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Jargon & Terminology

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Jargon and Terminology Used in Scientific Recruitment

If you've made the decision to look for a new scientific job, you will want to make the right step which delivers the perfect career move to you.

But understanding exactly what each job entails can sometimes be a matter of great difficulty, even if you are a scientific expert!

This is because of the jargon which can be casually thrown around when referring to recruitment and candidates, making everything seem far more complicated than it really is.

Kinetica promise to use plain English and to stay away from unnecessary terminology but to help you find your way around the market, here's a guide to some of the terms you might hear.

Passive candidate

This is a phrase which is becoming increasingly common with recruitment agencies and employers keen to reach what they describe as passive candidates.

This isn't a reference to the individual's temperament, or their attitude to the job.

A passive candidate is one who isn't actively seeking work. This might be an individual who has a LinkedIn profile, or is active on other types of social media, but isn't looking for a new job.

By only focussing on individuals who are seeking new careers, there's the chance that some of the most able minds in science could be left working for competitors. Employers and recruitment agencies therefore often identify individuals who are particularly suitable for a position and contact them about the role even though they may not have even considered leaving their current employer.

Smart casual

Understanding a dress code can be stressful when you have a job interview to attend, or will be spending some time working on a placement.

It's often better to assume a more formal attire if you aren't sure as it's usually possible to tone it down if necessary. It's not as easy to transform your clothes into a more formal outfit however and you may be regarded as not taking the job seriously.

Smart casual typically means wearing clothes that you wouldn't lounge around in at home, or out with friends. That means no jeans, and for men, a shirt is necessary but you can forego the tie.

SWOT analysis

You may hear references to SWOT analysis; either as a key function of the job or data you will be provided with.

Acronyms are particularly difficult to understand if you aren't familiar with them and SWOT is no different.


SWOT Analysis

It refers to a particular type of competitor analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Simple when you know!

Psychometric testing

Many employers may use what they describe as psychometric testing as part of the interview process. If you're not familiar with the concept, it may sound rather daunting.

However, it is just a way of finding out a bit more about your character, your strengths and your weaknesses. The employer or recruitment agency uses a special assessment tool which is designed to identify your personality type, or behavioural patterns.

Psychometric test results

Psychometric testing only forms a small part of the overall interview but can be a very successful method, and can provide far more useful insights than can be gleaned during a traditional interview.

Competency based interview

You may be asked to attend what is described as a competency based interview, but if you don't know what this is you might feel a bit concerned about how to prepare.

The chances are that you may well have experienced a competency based interview before but never realised.

A competency based interview is one which has a defined structure and assesses the candidate against the job description for the role, and the competencies contained within.

The aim of this type of interviewing is to draw out evidence and examples from you, using your past experience and skills. This enables the interviewer to make an accurate assessment of your ability to perform the role.


Image Credits: gemmerich and Rik Lomas

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