In today's highly competitive jobs market, it's common for employers to have many highly suitable candidates for just one or two positions. This naturally raises the question of how they can better separate candidates, to which one of the most obvious answers is to ask more challenging interview questions.

As there's no substitute for preparation for your own next interview, here are 10 of the most difficult questions that you may be asked, and how you may best answer them.

1. Can you tell me something about yourself?

This is a question where it is so easy to slide into endless irrelevant talk about where you were born, your parents, childhood, family, personal likes and dislikes and so on. Instead, pick out brief examples of your personal and professional experiences that make you suitable for the position - or even have a 'lift pitch' ready to deliver.

2. Why do you think you would be successful in this job?

Don't just wander into general boasting about how brilliant you are - remember that this is a very specific question about what makes you suitable for this job, as opposed to others. Match your strengths to the characteristics that are outlined in the job description and person specification.

3. Why are you leaving your present job?

Like many questions that you may be asked by those conducting recruitment campaigns, this isn't too tough a question if you prepare well. Talk about the personal and professional growth opportunities, challenge or excitement of taking on this position, rather than whinging about your present or last employer.

4. Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

There are two big risks with this question - criticising a past employer or incriminating yourself in relation to that bad experience. If you can't truthfully say that you have never had a bad experience with an employer, at least describe a difficult situation that you emerged stronger from as a way of demonstrating your potential now.

5. What are your most and least favourite aspects of your present job?

Be more specific than just citing "a nice atmosphere" - something that relates to the position, such as your enjoyment of teamwork, is ideal. As for least favourite aspects... try to make it something as far away as possible from the responsibilities that you would have in this particular job, and make sure the answer illustrates either good performance or an ability to learn. 

6. Give me an example of when you handled a major crisis

Many candidates are thrown by just how dramatic this question sounds, so feel free to reframe it as "Give an example of when you coped with a difficult situation". Look back through your personal, professional and educational life and think of situations where you successfully dealt with an unexpected problem.

7. Give me an example of a time when you showed initiative

A big danger here is of stumbling into describing an idea that you had that you didn't put into action. It is therefore better to describe an idea that you did act upon, where you solved a problem by yourself and can back it up with examples of the positive consequences that such action had.

8. Where do you expect to be in five years' time?

Saying that you want to be running the company or in the interviewer's role isn't a very insightful answer. Talk instead about your motivations and your understanding of your likely career path in this particular organisation or industry - this being very much a question where you will be expected to have done your employer research.

9. What can you tell me about this company/industry?

It's obvious advice to say that this requires extensive prior research, but again, it's true. Look at the company website, its 'About Us' section and any other details about the company's history, objectives and values that you can find. Write down some key points to tell the interviewer that show you are interested in a job with this company, not just a job.

10. Do you have any questions or anything else you would like to add?

This shouldn't be your cue to just say "no". Take the opportunity to end the interview on a decisive and memorable note that banishes any lingering interviewer doubts. Prepare some questions in advance about the company's culture or even what the interviewer likes best about the company, to demonstrate that you are interviewing them, rather than merely being interviewed by them.  

Don't be yet another candidate who thinks they're good enough to "wing it" - by thoroughly preparing in advance with answers for questions like the above, you will be able to gain a decisive advantage in the race for many of the most desirable jobs. 

One of the biggest changes in the world of science recruitment in recent years - indeed, in any recruitment field - has been the rise of the virtual interview.

Virtual interviews can be defined as "any form of interview that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as email, discussion board, real-time chat or video chat system such as Skype."

While many of the usual principles of how to handle a job interview also apply for a virtual interview, the latter also comes with certain distinctive challenges - so don't forget the below advice when faced with one.

Get comfortable with the technology

Particularly when you are being interviewed for more technical science jobs, it is important to get the associated technology in order and not appear overawed or intimidated by it - any attempted small-talk about how weird it is to be interviewed 'virtually' is likely to create the wrong impression.

