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Astra Zeneca Interview Questions & Hiring Process

Updated March 4, 2022

Written by the WikiJob Team

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As an industry leader in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca looks for candidates who share its ethos, values and vision for the future.

The recruitment process at Astra Zeneca is developed so that the recruitment team can effectively match the right people to the right jobs.

It is therefore important that throughout each stage of the process you reflect your motivations for joining the company and relate your answers to the objectives of the organisation.

The Astra Zeneca application process consists of the following stages:

Application Form

The Astra Zeneca form is perhaps one of the more straightforward application forms out there. Simply fill out your personal details, upload relevant documents, answer the competency questions and provide any requested additional information (such as a willingness to relocate).

For the majority of Astra Zeneca vacancies and their graduate programmes, applicants are required to upload a current CV in the ‘Upload Relevant Documents’ section of the website. Ensure that your CV is well written and tailored toward the specific role or programme. If you have the relevant skills, be sure to include specific keywords and phrases from the job description.

A short time after submitting your application you will receive an acknowledgement email to confirm that your application has been received and that the HR team will review your application as quickly as they can.

For some graduate programmes, you may have to wait between four and eight weeks after the closing date before you receive an update on the progress of your application.

Each application is reviewed thoroughly against specific selection criteria to determine suitability. If you are successful and shortlisted, you can expect to participate in an initial telephone interview.

Telephone Interview

For Astra Zeneca graduate programmes, telephone interviews are only held during December and January, with assessment centre attendance usually required in February. As a result, the application process for general vacancies and graduate programs can take several months.

Interview preparation is essential for Astra Zeneca. The majority of the interviews at Astra Zeneca are based around key competencies and focus on your past experience and reasons for applying.

One of the best ways to answer a question for any position with a company such as Astra Zeneca is to apply the STAR technique.

  • Present a situation in which you have found yourself
  • Outline the task posed by that situation
  • Describe the action you performed in response to the task
  • Explain the final result. The result could be anything from increasing sales through to implementing a new process or strategy.

Some of the more general questions typical of Astra Zeneca interviews include:

  • Describe what kind of tasks you would expect to do on a day-to-day basis if appointed.
  • Outline your reasons for applying to Astra Zeneca and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Provide an example of an occasion when you persuaded someone to follow a particular course of action.
  • Describe a situation when you have encountered an ethical dilemma.

If you are applying for a technical role such as technology or engineering you may be asked questions such as:

  • What is an additive?
  • How could viscosity determine the design of a mixer?
  • Explain how the differences in some bulk solids can impact their ability to flow correctly.

The interviewer is not there to trip you up with trick questions, and they will only ask questions relevant to your area of study. If you don’t know the answer to a question, do tell the panel (rather than making something up), but frame your response as positively as possible. Try to explain how you would approach finding the answer.

At the end of the interview process, you will be asked if you have any questions. Always try to think of at least one or two questions. Think about this carefully before you attend the interview, as it is your opportunity to find out about anything that hasn’t been discussed, and to determine whether the company is suitable for you and your aspirations.

There are hundreds of potential questions you could ask. To give just a few examples:

  • Ask about workloads, and whether or not there are certain periods throughout the year that are busier than others.
  • Ask where your role will be based. If travel is involved, ask how frequently and for how long this would be expected.
  • Ask questions about your colleagues and the team you will be working with.

Assessment Day

If you are successful in the initial telephone interview, you will be invited to attend the final stage in the Astra Zeneca recruitment process, the assessment centre.

If you have never attended one of these centres before, it is a good idea to conduct some research to find out about the different activities you will be expected to undertake. For example, read about how to prepare for an assessment centre.

Typical Astra Zeneca assessment days include the following stages:

These activities can be in any order. Together, they will last a number of hours; expect to be at the assessment centre for the majority of the day.

Aptitude Tests

There are three types of test you will be asked to complete: numerical, verbal and logical reasoning tests.

  • Numerical reasoning tests. Most positions at Astra Zeneca require skills in numeracy, from reading graphs in finance through to interpreting statistics in marketing. The numerical reasoning test will assess your skills in these areas. Most of the questions will be in the multiple-choice format: you will be presented with a set of statistics and asked questions, or you may be expected to calculate percentages. There are strict time limits imposed on these tests, so working quickly and accurately is important.

  • Verbal reasoning tests. Candidates will be presented with a set of paragraphs and asked to assess whether sets of corresponding statements are true, false or whether you cannot say. The aim of this test is to assess your analytical capabilities and evaluate your skills in spelling and grammar.

  • Logical reasoning tests. The final test in the series will provide a series of sequences of shapes or patterns. For each, candidates need to identify missing steps or answer what shape will appear next in the sequence. These tests are good indicators of your aptitude for problem solving and analysis.


For the graduate programme and certain vacancies, you may be asked to prepare and give a presentation. At the Astra Zeneca assessment centre, you will be provided with the topic shortly before you have to give your presentation. After being given the topic, you will be allowed a period to prepare and create some prompts to take with you into the presentation.

The interview panel will be assessing how well you communicate information, your ability to engage with the audience, and your capacity to work under pressure. Acquiring thorough knowledge of the company and its background in advance will give you a great advantage in this activity.

Individual or Group Exercise

Depending on the role you have applied for, you may be asked to complete an individual or group exercise. The group exercise may involve a problem or scenario that you will be asked to solve as part of a team. The individual exercise, on the other hand, may take the form of an in-tray exercise or case study, to assess how well you read and interpret information.

If you meet the criteria, securing a vacancy or place on a graduate scheme with Astra Zeneca shouldn't prove too much of a challenge, providing you research the company thoroughly and prepare yourself sufficiently for each step in the recruitment process.

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