As much as we might all like to think that we are immaculately impartial when it matters – such as when we are leading a HR team recruiting for a position – the fact of the matter is that we are human and therefore as prone to bias, whether inadvertent or otherwise, as anyone else.

There have certainly been enough signs of that down the years. One controversial report cited a few years ago by The Telegraph, for instance, suggested some bias among recruitment agencies against black and ethnic minority candidates.

Meanwhile, a recent BBC Inside Out study found that a jobseeker with an English-sounding name was offered three times more interviews than a candidate with a Muslim name, despite the two CVs that were sent out detailing the same level of qualifications and experience.

So what are some of the forms of bias from which your own hiring team could be suffering?

1.       Confirmation bias

We’ve all probably had times when we’ve glossed over news articles containing facts that don’t comply with our political views, while remembering and agreeing with those that do.

Well, a similar thing happens in recruitment – you might have certain preconceived views about a candidate and seek out information in their CV and at interview to confirm those pre-existing beliefs, while discounting any information that goes against those beliefs.

2.       Overconfidence effect

This term refers to when a person’s subjective confidence in their judgements outweighs their objective accuracy. You may be overly confident, for example, that you always make the right hiring decision whenever you go by gut instinct.

This form of bias often originates from confirmation bias – you may remember when relying on your gut instinct led to a great hire, but not when it resulted in disaster.

3.      Similarity attraction effect

This is the tendency for people to look more favourably upon and seek out others who are similar to them. In the recruitment context, this may manifest in viewing candidates who have the same hobbies and interests as you or support the same football team more positively.

That might not be such a great problem if you’re drawn to people with a similarly strong work ethic to you. However, all too many hiring managers can be swayed by factors that have nothing to do with on-the-job performance.

4.      Halo effect

Do you presume that just because a given candidate is good in one way – for instance, is friendly and agreeable – they’ll also be good in other ways, such as in the sense of possessing the right technical skills for the role?

You may think you would never view candidates in such a way. However, many hiring managers fall into the trap of liking a candidate so much that they fail to carry out the required objective analysis of their job-related skills and abilities.

5.       Illusory correlation

If you’ve been asking those wacky interview questions that seemingly have nothing to do with the actual responsibilities of the role – such as “Show me 10 uses of a pencil” or “Which piece of fruit would you be?” – you might want to ask yourself whether you are suffering from illusory correlation bias.

This is the tendency to perceive a relationship between things – such as people, events or behaviours – even when such a relationship doesn’t exist. There is no evidence that ‘weird’ interview questions like the above, for instance, actually predict job performance.

How can such biases be eliminated?

Many ways have been tried of minimising bias in the recruitment process. Name blind CVs have become increasingly popular among certain big employers, while the use of video interviews in the early stages of screening can also help to offset discrimination by asking the same questions of every candidate.

Another way of helping to ensure that hiring decisions are not made due to personal or cultural bias is to keep a record of the reasons why candidates were rejected. This can be a good form of both internal and client feedback, and certain patterns in your HR analytics may show signs of bias.

It’s impossible to completely eliminate any trace of bias from your firm’s approach to hiring. Nonetheless, by bearing all of the above in mind, your company can maximise the likelihood of making the most impartial and informed decisions when seeking to fill its science jobs.

Why not click through to learn more about the varied recruitment solutions that we provide to our employer clients here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, including candidate screening?



You probably don’t need our science recruitment experts here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions to tell you that the job market can be an extremely competitive one.

A survey last year, and reported by Business Insider, pretty much confirmed what so many of those seeking the most attractive and lucrative science jobs already knew, in reporting that UK job seekers have to apply for 27 positions on average just to land one interview.

So, if you are fortunate enough to be invited to interview, here are six of the best ways to maximise your chances of success.

1.       Prepare, prepare, prepare

Yes, you might have heard this tip often, but it can’t be emphasised often enough: good, thorough preparation for an interview is very much the bedrock for success.

As a guideline, the tendency for most candidates is to spend just a few hours preparing for their interview, so we would advise you to spend much more time than that. After all, you need to be spellbindingly good to truly impress the recruiter, not just adequate or even inadequate.

2.       Get accustomed to 20th-century technology

There are so many examples of cutting-edge (and maybe slightly less than cutting-edge) technology in today’s recruitment landscape that aren’t exactly going to just go away.

Increasing numbers of companies, for instance, now like to conduct video interviews before meeting with you in person.

So, you should take the time to ensure you are comfortable with whatever technology is used and don’t make any amateurish mistakes that will make a bad impression – such as positioning yourself at an unflattering angle to the camera or neglecting to ensure the lighting and sound are top-notch.  

