The job interview is arguably the most commonly used technique used to recruit scientific staff.
It is extremely important that you, as employer within the scientific industry, are able to interview well. After all, the selection of quality scientific staff is integral to your firm’s success. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you have a solid game plan when interviewing for science vacancies.
It is not only the candidate that should prepare for the scientific interview. The more preparation you do for the interview, the easier it will be for you to get the information you need to decide who gets the science job.
Before the interview
Follow these simple steps to help you prepare:
- Plan the appointment – When you are arranging the appointment, make sure that the candidate has a map of where to come, a copy of the scientific job description and role specification, details of who they are meeting and when.
- Plan the interview climate – A stress free environment has been shown to facilitate a better flow of information at interview. Ensure that you have booked the room in advance and that there is plenty of time for the interview.
- Plan your questions – Thoroughly read through the applicant’s CV or application form. It is a good idea to look for gaps in education and employment, or for previous experience that you would like to explore further. Ensure that your interview questions are clear and not misleading.
- Know the job and person descriptions well – By knowing these inside out you will be able to easily compare candidates and should they have any questions at the end of the interview, you will be able to answer them well.
- Keep an open mind - Most importantly of all, make sure that you start every interview with an open mind.
At the Interview
Once the candidate has arrived at your premises, try to put them at ease quickly and build a rapport with them by asking questions such as:
- Did you find our offices easily?
- I see from your CV that you are interested in the theatre, I am too, what have you seen recently?
The interview can now begin. A good way to structure the interview is as follows:
- Start by introducing yourself and other people present.
- Explain the structure of the interview and how long it will take.
- If you plan to take notes, ask the candidate if they are comfortable with that? (We suggest that you always take notes).
- Outline the company background and role, and where the science job fits.
- Encourage the candidate to talk about how their skills and experience apply to the vacancy.
- Ask open ended questions – ones that cannot be answered with a yes or no. These will normally start with “What, How, Who, Where, Tell me about…..?”
- Allow the candidate time to think and speak. Remember to use your mouth and ears in proportion i.e. listen twice as much as you speak.
- Keep control of the interview. If you feel the candidate is going off-track turn the conversation back to the information you need.
- At the end of the interview, ask the candidate if they have any questions.
- Inform them of the next stage in the recruitment process, e.g. appointment, second interviews, tests and the estimated time scales.
- Thank the candidate for their time.
- Record what was said in the interview, NOT your personal beliefs or thoughts about the candidate.
- Only record or keep personal data after an interview if it is necessary and relevant to the recruitment process, or in respect of a discrimination challenge. Data that is kept should be securely stored.