The pharmaceutical sector is one of the principal ones that we serve here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, with many employment experts in this field among our staff.

There’s also no question that the industry is a diverse, complex and potentially highly rewarding one for new recruits, with even starter pharmacologists typically earning between £25,000 and £28,000 a year, according to the National Careers Service.

But what do you need to know if you are to break into the sector for the first time?

First of all, make sure you have the right skills

There is a wide range of skills that will require in order to succeed in the pharmaceutical industry. These include strong IT skills, encompassing data retrieval and analysis, as well as good communication skills for giving presentations and writing papers and reports.

You will also need to be able to solve problems and come up with creative solutions in experiments, work collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams and organise yourself and manage your time well. Leadership potential is another key requirement.

What qualifications are necessary?

Although it isn’t unheard-of for school leavers to secure pharmaceutical jobs – according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) – this is not common and further career progress would depend on the possession of higher qualifications.

To stand the best chance of securing your first pharmaceutical role, you are likely to need a degree in pharmacology, although entry may be possible with a degree in another scientific subject such as biochemistry, neuroscience, microbiology or physiology.

For employment at the major pharmaceutical companies that receive an especially high level of interest from candidates, a relevant postgraduate qualification such as a pharmacology MSc or PhD may be essential, or at least highly advantageous.

What is the role of work experience?

Work experience can be invaluable for enabling you to see what life in the pharmaceutical industry is really like, as well as to talk to those already in the sector and start making useful contacts. The presence of work experience on your CV will also show to employers that you have a genuine interest in working in the sector.

Finding a relevant placement can be extremely difficult if you are under 16, but not impossible, with some pharmaceutical firms happy to provide local students with experience in an office.

If you are 16-18, you may be able to secure a one-week or two-week work experience placement during school holidays. However, such opportunities are rarely advertised, so you will almost certainly need to get in touch with companies directly.

When you are considering university courses, it is strongly advisable to choose a course that offers a ‘year in industry’ – also sometimes referred to as a sandwich or industrial placement year. If such a placement year is not possible, it’s a good idea to aim to obtain work experience during the long summer holidays.

How can Hyper Recruitment Solutions help?

When you are looking to secure that all-important first role in pharmacology, the assistance of the right science recruitment agency can be invaluable. Hyper Recruitment Solutions has long been that agency for a wide range of individuals seeking science jobs, with a high level of expertise in relation to the pharmaceutical sector.

Talk to our experts today about how we can serve you with our broad range of services geared towards the needs of candidates. 

  
Today’s candidates for science jobs in such fields as pharmacology, biotechnology and medical devices are generally savvy and understand the need to prepare well for an interview, including by researching their prospective employer.

The latter is vital not just for giving applicants a sense of what kind of company they could soon be working for, but also for helping them to confirm that this is definitely an organisation for which they would like to work.

After all, past research has indicated that 42% of workers are motivated by how well they get on with their colleagues, and 22% by how their manager treats them.

However, with even the most disreputable firms able to make themselves look good these days by having an impressive website designed complete with engaging written copy, the interview may be the first time you come into contact with your potential employer as they truly are.

In that case, what are the things that you need to look out for?

The premises

As you approach the site of your interview, you should consider the surroundings. Is the company’s office located in a decent area? Is the building itself well-maintained and presentable? What about the inside of the premises – are the bathrooms clean and is there somewhere to take a break at lunchtime?

Remember that you may well spend more of your waking hours at work than anywhere else, so it needs to be the kind of place where you can imagine yourself working comfortably for long hours.

The people

As you will need to do this anyway if you secure a role with this firm, it’s a good idea to talk to as many people as possible on the premises before you are called into the interview room, as this will give you a clue of the atmosphere there.

You should ask yourself whether the receptionist seems friendly, for example, or whether they seem overly busy, stressed out and inconvenienced by you being there. Look, too, at how other employees on site are interacting with each other – do these seem like people that you could work alongside for hour after hour?

