Honesty

We're all taught that honesty is the best policy - but is this the case in a job interview?

When you're being interviewed, your primary concern is presenting yourself as the best candidate for the job, and it's perfectly normal to talk up your best traits while downplaying your weaknesses. But overstating your qualities and skills can have disastrous repercussions if you're successful! So where does one draw the line?


When talking about your personal skills and experience, it's always safer to be honest!

Before your interview starts, the interviewers will spend some time reviewing your CV to determine what kind of questions they should ask you. If you have been honest on your CV, the interview stage should be relatively easy!

The reason why it's so important to be honest about your skills and experience (both on your CV and in an interview situation) is that you may well be expected to apply those skills if you get the job.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you are applying for a scientific job that requires extensive knowledge and experience of working with a certain type of equipment, you might be asked to complete tasks using that equipment at a later date. If you lie to the interviewers and tell them that you're an expert in using that equipment (when really you aren't), you might end up causing a serious accident or injury.

The same theory applies to lots of other skills, like speaking a different language, being able to use a certain piece of software, and even managing teams of people. When it comes to talking about the skills and experience you have, it's definitely better to tell the truth.

Read More: Can You Lie on Your CV?


Can I bend the truth when answering other questions?

While it's definitely in your best interest to be upfront and honest about your skills and experience, you may not want to disclose too much information when asked questions like:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

For example, you might have left your last job because they simply weren't paying you enough, but mentioning this in your interview might make the interviewer think you're only concerned with money.

Don't just make up a lie, though - try to frame the truth in a positive way, like this:

  • NOT IDEAL: I left my last job because they weren't paying me enough.

  • BETTER: I left my last job because I'd reached a dead end - I wanted to move on to something more rewarding, with more opportunities to advance my career.

Remember, there are some questions you don't have to answer.

It's actually illegal for employers to ask potential employees about certain 'protected characteristics', such as:

  • Sexuality
  • Gender identity
  • Family and marital status
  • Age
  • Disabilities
  • Nationality, race and ethnicity
  • Religious beliefs

So if you're in a job interview and the interviewer asks 'Are you planning to have children?' or 'What country are you from originally?', they are actually breaking the law. (The only exception is if the question is part of a positive action to help people from a particular group - e.g. an initiative to hire more openly LGBT+ individuals. Even in these cases, you are not required to give an answer if you would prefer not to.)

Hyper Recruitment Solutions specialise in science recruitment - for more interview advice, click the link below.

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Job Interview Biggest Weakness

If you’re going for a job interview, you’re probably dreading the interviewer asking you to talk about your biggest weakness – and that’s totally normal. This very common interview question puts you on the spot and requires you to evaluate and talk about yourself in a somewhat negative way.

To minimise the risk of freezing up or saying the wrong thing, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for this question:

Understand WHY interviewers ask this question.

It might seem a little strange for an interviewer, who should be interested in your achievements and experience, to want to know about your biggest weakness. But the reason they ask this question is quite simple: they want to get past your smart, rehearsed interview façade to understand what you’re like as a person and what you’re like to work with.

Answer the question in TWO parts:

1. Identify your weakness.

  • Don't deny that you have weaknesses.
  • Choose a weakness that doesn't directly relate to the job.
  • Try not to get defensive or talk about yourself in an overly negative way.
  • Don't try to disguise a strength as a weakness - try to be honest.

2. Talk about how you're working on it.

  • Give an example of a time your weakness caused an issue at work, then explain how you resolved it.
  • Give examples of the ways you plan to work on your weakness (if you haven't started working on it already).
  • Be positive and confident - having weaknesses isn't something to be embarrassed about. Everybody has them!

Plan your response to the question.

It is quite likely that the interviewer will ask you about your biggest weakness - this question is so common at this point that it's on the verge of becoming a cliché - so we recommend preparing a constructive answer ahead of time.

  • Think carefully about your weaknesses and write them down.

  • Look at the job specification and highlight the key skills and attributes required for the role.

  • Compare your list of weaknesses to the key requirements of the job. Exclude any weaknesses that might give the impression you're not suitable for the position at all - e.g. don't give shyness as your answer if it's a customer-facing role requiring strong interpersonal skills.

