Crumpled-up paper

Getting turned down for a job can be disheartening at the best of times and downright devastating at the worst.

Rejection is particularly frustrating if it comes after you went to the trouble of attending a job interview - making it to the very end of the process only to fall at final hurdle can be a bitter pill to swallow.

That being said, life is a never-ending learning experience, and there can be victory in defeat - even when it comes to not getting the job.

 

Why ask for feedback after interview rejection?

Swallowing your pride and asking 'why?' takes real bravery. After all, you bared your soul in the interview, attempted to sell yourself based on your best qualities, and got turned down all the same – it's hard not to take that personally.

Surely asking your rejectors to elaborate on their decision is akin to asking an ex why they decided to dump you in favour of someone else?

Well, luckily, it needn't be quite as fraught an experience as that.

 

The benefits of asking for feedback after a job interview

Asking for feedback after a job interview can actually be very helpful on a number of levels. While it may seem like you're willingly rubbing salt into your own unemployable wounds, there are a variety of benefits to be had:

 

Discover what worked (and what didn't)

Knowing what went well and what didn't can be a great way to streamline your approach to future job applications, and identifying key areas that are in need of improvement can help you to fill in any gaps in your interview game.

If you knocked it out of the park with your presentation skills but struggled to answer their questions about the business, you know to do more revision next time. On the other hand, if you lacked a skill that the other candidate had, you may want to look into mastering that skill for yourself.

It may not even have had anything to do with your skills at all: it could have been a single throwaway comment that irked the interviewer, or the fact you'd neglected to shave that morning. Either way, clarity can help you right your wrongs and ensure lightning doesn't strike twice.

 

Learn something new

Thorough feedback is frequently helpful, but sometimes, it can be outright enlightening.

From body language to bad habits, asking for comments on your interview performance could lead you to find out something new about yourself that you didn't know about before. This will allow you to work on yourself if necessary.

Whether it's unconsciously doodling on your notepad, not maintaining eye contact out of sheer nerves, or simply seeming disinterested in an attempt to present yourself as calm, brutally honest feedback can make for great constructive criticism.

 

Find out what they want

Interviewer feedback can be a great way to gauge exactly what employers are looking for (and then make sure you present it in future interviews).

If your interviewer informs you that you seemed too brash and self-assertive, try to reign it in a bit next time. If your suit was too loud, tone it down in future. If your handshake was too weak, train up those forearms!

Whatever feedback you are given is a peek behind the curtain at what other employers are likely to be looking for too, so take note and be sure to tick those boxes on your next attempt.

 

Leave the door open

A willingness to learn and better yourself is a great trait to have. Actively seeking ways to improve yourself can leave a lasting impression on a potential employer.

If this is a company you really want to work for or a vacancy you are hoping will crop up again, asking for feedback in a polite and grateful manner could leave the door open to future opportunities.

You never know - the successful candidate may not last, and a positive parting of ways now could leave you first in line for a call-up.

 

How to ask for feedback after an interview

While the setback of job rejection can leave a fresh scar that's particularly tender to the touch, it's important to remain calm, level-headed, and - above all - courteous in your response. This is far easier to do via email, so if possible, go down the digital route rather than making a phone call.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when you're responding to a rejection email. Firstly, remember that their mind is made up by this point and this isn't a window to make them reconsider. Instead, use your response as an opportunity to further endear yourself and leave them with a lasting positive impression.

Display your gratitude for the time they gave you and, if you do choose to relay your disappointment, be sure to do so in a manner that is friendly and reinforces your desire to hopefully work together in the future.

Employers are far more likely to respond to your request if a) you are genuine in your response, and b) you present yourself as a potential candidate for the future. The interviewers have already invested time in you throughout this process, and a positive farewell could still result in good things to come.

Hyper Recruitment Solutions have helped countless candidates to secure rewarding jobs in the science and technology sectors. Browse our latest job listings here, or click the following links for more interview advice...

Job Interview Checklist   How Honest Should I Be in an Interview?

Job interview questions and answers

So you've secured a job interview - congrats! The next step is to start preparing for the interview questions that you might be asked.

As you may already know, there are a number of typical questions and answers that come up at every interview. Today we're going to look at what these could be and the best way to answer them.

'Tell me about yourself.'

While this may seem like the easiest interview question to answer, if you're caught off-guard it can actually be one of the most difficult. What exactly do employers want to hear when they ask this question? Is it your academic history, your ambitions, your reasons for applying?

A little bit of each topic is perhaps the best way to answer this interview question. Be sure to detail previous academic history, ambitions, and reasons for applying that make you a great fit for the job. Make sure you don't ramble, though, and make sure all of the information is relevant. The employer is trying to understand who you are as a person and how you would fit into the company.

