Benchling Interview Questions: Your Guide to Acing the Interview

Hello! We’re Neehar and Alex, two engineers here at Benchling. We both started last September and recently graduated from Stanford with Computer Science degrees. Neehar is on our Lab Automation team and Alex is on our Developer Platform team. When we were thinking about joining Benchling (especially online!), we had a lot of questions about the interview and onboarding process, so we wanted to share what we learned.

Note: Every Benchling strives to embody our leadership principles, many of which we’ve included throughout this post with #hashtags. From what we’ve seen, these values are clearly shown here at Benchling, even in the interview and onboarding stages.

When it became clear in May 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic would last longer than a few weeks, my plans for after college changed a lot. After graduating in June, I faced the tough task of re-recruiting for a new position completely virtually.

I first heard about Benchling from a friend who recently joined as a software engineer. Some friends of mine also went through the interviews. They had nothing but good things to say about the people they met, even though they didn’t end up joining. They all spoke highly of the company’s collaborative culture, friendly interviewers, and important mission.

When I interviewed for my first job in the fall of 2019, I looked for companies that were growing quickly, taking on tough problems, and having enough structure to help me do well as a junior engineer while still making a difference. When I looked at my priorities again in the spring of 2020, I saw that I had added a new factor: how was the company responding to COVID-19? I was now asking myself:

Benchling checked all of these boxes and happened to still be interviewing for new grad positions!

Alex: Just like Neehar, COVID-19 made me look for new graduate jobs again while I was living with my parents. Over the course of my Computer Science Master’s curriculum, I had become particularly interested in Biology and Bio-Computation. We believe this is why Benchling’s mission statement says “speeding up the pace of life science R

My priorities had also shifted since Fall 2019, but not in the same ways as Neehar’s. At first, my main goal was to get a job at a company with a well-known product and a strong engineering brand so I could grow as an engineer. Nevertheless, after COVID-19 put off my job at a big FAANG, I had a completely different view on stability and brand. I decided that I wanted to join a company with the following criteria:

After working at a big company before, I realized that Benchling, a start-up in its growth stage, is a really cool place to be. After a year, Benchling has far exceeded all of my expectations.

Throughout the phone and onsite interviews, we were impressed with everyone we met along the way. All of our interviewers were engaged, helpful, and friendly. We genuinely felt that they wanted us to succeed and that we were working through a problem together, as opposed to them just watching us (#show-empathy). Our interviewers were also forthcoming about their experiences at Benchling. They were comfortable answering questions about what it’s like to be an engineer here — both what is going well and where there’s still room for growth (#admit-mistakes-and-shortcomings).

We also appreciated that all the questions asked were relevant to the Benchling product. It never occurred to us that we could have done better if we had just practiced the “right” set of questions the night before. We weren’t asked hard questions just to get to a deep answer. Our recruiter prepared us by letting us know what a successful interview looked like.

Now that we’ve thought about it, we can say with certainty that the people at Benchling were the best indicator of how great it would be to work there. Because your coworkers will always play a big part in your success and happiness, it doesn’t matter what problem you’re working on. So pay attention to how the interviewers make you feel.

Hey there, aspiring Benchling employee! Are you ready to embark on a journey with a company that’s revolutionizing the life sciences industry? If so then buckle up because this guide is your ultimate companion for acing your Benchling interview and securing your dream job.

Let’s dive into the world of Benchling!

Benchling: A Glimpse into the Life Sciences Innovator

Benchling is a leading cloud-based platform that’s transforming the way life sciences research is conducted. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, Benchling empowers researchers to streamline their workflows, collaborate seamlessly, and accelerate scientific breakthroughs.

But what makes Benchling stand out? It’s their unwavering commitment to innovation their dedication to empowering researchers and their passion for making a positive impact on the world. And that’s exactly what they’re looking for in their employees – individuals who share their passion for science, their drive to make a difference, and their eagerness to embrace the ever-evolving world of technology.

Cracking the Code: Benchling Interview Questions

So, you’ve got the passion, the skills, and the drive. Now, it’s time to showcase them in your interview. Do not worry, we have put together a full list of the most common Benchling interview questions, along with professional advice on how to answer them like a pro.

1 Tell me about a time you had to overcome a technical challenge What was the challenge, how did you approach it, and what was the outcome?

The important thing is to show that you can solve problems, think critically, and keep going even when things get tough.

Example answer:

“In my previous role as a software engineer at a genomics research company, I was tasked with developing a new algorithm for analyzing next-generation sequencing data. The challenge was that the existing algorithms were computationally expensive and couldn’t handle the massive datasets we were generating. I decided to approach this challenge by exploring different machine learning techniques. After extensive research and experimentation, I developed a novel algorithm that was significantly faster and more accurate than the existing ones. This not only saved our researchers valuable time but also allowed us to analyze larger datasets, leading to new insights and discoveries.”

