Data Analyst

There are lots of great roles available for talented data analysts in the UK, but as with just about any career, you'll only get the job if you ace the interview.

When applying for a job in data analysis, you can expect all the usual questions about your biggest weaknesses, where you see yourself in five years' time, etc. But you will also be asked some more specific questions that are unique to this particular field.

Every employer will ask different questions, of course, but here are 5 examples of the sort of question you can generally expect to hear:


In your own words, describe what a data analyst does.

This question may crop up if the employer wants to make sure you actually understand the role that's up for grabs. It can also give them a bit of insight into how you see yourself and what you'll prioritise if you get the job.

Try to go into a bit of detail here, as this will demonstrate that you have a firm grasp of the subject in question. A generic answer that only scratches this surface might make the interviewer suspect that you don't really know what you're talking about.


What software are you proficient with?

Obviously, the interviewer will want to make sure you're familiar with the programs that are necessary to the job. The job description probably specified certain requirements (e.g. 'knowledge of MySQL'), and hopefully, you wouldn't have applied for the job if you didn't meet them!

Of course, you should always be honest with your answers in a job interview, especially when it comes to questions like this. The interviewer will probably be able to tell if you're lying about your ability to use a particular type of software, and even if you manage to convince them, you'll soon be found out when you start work.


Explain how you'd solve this problem...

Data analysis is all about solving problems, and it's quite common for applicants to be given specific examples during a job interview. This will give the interviewer a chance to see you think on your feet.

The point of this exercise isn't to provide the solution right there and then, but to explain the process you would use to find it. You'll get extra points for creativity and clarity, so be sure to think carefully before you respond.


Tell us about a problem you failed to solve, or a deadline you failed to meet.

This is a twist on that old classic: 'tell me your biggest weakness'. Pretending that you've never, ever failed at anything is a bad idea - instead, you should try to talk about a disappointing experience that nevertheless taught you an important lesson. The right response is one that demonstrates your ability to learn from your mistakes while also showing that you're able to cope well with stress and setbacks.

Try to avoid blaming other people when responding to this question. The interviewer wants to know about your failings, not somebody else's, and shifting the blame can make you seem like someone who can't admit when it's their fault - not an attractive quality in a potential employee.


Why did you choose to become a data analyst?

Employers generally prefer to recruit people who are genuinely interested in their work - after all, we tend to try harder when the task is something we care about.

This question is an opportunity to give the interviewer a glimpse of your personality, and again, it tells them more about what the job means to you. Try not to focus too much on the money - instead, explain why you enjoy problem solving, working with data, and using numbers to tell stories and make decisions.

Apply for Data Analyst Jobs >

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Lord Sugar's business partner becomes first winner of The Apprentice to reach £1m profit

Ricky Martin with his business partner Lord Sugar

  • Former winner of The Apprentice and CEO of Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS) Ricky Martin leads company to a pre-tax profit of over £1m

  • HRS set to turn over £10m in the 2018 calendar year

  • Projected turnover for the next HRS financial year (July 2018 - June 2019) is £14m

Crowned winner of The Apprentice in 2012, and following the investment from Lord Sugar, Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS) was founded focusing on mid-level and senior recruitment in STEM industries globally; and today announces huge success, reaching the £1m profit mark.

HRS turned over a staggering £8m in the 12 months up to June 2018, achieving a 106% growth on profit and a 90% growth on turnover. Following on from the previous year’s 34% growth on profit and 59% on turnover. In the past 12 months alone, HRS has broken all company records on both sales and profit whilst managing to restructure and expand.

With two new locations in Manchester and Edinburgh alongside the founding company site based in Essex, the successful business now boasts 50 employees across the business. The company’s rapid expansion has resulted in a newly formed internal training academy together with focus on recruitment development, showcasing employee retention and return on investment in the first 12 months, snowballing from 30% to 80%. The expansion of staff by 50% has proved to be HRS’s most expensive, yet most successful year to date.

With continued success in mind, HRS have big plans for the next two years, looking to continue growth as the leading recruitment partner for science industries across the UK as well as a plan to focus on developing the businesses presence and offering across Europe.

