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Biomedical EngineerInterview Questions

Position Summary

Biomedical engineers analyze and design solutions for problems the medical and biology sector face in regard to patient healthcare. Typically, biomedical engineers will work in either the research and development departments of a company or as a medical technician to operate and troubleshoot biomedical equipment. 

Biomedical engineers working in R&D utilize their expertise to design cutting edge medical tools and devices. Biomedical engineers working as technicians provide technical support to maintain, repair, install, or adjust biomedical equipment on a day-to-day basis. They are also responsible for training other personnel on the proper use of equipment. 

Responsibilities

Biomedical engineer responsibilities may include:

  • Evaluating biomedical equipment to ensure safety standards are met and maximum performance is reached
  • Training personnel to properly use medical equipment
  • Designing products with the purpose of providing a better quality of life to patients
  • Designing systems to accurately diagnose medical problems
  • Performing research to further understand the biological systems of patients

Skills

Biomedical engineers are responsible for the wellbeing of millions. In order to effectively design systems that will improve healthcare, a skilled biomedical engineer will:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in advanced mathematics
  • Solve complex problems as they arise quickly and efficiently
  • Communicate clearly with patients and healthcare personnel in order to best solve prominent issues in the healthcare industry
  • Think creatively in order to come up with better solutions to complex problems

Qualifications

Biomedical engineering positions are a unique combination of engineering and biology and as such, candidates are typically expected to possess at least a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering. Some positions may require a master’s degree.

In addition, further training with accredited programs are encouraged as well as education through dental or medical school to qualify for more specialized positions.

If you’re getting ready to interview for a position as a biomedical engineer, you can prepare by researching the company as much as possible. Learn about the 9 things you should research before an interview.

Salary

Salaries for biomedical engineers range between $51K and $93K with the median being $71K. 

Factors impacting the salary you receive as a biomedical engineer include:

  • Degrees (bachelor's, master's, doctorate)
  • Years of experience
  • Location
  • Reporting structure (seniority of the manager you report to, number of direct reports)
  • Level of performance - exceeding expectations
 

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Biomedical Engineer Interview Questions

Question: Can you explain in your own words what biomedical engineers do?

Explanation: This is an opening or general question. An interviewer will ask this type of question to start the conversation, get you talking, and find out a little bit more about you. It will also provide them additional information which they can use to ask you more questions.

Example: “Biomedical engineers do a wide variety of tasks. They can work in hospitals, universities, industrial settings, or laboratories.  Some of their duties include the design and development of medical equipment, artificial organs, therapeutic strategies, lab design, and creating a variety of different medical sensors.”


Question: What does biomechanics or biomechanical engineering refer to, and how is it used?

Explanation: This is another general question. General questions are normally asked early in the interview. Your answers to this type of question can enable you to steer the interview in a direction you are comfortable discussing.

Example: “Biomechanics is the application of the principles of mechanics to understand and simulate medical problems and systems. Uses for this discipline include developing models for such things as fluid transport and the range of motion of a limb. Examples of devices developed by biomechanical engineering include prosthetic organs and limbs such as artificial hearts, kidneys, and joints replacements.” 


Question: Please give me your definition of bioinstrumentation. Have you worked with this technology in your previous positions?

Explanation: When an interviewer asks this type of question, it indicates this particular topic is important to them and the role for which you are interviewing. If you have done your research before the interview, you’ll be aware of this and be prepared to answer these types of questions.

Example: “Bioinstrumentation refers to the practice of using specific technology, tools, and instruments in the development of biomechanical devices and the treatment of injuries and diseases. It incorporates the use of engineering principles and methods to accomplish a task within the biomedical field. I have used this process in every job I’ve had since I graduated with a biomedical engineering degree.”


Question: Can you explain what a microarray is and how it is used?

Explanation: This is a technical question. Technical questions are designed to learn about your qualifications for the job for which you are interviewing. They test your knowledge and skills in specific areas. Many technical questions simply ask for a definition of a particular technology, device, or practice.

Example: “The definition of a microarray is an array where DNA sequences are studied as a matrix. These tools are used in gene expression profiling, single nucleotide polymorphism detection, detection of alternative splicing, and other DNA or genomic studies. Some companies use microarray chips which can perform multiple genetic studies simultaneously.”


