interview skills


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INTERVIEW SKILLS . Bruce Woodcock University of Kent Careers and Employability Service You can download a copy of this presentation at CVs and Applications. Science CV Science covering letter - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Choosing a Career

Bioscience Interviews

Bruce Woodcock University of Kent Careers and Employability

You can download a copy of this presentation at

CVs ResourcesCV Workshop Keynes KSA1, 2 to 4 pm today. Get hands on help with your CV

Science can get your CV and an application form answer checked online via the Science Careers Employability Award on Moodle DP2675

Science covering letter

Application forms

Using MS Word to create a CV. Lots of layout tips

3Skills gained on a science degreeGather and analyse relevant information from a wide variety of sourcesIdentify and propose solutions to problemsProject managementTechnical skillsWork independently (individual projects)Communicate with others in a clear and articulate mannerPresent ideas and arguments verbally in presentations and seminars, and informal discussionsSell these on your CV, applications and interviews!

Sell your degreeList relevant modules (plus marks if good!)Projects especially if relevantLaboratory skills/IT skills Soft skills evidence of teamwork, project management, problem solving etc.For non-science jobs (e.g. banking) you would need a different CV focusing on your soft skills more than technical skills.4HOW NOT TO INTERVIEWCandidate had a fizzy drink just before interview and spent the whole interview burping.Announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat burger and chips during the interview.When asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around the office.Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.Dozed off during the interview.Said he never finished high school because he was kidnapped and kept in a wardrobe. 5Preparation for the interview

Carefully research the employer and the jobCommercial AwarenessWhat do you know about our organisation?What are our main products/services?What are the problems facing our organisation?What changes have there been in our sector recently?Who are our clients?What do you think the job you would be doing entails? - conventional suit with a conservative shirt - plain pastel shades or modest stripes and dark shoes. Don't wear light coloured socks or too much aftershave! Women - conventional suit or coordinating jacket and skirt. Dark colours suggest authority but bright can work with care. Wear tights. Don't wear lots of frills, trousers unless smart, very high heels or lots of make-up, perfume or

Dress Smartly

8BODY LANGUAGEDress smartlyShake hands warmly but wait to be invited to sit down.Smile!Eye contactTry to relax: dont sit on the edge of your chair, but dont slouch.Speak clearly and not too quickly

9Interview nervesNerves are expected in the first few minutes.The interviewer may be nervous too!It's not that important: there will be other interviews in future.Preparation: makes you more confident.Dress smartly: if you look good, you feel good!Start in a positive wayand you will continue in this vein: smiling, eye contact, a firm handshake.Don't worry about making a mistake: everyone fluffs one question.The day beforewrite down everything you are worried about: downloads your worries.Visualisation: the night before, visualise yourself undergoing the whole interview, step by step, and imagine everything going well.Mindfulness techniqueshelp to reducing stress.Listen to empowering music beforehand!Adopt power poses before (not at!!!) the interview: standing upright with hands on hips,steepling hands.For more see

PREPARE ANSWERS TO OBVIOUS QUESTIONSWhy are you applying to our company in particular?Why have you chosen to study biology?What makes you suitable for a placement?Where do you see yourself in five years?What have you got out of University?What skills have you got?11COMPETENCY QUESTIONSDescribe a situation where you had to ..... show leadership make a difficult decision overcome a difficult obstacle refuse to compromise work with others to solve a problem

12Person specificationExperience/KnowledgeEssentialDesirableExperience of prioritising competing demandsExperience of working with a diverse client groupSkills/AbilitiesEssentialDesirableAbility to achieve targets within agreed timescalesAbility to work autonomously and as a team memberAbility to work with people at all levelsInterview questions will be largely based around the competencies in the person specification e.g.Describe a situation where you had to achieve targets within agreed timescalesCOMPETENCY QUESTIONS: STAR APPROACHStart by briefly outlining the Situation Keep the focus on your specific Tasks and responsibilitiesSay what Action you took, then try to summarise what you achieved. If its a group task, make sure you define your own role and contribution. This is the bigpest partGive concrete Results when possible. If you cannot be totally positive about the experience, say what you learned from it and what you might do differently next time.Situation/Tasks/Action/Result =

14Bioscience Technical QuestionsWhat is the polymerase chain reaction?What do HIV, IgG, PEG2 stand for? What structure does NH2-CH2-COOH belong to? Suggest a route to synthesise ethylene glycol Technical questions about electron microscopes, ice cores, ice conductivity.About my final year project (synthesis of dendrivers) Revise your project if youve done one and relevant topics covered in your degree.

15HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONSBA pilot candidate was asked what he would do if he met the captain wearing a dress in the hotel bar.(British Airways interview)"How would you deal with an irate customer?(customer service interview)You are the manager of a lab and rising microbial counts had been observed going past acceptable levels in the water supply of the production lab. What would you do to investigate and address this? (GSK)16HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONSUsed because it's impossible to work out your answer beforehand. Test your ability to think quickly, logically, produce practical solutions.Don't panic! Take a few seconds to think - this shows confidence.Just try to think of one or two sensible things to say to start off.There may be many possible solutions. 17PREPARE QUESTIONS TO ASKDONT ASK about holidays, pensions and parking facilities.DO ASK about training, career development and the work itself.

How is performance at work assessed?What is a typical career path in this job?Can you give me more details of the training programme?What is the work culture? i.e. informal, formal, do people work autonomously, does everyone come in early, stay late?What are the challenges that the organisation is facing?What is your personal experience of working for this organisation? 18FOLLOWING UPThe interviewer will probably let you know when youll know the result. If they haven't made this clear, ask!After the interview, make notes on the questions asked and what you could have answered better.The next stage may be a second interview or selection centre.19Interview Help OnlinePractice InterviewsTeaching, postgrad. study, scientific research, IT Answers to 150 interview Telephone Streamed Videos onlineOn-line ApplicationsInterviewsAssessment

20Assessment CentresAssessment with group

Duty Careers Adviser in the CESA Duty Adviser is available to help with queries between 10.30 am to 12.30 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. every day.No appointment needed - just drop in. We are in Keynes Driveway


22Careers Employability Award on Moodle Half the unemployment rate for students who complete the award Science Award DP2675 Email if you have problems enrolling

23Bioscience InterviewsBruce Woodcock University of Kent Careers and Employability

You can download a copy of this presentation at

REAL QUESTIONS FROM CANDIDATESWhat is your Zodiac sign?Do I have to dress for the next interview?I know this is off the subject, but will you marry me?Will the company pay to relocate my horse?When is pay day?Would it be a problem if I'm angry most of the time?Why am I here?25Competency Questions The hardest part of the form for most applicants - asking for examples of specific skills such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving e.g.Describe how your personal planning and organisation resulted in the successful achievement of a personal or group task. Give an example of where others have disagreed with your views. How did you deal with this?

26Application Process

The smaller company process is much simpler and you can apply much later (often after final exams) but salaries are usually lower and they offer less training and less chance to specialise.27