  • Compose a strong answer relating to the remaining weakness(es).

Example of a good response:

Scenario: You're applying for a job as a lab technician. This job requires meticulous attention to detail and safe practices.

Good Answer: "I am not very good at public speaking. I get very nervous; I'll happily put my ideas forward when working in a small team, but on a larger scale, I do tend to struggle. However, I have arranged to go back to my university and give a talk to current chemistry students about my experience on the course - I'm hoping that this will help me to improve!"

Bad Answer: "I really struggle to be organised. My friends and family say I'm a bit of a slob, and I'm always breaking things accidentally. There's not much I can do about it, though - that's just who I am!"

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we can offer lots of helpful advice if you're applying for a job in a scientific sector. Click the link below to browse our latest job listings.

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New Year Fireworks

An article published on Buzzfeed last December offered a number of suggestions for job seekers hoping to land their 'dream role' in 2018. The tips were fairly wide-ranging, touching on everything from cleaning up your social media accounts to choosing the right interview clothes.

Even so, we believe that we at Hyper Recruitment Solutions can add a few extra tips to that list for 2019 - if you're serious about getting a new job in the new year, here are 5 more things that you should keep in mind:

1. Ask somebody else to read your CV.

Before you submit your CV to any potential employers, send it to a trusted friend or family member and ask them to give it a quick read-through.

Your proof-reader will hopefully catch any spelling / grammar mistakes that you failed to spot yourself, but more importantly, they'll be able to tell you whether or not the document is a fair representation of your abilities and experiences. They may think you're selling yourself short!

2. Tailor your CV to each job you apply for.

Once you've finished writing your CV, it's easy to just send exactly the same version to every prospective employer. But tweaking your CV each time you send it - tailoring it to the specific role you're applying for - can be a very worthwhile endeavour. You don't have to start from scratch every time you begin a new job application, but you should assess each job description and make sure that your CV is emphasising the right skills and focusing on the most relevant parts of your career history in each case.

3. Eliminate all filler from your cover letter.

When applying for certain jobs, you will be required to accompany your CV with a cover letter that explains why you're applying for the role in question (and what makes you a good fit for it). Your cover letter is a great opportunity to make a glowing first impression, but no matter what you decide to put in this document, it needs to be concise and to-the-point.

Once you've written your cover letter, read back over it and make sure that every single sentence has a reason to be there - if it doesn't add anything to the picture you're trying to paint, delete it! Employers won't enjoy reading a lot of pointless waffle that wastes their precious time, and a shorter, punchier cover letter will likely make more of an impact anyway.

4. Know how you're getting to the interview.

Showing up late for an interview is almost always a surefire way to not get the job. Once you've been told where you're being interviewed, take the time to plan your journey carefully:

  • Will you be walking, driving, or taking public transport?
  • What time will you need to set out in order to arrive on time?
  • Do you have an umbrella in case it rains on the day?
Planning is key if you want to be sure of arriving on time (and not looking too dishevelled when you get there!).

5. Didn't get the job? Ask for feedback.

Even an unsuccessful job application can be valuable if you're able to learn from it and do better next time. If a prospective employer tells you that you didn't get the job, thank them for their time and ask them if they would be willing to provide any feedback. For example:

  • Did your answers leave something to be desired?
  • Could you have dressed more appropriately for the interview?
  • Was it simply a question of experience?
You can't control every aspect of your job application, but constructive feedback can give you a better idea of what employers are looking for and how to present yourself in the best possible way.

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Work Experience

What do you need in order to land your dream job? One word: experience.

Recent studies show that two thirds of employers seek graduates with relevant work experience, as this better prepares them for working life and helps to develop their general business acumen. Additionally, one third of employers reportedly feel that job applicants do not possess enough knowledge about their chosen career.

But developing your business skills and career knowledge isn't the only reason why work experience is important. There are several other advantages the you can gain from getting a taste of working life before seeking a permanent role.

Why work experience is important:

  1. Exploring your options - If, like many people, you are not yet sure what career path you'd like to take, work experience provides a great opportunity for you to see what it's like to work within a certain industry. This can be a deciding factor in the role you eventually choose for yourself.