3.       Make sure you have a clear value proposition

Remember that the interview is ultimately about selling yourself to the recruiter or employer, so you will need to – at the very least – have an extremely clear value proposition to make them truly interested in you.  

To do that, you will need to communicate not only what it is you do, but also who you serve, or who your customers or clients are.

You should also be able to convey what value those customers or clients perceive in your services and what you can offer that isn’t available to those customers or clients anywhere else.  

4.       Ask strategic questions

While it’s obviously crucial to provide convincing answers to the questions you are asked, it’s equally important to have interesting questions of your own to ask.

A good rule of thumb is to ask strategic questions designed to bring you closer to being presented with a job offer, rather than basic tactical questions – such as how to do certain things – that can plant doubt in the mind of the interviewer.

If you’re struggling for ideas of decent questions to ask, this article from The Guardian on the best 10 questions to ask in job interviews may give you some timely inspiration.

5.       Pay attention to your image

Your interviewer is a human being, and like any human being, they tend to remember images rather more easily than words or text. Think back to the last movie you watched – is it the images that you recall most from it, or the actors’ lines?

It’s therefore important to make sure you present the most positive image to the interviewer as soon as you arrive. Are you wearing appropriate clothing? Is your posture good? Are you smiling, or gloomy?

6.        Be oriented towards the future, not the past

It’s all too easy during a job interview to become buried in your past achievements and qualifications. When it comes down to it, what are you going to do for this employer in the coming weeks and months after they take you on?

The future is almost certainly what the recruiter or employer will be mostly thinking about, so it’s what you should be mostly thinking about as a candidate as well.

Would you like to benefit from more advice and guidance like this in your quest for a rewarding new science job? If so, don’t hesitate to familiarise yourself with the HRS Candidate Commitment before getting in touch with our team to learn more about what we have to offer. 

The news from the most recent Labour Market Outlook report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that the number of vacancies in the UK economy remains well above historical average levels should lead many science employers to consider whether they really are doing everything they can to inspire and attract candidates.

Your company’s approach to job descriptions is just one aspect that you may wish to examine. They are a key frontier of your quest to fill your organisation’s science jobs, but what are the best ways of writing a job description to which the best candidates will wish to respond?

1.       Be clear and realistic about the responsibilities

There’s no more important part of a job description than the rundown of the day-to-day responsibilities that the successful candidate will have – so don’t be vague, and don’t try to cram too many responsibilities in, either. Aiming for between eight and 12 key areas of responsibility is a good rule of thumb.

2.       Use an engaging tone

Remember that the whole point of a job description – besides outlining the most basic details about the job – is to persuade someone to come and work for your organisation.

A dry and impersonal tone will cause many a great candidate to lose interest before they have even finished reading the description. However, by placing the emphasis on where your company is going and what you can do for the candidate, you can make your description so much more compelling for them.

3.       Avoid discriminatory language

Even when you don’t specifically intend to discriminate against anyone, the use of certain words and phrases in your job description could have that effect anyway, restricting the range of candidates that apply for your vacancies and hampering your efforts to boost diversity in your workforce.

As the GOV.UK site details, there are various ways in which employers discriminate against candidates, so you should take every measure to ensure your job descriptions don’t prevent suitable candidates from applying for your vacancy. 

4.       Use terminology that candidates will understand

Of course, if you’re advertising for a senior role in pharmacology, engineering, FMCG or any of a wide range of other specialised science sectors like those that we serve here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, using certain industry-specific terms could help to separate suitable from unsuitable candidates.

However, if certain technologies or practices within your organisation are known by names that external candidates are unlikely to recognise, you could find yourself inadvertently deterring perfectly suitable talents.  

5.       ‘Play it straight’ with the job title

Yes, the necessary skills and day-to-day responsibilities may make up the ‘meat’ of your job description, but there are also certain other basic elements that all job descriptions need to have if they are to be truly effective – and you need to get those elements right.

Consider the job title, for example – this isn’t a part of your job description where you should be using any confusing or obscure terms. A job title can all candidates will immediately understand will attract more interest, views and – of course – applications.

Are you an employer looking to bolster your science recruitment efforts? If so, click through to learn more about the bespoke hiring solutions of Hyper Recruitment Solutions that could help to address your firm’s most demanding staffing requirements. 

The productivity gap between the UK and other developed nations is undoubtedly one of the most troubling issues of our current economy.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stated that UK workforces are 31% less productive than their US counterparts and 17% less productive than the rest of the G7 countries, despite the number of hours worked by Britons being similar to these other nations.

It is an issue that no organisation launching a science recruitment campaign should ignore - but what are five of the factors that are exerting the greatest influence on staff productivity?