If technical issues do occur - as can happen with even the best preparation - respond in a professional way, asking the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary and politely asking if you can disconnect and reconnect if the problem is persistent.

Also keep signalling acknowledgement - such as by saying "yes" or "hmm" or nodding the head - so that the interviewer is in no doubt that you can hear them.

Project the most professional impression

There are so many issues of professional presentation or lack thereof that can arise in a virtual interview if you do not thoroughly and suitably prepare.

Dress remains as important in a virtual interview as it does in a face-to-face one. Indeed, with one recent study suggesting that simply wearing a suit affects the way you think, it is advisable to dress smartly even for a phone interview.

Other presentation issues that can arise during a virtual interview include your cat walking into the shot, unmade bedding in the background, harsh lighting or an unflattering camera angle - again, all problems that need to be ironed out in the preparation rather than during the interview itself.

Be sure to adopt the right interview manner

In all of your anxiety to project the desired impression of a competent candidate, it can be easy to forget such apparent basics as actually looking into the camera rather than your image on the screen, keeping a straight posture and being subtle in reference to any notes that you have placed nearby to aid you.

Remember, too, not to over-rehearse - in a virtual interview as much as in a 'real' one, a natural manner can go a long way to making you a more engaging interviewee.

There are so many other important things to keep in mind when being interviewed 'virtually', from choosing a professional username if this is required for any videoconferencing technology you use, to keeping a printout of your CV and other key documentation nearby.

If there's one thing that definitely applies to virtual interviews as much as it does to 'normal' in-person interviews, it is the great importance of preparation - so never underestimate it if you are called to such an interview by a recruitment agency. 



It hopefully won't have passed your notice that here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we don't merely provide services to candidates! Indeed, it is a natural part of our work in matching science jobs to those seeking vacancies in such fields as pharmacology, biochemistry and molecular biology that we also work very closely with organisations in need of talent in these categories.

Your business or organisation doubtless needs to get the New Year off to the best possible start, so here's how you can do just that by investing in the best talent in partnership with a leading science recruitment agency like Hyper Recruitment Solutions.

The most suitable candidate will bring long-term value

Let's imagine that you have found a candidate who seems to be making all of the right noises. They have great qualifications, their CV shows a lot of relevant experience and they appear to be a friendly, curious and determined 'team player'. Why is it so important to hire someone with the right attributes?

There is, of course, the financial aspect to consider - a hire who turns out to be unsuitable could cost your business many thousands of pounds to replace. This can in itself hold back your organisation from achieving its 2016 goals, particularly if you are a small firm and margins are tight already.

Mostly, however, the value of the best candidate is in how they can actively power your organisation forward, for month after month and year after year. Whoever you hire now will effectively be the face of your business in 2016 - so not only do they need to have the right skills and experiences, but they should also truly believe in your science organisation's mission, values and work.

Fuel your company's growth with the right hire

The graduate or new starter that you hire now may be occupying a senior position at your organisation in years to come. With their fresh perspective, energy and ideas, they can be instrumental as ambassadors for your business, helping you to create an effective 'employer brand' that will attract even more of the right people.

Don't forget that investing in the right people isn't just about finding and hiring those people - it's also about treating and training them well to minimise the likelihood of them ever wanting to leave your company. Studies have shown that employers that train their employees are three times less likely to lose them than those that don't.

Do you have exciting new science jobs to fill? Contact Hyper Recruitment Solutions right now about our acclaimed and highly compliant science recruitment solutions, so that your company takes on only the best talent in the New Year.  


While, in theory, the start of a New Year should see many people living up to their resolutions and dropping bad habits in favour of far more productive ones, in reality, most of us will probably spend 2016 doing pretty much the same things that we did in 2015.

There's no reason for you to be the same! Nab one of the best science jobs this year with our top 10 employability tips.