The interview

How you present yourself at the interview is obviously vital, which is why we have previously blogged on such subjects as what your body language says during an interview. However, you shouldn’t become so focused on this that you fail to evaluate your potential employer.

You can gain a lot of clues about the company’s management culture by observing how the interviewer behaves. Did they turn up on time and seem relaxed, prepared and interested in you and your answers? Or did they leave you waiting and appear to be stressed and overwhelmed when they did finally arrive?

While you might not be working directly with this person if you do get the job, they are likely to be representative of the company’s broader culture, so any warning signs should be noted.

With as many as nine in 10 people expressing regret about rushing their career choice, it really is crucial to take the time at this stage to carefully consider your prospective employer’s merits. The interview may be the only time you directly interact with the company that could be your employer for many years to come, so you should be vigilant in keeping an eye out for good and bad signs alike. 


For both the leading science recruitment agencies and the employers that they serve, relevant work experience isn't a mere 'nice-to-have' on a candidate's CV - it could be the key factor that triggers offers for the most desirable vacancies.

Numerous surveys have served to confirm this down the years, with one such study last year finding that 58% of polled employers rated work experience as "the most popular qualification among those presented." Ranked second was a student's personality, cited by 48% of those quizzed.

But why, for science jobs in fields as wide-ranging as energy, clinical, telecommunications and more, is work experience - and in particular, relevant work experience - so highly valued by employers?

The right experience shows readiness for work

The most compelling reasons to ensure you get plenty of work experience on your CV before sending out your CV for all of those mouth-watering science jobs may also be the most mundane.

The truth is that your studies, as relevant for your specialised intended career as they undoubtedly are, do not - in and of themselves - indicate that you are prepared to walk into an organisation and start making a difference in that prestigious and rewarding role straight away.

You may possess a high level of knowledge in chemistry, immunology or pharmacology, but are you able to be punctual, present yourself well, organise your workday duties and take on a high level of responsibility, including making independent decisions if the circumstances demand it?

You may feel that you can respond with a "yes" to all of these questions, but only a record of past work experience - whether gained on a placement or more informally - will convince many employers that you can do so truthfully.

But work experience isn't just for pleasing an employer...

There's no question that relevant work experience can help to convince an employer that you will be a reliable and productive employee if they do hire you. Candidates with work experience are more likely to be able to work effectively as part of a team, gain a quick grasp of how an employer operates and commit to an employer for a certain period of time - among many other things.

However, you shouldn't merely think of relevant work experience as a way to attract more interviews for science jobs. That's because you should also use such experience to fine-tune your own understanding of the career path that you would like to pursue, as there are certain insights into the day-to-day realities of work in a given science field that only direct experience can bring.

Remember, too, that working in an organisation like that in which you aspire to gain salaried employment in future can be invaluable for building those early contacts that could - directly or indirectly - lead to a job offer. However, such contacts can also be crucial in simply giving you important insights into what truly awaits you if you decide to pursue a given science career path.

For the sake of ensuring that you apply for the right science jobs, as well as better stand out from the competition when you do so, acquiring work experience - the more relevant, the better - will always be strongly recommended by the leading science recruitment agencies like Hyper Recruitment Solutions


The most recent UK labour market statistics may point to another fall in the number of unemployed people between February and April 2016, but there are still some 1.67 million people out there who are not in work but seeking and available to work. This doesn't count the many who are already in roles but interested in the science jobs that we routinely advertise here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions.

In short, there remain plenty of people out there looking for a new role, and therefore plenty of people still attending - and often very nervous about - job interviews.

To guide you if you are one of them, here are just some of the questions that you are most likely to be asked at interview, and how to respond to them.

"What attracted you to this job?"

This is one of the most predictable interview questions of all. However, it is also one that requires you to do your research in advance about the employer and then demonstrate this before the interviewer, while tying it into the skills and interests that you feel make you suitable for the role.

In the process, you might draw attention to such aspects of the organisation or department that you admire as its stated values or client base.

"Can you tell me about yourself?"

You've already detailed your work history on your CV that the interviewer has (or at least should have!) already read, so this really does need to be a summary rather than a rambling soliloquy.