Ricky Martin, CEO of Hyper Recruitment Solutions, says: “I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team at HRS who have got us to where we are today. To have grown from a company of just one back in 2012 to a business with 50 staff across 3 major UK cities, that makes a difference to so many people, is remarkable.”

Lord Sugar commented: “Investing in Ricky was a no-brainer, his understanding of the recruitment industry combined with his passion for business has resulted in the success Hyper Recruitment Solutions sees today. Being the first Apprentice winner to hit the £1m pre-tax profit mark is just the start, I know the future is bright for HRS going forward.”

HRS further plan to reinvest the business profit into talent at the business, growing their specialist workforce and continuing to provide the training and development needed to maintain their standards of employing the most professional and ethical recruiters in the industry.

Mr Martin added: “Money has always been secondary to changing lives in my eyes, however to do so and become the first winner of The Apprentice to break the £1m profit milestone in a single company year, is a huge success and I couldn’t be more thrilled!”

Making strides in the recruitment world, HRS ensures they give back to communities proving they’re not solely in it for profit. The business currently partners with charities Jeans for Genes, Alzheimer’s Society and Apps 4 Good which all make a difference to the sectors they recruit for, namely science, technology and engineering.

Mr Martin continued: “The reason Lord Sugar invested in to my business idea is because I was not just a recruiter. I was somebody who wanted to support talent in a specialist sector, which makes a real difference. It’s this passion for doing the right thing that has seen HRS go from strength to strength; and is why our financials have followed suit!”

Visit Hyper Recruitment Solutions >

Scientist Quiz

Nearly 7,000 people (and counting!) have taken Hyper Recruitment Solutions' What Type of Scientist Are You? quiz since we launched it earlier this year.

And who knows? Maybe we inspired some of those individuals to consider a career that had never even occurred to them before! For instance, have you ever thought about how your innate problem-solving skills might serve you well as a data scientist? Or how your love of animals might translate into a rewarding career in zoology?

If not, be sure to take the quiz yourself before you read on to find out what results everyone else has been getting!

The Most Popular Results

Science Quiz Results - Graph

As you can see, there's been a lot of variety in the results that people have been getting from our quiz - some people are clinical scientists, some are ecologists, and some are better suited to biochemistry.

The 3 most popular results are:

  1. Geologist (14.4% of people get this result)
  2. Astronomer (13.9% of people get this result)
  3. Physicist (13.4% of people get this result)

This suggests that there are a lot of people out there with analytical minds and a great love for going outdoors - these are qualities that mesh very well with a career in geology!

We've also seen a lot of people show an interest in unlocking the really big mysteries, like whether we're alone in the universe and indeed where the universe came from in the first place. These people would make great astronomers and physicians - the second and third most popular quiz results respectively.

The least popular result was Biologist - just 4.6% of our quiz-takers are best suited to a career in biology, but that's still more than 300 people!

Take the Quiz >   Browse Science Jobs >

What Can Job Interviewers Ask?

The questions you're asked during a job interview should mostly focus on your experience and qualifications. It also gives you and your prospective employer a chance to get to know one another.

What a job interview shouldn't be is an opportunity for the interviewer to ask lots of probing personal questions. In most cases, it's illegal for employers to make hiring decisions based on protected characteristics such as age, race, sexuality, and so on. By extension, it's usually not appropriate to ask about these things in an interview setting.

Sadly, just because it's not allowed doesn't mean that people don't do it. Hyper Recruitment Solutions conducted a survey of 1,000 hiring managers and 1,000 jobseekers, and a stunning 85% of interviewers admitted to asking inappropriate questions in job interviews.

Here's a closer look at some of the subjects that should remain off-limits for interviewers...


Age

Example: What year were you born?

Interviewers are not allowed to ask you your age or date of birth. You also don't have to include this information on your CV if you don't wish to.

55% of the interviewers we surveyed admitted to asking candidates when they were born. 60% stated that they considered this an 'acceptable' question.


Children & Pregnancy

Example: Have you got any plans to start a family?

It's illegal to make hiring decisions based on whether or not the candidate has children and/or plans to have a child in the future. Paid maternity/paternity leave is a right, and employers can't exclude candidates who wish to become parents just because they don't want to grant it. Already being a parent should not be a barrier to getting a job either.

