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Tag Archives: Common Interview Mistakes

interviewer, UXL, Margaret Smith, discussing weakness in interview

Photo Credit: SJSU University

It’s a common question. You know it’s coming. But that doesn’t stop you from waffling and fidgeting when you hear it: “What are your greatest weaknesses?” You know you have some, but you don’t want to reveal anything too terrible that will potentially cost you your interview. Then again, you don’t want to be dishonest or gloss over the answer with something like, “People say I work too much and am too dedicated to the company!” No interviewer is going to be impressed with an answer like that. It’s disingenuous and doesn’t tell them anything about you, except that you’re good at studying stock answers for interview questions. So how to approach this question?

First of all, be aware that sharing your challenges and flaws—the very things that make you human—can actually help you come off as a more authentic, relatable candidate. Joe Grimm of the Poynter Institute, an organization dedicated to integrity in journalism, suggests that interviewees faced with this question should always be honest and avoid mentioning character flaws because they seldom change. Instead, mention areas where you’re determined to improve. Consider saying something like, “I’m not as Excel-savvy as I’d like to be, but I’m currently improving my skills through internet tutorials.” Never mention strengths as weaknesses.

Don’t overthink your response to the point that you panic and don’t have one. As Washington Post journalist Lily Whiteman reminds us, “the worst responses are ‘I don’t know’ and the comical ‘I have no weaknesses.’”

You should also try to cater your response to the position and organization to which you are applying. Anticipate the motivation and interests of the interviewer when selecting your response and personal story. For example, if you are applying for a position as a financial adviser, you might talk about one of the specific areas in which you lack experience—say estate planning for people with over $1 Million in assets. And then (as mentioned earlier), demonstrate how you will familiarize yourself or how you are already working to improve in this area.

Remember: this question mainly exists because it reveals whether you, the applicant, possess key qualities such as self-awareness, authenticity, sincerity, adaptability, and foresightedness.  Reveal that yes, you have weaknesses, but you will not let them stop you from doing the best job you can do for their organization.

Happy interviewing! Please contact UXL today to find out how we can help you transform the future of your business or career through guided professional coaching.

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By Margaret Smith, UXL:
SPEAKER | CAREER COACH | CERTIFIED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER

As I mentioned in a previous post, older unemployed workers face a more of a challenge when searching for employment than other demographics.  I’ve compiled a list of some helpful reminders for the older worker’s job hunt that will help you to keep your best foot forward at all times.

> Never forget what you’re worth: Older workers are dependable, have advanced problem-solving abilities, and are just as productive as younger workers.
> Stay enthusiastic and excited: No matter what your age, if you come off as exhausted, bored, resentful, or frustrated, you’re giving interviewers a bad impression.
> Keep your exchange respectful, no matter your age difference.
> Highlight your creativity through specific examples of your past work.
> Emphasize your past loyalty to your company.
> Edit your resume: Avoid the “too old” impression by limiting your “related experience” to the past 15 years, excluding graduation dates, and paring down your list of employment experience by saying “5+ years” instead of “30 years”.
> Explain you’re prepared to hit the ground running. Share examples of your ability to learn quickly with the interviewer.
> Take advantage of your expansive network—it’s still the best way to find work.
> Keep all mentioned accomplishments current.
> Make sure your dress is up to date
, instead of dating you.
> Avoid feelings of defeat or apology for your age—this is not a topic that should be on the table during an interview, nor is it relevant to the conversation.
> Don’t limit your job search to exactly what you were doing before—consider a career change, why not?!
> Don’t mention upcoming retirement hopes.
> Stay current with new technology
. Take a class, solicit the help of another, and do your research.

If you’d like help relaying your skills, interviewing, and branding yourself during the job process, contact me today to learn how I can help.

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By Margaret Smith, Professional Life & Career Coach

Keep these 10 interview mistakes in mind when preparing for and arriving at your next interview and walk away feeling great about your performance and confident in your candidacy.

10 Common Interview Snafus

  1. Arriving late: This may seem redundant, but it still happens quite frequently—make sure it isn’t you!
  2. Talking too much: Avoid panicking and letting yourself ramble. It’s ok to allow for silence from time to time.
  3. Wearing inappropriate dress: Dress one step above the position you’re applying for, and research the dress code vibe ahead of time.
  4. Lacking energy or enthusiasm: If you’re prone to bottom out during a certain time of day, pack a high-protein snack such as a handful of almonds to eat during a break if necessary.
  5. Not preparing for questions: Sit down before your interview and expect the types of questions you’ll be asked.
  6. No planning your explanation of your résumé: Be prepared to defend each bullet point in your résumé during your interview with stories, skills gained, and explanations.
  7. Not asking powerful questions: It’s important to ask powerful questions during an interview to relay your competency and genuine interest in the position you’re applying for. Create these questions by researching the company, studying the job description, and considering what your questions will relay about you and your personal brand.
  8. Failing to prepare a close: What’s your last sentence going to be? What do you want your interviewer(s) to remember? How can you relay this message? Is there anything that you still want/need to know?
  9. Not offering a solo sheet: This is a one-page sheet titled with your name at the top that lists the five positive words that describe you with strong, inspiring explanations. Contact Me Today to Learn More about Solo Sheets
  10. Not asking for the job: Again, it seems redundant, but most of us are so frazzled by the end of an interview, that we forget to restate our interest in the position we’re applying for at the end of the interview.

For more useful tips on the job hunt, cover letters, and your career, contact UXL today!

 

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