1. Revamp your CV

Does your CV quickly make clear why no science recruitment agency should ignore you? Is it well-structured, readable and free of mistakes? Do you adapt it to each new position that you apply for?

2. Undertake further training

That chemistry, immunology or molecular biology job that you have your eye on may be more attainable with an additional qualification, or there might be other useful skills that you can learn more informally.

3. Improve your interview technique

Many candidates have a sparkling CV, but can't articulate in-person what makes them such a great catch for an employer. Avoid the same problem by rehearsing answers to common interview questions and developing your lift pitch.

4. Determine what you are worth

Assess what value you actually have to an employer on the basis of your current skills, attributes and experience. Learn to confidently 'sell' yourself to firms with vacancies for science jobs.

5. Brush up on leadership skills

Great leadership isn't just about managing a team - it's also about being able to lead and manage yourself. Can you work well independently without the need to be micro-managed?

6. Build your online presence

Your profile on the web can both assist and damage your chances with the science recruitment agencies that tend to Google the names of candidates before offering them a job. Make sure your own net presence is a help rather than a hindrance.  

7. Change your attitude

It's especially easy for those who have been unemployed for a while to think they'll never find another good job. Unfortunately, this lack of confidence is noticed by employers and can therefore become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

8. Show flexibility

You may desire a certain salary and hours, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it. Keep your options open - even a less-than-ideal role may prove the perfect stepping stone to your dream job. 

9. Demand feedback from others

What do current employers and/or colleagues make of your current performance and attributes? What are your strengths right now, and in which areas can you improve?

10. Keep busy!

Don't be that jobseeker who simply watches TV all day instead of searching hard for science jobs and other opportunities to boost employability. Hunting out that dream role is a full-time job in itself!

Team up with The Apprentice winner Ricky Martin and Lord Alan Sugar at Hyper Recruitment Solutions today, to give yourself the best possible chance of landing that exciting new science role in 2016. 


You might imagine that the relationship between you as a jobseeker and a recruitment agency is a fairly straightforward one - you sign up and stipulate what you are looking for, and the agency does its best to match you up to suitable vacancies.  

However, you are likely to meet with much greater success in your search for science jobs if you follow the below tips to get the most out of your recruitment agency.

Ask for advice relating to your sector

Eager to know how to break into biotechnology, medical devices or pharmaceutical? Maybe you are on the lookout for life sciences, quality assurance, regularly affairs or research and development (R&D) opportunities?

A good recruitment agency will be able to advise you on 'the law of the land' in relation to your targeted sector, including trends, required skills, experiences, qualifications and more.

Get your CV and covering letter sorted out

You will fall at the first hurdle if your covering letter and CV don't make a great impression straight away.

We aren't just talking about misspellings or grammatical errors, although of course, these are bad enough. We're talking about absolutely anything that would give an employer an excuse to leave your CV at the bottom of the pile. Our experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help you to ensure that doesn't happen.

Make your career 'fighting fit' with coaching

Nor is any science recruitment agency quite complete if it does not offer some form of career coaching. What qualifications do you need? What steps do you need to take after qualification? Do you even yet know exactly what you want from your career?

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we are happy to guide you through real life examples of what people have done previously to land their dream science role.

Brush up on your interview technique

So much failure to land highly desired science jobs can be attributed to poor interview preparation. You may stumble over a specific interview question, or simply not show yourself at your best at the interview - whatever, a great science recruitment agency will help you to avoid this.

Contact our team about assistance with your own upcoming interview, including information on practice questions and how to identify given interview styles.

Request salary benchmarking

Finally, a good recruitment agency should also be able to help you to gauge your worth and determine how much salary you ought to ask for at the negotiation stage. Are you truly being paid the market rate?

Combine these five tips with a proactive attitude and a readiness to learn, and there's no reason why you can't gain significant value from your chosen recruitment agency when searching for jobs. Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we would be delighted if you made us that science recruitment agency. 

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