'Why should we hire you?'

You'll find that you get asked this question in most job interviews, so it's an important one to prepare an answer for. Though it may seem like a rather difficult question to answer, the employer is actually just trying to see how you have thought of yourself in relation to the company.

It's valuable to know how your skills suit the job role, but remember, the employer wants to know how you fit into their company specifically. So when it comes to answering this question, be sure to include details of how your skills suit the job role and how you, personally, suit the company.

This interview question gives you a great opportunity to stand out, so make sure your answer is both memorable and concise. For further advice and information on how to best answer this question, read our blog here.

'What do you know about this company?'

This may seem like a bit of a vain interview question from the company's side, but yet again, it's a very important part of many job interviews. Most companies are proud of their history, culture, and ambitions, and they will want to know you value the same things.

To prepare for this interview question, be sure to do extensive research on the company. Look up important things like:

  • When they started
  • Their biggest projects to date
  • Research they've conducted (if applicable)
  • The company's values and brand identity
Not only will these things help you to answer the question, they'll also help you decide if this is actually a job you want.

'Why did you leave your last job?'

This, understandably, is a very common interview question. Most employers want to know what led to you leaving your last company as it will help them to understand what you look for in a job. Honesty is always the best policy, but if (for instance) you had to resign from your last job because you had a falling out with your boss, be tactful about how you word this.

Here's an example: instead of saying 'I left because I hated my last manager', you could say 'I left my job because the company culture didn't feel like a good fit for me'. It's best to always be reasonably respectful of your previous company - you don't want the interviewer to think you'll end up bad-mouthing their company down the line.

'What's your greatest achievement?'

Compared to some of the other questions we've covered today, this is a much nicer one to prepare for. The best way to prepare for this question is to think back through all the things you're proud of. It's best to think of professional achievements, but you can use more general life events too as long as they reflect your suitability for the job.

You can use any awards you've won, successes with clients, big breakthroughs, or even the grade you received at university. You could even use the birth of your child or your marriage if you think this is relevant to the role; for example, if becoming a parent has made you more conscientious, or planning your wedding made you more organised, these are unique answers that will stand out in an employer's mind.

We hope these common interview questions and answers have helped you prepare for your upcoming interview! If you're still looking for jobs, click here to browse the latest science jobs from HRS.

What to Wear to a Job Interview

Job interviews are all about making a good first impression, and nothing makes or breaks a first impression like how you're dressed. When a potential employer invites you to an interview, you should immediately start thinking about what to wear - what is the right outfit for this interview?

To some extent, of course, the answer to that question will depend on what sort of job you're interviewing for, but it's always important to look neat and professional. Even if you're hoping to land a role at a trendy tech start-up where all the employees wear T-shirts and jeans, it pays to look smart for the interview.

With that in mind, here - courtesy of the team here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions - are some top tips to help you get dressed for that career-making job interview:

  • First of all, be prepared. Don't wait until the day of the interview to select your outfit (especially if you're indecisive - showing up late won't look good regardless of what you're wearing!). Pick your clothes a few days in advance, and get them out of wardrobe to check that they're clean and crease-free. Leave yourself plenty of time to do laundry and ironing, just in case.

  • Don't dress too outrageously. Novelty ties, plunging necklines, garishly bright colours...a good interview outfit avoids all of these things. You want the interviewer to remember you for your articulate and intelligent answers, not for your red polka-dot shirt or your skimpy dress.

  • Be moderate with make-up, jewellery and scents. A drop of cologne or a touch of make-up? No problem. But you're not going on a date or hitting the clubs - you're applying for a job, so there's no need to do yourself up too extravagantly.

  • You're not there to show off your fashion sense. By all means wear nice, modern-looking clothes - you don't want to look like you've stepped through a portal from the 1970s. But unless you're interviewing for a post at some glossy magazine, your clothes shouldn't be trying to persuade the interviewer of your smashing fashion sense. Make a good impression by looking tidy and together, not by dressing for the catwalk.

  • Check your hair. Like clothing, hair can have a very powerful impact on what people think when they meet you for the first time. Your hairdo should be as neat and tidy as your outfit, so spend a little time sorting it out before you set off for the interview (and don't be afraid to go for a trim if you need it).

  • It's better to be overdressed than underdressed. It's an enormously clichéd piece of advice to offer, but 'dress for the job you want, not the job you have' is a good saying to bear in mind when pondering what to wear to a job interview. Most employers will expect interviewees to look reasonably smart even if they allow their employees to dress casually, and if in doubt, it's always safer to dress formally. In the vast majority of cases, business attire will make a far better impression than the clothes you wear around the house.

