17 Industrial Chemist Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an industrial chemist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

An industrial chemist is responsible for the development and production of chemical products on a large scale. They work in a variety of industries, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and beverage, and textiles.

If you’re hoping to land an industrial chemist job, you’ll need to ace your interview. During the interview, you’ll be asked a range of questions about your skills, experience, and knowledge. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of sample industrial chemist interview questions and answers.

Are you familiar with the properties of various chemicals used in industrial processes?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of expertise in industrial chemistry. Use examples from your experience to highlight your knowledge and understanding of various chemicals, their properties and how they interact with one another.

Example: “I have a strong background in chemical engineering, so I am familiar with many different types of industrial chemicals. In my previous role as an industrial chemist, I worked closely with engineers to develop new processes for manufacturing products using various chemicals. For example, I helped create a process that used fewer hazardous materials while still producing high-quality goods.”

What are some of the most important safety protocols you follow in the lab?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are committed to the safety of your coworkers and the general public. They want to know that you will follow their company’s policies regarding safety in the lab, so it is important to research what those policies are before your interview. In your answer, explain how you would ensure the safety of yourself and others while working as an industrial chemist.

Example: “I am very aware of my surroundings when I’m working with chemicals because I understand just how dangerous they can be. For example, if I were to notice a spill or any other hazardous situation, I would immediately alert someone else who could help me clean up the mess. I also always wear protective gear like gloves and goggles when handling chemicals.”

How do you determine the purity of a chemical sample?

This question can help interviewers assess your analytical skills and ability to make decisions based on data. Use examples from your experience that show you know how to use scientific methods to solve problems.

Example: “In my last position, I was tasked with determining the purity of a sample of an unknown chemical compound. To do this, I used several different tests including gas chromatography, which separates compounds by their boiling points, and mass spectrometry, which measures the weight of each compound. After running these tests, I determined that the purity of the sample was 80%, meaning it contained 20% impurities.”

What is your process for determining the quality of a batch of chemicals?

This question can help the interviewer understand your analytical skills and how you apply them to a variety of situations. Use examples from past experiences where you used your critical thinking skills to solve problems or make decisions that positively impacted your work.

Example: “I use several different methods for determining quality, including testing the pH level, color and viscosity of the batch. I also check for any impurities in the chemicals by using spectroscopy equipment and other laboratory tools. In my last role as an industrial chemist, I was responsible for ensuring all batches met quality standards before they were shipped out to customers.”

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

This question can help the interviewer gain insight into your problem-solving skills and ability to work independently. Use examples from your previous experience that highlight your critical thinking, analytical and communication skills.

Example: “In my last position as an industrial chemist, I was working on a project where we were trying to create a new formula for a cleaning product. We had already created several formulas, but none of them met our company’s standards. One day, one of my colleagues came to me with concerns about the newest formula they were creating. They said it didn’t look right and asked if I could take a look at it. After examining the formula, I realized there was too much of one ingredient in the mix. I informed my colleague, who then adjusted the formula.”

If you were asked to create a new chemical formula, what steps would you take?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and what steps you take to complete it. Use examples from past experiences in which you created a new chemical formula or process that helped your company save time, money or resources.

Example: “When I was working for my previous employer, we were tasked with creating a new formula for an industrial cleaning product. The client wanted us to create a more environmentally friendly version of the product without sacrificing its effectiveness. To do this, I first researched different formulas that could be used as alternatives to the original one. Then, I tested each formula on the products they produced to see if any of them would still function properly. After testing all of the formulas, I found one that worked well but also had lower environmental impact.”

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

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 emphasize how important it is to follow protocols and why it’s beneficial for everyone. You can also mention how you would help your coworker understand why they should follow the protocol.

Example: “I would first talk to my coworker privately and explain why following safety protocols is so important. I would tell them that if they don’t follow the protocols, they could get seriously injured or even killed. If they still didn’t want to follow the protocols, I would report them to our supervisor.”

How well do you understand the legalities of producing certain chemicals?

Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the legal requirements of your job. They want to know that you can follow all regulations and produce safe chemicals for their company. Use your answer to show that you are committed to following all safety procedures and regulations.

Example: “I am very aware of the legalities of producing certain chemicals. I have a degree in chemistry, so I understand the basics of what is and isn’t allowed. However, I also take extra precautions when working with any chemicals. I always wear protective gear and keep my workspace clean. This helps me avoid breaking any laws or putting myself at risk.”

Do you have any experience working with hazardous materials?