  2. Displaying your enthusiasm - If you already know what career you'd like to pursue, gaining work experience within your chosen field will demonstrate your passion and interest to potential employers when you send them your CV. Employers like to hire individuals who want to work for them because they're genuinely interested in the role, not just because they need the money. Gaining work experience in your preferred industry will show a high level of commitment, which can increase your chance of future success.

  3. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses - Work experience can be a great teacher. While working within a real-life work setting, you'll have the opportunity to assess your abilities more clearly. Skills that you developed in school and university can be put into practice; you'll also be able to learn what skills you do not possess, and perhaps begin working to develop them.

  4. Networking - Work experience will give you many options to network. You'll get to know a number of potentially useful contacts, and they'll get to find out what you have to offer. Even at this early stage of your career, networking can provide benefits that will last throughout your working life.

  5. Discovering opportunities - Frequently, employers who take on individuals for work experience end up offering those individuals permanent positions within the same organisation. Neither employer nor worker can really know how well the candidate is going to perform prior to the beginning of the placement, but after some time, the employer may realise that the worker can bring lasting benefits to the company. This is particularly common among undergraduate students whose courses include a placement year; once the placement is finished and the student has gained a considerable amount of knowledge, their employer will often offer a full-time role for after graduation.

As you can see, work experience comes with a number of important benefits, all of which can help you to secure your dream job.

If you are interested in working with the science industry. Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help you to take the next step in your career. We work with the biggest and best organisations in the UK science industry, helping talented individuals to fill vital roles and drive the sector forward. Click the link below to see a full list of current vacancies.

Browse Science Jobs >

Graduate writing CV

You've graduated from university, and now you're on the hunt for your dream job. But having the right degree, the right skills, and even the right work experience means nothing if you don't know how to lay it all out on your CV!

A good CV needs to make a lasting impression on the person reading it. The average employer spends mere seconds scanning each applicant's CV, so it's crucial to make sure that yours really grabs their attention. Follow our graduate CV guide to make sure your document hits all the right notes.

Personal Information

This section should include your key personal details, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Email address
Feel free to include other information - such as the fact that you have a clean driving licence and access to your own vehicle - if you think it may give an edge over other applicants. If you are currently employed, mention this here (along with the notice period you will need to serve before leaving).

Skills & Expertise

This is where you should talk about your skills as they pertain to the job you're after. It is crucial to highlight skills that are relevant / transferable to the position - examples may include:

  • Strong problem solving skills
  • A good understanding of relevant regulations / legal matters
  • The ability to work in a team
  • Good communication skills
This is your opportunity to show off the skills and expertise that make you the perfect candidate for the job! 

Experience & Education

This is the juiciest and most important part of your CV. List all of your past work/education experiences in chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. Include start/end dates, a brief description of each role, a brief list of what you achieved or learned in that role, and any qualifications/grades earned.

It is again important to focus on experience and education that is relevant to the job in question, as this will look good to your potential employer. For example, if you're applying for a scientific position, make sure you list your most impressive scientific experiences and qualifications. If you do not have any relevant work experience, try to focus on education and any transferable skills you've picked up over the course of your life thus far.

Interests & Hobbies

This is where you can detail the activities that you enjoy in your spare time. Remember, though: the employer does not want to read your life story! Ideally, the activities listed here will complement the information you've given elsewhere in your CV; for instance, if it's a scientific position that you're applying for, you might state that you like to read the latest science news and keep up with trending topics. This reinforces your interest in the position and will look better than saying 'I like playing video games and watching Netflix'.

References

It's common practice to state 'References available on request' at the end of a CV. That said, if you have strong, relevant references available, this is another opportunity to stand out from the other applicants. Some positions may state that references are required, so be sure to know exactly what is expected of you before proceeding.

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Including all of the above on your CV should get you well on your way to securing the job you want! Remember not to waffle and to focus on what's really important at all times. Also, check for spelling and grammar mistakes, as these will really take the shine off what you've written. Finally, consider tailoring your CV to each job you apply for - different roles will require different skills, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always pay off!

If you need help with your job hunt, please don't hesitate to contact Hyper Recruitment Solutions for expert assistance.

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