If you need more interview preparation tips, be sure to visit our Interview Advice page!

Still looking for your dream job? Browse the latest science and technology vacancies here.

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Advice for Graduates Looking for Jobs
Graduating from university is a great feeling, but tossing your mortarboard in the air is also the precursor to one of the biggest and scariest steps you'll ever have to take: the step away from student life and into the world of work.

Searching for your first full-time job can be a gruelling and demoralising task. If you've just left university, you probably don't have a whole lot of relevant work experience just yet, and as a result you may feel that you're at a significant disadvantage as you struggle to get a foot on that all-important first rung of the career ladder. Sometimes it feels like graduates aren't given the advice they need, which can make them feel a little low about graduation. But rest assured that there are many employers out there who are desperate to recruit talented graduates like yourself - you just have to make sure they know about you!

With that in mind, here - courtesy of science job specialists Hyper Recruitment Solutions - are 5 top tips for graduates who are looking for jobs:

1) Before you apply for anything, Google yourself.

No matter what sort of role you're looking to land, you can bet that the person who receives your job application will pop your name into a search engine before deciding whether or not to offer you an interview. This is the 21st century, and these days, potential employers will often scrutinise your online presence just as much as your CV. So make sure you're not showing them anything you don't want them to see!

Before you begin your job search, you should:

  • Type your name into Google to see what comes up on the first page of results. (If you have a common name, or if you share your name with somebody famous, you may want to try including your location in the search - e.g. 'daniel radcliffe sunderland' - to find pages that are specifically about you.) Is there anything in there that might damage a potential employer's opinion of you? A Twitter account, a news story, something you wrote years ago that you're not particularly proud of? It may not be possible to erase every piece of information about yourself, but if you're able to eliminate any red flags then you absolutely should.

  • You should also use Facebook's 'View As...' feature to find out how much of your profile is visible to the public. If necessary, adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view the things you post. You don't want your future boss to see those drunk photos of you from your graduation party, do you?

2) Make your CV shine.

Composing an impressive CV can be tough when you're fresh out of uni, especially if you haven't previously held a role that's similar to the one you're applying for. But don't assume that the experience you do have is worthless - just because you've never worked in an office before doesn't mean that you've never exercised the skills needed to succeed in that environment.

The key is to think outside the box a little bit. Let's say you're applying for a marketing job at an FMCG company - sure, you've never occupied a marketing post before, but you completed a degree, and perhaps you even worked a part-time job or two while you were studying. These and other experiences will have equipped you with:

  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to approach tasks creatively
  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure
  • An understanding of how to behave when dealing with customers/clients
All of these things are highly valued by employers in all sorts of different sectors, so don't be reluctant to include them on your curriculum vitae. Don't think in terms of experience - think in terms of skills!

3) Cast your net wide.

Different employers advertise their vacancies in all sorts of different places, so don't limit yourself to a single website or job listings board. By all means, sign up with big names like Monster and Indeed, but bear in mind that there are lots of specialist recruiters out there too - recruiters like Aspire for the digital / media sector and HRS for science jobs. Some organisations, having a limited budget for this sort of thing, will exclusively recruit via these more specialised portals, so don't kid yourself that you'll see every available vacancy just because you check Reed every day.

4) Don't go back into higher education without a good reason.

Postgraduate courses are great, and in some cases, you'll need a master's or a PhD to get the career you really want. However, far too many graduates sleepwalk into postgraduate programmes simply because they don't feel ready to compete for full-time employment.

That's usually a bad decision. Higher education is expensive, as you're no doubt already aware, and while you might tell yourself that a more advanced qualification will lead to better career prospects, the evidence on that front is somewhat ambiguous.

Yes, entering the world of work can feel like jumping into an abyss, but you shouldn't go back to university just because you're cosily familiar with academic life and scared of sampling the alternative. If you have a clear goal in mind (e.g. 'I need additional qualification X in order to be considered for job Y') then by all means go for it, but otherwise, you're probably better off taking the leap into full-time employment.

5) Remember - you're not committing to a career for life. 

When searching for jobs to apply for, try to bear in mind that your first post-university job doesn't necessarily have to lead to the career of your dreams. Many people don't even decide on a career until quite a bit later in life, so don't feel pressured to apply exclusively for jobs that are directly linked to whatever you think you'd like to be doing in ten or twenty years' time. You might only stay in this first job for a year or two - and that's okay, because it will still give you a lot of extra experience and a lot of new things to add to that CV of yours.

So those are our top 5 tips for graduate jobseekers, and we hope they'll come in handy! Of course, there's no secret formula or trick for landing any job you apply for, but it's important to stay positive and keep striving for success even if you suffer a setback or two. Just because your first few applications didn't lead anywhere doesn't mean that you should give up - keep going, and you'll be starting your new job before you know it!

