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 clich├ęd 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.  

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