Whether you like it or not, when you are gunning for science jobs in almost any field of expertise you could care to mention - ranging from the environment or telecommunications to R&D or regulatory affairs - you can expect to be judged by your appearance at interview.

Indeed, according to one survey of male and female executives, 37% of them had decided against employing a candidate because of how they were dressed. The right interview code, then, really is an important issue, for which we can provide the following tips.

Don't be afraid to be dull

Given that you will want the interviewer to associate you with a high level of competence and suitability for their vacancy rather than that garish tie you were wearing, sometimes, it really does pay to play it safe.

So if you are a male candidate, you may opt for a classic combo of a low-key tie, tailored single-breasted suit, white long sleeved shirt, black socks and black leather shoes. Meanwhile, if you are a woman, the likes of tights, high heels, a long sleeved shirt or blouse and a mid-length black skirt or dress can all help to make a great impression.

Being reassuringly dull, of course, also means specifically avoiding many of the interview dress gaffes that immediately lower employers' perceptions of a candidate, such as jeans and T-shirts in the case of male candidates, and dangling jewellery or low necklines as far as women are concerned.

Echo the style of your prospective employer

For certain roles or departments, however, you may fear being a little too dull in how you dress - at least if you want to convey a more dynamic, high-energy image. If in doubt, simply ask the employer or recruiter in advance for advice on the appropriate dress code for the interview, looking for clues of the employer's in-house style.

Emulating the dress that will be expected in the organisation with which you are seeking to work has the important effect of communicating that you are a 'safe pair of hands' and 'one of them' as soon as the interviewer sees you for the first time.

Maintain basic cleanliness and hygiene

When you are getting your outfit ready, you should also ensure that is clean and free of all of those small blemishes - such as deodorant marks, dog hairs, straining zips or fraying hems - that employers really notice, if not usually comment on, at interview.

Decent grooming and hygiene are also imperative - the great impression made by a brilliant interview outfit can be easily undone by the likes of dirty fingernails, an unkempt beard or bad breath. You should pay close attention to your hair, too, making sure it looks neat but modern, and colouring it fresh for the interview if you usually dye it.  

All accessories, like briefcases and handbags, should also look smart and be in good condition.

 

It's well-documented that dressing smartly doesn't just help to give employers a more favourable view of your capabilities - it could also elevate your actual performance. That is just one more reason to make sure you refresh your interview wardrobe while searching for the best-paid and most exciting roles with the assistance of a science recruitment agency like Hyper Recruitment Solutions


Whether the role that you have your eye on is in R&D, quality assurance or such a specific field as pharmacology or molecular biology, there's one challenge that you will almost certainly have to face: the job interview.

You might think that a great interview performance in front of a recruitment team is all about what you say, but actually, what you do is hardly any less important.

It's something that a prospective employer will begin to judge as soon as you step into the interview room - that's right, before you even say anything.

Getting your eye contact right

Eye contact with the interviewer is one of the most important things to incorporate into your body language, as it signals that you are interested in and paying attention to them.

However, there's an art to getting eye contact right. Relentlessly fixing your eyes to those of the interviewer right through your exchange may be unsettling or even make you look blank and uninterested.

Instead, go for what body language expert Dr Lillian Glass calls "direct face contact", whereby every two seconds, you look at a different part of the interviewer's face, rotating from their eyes, to their nose, to their lips.

Using your head is important, too

Combining the aforementioned eye and face contact with the occasional nodding of your head further indicates your attentiveness and understanding of what the interviewer is saying.

Such nods can be further complemented with smiling at appropriate moments and laughing when the interviewer does, all of which helps to show your personality.

Try to resist interrupting the interviewer, and when it's your turn to speak, maintain an even and polite tone of voice that is neither overly soft and timid, nor too loud and domineering.

Strike the right pose

Where many candidates for jobs fail in achieving the right body language is not getting their overall body posture right.

There's a big difference, for instance, between the leaning forward that we all naturally do when we are engaged in a conversation, and the slouching that simply makes you look uninterested. To achieve the former, lean only slightly forward, with your chest high but your shoulders back and down.

Again, much of achieving the right overall body language is all about balance. It's a good idea, for instance, to gently mimic the positive body language of your interviewer, such as a subtle nod or posture change.

Matching their handshake works well too, but an overly firm handshake can suggest arrogance, while a weak one may indicate someone who is precisely that.

Body language is an in-depth field that we cannot possibly cover comprehensively here. Nonetheless, these basic rules should help you to improve your interview technique when competing for the most sought-after jobs. 

It's one of the big questions that you will ask yourself during your life: how do I find my dream job?

It's not necessarily as simple a question that it sounds, even for those who already know their interest is in jobs. After all, is your idea of a 'dream job' something that you love and are good at, or is there a specific ambition associated with it, such as a certain lifestyle or salary?

Here are five of our favourite tips for landing your ideal role in 2016.

1. Go on a journey of discovery

What is it that you actually want in a job? What are you passionate about? To what kind of jobs (or indeed, any jobs) do your existing skills and interests best match, and if you are deficient in any area, what do you need to do next?

Assess yourself with career tools like those of the National Careers Service, research particular fields like immunology, chemistry or clinical work, get in touch with experts in your desired sector about how to break into it... there's plenty that you can learn with little more than a computer and an Internet connection.

2. Focus on steady, incremental progress

Many people may have yearned for a job change for years, only to find themselves procrastinating over actually taking the steps to get there.

You don't need to turn your career on its head with a day or week - instead, focus on smaller things, such as attending a relevant event or registering with a recruitment agency, that will help you steadily towards your goal.

3. Don't think only about the money

There's a saying that if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.

It's true in many ways. While you obviously can't completely discount the money element, allowing it to dominate your job search is rarely a reliable way to find your dream job, which is - after all - the whole objective behind this article.

4. Gradually ease into your new career

Unless you are a recent or soon-to-be graduate or have sufficient financial backing to undertake a long unpaid internship in your desired role, and certainly if you already have a steady job, you may be reluctant to make the big jump into a new career.

The good news is that you don't have to - indeed, it may be best for you not to risk everything. Don't feel guilty about keeping your steady existing job for now while taking a part-time course, volunteering or work shadowing to explore your potential career change.

5. Be realistic about what constitutes a 'dream job'

Even the most popular and well-paid jobs have their positive and negative aspects, but at the same time, don't lapse into thinking that literally any job that pays is a 'dream' one.

No job situation is absolutely perfect, but there are definitely roles that will make you feel more rewarded than others.

Keep an open mind, prepare to work hard and contact one of the leading recruitment agencies, Hyper Recruitment Solutions about how we can power your career to new levels of success in 2016!  


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. 

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