Searching for jobs in the science/technology sector? Click here to create a candidate account and browse the latest vacancies from Hyper Recruitment Solutions!

Have you considered a career in recruitment?

Here at HRS, we are looking for talented individuals who want to make a difference to the science and technology sectors through recruitment. We have a number of positions available for trainee Recruitment Consultants / Graduate Sales Executives to join our growing sales teams.

The recruitment industry is one of the most rewarding and desirable sectors to work in. If you have an outgoing personality, are good with people, and happy to work hard to succeed in life, then you are perfect for a job in recruitment. We will train you to the highest possible standards and develop your skills and knowledge of the recruitment industry. If you have a passion and enthusiasm for doing the job right, this position offers great rewards.

Apply now >

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Telephone Interview

So you've just heard back from that job you applied for, and it's good news: they were impressed with your CV, and you've made it through to the interview stage. However, this won't be a traditional, face-to-face job interview - as it turns out, this particular employer prefers to do things over the phone.

You might be pleased to hear this at first. On paper, a telephone interview sounds quite a bit easier than the alternative: no need to get a haircut, no need to iron your interview suit, no need to worry about how you're going to get there on time. All you have to do is pick up the phone and have a conversation. Simple, right?

But being interviewed over the phone rather than meeting your potential employer in the flesh does have its disadvantages. For example...

  • The employer won't be able to connect with you in quite the same way as if you were right there in front of them. Facial expressions and body language are important when you're trying to get someone to warm to you, but you can't rely on them during a phone interview - instead, you're forced to present yourself well and get your points across using speech alone.

  • Similarly, you won't be able to use the interviewer's physical cues to assess how well (or not) the interview is going. It can be difficult to give a relaxed and confident performance when you don't know whether the person you're talking to is smiling or frowning.

  • Telephone interviews tend to be shorter and less in-depth than traditional job interviews, which leaves you with a significantly smaller window of opportunity. Less time means fewer chances to talk yourself up and persuade the interviewer of your suitability for the role.

  • While it can be nice to conduct a job interview from the comfort of your own living room, the home environment can be distracting and detrimental to the professional image you're trying to project. Many a remote interview has been interrupted by a child or pet wandering into the room at an inopportune moment, and even if you're home alone, there's still a chance that the doorbell will ring, or that you'll get sidetracked by one of the many other things vying for your attention.

By now, you should be beginning to realise that telephone interviews aren't necessarily the walk in the park that they may resemble at first glance. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, and we haven't even mentioned the fact that some people genuinely struggle to talk on the phone (even if they're perfectly outgoing and eloquent in person).

But don't despair - you can still ace your phone interview and land the job of your dreams without a hitch. To help you do so, here are five top telephone interview tips from the experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions:

1. Choose the right space.

Our phones go everywhere we go nowadays, which means that it's possible to take calls in the park, the car, the supermarket, and just about anywhere else you fancy. However, if at all possible, you should avoid conducting a job interview while on the go; instead, find a quiet, secluded room where you can be fairly certain you won't be interrupted. Try to choose somewhere with as few distractions and diversions as possible.

2. Focus on the task at hand.

Ideally, you shouldn't be doing anything else while you're being interviewed. You wouldn't doodle or surf the web or watch TV during a face-to-face job interview, so you should absolutely avoid those activities when on the phone. And don't eat anything during the call - it's impolite, and the person on the other end might have a hard time understanding you with your mouth full.

3. Make notes beforehand.

It never hurts to prepare. Keep your CV handy throughout the call (along with your cover letter, the company's details, and anything else that might prove useful) so that you can quickly refer to key information as necessary. Before the interview, you may also wish to draft answers to common questions so that you won't 'um' and 'ah' too much when you're in the hot seat. If you don't think it will be too much of a distraction, it might even be worth keeping a pen and some paper handy during the call itself so that you can make notes on the fly.

4. Don't speak too quickly.

During any sort of interview, it's easy to let your nerves get the better of you and speak too quickly to be understood. Before responding to each question, take a breath and remind yourself to answer slowly, steadily, and clearly. You'll come off a lot better for it, and the interviewer won't have to ask you to repeat yourself.

5. Be concise.

Just as it's important to try not to talk too fast, it's also important not to talk too much. Waffling on needlessly won't endear you to your potential employer - it's never fun to sit through a long, rambling answer, and it's even worse when you're on the phone and the physical cues we discussed earlier aren't present to make the monologue more engaging. If you really want to impress, answer each question in as few words as possible (while still making your point clear each time).

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