That being said, our survey found that 40% of employers think it's acceptable to ask if a candidate is planning on taking maternity/paternity leave, while 54% find it acceptable to ask whether the candidate has any children already.


Gender & Sexuality

Example: Are you a man or a woman?

Your sexual orientation and gender identity are personal matters that should not have any bearing on your ability to do your job.

In most cases, it is illegal for employers to ask about your sex or your sexuality (although exceptions may be made for positive action schemes, e.g. an initiative to hire more LGBT workers).


Health & Disabilities

Example: Are you physically fit and healthy?

In our survey, 53% of hiring managers admitted to asking the question above. But it's illegal to ask questions about a candidate's health before offering them a job.

Employers in certain industries may require workers to pass a physical exam before starting work. Crucially, though, this should not be part of the recruitment/hiring process - any necessary health checks can only take place once the candidate has been offered the job.


Marital Status & Relationships

Example: Are you in a relationship?

As with gender and sexuality, one's marital status generally has no bearing at all on their suitability for a job. And yet 51% of interviewers we surveyed admitted to asking candidates whether they're married / in a relationship!


Religion

Example: Will you need time off for religious holidays?

It's unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their religious beliefs, so questions about faith should be off-limits at all times during job interviews.

Unfortunately, our survey indicated that just 18% of hiring managers understand that it's illegal to ask questions like 'Will you need time off for religious holidays?' 39% said it was inappropriate, but not illegal, while 43% felt that this question was acceptable.


Where You're From

Example: Where were you born?

Questions like 'Where were you born?' and 'Where's that accent from?' may seem innocuous enough, but again, they're not appropriate for an interview environment. Sadly, a large number of interviewers think these questions are acceptable - for instance, 47% of those surveyed stated that it's acceptable to ask the origin of a candidate's accent.


More useful links from HRS:

Outdoor Science Jobs

A degree in science doesn't mean that you have to spend your whole career sitting around in a lab all day long.

If you love science but prefer working outdoors, there are still plenty of possibilities for you to explore! Here are some outdoor science jobs that could be perfect for a person like you:

  • Environmental Scientist – An environmental scientist studies the effects of human activities on the world around us. They do this by conducting tests and analysing data as a means to both prevent and solve environmental problems. They gather samples and data in the field, then perform tests in a lab. As a result of increased pressure on governments and industries to minimise the harmful effects that their activities have on the world, the demand for this type of work is currently higher than ever.

  • Ecologist – An ecologist's job is to study ecosystems, the distribution of organisms, and the relationship between those organisms and their environment. They tend to focus on a particular subject area such as marine, freshwater or terrestrial ecology.

  • Geologist – The role of a geologist is to study processes of the earth (such as floods, earthquakes and landslides) and to survey land and produce safe building plans. They also investigate precious materials - such as minerals, metals, oils, water and natural gas - and come up with ways to extract them. A geologist is concerned with changes that occur over time such as land formation and climate change.

  • Biologist – The job of a biologist is to study organisms (such as bacteria, humans and animals) and their relationship with the surrounding environment. This helps us to better understand how the organism's body operates and how external factors impact each organism. Using basic research methods, a biologist will work to prove or disprove theories about how organisms work, as well as contributing to the discovery of medicinal advancements such as developing new fruits and vegetables that are less prone to nuisances and pests.

  • Patent Attorney – A patent attorney's job requires both scientific and legal knowledge, focusing on the protection of technology through the obtaining of patents. As a patent attorney, you will assess whether inventions are new and innovative, lead individual inventors or organisations through the process required to obtain a patent, and then act to impose inventors' rights if patents have been impeded.

This is just a sample of the many available outdoor science jobs that are (mostly) based outside of the traditional lab setting.

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we strive to help every individual find their perfect science role, whether that be in a lab or the great outdoors. For career advice, job-hunting guidance or further information on our outdoor science jobs, please do not hesitate to contact us today - or use the link below to view our latest scientific vacancies.

Browse All Current Jobs >


Scientist Quiz

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