Job Interview Tips

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 reported by Business Insider, pretty much confirmed what so many of those seeking the most attractive and lucrative science jobs already knew when they reported 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 job interview tips to maximise your chances of success.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare

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

As a guideline, most candidates have a tendency 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.


  • 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 are not exactly going to just go away. Therefore, this is a job interview tip that should be kept in mind for those who do not get along with technology. 

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.  


  • 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.  


  • 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 job interview tip to follow 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.


  • 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? 

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. 


  • 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. 

Job Interview Dress Code

Whether you like it or not, when you are applying for a science job, you can expect (no matter your field of expertise) to be judged by your appearance at the interview.

Indeed, in a survey of male and female executives, 37% said that they had decided against employing a candidate because of how they were dressed.

Job interview dress code, then, really is an important issue. Here are 3 useful tips to bear in mind when you're dressing for your next interview:

1. Don't be afraid to be dull

First impressions count for a lot, and you want the interviewer to remember you for your high level of competence and suitability for the role, not for the garish tie you were wearing. Sometimes, it really does pay to play it safe.

If you are male, it may be a good idea to opt for this classic combo:

  • Plain, low-key tie
  • Tailored suit (single-breasted)
  • Long-sleeved white shirt
  • Black socks
  • Black leather shoes
For female candidates, the following items of clothing can help to make a great impression:

  • Long-sleeved shirt or blouse
  • Mid-length black skirt or dress
  • Tights
  • Moderately high heels

Being reassuringly dull, of course, also means avoiding many of the interview dress code gaffes that immediately lower an employer's perceptions of a candidate. Steer clear of jeans, T-shirts, dangling jewellery, and overly revealing garments.

2. Echo the style of your prospective employer

For certain roles or departments, however, it is possible to be a little too dull in how you dress. In certain cases, it may be better to convey a dynamic, high-energy image, and sometimes that means dressing a little more casually. 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 style of clothing that you will be expected to wear once you've joined the organisation has the important effect of communicating that you are a 'safe pair of hands' and 'one of us' as soon as the interviewer sees you for the first time.

3. Maintain basic cleanliness and hygiene

When you are getting your outfit ready, you should also ensure that is clean and free of small blemishes such as:

  • Deodorant marks
  • Dog hairs
  • Straining zips
  • Fraying hems
Prospective employers probably won't comment on any of these things during a job interview, but they will notice them, and it may well affect their final hiring decision.

Decent grooming and hygiene are also imperative - a good impression made by shrewd wardrobe choices can easily be undone by dirty fingernails, unkempt facial hair, or bad breath.

You should pay close attention to your hair, too, making sure it looks neat but modern, and colouring it freshly for the interview (if you dye it).

All accessories, like briefcases and handbags, should 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. This is just one more reason to refresh your interview wardrobe when searching for the best-paid and most exciting roles with a science recruitment agency like Hyper Recruitment Solutions/

Tough interview questions

In today's highly competitive job market, it's common for employers to interview lots of candidates when there are only one or two positions available. This naturally raises the question of how interviewers can better separate the candidates, to which one of the most obvious answers is to ask more challenging interview questions.

If you're preparing for a job interview and you're worried about some of the more difficult questions that might come up, we at Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help. Here are 10 tough interview questions and how to answer them:

'Can you tell me something about yourself?'

Why it's a tough question: When asked this question, it's easy to fall into the trap of blathering about where you were born, your parents, your childhood, your family, your personal likes and dislikes, and other details that aren't relevant to your career.

How to answer it: Instead of telling the interviewer your life story, give brief examples of personal and professional experiences that make you suitable for the position. You may even want to have a 'lift pitch' prepared.

'Why do you think you should get this job?'

Why it's a tough question: When asked this one, many candidates simply boast about how great they are in general, instead of focusing on things that are relevant to the role that's up for grabs.

How to answer it: Remember that this is a very specific question about what makes you suitable for this job, not for the world of work in general. Match your strengths to the characteristics outlined in the job description and person specification.

'Why are you leaving your present job?'

Why it's a tough question: This actually isn't too tough a question if you prepare well. However, if you complain too much about your current boss or workplace, you risk coming off as a negative person or serial moaner, which will lose you points.

How to answer it: Talk about the personal and professional growth opportunities or the challenge and excitement of taking on this position, rather than whinging about your present or previous employer. Focus on positives, not negatives!

'Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?'

Why it's a tough question: There are two possible pitfalls with this question: criticising a past employer (which, as noted above, can reflect badly on you), and incriminating yourself in relation to the bad experience.

How to answer it: Instead of complaining or laying blame, focus on how you grew as a result of this experience, or the positive qualities you demonstrated while dealing with it. 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 evidence of your potential now.

'What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of your present job?'

Why it's a tough question: Again, moaning about your current job is not a good look in an interview, and even when describing the parts you like, it's possible to convey the wrong impression - if the only thing you like about your current role is the money, or eating cake on people's birthdays, then you may come off as somewhat unenthusiastic. An overly vague or general answer, meanwhile, might make it seem like you're damning your employer with faint praise.

