Abbott recruiters reveal the key characteristics shared by successful applicants.
May 28 2019
Exploring a career at Abbott boils down to two key questions: Are you right for Abbott? And is Abbott right for you?
One of the best ways to determine whether a role is a mutual fit is to make the most of your company interview. Preparation is key. If you think about potential questions and practice answers that demonstrate your capabilities ahead of time, you can remain calm and confident and give interviewers an accurate sense of what it's like to work with you.
There's no way to know what will get thrown your way during an interview, but recruiters from across the globe recently revealed the top five questions they ask and the type of answers that successful applicants share.
1. What did you like about the role? How does it fit with your career aspirations?
"This question helps gauge the preparedness and engagement of the candidate," explains Steven Tennessen, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Abbott.
Tennessen says he pays special attention to what the candidates bring up first, as this can indicate candidates' strengths or comfort zones.
"It's a test of self-reflection and honesty,” he said. “Can they evaluate and admit their own strengths versus weaknesses?"
According to Monica Roberts, Director of Global Divisional and Executive Recruitment at Abbott, "First and foremost, you want to make sure there is an alignment in expectations. Second, we like to hire people who have growth potential."
To show you're ready to take on the role, be prepared to share experience or activities that illustrate how you have demonstrated the qualities. Further, share your ultimate goals and how this job will help you achieve them, highlighting the opportunity for personal development.
2. How are your personal and professional interests connected to Abbott's philosophy and purpose?
Abbott wants to ensure its mission of helping people live full lives via life-changing technology is compatible with your goals and personal philosophy
"Stronger [cultural] alignment often leads to better retention, career growth and tenure," says Tennessen. Employees who are both personally and professionally invested, he's observed, are more motivated to succeed.
If you haven't already done so, research Abbott. Know the parts of Abbott's mission that complement your professional ambitions. Be sure to use your resources before your interview, too; reach out to your recruiter with any questions you have during your research.
3. How do you ensure your business and technical knowledge remain current?
"Our world changes on a daily basis," says Roberts. "If we are waiting to see what's new versus working toward being the pioneers, we won’t be competitive."
Consequently, Abbott looks for employees who are driven by innovation and can help advance Abbott's mission to improve healthcare and people's lives around the world.
Consider how you take in information: What are your favorite sources for industry trends? What have you learned at conferences, seminars or retreats lately? Have you ever brought outside learnings into your roles and how did that impact your work?
Tennessen says he looks for specific examples of how candidates implement and sustain the things they learn. He's also interested in whether they looked for and measured return on investment. "[That's] a key business practice," he explains.
4. How would you describe your leadership philosophy and style?
Abbott fosters a collaborative team culture and cultivates managers to create strong teams. "To me, you are not a leader until you have followers," says Roberts. She looks for leaders who can inspire teams, build trust and unite members to achieve a common goal.
Tennessen agrees, stating that leaders need to set clear expectations, follow through on what they say, and ask for and hear employee feedback. He says, "I listen [to see] if relationships are self-interested or mutually beneficial."
To prepare, ask your current or former coworkers and employees about your communication and feedback styles. Consider what management means to you, how you interact with your direct reports, and what leadership skills you're currently testing or strengthening.
"We look for candidates who can clearly articulate what makes them successful and how it relates to the team he/she managed," explains Roberts. "Leaders need to create an environment where people are comfortable asking questions and raising concerns."
5. If you left your current job, what would your legacy be? What would others miss about you?
If you convey what makes you valuable in your current role, it reveals the benefits you'll bring to Abbott. "You want to hire people who are building for tomorrow and are able to create sustainable success," emphasizes Roberts. "I believe this is one of the key questions to ask."
For Tennessen, this question is an indicator of what's important to the applicants: "We not only want to attract high performers, but people who have a vision and who are long-term thinkers."
Think about the benefits you bring to relationships, teams and cross-functional partnerships, and come with examples that demonstrate your points. Identify your strengths and show how you continue to develop them to reach your full potential.
Tennessen says the answer to this question helps him understand why you would join Abbott — and stay. "I'm looking for retention and long-term success.”
As you practice your answers to these questions, the key is to prepare a range of detailed examples from previous roles that demonstrate how you handle various situations. Try to relate how you will apply your experiences to your new role. Ultimately, preparing for these questions and answering them transparently will ensure that, if you are offered the job, it’s because it’s the right fit – for both you and Abbott.
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