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Science Job Interview
Interview Skills and Technique
In this section we will look at the various interview stages:
Preparation, Arrival, Interview and Follow up.
There is also a separate section covering Telephone Interviews.
Most of this should be done days or weeks in advance:
Make sure your suit / dress is dry cleaned and shirts / tops ironed. Shoes polished.
Make sure you are familiar with the location and have got yourself a map / directions (visit RAC or AA websites using postcodes) or programme your sat nav. Make sure your car is filled. Check weather to allow more time if required.
Buy train tickets in advance to save cost and guarantee a seat so you are relaxed. Check www.nationalrail.com for live departure times / delays.
At the very least visit the company website. See what they do / make and where their big markets are. Know what products they make or test and try to find out what equipment / techniques they use. Brush up on any techniques they mention and the science behind them. For senior roles ensure you know share price (if relevant) of the company.
CV/ Job Spec:
Print off a copy of your CV, learn it and take it with you. Print off the job spec and anticipate questions related to it. For example how much NMR have you done and on what samples.
Drink / Food:
Make sure you are not going to interview hungry or thirsty. Take drinks and food with you for the journey. Also have a mint afterwards.
Shower / bath on the day. Use deodorant / perfume and brush teeth. Use mouthwash and have mint before interview.
Try to arrive 10 minutes before your interview time (not too early and definitely not too late).
Smile/relax at reception. Remember all the time you are in the building you are being viewed by potential employers.
Ask to use the rest room if required.
Don’t engage with rivals in a competition. This can often put you off before interview.
Entering the Interview
Enter confidently, smiling at the panel.
Wait to be shown where to sit.
Welcome everybody with a greeting e.g. Good Morning.
Sit in a relaxed but alert fashion.
Do not wave hands and arms when answering questions.
Do not keep crossing and uncrossing legs as this conveys nervousness.
Listen carefully to questions.
Face the person who has asked you the question and answer to them maintaining most eye contact with them.
Maintain eye contact with the panel.
Vary length of answers. Do not ramble.
Always answer the question. If it is a long answer make sure you summarise your views at the end.
Do not crack jokes.
If you are humorous be humorous against yourself.
Be confident about your abilities but show you still want to learn.
Be enthusiastic, show this in use of voice and mannerisms e.g. occasionally lean forward to convey enthusiasm.
Anticipate final question e.g. Have you any questions you would like to ask the panel?
Finally, if you do not know an answer be honest and do not try to fool the panel.
Leaving the Interview
Leaving the room, smile and thank the panel. Stand say goodbye and leave.
If a company or agency has told you a date by when you will hear the result of an interview, you do not need to follow up until that date. However, you may wish to contact the company or agency via email with a short note thanking them again for their time, and expressing that you are still very much interested in the opportunity.
If you do not get offered a job, please re-iterate your interest in them for future opportunities.
Companies very rarely give specific feedback following interviews these days. Unfortunately you will have to accept this, but still try and use each failed interview as a positive and think of ways to improve next time.
Telephone Interview Tips
- Clear the room so you have no distractions. That means no kids or pets and no TV or music in the background. Ask anyone who might interrupt to respect your privacy and then shut the door.
- Use a land-line phone where possible. If using a mobile please ensure your phone is fully charged, or possibly plugged in.
- Have your CV in front of you.
- Have the Job Description and/or advert in front of you.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
- Have your diary handy in case they ask for your availability for interview.
- Be polite, calm.
- Don’t smoke, eat or drink during the call.
- Stand up – it will make you feel more alert.
- Use the interviewer’s name occasionally throughout the interview, but don’t overdo it.
- Listen carefully. If you mishear what is being said, politely ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
- Sound interested and energetic and enthusiastic.
- At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for their time and re-iterate your interest in the opportunity.