Question: Please list the most common technologies used in medical imaging.

Explanation: This is another technical question meant to determine your knowledge of a specific area within the biomedical field. You will only be asked this question if medical imaging is an important part of the job for which you are interviewing. Again, research before the interview will indicate whether this is a key topic for the employer and will also help you prepare to provide an answer to this question.

Example: “There are many different types of medical imaging technology used in the field of healthcare and research. These include nuclear medicine, electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, also known as MRI, computer tomography, radiography, thermography, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and positron emission tomography, or PET.  The type of imaging used is dependent on either the medical practice or the type of research being performed.”


Question: Can you explain MRI technology and how it is used?

Explanation: This is a follow up to the previous question. Interviewers will ask follow-up questions if the topic they are addressing is important to the job or they want to learn more about your previous answer. You should anticipate follow-up questions for any answer you provide in the course of an interview.

Example: “MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a medical imaging technique that gives a detailed structure of internal organs and other soft tissues. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and generates images and models of the specified body part. MRI is typically used to diagnose medical issues involving muscles, tendons, organs, and other soft tissues within the body. They are often used in conjunction with other imaging technologies such as X-rays and CAT scans.”


Question: What is therapeutic cloning, and how is it used?

Explanation: This is another technical question. As a biomedical engineer, you can anticipate that the majority of the questions asked during an interview will be technical in nature. The other types of questions they will ask will be operational or behavioral. Operational questions address processes you’ll use in your job. Behavioral questions refer to situations you may encounter and seek to understand how you will react to them.

Example: “Therapeutic cloning refers to the duplication of DNA or a portion of a DNA strand. It is sometimes called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Cloning involves using embryos that contain stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have the capability of renewing and are pluripotent, meaning they can grow into more than 220 different types of cells found in the human body.”


Question: What is the principle behind DNA fingerprinting, and how is it different from therapeutic cloning?

Explanation: This is an example of an operational question. The interviewer is asking about a process you would use to perform a specific task. In this case, they are asking about one process and then requesting you compare it to another one which you have just discussed.  These questions will be relevant if you are interviewing for a job that involves manipulating DNA to achieve a specific objective.

Example: “DNA fingerprinting, also known as DNA profiling, is the technique of using DNA sequences for identification of an individual. The main application of DNA fingerprinting is criminal forensics. The principle behind DNA fingerprinting is polymerase chain reaction. It differs from therapeutic cloning in that it doesn’t seek to replicate human cells but rather to discover similarities between DNA samples to help identify individuals or people related to them. Another popular use of DNA fingerprinting is in the practice of genealogy.”


Question: Can you describe what a pathogen is and name some common characteristics of pathogens?

Explanation: This is another technical question about a very specific topic. As a biomedical engineer, you are likely to encounter pathogens in much of the work you do. If you have done your research and by relying on your experience and education, you should be able to answer this type of question easily.

Example: “The term pathogen is broadly used for any organism which feeds on other organisms. Pathogens are transported through a variety of routes, including airborne, direct or indirect contact, sexual contact, through blood, and other body fluids. Different types of pathogens include viral, bacterial, and fungal. Pathogens are most commonly associated with a disease, but they have useful purposes such as destroying pests and fighting the very disease they cause such as with a flu vaccine.”


Question: What Is myoelectric control, and how is it used in the field of biomedical engineering?

Explanation: This technical question is extremely specific. It only applies to the field of artificial limbs. As the interview progresses, you may notice that the interviewer asks more questions about specific topics. This indicates that these are important to the job you will be performing.

Example: ”Myoelectric control refers to the use of signals from a residual limb to control the movement of a prosthetic attachment to the limb. Myoelectric control technologies obtain signals from the skin on the limbs and transmit them to mechanical devices within a prosthetic. The signals are detected by sensors, transmitted by circuits, controlled by intelligent chips which then send signals to mechanical devices to move and actuate the prosthetic.”


Additional Biomedical Engineer Interview Questions

  • Can you give me a brief overview of your past research? What would you like to continue to research in the future?

  • Have you ever had to help a non-technical person with a technical issue?

  • What type of equipment do you feel most efficient at preparing?

  • What do you know about epilepsy?

  • Biomedical engineers sometimes work under a lot of pressure. Would you be able to handle the pressure? Can you describe a time you handled pressure well in the past?

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