Job Interviewing is all about research, confidence and creating a good rapport. The hiring manager needs to know that you are capable of performing the tasks of the job and also that you will be a good addition to the team.
Without doubt the two most asked job interview questions are “what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses”. Below are some tips on how to answer these tricky questions.
1) What are your greatest strengths?
Few candidates can show up to an interview and answer every question with ease. Preparation is key to a successful interview. If you have to sit and think about what your greatest strengths are during the interview, you’ll risk appearing unsure of your own capabilities and the interviewer won’t be reassured in your ability to perform well in the position. Prior to an interview, you should know exactly what your top strengths are in the workplace. Make a list of all your strengths and then choose the top 5 you want to express in the interview based on the desired skills and attributes for the specific position you are interviewing for. You should always remember to back up the strengths you profess with examples of times you have demonstrated those strengths in the workplace. Use this question to highlight how your attributes will help you succeed in this position.
Tip: Use the job posting as a guide to match your own strengths with the skills and attributes the company is looking for in an ideal candidate. Although you might be a whiz with numbers, there’s no point listing it as your greatest strength if you’ll be working directly with clients and not using any numbers in the position. Be honest and don’t say you’re great at something you’re not, however you should prioritize the key strengths you want to express to the interviewer with the ones they list on the job description. For example, if the job description says the candidate they want is “highly detail-oriented and organized”, then one of the strengths you mention should be your strong organizational skills or that you are detail-oriented.
2) What is your biggest weakness?
This is a tricky question if you’re not prepared. You are trying to land the job, so of course you don’t want to tell employers all of your weaknesses that may make you look bad. On the other hand, you also don’t want to avoid the question, lie and say you have no weaknesses, or give a clichéd response. For example, I’ve heard a lot of candidates say their biggest weakness is that they are a perfectionist in the workplace…really? Although some interviewers will enjoy a joke to this question, most hiring managers want a real answer.
This is a key question you need to prepare for before the interview. Don’t mention any weaknesses that will prevent you from getting hired for the job. Remember the weakness should be work-related so hiring managers don’t want to hear about how you leave your dishes in the sink for over a week. A well thought-out answer can turn this tricky question into a positive. Be sure to back up each weakness with things you are proactively doing to improve on that weakness.
The best way to respond to this question is to either:
a) Mention a weakness that is irrelevant (or at least not critical) to the position you are applying for. In order to be effective, you should already know the key skills and attributes desirable for the position and think about skills that are not essential to succeed in the position. You can even find weaknesses that can actually be seen as strengths for certain positions. For example, if the position requires strong attention to detail you can say that sometimes you are overly meticulous about the details of a project.
b) State a weakness that is only a weakness because you haven’t had the opportunity to develop your skills in that area. For example, you can say that although you’ve taken a course in public speaking, you haven’t had the opportunity to use your presentation skills in your previous position and you’d like to develop your skills more in this area.
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Who doesn’t want to make more money? Before you march into your boss’s office demanding an increase in pay you need to first take a step back and develop a game plan to approaching your boss. There is a right way and a wrong way to ask for more money and when approached correctly you give yourself the greatest opportunity of receiving your pay rise. When done incorrectly you can greatly diminish your own reputation.
Rule 1: Pick your timing
Timing is crucial and it is important that you pick the exact right time to speak with your boss about receiving a pay rise. Let your boss know that you wish to speak to him or her at a time that is convenient for them.
Rule 2: Preparation
When asking for more money it is so important that you are adequately prepared and know exactly what you want to say. You need to be able to provide examples of why you deserve more money and how you have provided value to the business. Remember no one is going to give you money just because you feel that you deserve it. Just like a lawyer presents the case to the jury, it is as necessary to present your case to your boss for a pay rise.
Remember – the best examples you can provide are backed up by examples. If you helped make or save the company money – back this up with an example. You’re the lawyer and you need to prove to your boss beyond any reasonable doubt that you deserve a pay rise.
Rule 3: Execution
By following rule 2 and being prepared with what you want to say, you also need to be able to execute your plan. If you are asking for more money you need to have a figure in mind. By researching what other people in your field are making is a good way to begin to work out how much of a salary increase you are going to ask for. (There are also many free internet sites that provide salary surveys). The worst possible thing to do is not have an amount in mind that you require. You need to be direct and provide examples as to why you have chosen this amount so your boss understands that you are not just trying to get more money but that you actually deserve more money.
Rule 4: Confidence:
Don’t be scared or intimidated about asking for more money if you believe you deserve it. Have confidence in yourself and the value that you bring to the business. Before you begin your discussion have a think about potential questions or possible objections you may encounter and prepare yourself to be ready to answer these questions.
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