By Brent M. Jones
You are planning a job interview and doing everything you can think of to get ready. You have done your research, learning about the company’s history and goals, and you know something about the people that likely will be in the interview.
What about the questions they will ask? Do you know what they will be, and are you ready? What about the inevitable questions that always show up in an interview: What are your greatest strengths and what are your weaknesses?
Before you are asked these two questions you should ask them to yourself, giving the most honest answer you can. Your potential employer wants to know if your strengths match the job skills and strengths of the potential job. Do they really match? If they don’t, you should reconsider, because you will do better, and be far happier, if they match.
What about your real weaknesses? Do you know what they are, and will they be a problem in the position your applying for? The potential employer will not hire you if they see that you’re not aligned with the needed requirements.
Identifying your own shortcomings requires some real personal honesty, but even that can be a trap. People sometimes are tempted to just congratulate themselves for their honesty and move on. When asked about their weaknesses they just repeat their assessment, expecting to be congratulated for their honesty. Truth is better served by considering the context that these questions are presented. If your weak areas have no relevance to the job they may not belong in the interview. If your weakness is a potential roadblock in meeting the needed job skill requirements, then some focus and thought will be needed before the interview. In those cases, present the weak area with your successful steps in overcoming it. For example, if you miss appointments and don’t do well with short term memory, then your devotion to a daily planner should come with that admission.
Always, of course, be 100% honest with yourself and consider your findings in those goals you seek. Remember in a job interview they are looking at how you fit, and answers only need to be focused to that end.
The need to make a job change can be an opportunity connect yourself with your real strengths.