Getting Hired: Interviewing with Roche

Most biotech companies desire similar characteristics from their employees — top talent, reliability, good education, solid experience, and an ability to work on a team as well as independently when needed.

In terms of interviews, there are always certain basics — dress neatly and professionally, be friendly and courteous, be on time. Roche is no different than other companies, although there are some possible insights beyond those broad guidelines to make your experiences interviewing with Roche successful.

Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

Not all large companies are noted for both being powerhouses in manufacturing and delivery of drugs, as well as in innovative research and development. Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is one of those companies. With slightly over 93,000 employees worldwide, the company has a deep spread of cutting-edge medications and in 2017 reported $9.25 billion of annual net profit.

In 2018, the company said it expects sales growth in the range of stable to low single-digits at constant exchange rates, while high single-digit growth is expected in core earnings per share. Excluding the impact of U.S. tax reform, core earnings per share are expected to grow broadly in line with sales, Roche said.

Roche Holding AG is the holding company, while F. Hoffman-La Roche AG is the Swiss multinational healthcare company. It operates two divisions, Pharmaceuticals, and Diagnostics. Some of Roche’s companies are U.S.-based, like Genentech. Roche’s strategy is to focus on finding new medicines and diagnostics that help patients live longer, better lives and evolve the practice of medicine.

Generally viewed as the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, Roche focuses on oncology, neuroscience, infectious diseases, immunology, cardiovascular and metabolism, ophthalmology, hematology, and respiratory diseases. By the numbers, 25,000,000 patients were treated with one of their top 25 selling medicines in 2015 alone.

Roche’s Advice

Roche published an article that offers 10 basic tips for the interview. None of them are exactly “secret sauce” tips, but they’re worth considering and reinforcing.

  • Look Sharp – Dress for confidence. If you feel good, others will respond to you accordingly.
  • Be on Time – Never arrive late to an interview and allow time for you to get lost and prepared.
  • Do Your Research – The more you know about the company and what it stands for, the better you can sell yourself.
  • Be Prepared – Bring along a folder holding a copy of your resume, references, letters of recommendation, and anything relevant to your experience and the position.
  • Show Enthusiasm – A firm handshake and eye contact go a long way in showing interest.
  • Listen – Listen and read in between the lines.
  • Answer the Question Asked – Make sure you understand what is being asked and don’t be vague.
  • Give Specific Examples –Give examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness.”
  • Ask Questions – Here’s where your research into the company will come in handy and further indicate your interest.
  • Follow Up – After an interview, you don’t want to miss your last chance to follow up and make an impression.

Roche Interviews

Participants in Glassdoor’s rating system provided an overview of Roche’s hiring system. In summary of 1,800 reviews, 66 percent of interviewees indicated the process was positive, with it described as “average” in difficulty. The top 3 ways of securing an interview came through the help of applying online, utilizing a recruiter or earning an employee referral. The company as a whole received 83% of respondents saying they would recommend the company to a friend, along with 95% approving of CEO Severin Schwan. The most common pros noted were commenting on the flexible work/life balance along with great benefits including 401K and paternity leave.

Another review by a Scientist 1 who accepted an offer with Roche, noted their interview as a two-step process, with the first part coming from a Senior Director taking a 45-minute telephone interview based on technical questions regarding library prep for NGS and related work experience. After only 3 days, he or she was invited for an in-person interview with 5 people ranging from a Scientist 1, Sr. Scientist, Sr. Manager and Director.  This particular interviewee was asked, “What do you know about nanopore technology?”

A Senior Data Engineer who was not offered a position described it as a “negative experience,” which isn’t uncommon for people don’t get the job. In his case, a recruiter found his LinkedIn profile and put him in touch with a senior software engineer at Roche. His description of the interview was a bit strange, focusing on coursework from the undergraduate degree he’d completed 10 years before he completed two other degrees.

A Bioinformatics Scientist who did not receive an offer noted the interview process as a “neutral experience”. This candidate applied online and within a week was interviewing on-site after having gone through a phone screen. One interview question this reviewer shared from the company was, “What kind of experiences have you had that directly involved bioinformatics?”


Roche has jobs worldwide, including the U.S., Switzerland, United Kingdom, Brazil, China and much of Europe. Examples include:

Scientist 1, Sequencing in Santa Clara, Calif. This individual will perform measurements for in-house electrochemical characterization, write and maintain SOP’s, and execute standard and non-standard sequencing experiments on Roche’s NGS platform. It requires a Bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering discipline, along with some familiarity with Python, MATLAB, JMP or similar.

Clinical Science Director in Tucson, Ariz. Serves as the scientific and medical/clinical liaison between internal teams and external groups such as Clinical Research Organizations (CROs), external pharma partners, regulatory authorities, professional and public health organizations, key opinion leaders, and advisory boards. The position calls for a Ph.D. in a related field, or MD, with a minimum of 5 years related clinical experience.

Clinical Research Associate II in Pleasanton, Calif. This individual will work with virology and blood screening product lines. The position calls for at minimum a Bachelor’s degree in science or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and work experience. It also requires 2 to 6 years of clinical research experience, with a Master’s degree preferred.

Come join our team and start making a meaningful impact on patients’ lives! Polish your resume, practice your interviewing skills and contact us at requests@compasscgroup or by calling (925) 884-3811. Feel free to browse our current opportunities by clicking here.

Read Roche GlassDoor reviews here.

Read Compass Consulting’s GlassDoor reviews here.

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