What employers want


We asked employers of science graduates what they look for when hiring a new employee - here's what they said!

Perry Giannopoulos, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney

Perry Giannopoulos is the Senior Hospital Scientist in charge of the Autoimmunoassay Biochemistry Laboratory, SydPath, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney

Describe the type of science graduate you look to recruit in your lab
I look for someone who is committed to the job, who understands the seriousness of the job and who is willing to continue to learn, grow and adapt to the changes in the laboratory. Scientists are losing a lot of skills due to increasing automation. There is a lot more focus these days on using technology and machines than the science. Adapting to new technology will be increasingly important with the steady trend towards even more automation.

What are the generic attributes you require in an employee and why are these important in the workplace?
Good communication skills, especially active listening and understanding. Someone who is willing to question things, is innovative, and can think for themselves. If you speak up you learn. Integrity is important. I always tell my staff it is ok to make a mistake but it is crucial they speak up so actions can be taken and the problems can be resolved with better systems and training. Honesty and confidentiality are very important.

What do you look for when you are interviewing a science graduate for a position?
I look for people who are active listeners, who have commitment and are willing to learn and ask questions.

What advice would you give to undergraduate science students who are looking to become more employable by the time they graduate?
Undergraduates should consider part-time work in the laboratory. Sometimes an opportunity of working in the laboratory may be the decider as to whether a science degree is the correct career path for them. Science is difficult in that there is no standard career path for a scientist to become a senior scientist. It is a very informal progression and recent graduates often get bored in their job and feel that there are no opportunities to advance.

Do you have any other insights from an employer's perspective?
It is a very competitive world out there and sometimes people give up very easily. Persistence and initiative are characteristics that stand out for an employer.


Steve, a senior marine scientist from a NSW government organisation

Describe the type of science graduate you look to recruit for your various areas of responsibility.
Graduates in marine science, especially those who have completed subjects in marine zoology, marine ecology and any fisheries science-related subjects. Especially those who have done any fisheries modelling work.

What are the generic attributes you require in an employee and why are these important in the workplace?
Not in any order: Good writing skills and oral communication skills. Good technical knowledge but, more importantly, the ability to seek out and acquire good technical knowledge. Sharp thinkers who work hard. People who do things in the first minute - not the last.

What do you look for when you are interviewing a science graduate for a position?
Demonstration of the above attributes in the interview. Be sharp, concise and brief and try to be relaxed but not arrogant. Be able to outline briefly your productivity that should be listed in the CV – especially the written work – but concentrate on the other attributes that need to be demonstrated in person. Don't drag out your answers in the interview.

What advice would you give to undergraduate science students who are looking to become more employable by the time they graduate?
Get as good a grade as one can, try to do an Honours and higher degree as soon as possible. Get some work experience in the chosen field in which they should demonstrate to the employer the above attributes. But, above all, be logical, keen, sharp and work hard.

Do you have any other insights from an employer's perspective?
The above pretty much covers it - especially the last sentence: if someone demonstrates a logical mind, sharp brain, high productivity, can write well and communicate well orally, does things in the first minute and never the last, and doesn't whine, I'd employ them!!