Employers may ask this question to make sure you have the experience and training necessary to work with dangerous chemicals. If you do, they might also want to know how you handled those materials safely. If you don’t, they might want to know if you’re comfortable working with them in the future. Use your answer to highlight any safety precautions you took or how you would handle hazardous materials in the future.

Example: “I’ve worked with some hazardous materials before, but I always made sure to follow all of the proper protocols for handling them. For example, when I was working at my previous job, we had a shipment of sodium that arrived damaged. We needed to dispose of it properly, so I followed our company’s guidelines for disposing of hazardous waste.”

When is it appropriate to seek outside help when solving a chemical problem?

This question can help the interviewer determine your problem-solving skills and how you interact with others. Use examples from past experiences to show that you know when it’s appropriate to ask for help and when you’re able to solve problems on your own.

Example: “I would first try to solve a chemical problem by researching online or in reference materials, but if I still couldn’t find an answer, then I would contact my supervisor or another industrial chemist who has more experience than me. In my last position, I was working on a project where we needed to create a new formula for a cleaning product. After several hours of research, I still didn’t have any answers, so I contacted my supervisor, who helped me figure out the right combination of ingredients.”

We want to improve our production processes to be more efficient. Give me an example of a process you could improve.

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work with others. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the process you would improve and how you would do so.

Example: “At my previous job, we had a production line that was very inefficient. The company wanted to increase its output by 50%, but our current processes couldn’t handle that much more product. I worked with my team to create new processes for the production line that could handle the increased workload. We also implemented new technology into the production line to help us meet our goals.”

Describe your experience with computer software used in industrial chemistry.

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

Example: “I have experience using several different types of industrial chemistry software, including ChemDraw, ChemOffice Professional and Jmol. I find these programs useful for creating diagrams and visual representations of chemical compounds, organizing data and analyzing information. In my last role, I used these tools to create a database of all the chemicals we had on hand at our facility so that other employees could access the information when they needed it.”

What makes you the best candidate for this 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 you have that are relevant to this position. Focus on highlighting your most impressive skills and explaining why they’re important for this role.

Example: “I am highly organized and detail-oriented, which makes me an excellent candidate for this position. I understand the importance of following safety protocols and maintaining accurate records when working with chemicals. My attention to detail also allows me to notice any inconsistencies in my work or other areas where improvements could be made. In my previous role, these skills helped me develop new methods for testing products and improve our efficiency.”

Which industries do you have the most experience working in?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and experience. They want to know if you have the necessary skills for their industry. Before your interview, make a list of industries that you’ve worked in. Choose the ones where you had the most success or learned the most. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, it’s okay to choose industries you haven’t worked in yet.

Example: “I have the most experience working in the pharmaceutical industry. I started my career there as an intern at a large company. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I was hired on full time. Throughout my five years there, I gained valuable knowledge and skills. I also met many people who helped me get my current job.”

What do you think are the most important qualities for an industrial chemist to have?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with their team. They want someone who is passionate, hardworking and innovative. When answering this question, try to highlight the skills that make you a good chemist.

Example: “I think one of the most important qualities for an industrial chemist to have is creativity. I love coming up with new ideas and experimenting with different solutions. Another quality I believe is essential is communication. As an industrial chemist, we work on teams and need to be able to clearly explain our ideas and findings to others. Finally, I think it’s important to be organized and detail-oriented. This helps us keep track of all the information we gather during experiments.”

How often do you perform quality checks on chemicals?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience with quality control. They may also want to know how you ensure the chemicals you produce are safe for use and meet customer specifications. Use examples from your previous work experience to explain how you perform quality checks and what steps you take to ensure the products you create are of high quality.

Example: “I perform quality checks on all chemicals I produce, including those that are in large batches. In my last role, I was responsible for creating a new chemical compound that would be used as an additive in paint. Before production began, I performed several quality checks to make sure the product met safety standards and specifications. After each batch was produced, I tested it again to ensure it had consistent color and texture.”

There is a chemical spill in the lab. What is the first thing you do?

This question is a test of your safety awareness and procedures. It also shows the interviewer how you prioritize tasks in an emergency situation. Your answer should include steps that are specific to handling chemical spills, but it can also show your ability to work under pressure and follow directions.

Example: “The first thing I would do is make sure everyone else is safe from the spill. Then, I would isolate the chemicals by moving them into separate containers or cabinets. Next, I would clean up any spilled chemicals with gloves on so I don’t get exposed. Finally, I would report the incident to my supervisor.”


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