2. What was a project you worked on where you had to work with people from different fields and backgrounds? What were the challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?.

The key: Highlight your teamwork skills, your ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups, and your ability to navigate complex projects.

Example answer:

“During my internship at a pharmaceutical company, I was part of a team tasked with developing a new drug delivery system. The team consisted of engineers chemists, biologists, and clinicians. While this diversity of expertise was valuable, it also presented communication challenges. To overcome these challenges, I made sure to use clear and concise language avoiding technical jargon whenever possible. I also actively listened to everyone’s perspectives and facilitated open discussions. This collaborative approach allowed us to overcome our differences and develop a successful drug delivery system that met the needs of patients.”

3. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the life sciences industry?

The key: Demonstrate your passion for continuous learning, your ability to adapt to change, and your awareness of industry trends.

Example answer

“I’m passionate about staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the life sciences industry. I regularly attend industry conferences, read scientific journals, and follow thought leaders on social media. I also take online courses and participate in workshops to expand my knowledge and skills. This commitment to continuous learning ensures that I’m always at the forefront of innovation and can contribute meaningfully to Benchling’s mission of empowering researchers.”

4. What are your career aspirations, and how do you see yourself contributing to Benchling’s mission?

The key: Demonstrate your long-term goals, your alignment with Benchling’s values, and your enthusiasm for making a positive impact.

Example answer:

“My career aspiration is to become a leading software engineer in the life sciences industry. I’m particularly interested in developing innovative solutions that can accelerate scientific research and improve human health. I believe that Benchling’s mission of empowering researchers aligns perfectly with my own values and aspirations. I’m confident that my skills and experience would be a valuable asset to Benchling, and I’m excited to contribute to the company’s continued success.”

5. Why are you interested in working at Benchling?

The key: Demonstrate your genuine interest in Benchling, your understanding of their company culture, and your excitement about their mission.

Example answer:

“I’m incredibly impressed by Benchling’s innovative platform and its potential to transform the life sciences industry. I’m also drawn to Benchling’s collaborative and supportive company culture, which I believe would foster my personal and professional growth. Moreover, I’m passionate about Benchling’s mission of empowering researchers and making a positive impact on the world. I’m confident that by working at Benchling, I can make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of science and improve the lives of others.”

Remember, your interview is an opportunity to showcase your unique skills, experiences, and passion. Be confident, be yourself, and let your enthusiasm for Benchling shine through!

Good luck!

Stage Two: The Phone Interview

When we finished the coding challenge and talked to our recruiter, they told us the main ways that Benchling judges interview performance. This impressed us; we consistently went into technical interviews knowing exactly what we were being evaluated on. At other companies, we were given general guidance to explain our thought process and propose an efficient solution, but Benchling went above and beyond by providing these details — we could already see how Benchlings #recruit-and-develop-the-best.

Performance Axes:

  • How do you use data structures and algorithms, make changes to designs, and weigh tradeoffs when solving a problem?
  • How do you turn your thoughts into code, fix bugs, consider edge cases, and get past a technical issue when you’re programming?
  • How do you find clean abstractions and put them into action? How do you separate each part of a problem?
  • Technical Communication and Teamwork: How do you share your thoughts with other engineers, explain how you came up with your ideas, and take hints along the way?

During our phone interviews, we worked through an hour-long problem with an engineer at Benchling.

Stage One: Coding Challenge

The first step is an online coding challenge that you can do whenever and in any language you want.

How to Answer “Behavior Based Interview Questions” – Interview Tip


What questions are asked at a labor union interview?

Tell me about a time that you had two important assignments due at the same time. How did you decide which one to work on? Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. Describe a situation in which you made a mistake.

What was the interview process like at benchling?

I interviewed at Benchling (Cambridge, MA) There was an initial phone screening, followed by a call with the hiring manager. The third interview was a video call with multiple team members. Everyone was friendly. The questions were more personable and not as technical. Tell us about your experience Why are you interested in this role?

How long did it take to get a job at benchling?

I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Benchling (San Francisco, CA) Standard recruiter screen, hiring manager interview to see how you communicate, a scientific presentation on zoom with a panel and finally an in person product demo.

How long does a final round interview take?

The final round interview is split up over two days, which I liked since both parties can cut losses if the hiring committee doesn’t feel that the candidate is a good fit. Interviews were very practical and centered around Benchling’s product.

Should I give a sole presentation at the 4th interview step?

What was really not ok when they asked me to give at the 4th interview step a sole presentation on my previous projets – that is very shady practice and the reason why I retrieved my application. That can lead to a law suit esp since there was a business relationship between them and my previous employer.. Not recommend it.

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