example: “I am passionate about chemistry and enjoy working with chemicals. I also have extensive experience as a chemical laboratory technician, having worked at my current job for five years. In this position, I gained valuable knowledge about various types of chemicals and how they react together. I also learned how to use different equipment to test samples and perform experiments. These skills and experiences make me the best candidate for this position.”

Which areas of chemistry do you have the most experience in?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience and expertise in the field. Use your answer to highlight any areas you have a lot of experience with, but also include information about other areas that you are familiar with.

Example: “I have the most experience working with organic compounds, which is why I am so excited for this opportunity. In my previous role as an assistant lab technician, I was responsible for testing samples for various types of organic compounds. I also had some experience working with inorganic compounds, although I would consider myself more of an intermediate when it comes to these elements.”

What do you think is the most important role a chemical laboratory technician can play?

This question can help an interviewer determine how you view your role in the workplace. Your answer can also show them what skills and abilities you think are most important for a chemical laboratory technician to have. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific skill or two that you feel is vital for someone in this position.

Example: “I believe the most important role a chemical laboratory technician can play is ensuring the safety of their team members. I take my job very seriously because I know that if something goes wrong with one of our experiments, it could lead to serious injury or even death. That’s why I always make sure to double-check all of my work before presenting it to my supervisor.”

How often do you perform routine maintenance on lab equipment?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with lab equipment and how often you perform maintenance. This can help them determine if you have the skills necessary to keep their equipment in good working order. When answering, consider mentioning a specific time when you performed routine maintenance on lab equipment and what steps you took to ensure it was done effectively.

Example: “In my current role as a chemical laboratory technician, I perform routine maintenance on all of our lab equipment at least once per month. I use a checklist to make sure that I complete each task thoroughly. For example, I always clean the glassware before using it for an experiment and check the calibration of all instruments regularly.”

There is a chemical spill in the lab. How would you handle the situation?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work under pressure. Your answer should include a step-by-step process of how you would handle the situation, including what equipment you would use and any safety precautions you would take.

Example: “First, I would make sure that everyone in the lab was safe by evacuating them from the area. Then, I would put on my protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and a face mask. Next, I would isolate the spill with barriers or other containment methods. Finally, I would clean up the spill using appropriate chemicals.”


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