This is a good opportunity to draw attention to particular aspects of your candidacy that you would like the interviewer to remember, and to talk about your personality and ambitions in a way that enables the interviewer to positively envisage you as part of their team.

"What are your weaknesses?"

It has become horrendously clichéd to respond to this question by citing a quality that clearly isn't much of a weakness at all, but actually a strength, such as "I work too hard" or "I'm too much of a perfectionist".

However, it may be even worse a strategy to deny that you have weaknesses, given how this can make you appear arrogant or lacking in self-awareness. Instead, cite a genuine weakness - such as insufficient self-confidence or a lack of expertise in a particular area - that you are working to improve.

"Describe a situation in which you led a team"

Teamwork is a required element of many science jobs, as is leadership. This question is designed to discern your capabilities in planning, organising and guiding other people's work, as well as in motivating those people to perform their duties.

You should therefore describe such a situation, your role in the group and the overall task being performed. Examples of potentially suitable situations to cite include when you led a group project at university or put on a music or drama production. Not only the result, but also what you learned from the process should be covered in your answer.

"Where do you see yourself in five years' time?"

Many candidates fear offending the interviewer in their response to this question by saying that they would like to have moved on from the position on offer by then. However, this is an acceptable answer in most cases - after all, science employers do like to see determination and ambition in their candidates.

It is, though, advisable to try to keep such ambitious talk within the context of the organisation with which you are seeking a role right now.

There is definitely an art to answering interview questions, one that we can assist you in perfecting as a candidate with our leading science recruitment agency. Remember that we also provide plentiful opportunities for those searching for science jobs online in the complete range of fields, from pharmacology and FMCG to bioinformatics and engineering.  


There's no question that it can be tricky to take the stress out of job interviews. However, one of the most effective ways to do that - whether you are being interviewed for a biotechnology, medical, R&D or indeed any other science role - is to have a few questions to hand yourself.

While a lot of candidates for science jobs realise the value of asking their interviewer some questions, not least in showing initiative and interest in the vacancy, too many simply waste the opportunity by asking obvious questions to fill the time.

If you want to show your seriousness and suitability as a candidate, consider these five questions for your interviewer.

1. "What are the key priorities in the first few months of this job?"

You'll learn something from the answer about the day-to-day challenges and constraints of the role. However, you should also bear in mind that you may be asked in turn for your own ideas of what the key priorities should be - so have an informed answer ready.

2. "What size of team and what other teams would I be working with?"

Not only does this question help to convey your team-player credentials, but it can also glean useful information on the kind of working environment and people that would await you in the role. This enables you to judge whether you would get along well with colleagues and be a good fit for the organisation's culture.

3. "What could I do to contribute to this organisation or department's success?"

This is the question that business owners and your interviewer have probably asked themselves often enough, so hearing it from a candidate creates an instant connection, signifying your seriousness about furthering their deepest wishes for the organisation or department. It communicates your instinctive wish to assist the organisation or department with its aims.

4. "I recently learned from X that Y is happening. What impact will this have on the business?"

It's a good idea regardless to read up on the organisation that you are seeking to join as much as possible prior to the interview, as well as about what industry rivals are doing. This will enable you to ask the above question, marking yourself out as having a real interest in and understanding of the department, company and wider industry - and enter a meaningful conversation as a result.

5. "What are the qualities needed to excel in this role?"

This is a direct appeal to the interviewer to outline once more their most pressing priorities for the vacancy, perhaps allowing you to expand on areas of your own strength as a candidate that weren't touched on during the main interview. It's a great question for directing the conversation, especially if you enquire about the importance of a certain characteristic and the interviewer responds in the affirmative, giving you an opportunity to describe your qualifications in that area in greater detail. 

Ending the interview by thanking the interviewer for their time, reaffirming your suitability for the post and requesting information on the next stages of the selection process helps you to make a great final impression. Join us here at the leading science recruitment agency Hyper Recruitment Solutions, and you can benefit from the highest standard of interview advice. 

User Menu

Month List