1. Staff attitude

The people who you recruit to your organisation's science jobs need to have the right attitude, but all too often, employees do not enjoy their work and therefore spend more of their time watching the clock or thinking about the money than making a major contribution to their employers' fortunes.

Do your bit to improve employee attitudes by placing them in roles that play to their passions and strengths, in addition to formally recognising their achievements.

2. Ill health

Did you know that during 2014, sickness absence was an average of 2.8% of working time per annum, or 6.5 days per employee, costing employers an average of £16 billion?

Employee ill health is unquestionably a great drain on the productivity of UK workforces, with public sector organisations feeling the worst effects - a median of 3.5% of working time is lost due to sickness time in such organisations, compared to the 2.2% recorded for private sector firms.

3. Technology tools

It isn't just those organisations in more technical fields, such as information systems, that need to keep up to date with the latest technological developments that could benefit their employees' output.

Between 1995 and 2005, the IT revolution was found to be responsible for 0.6% of labour productivity growth and 1% of overall growth in Europe, the US and Japan, so you can rest assured that when your staffers are equipped with the right tools, they will get more done.

4. The 'higher ups'

Are you providing your workers with the supervision that they need to deliver the maximum productivity, not just answering their queries, but also encouraging, motivating and inspiring them, in addition to formally recognising and rewarding their achievements?

Unfortunately, all too many supervisors concentrate on the negative aspects of their employees' performances or don't keep promises to them, thereby eroding the respect that staff members have for them and therefore, their commitment to delivering the best work.

5. Downsizing and outsourcing

It may be tempting to save money by farming out more of your organisation's work to independent professionals or simply downsizing your company, but have you considered the effect that this has on existing staff members' morale?

If your current employees suspect that your firm is on a downward slide, their own focus can suffer as they contemplate their own position within the organisation and potential alternative career opportunities.

One of the most sure-fire employee productivity boosting measures will always be to simply recruit the best-suited individuals in the first place. Your organisation should therefore never underestimate the assistance that a leading science recruitment agency - such as Hyper Recruitment Solutions - can provide in your hunt for the best pharmaceutical, clinical and other science talent. 



If the term ‘research scientist’ sounds quite broad, that’s because it is – indeed, research scientists are active in almost every area of science. Nonetheless, whether you are interested in a career in geosciences, meteorology, pharmacology or something different altogether, it’s helpful to know something about what life as a research scientist generally involves.

Working in a lab is more exciting than it sounds

Before we go any further – yes, life as a research scientist very much lives up to the stereotype of being based almost entirely in a laboratory, although of course, that may be music to your ears rather than something to dread!

In any case, the range of employers of research scientists is extremely diverse, encompassing the likes of government laboratories, utilities providers, environmental agencies, pharmaceuticals companies, public funded research councils and specialist research organisations and consultancies.

Much the same can be said of the many responsibilities – as a research scientist, you could find yourself taking on tasks ranging from the planning and conducting of experiments and recording and analysing data, to the carrying out of fieldwork and the presentation of results to senior or other research staff.

What other aspects of the job do you need to know about?

If you are thinking of aiming for a career as a research scientist, it’s helpful to know what personal qualities and professional qualifications will serve you best in your quest. It should go without saying that research and analytical skills are vital, but you will also need to possess excellent communication and presentation skills and an ability to teach.

As for more formal qualifications, as outlined by the National Careers Service, a 2:1 degree in a relevant science subject is usually expected for entry. In practice, you will almost certainly need a relevant postgraduate qualification as well, such as a PhD or research-based MSc, particularly for permanent roles. Experience of working in a research setting could also aid your search for such science jobs.

Your working patterns, hours and environment will depend on the kind of employer for which you are employed as a research scientist. Those working in a university research department can usually expect a 35-hour, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday working week. If you work in industry, however, there may be a greater expectation that you fit in with shift patterns, such as in the evening, at the weekend or on public holidays.

Research scientists can look forward to good progression opportunities

There’s a good level of scope for career advancement as a research scientist. While salaries start at an average of about £14,000 a year, they can go up to as much as £60,000, such as if you progress from a scientist with research councils and institutes to senior research or laboratory management positions.

Research scientists in academic roles who are more experienced and have published original research often rise to the status of senior research fellow or professor, leading their own teams.

There’s a lot to learn about what it’s like to be a research scientist, as well as about how we can help you to effectively compete for science jobs. Get in touch with Hyper Recruitment Solutions today about the work that we do to assist talented graduates and professionals into rewarding science roles, or explore the National Careers Service’s guides to some of the most exciting related jobs in science and research

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