How to answer it: Be more specific than just citing 'a nice atmosphere'. Something that relates to the position itself, such as your enjoyment of working in a team, is ideal. As for your 'least favourite' aspect...try to make it something as far away as possible from the responsibilities that you would have in this new job, and make sure the answer illustrates either good performance or an ability to learn.

'Give an example of when you handled a major crisis.'

Why it's a tough question: Many candidates are thrown by just how dramatic this question sounds, so you may want to reframe it as something more like 'Give an example of when you coped with a difficult situation.'

How to answer it: Look back through your personal, professional and educational life and think of situations where you successfully dealt with unexpected problems.

'Give an example of a time when you showed initiative.'

Why it's a tough question: A big danger here is that you'll stumble into describing an idea that you had but didn't put into action.

How to answer it: Describe an idea that you did act upon, or an occasion where you solved a problem by yourself. Then back this up with examples of the positive consequences that your actions had.

'Where do you expect to be in five years' time?'

Why it's a tough question: It's far too easy to give a glib response to this question that isn't actually very insightful. For instance, saying that you want to be running the company or sitting in the interviewer's chair five years from now.

How to answer it: Talk instead about your motivations and your understanding of your likely career path in this particular organisation or industry. This is very much a question where you will be expected to have done your employer research.

'What can you tell me about this company / industry?'

Why it's a tough question: Obviously, this question requires some prior research. However, it shouldn't be difficult at all as long as you've taken the time before the interview to do some reading.

How to prepare for it: Look at the company website, especially its 'About Us' section and any other details you can find regarding the company's history, objectives and values. Write down some key points to mention - points that will show the interviewer you are interested not just in a job but in a job with this company.

'Do you have any questions or anything else you would like to add?'

Why it's a tough question: You've almost reached the end of the job interview, and it's tempting at this point to just say 'no', shake hands and leave. But this is an opportunity to ensure that you stick in the interviewer's mind as a strong, memorable candidate, and it shouldn't be wasted.

How to answer it: Take the opportunity to end the interview on a decisive and memorable note that banishes any lingering doubts in the interviewer's mind. Prepare some questions in advance about the company's culture, or even what the interviewer likes best about the company. Try to demonstrate that you are interviewing them as well, 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.

Browse and apply for science jobs with Hyper Recruitment Solutions >

January has been a busy month. Your New Year’s Resolution - to "get that dream job". You've been busy sending off CVs and now the hard work is paying off, interview offers are starting to come in. Congratulations on making it through to this stage. 

You've researched the company’s background, looked over the job description and rehearsed your answers to questions you think you are likely to be asked. Great! This will certainly help you in the interview. But did you know? The language you use in your responses may well be the deciding factor on whether or not you are successful.


You arrive for your interview - are you ready?

Dressed in your smartest suit, you arrive nice and early. You tell the receptionist you’re here for an interview. You’re feeling confident and proud of yourself. There’s not doubt about, it you've worked hard to get to this stage, but it’s not over yet. Just one more hurdle to overcome, the actual interview. This is probably the most daunting part of the whole recruitment process. So, whilst you’re sitting in reception waiting to be called, why not use the time to fill your head with some last minute positive thinking. 

 

 

Do you know WHAT to say and HOW to say it?

From the informal to the formal there are many types of interviews, but one that you are likely to come up against is the competency-based interview. Ever heard that "Tell me about a time when…" question? It probably sounds like a simple question but during an interview it’s so easy to forget that answer you've been trying to memorising for the last few days. Don’t worry, we've all been there. When this happens we end up missing out key details and usually give a really unstructured answer.

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions we always encourage our candidates to use techniques like ‘STAR’. This model will really help you to formulate a structured response, which will in turn ensure you give a well thought out answer.

 

 

Here are some examples of how can you use this model to ensure your responses are structured and positive.

 

Talk about challenges

Interviewer: ‘tell me about a time when you failed at a task”

Avoid using phrases like “I’ve never failed at anything before” or “I never make mistakes”. We've all faced challenges both professionally and personally. These responses simply show that you are lying. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate that you are not only capable of dealing with difficult situations but you've actually learnt from the experience.

Candidate: “When things didn’t quite go to plan, I made sure I…so next time…”

 

Talk about weaknesses

Interviewer: ‘Do you have any weaknesses?”

It’s a fact; we can’t be good at everything so there will something you’re not good at doing. When you’re asked this question, don’t focus on how bad you are – turn a negative into a positive

Candidate: “I would like to learn…” or “I…to overcome this challenge in the past" or “I asked a colleague to help me.”

 

Leave a positive lasting impression

When you walk into the room make sure you introduce yourself and shake hands with the interviewer. When you leave, thank the interviewer for inviting you for an interview. End on a positive note, why not mentioning something you came across during your research? Simple things like this will ensure the interviewer has a positive impression of you.

Candidate: “I noticed that you have a company football team” or "it was great to meet the team, I think I would fit in well."

Bottom line, when it comes to interviews knowing what to say and how to say it is critical. Using the right language will ensure you deliver a lasting impression and a positive experience. Remember as I always our MD Ricky Martin always says #thinkpositivebepositive. Good luck!

For more interview advice and questions please visit our website.

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