February 1, 2017 Yscouts

Best 7 Research And Development Interview Questions

If you’re looking to hire an R&D professional, we have the rundown on the best research and development interview questions to ask during your next hiring cycle. An R&D role involves the innovation, introduction and improvement of products and processes — so a great hire can truly propel your company forward.

Top 7 Research And Development Interview Questions

What fuels your competitive drive at work?

Research and development roles require at least some sense of healthy competition, particularly against business competitors. Does the candidate have a drive to succeed? Does he or she have both the skills and the passion for the work?

Explain how you have used research methods in prior roles.

You can follow this up by asking, “What tools or programs would you need at your disposal on Day One of this role in order to succeed?” Dig deep to find what research methods (and even specific technology) the candidate has used to make products or processes more efficient.

In your opinion, which is the better approach: Working quickly to develop a good solution or taking more time to craft an excellent solution?

This is one of the top research and development interview questions, as it reveals how the candidate performs under pressure. Much of the role involves working under deadlines. But how does the quality of the work match up to those pressures? This question will help you discover if the candidate can balance various factors, such as time-sensitivity and quality of results.

Elaborate on the most challenging project you have worked on. What challenges are you looking for in this role with our company?

An excellent R&D professional would never wish to remain stagnant or avoid challenging projects and situations. This question will clue you in to the intensity of projects the candidate has completed, as well as any aspirations to grow he or she may have.

What do you know about our company, and what would you bring to the table in this role?

All candidates should have researched your company. It’d be laughable any other way — a research and development professional showing up to the interview without any research. Does he or she have any improvements in mind for your company? Top-tier R&D professionals are especially astute at formulating better and better ideas and products. Thus, the candidate should have some fresh ideas to bring to the interview based on his or her research about your business.

Have you ever faced difficulties in convincing others of your own ideas? What did you do to get them on board?

This is one of the best research and development interview questions, as it reveals the candidate’s leadership style and ability to promote ideas before bringing them to fruition. How does he or she go about informing team members or other departments (see below) of blueprints for a great project? What happened after convincing fellow employees your idea was valid?

How would you cooperate with other departments? Which other departments would be most crucial for your work, or would influence your role most?

How effectively does the R&D candidate work with other teams and departments to achieve goals? This question is a must. You can also conduct a reference check following the interview to see how the candidate fared with other coworkers. A research and development professional shouldn’t just work solo; collaboration is essential to creating a positive culture and fostering positive business results.

What other research and development interview questions would you add to this list? Let us know — and contact the professionals at Y Scouts when hiring for R&D roles.


Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.