During a job interview, it seems that a ton of questions fly all around – and they generally do not mean a thing to you. However, the answers may be more important than you first think. One of my most memorable jobs also had a very memorable job interview. I had applied to be a teacher at a local preschool, and now sat across a desk, being interviewed by my future boss – the director of the school. “What would you consider your weakness?” she asked, once the introductions were made. “I am a very shy person when I first meet other people,” I answered, smiling a little. “It becomes a bit detrimental, because it gets misconstrued as snotty, or a better-than-thou attitude.” She nodded and laughed. “I have had that same problem!” She answered. “I have had a ton of people tell me that they thought I was a witch when they first met me!” Of course, the “witch” word she was talking about had actually begun with a “B”.
Do not be afraid of your weaknesses, but do not make one up, or use one that you may have heard before. The most played out and abused “weakness” would have to be the saying, “I am too much of a people-pleaser!” You would certainly have to wipe the brown off your nose after that one! In addition, it probably just made you seem fake and unconvincing to the interviewer.
What clinched my interview for the teaching position was a lot more unexpected than I thought. I was asked an excruciatingly simple question that almost made me wonder, “What is this lady getting at?” The director gazed at me seriously, cocked her head to one side, and inquired, “If I needed to send you into a room by yourself for a few minutes, and you were not familiar with the classroom or the children, what would your first reaction be?” I laughed and answered, “Probably try to appease them and keep them busy by playing the Hokey Pokey, or some other kind of game.”
Amazingly, I was told later on – once I had been a teacher there for a while – that the answer I had given to that question was what had landed me the job. Apparently, my strength was the insane, shameless way I could embarrass myself in front of a bunch of children! Who knew? Once again, asking friends and family for advice on describing your strengths and weaknesses, will give you great insight into yourself. Usually, you may have to put up with a little bit of ribbing from them – especially when it comes to your weaknesses. Just laugh, and tell them to get serious – it is for a job you are looking into. Be sure, however, to limit your strengths and weaknesses to the job you are applying for. An interviewer at the local department store is not interested in your strength to withstand tickling under your arms, just as much as they are probably not too interested in your weakness for cheese!
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