What they might ask you

The secret of success in interviews is all in the preparation. Here are some of the questions you are most likely to face:

“Why do you want this job?”

It’s the natural next step for you and this is the right organisation in which to further your career. Show off your knowledge about the department – make all that research worthwhile.

“Where does it fit in with your career plans?”

It’s good to talk about steady progression and cementing your experience. But ambition is good too and there is no harm in aspiring to the next band in the medium term.

“What are your strengths?”

Ensure that these are relevant to the job. Attention to detail, scientific approach, know your own limits, team player, innovative etc...

“What are your weaknesses?”

These should be positive weaknesses – perhaps you have a tendency to work too hard or spend too much time on QA.

“What’s been your most significant success at work?”

This is about your personal achievements and contributions. Interviewers aren’t interested in the great team you work with. If you have limited work experience, you could talk about achievements outside work. Try to relate them to the job you are applying for.

“What is the biggest mistake you ever made?”

We all make them, but what’s important is how you dealt with your biggest mistake and what you learnt from the experience. Don't say you broke an ion chamber!

“What is the greatest challenge you have ever faced?”

Keep it relevant to the job and be positive. Again, interviewers want to know how you met the challenge and what you might do differently, with the wisdom of hindsight, in a similar situation.

“How do you cope with difficult colleagues?”

It’s all about trying to understand a situation from someone else’s perspective – that’s team work.

“You’ve changed jobs three times in the past five years, why should I think you are more serious about this one?”

Great opportunities came your way and you would have been foolish to turn them down. Or, you took a job to achieve a particular goal and, having succeeded sooner than you expected, it was time to move on.

“What do you do outside work?”

You want to appear active, but not so busy that you could not get to work on time or stay late occasionally. Don't go overboard with your interests.

“What’s your current salary?”

Include all your bonuses and overtime pay. The HR Department of your new employer will check this and you are required to submit your P45 form. All standard procedure.


Some questions you might ask THEM:

What’s the best thing about working at your department

Why has the position become available

What can I expect from you in terms of development, support and motivation

Has this role been offered internally

What is the possibility of promotion within the department

What are the core working hours and is there the possibility of flexi-time (if you are likely to need this)

What type of prospects does this role offer

If I was offered the job, what are the main monitors for success

What does the organisation expect from its employees

What behaviour is desired and rewarded in this position

What is the turnover of staff like throughout the Trust

What elements of the job offer flexibility and variety

I do like a challenge; does this role involve me being in a situation where I can use my initiative

What research is currently undertaken

What aspirations do you have for me with this department

Where will the job I am applying for fit into the team

In the department I would be entering, what is the average age

What do you think would attract me to accept this position, if I am to be the successful candidate

Are there any plans to expand the department

Who will be my line manager and what is his/her style of management