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

  

Even though the unemployment rate is falling year by year, there are still some 1.67 million people out there who are not in work but are actively looking for a job. This doesn't count the many people who are currently seeking a career change and 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. Therefore, there are still plenty of people attending - and feeling nervous about - job interviews.

If you are one of those people, here are just some of the most common interview questions and how to respond to them. 

Common Job Interview Questions

  • "What attracted you to this job?"

This is one of the most predictable and common job interview questions. However, it is also one that requires you to do your research about the employer in advance and then demonstrate it at the interview. While detailing your knowledge, you should also try to tie 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?"

As this is such a common job interview question, it has become horrendously clichéd to respond by citing a quality that clearly isn't much of a weakness at all, but actually a strength. For example, "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 and leadership are a required element of many science jobs. This common job interview 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.

Therefore, you should describe the situation where you led a team, your role in the group and the overall task being performed. Examples of suitable situations to cite include when you led a group project at university or put on a music or drama production. You should cover not only the results, but what you learned from the process too in your answer.

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

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

However, it is advisable to try to keep such ambitious talk within the context of the organisation within which you are seeking a role.

There is definitely an art to answering the most common 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.  


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. People often struggle to think of questions to ask in an interview, particularly when you're put on the spot and haven't prepared. 

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.

Luckily for you, we have a variety of questions you should ask in the interview that are bound to make you stand out from the crowd. So, if you want to show your seriousness and suitability as a candidate, consider these five questions to ask 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 when asking this question in your job interview. 

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 - asking this interview question both reflects well on you and is informative in your own understanding of the job. 

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 always good practice to read up on the organisation you are seeking to join as much as possible prior to the interview (as well as wising up on the industry rivals and what they are doing). Knowing this information will enable you to ask this informed question in your job interview, thus marking yourself out as having a real interest and understanding of the department, company and wider industry.

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 to ask in a job interview as it allows you to direct 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 all helps you to make a great final impression. 

We hope our advice on what questions you can ask in an interview has helped to build your confidence prior to your interview. Join us here at the leading science recruitment agency Hyper Recruitment Solutions, and you can continue to benefit from the highest standard of interview advice. 

 

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. You also need the right job interview body language, and it can be just as important as what you say.

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. With that in mind, we want to share our interview body language tips with you:

Eye contact 

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, but we hope you've found our job interview body language tips useful. These basic rules should help you to improve your interview technique when competing for the most sought-after jobs. 

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we want to inspire you to approach interviews with confidence. Helping you improve your body language is just the first step, we also offer expert interview advice, helping you prepare for whatever the interviewer throws your way.