Get through even the toughest of job interviews with these tips.
As if job interviews aren’t nerve-racking enough, it can get real unnerving when tricky questions start coming our way, like “What are your weaknesses?”
This one usually has us fumbling for words. Because while we don’t want to be dishonest, we also don’t want to give the impression that we’re not up to task. So how should this question be answered?
“Answer as honestly as possible. We’re not perfect and if we were, we wouldn’t need training and development,” says Kristina Lee, a consultant for business support at Robert Walters Singapore.
“Weaknesses aren’t necessarily negative and can be seen as an opportunity to improve and develop our skills. We all have weaknesses, so just be diplomatic in your answer.”
Also, preparation is key to winning half the battle.
“Most candidates think this is the most difficult question to answer during a job interview as it’s tough to self-assess your strengths and weaknesses on the spot,” she says.
“The best candidates would have taken the time to prepare for the job interview and mapped out their greatest weaknesses and strengths.”
Makes sense, right? In fact, it may not seem so challenging anymore. Here are other tips from Kristina on how to get around common tricky questions like a champ.
“Preparation will help you handle tricky interview questions. Conducting research on the company history and values, company culture and employee size will increase your chances of making a good impression. You should also look up the person you‘ll be meeting with” says Kristina. “Tricky questions are meant to test your ability to think on your feet, and pausing and using examples to support your response is the key to answering these questions.”
“Rehearsing possible questions you may be asked will help you articulate your experience and better demonstrate your enthusiasm, knowledge and problem-solving skills. You may not be able to anticipate every question, but it‘ll ensure you‘re less likely to be put on the spot,” emphasises Kristina. “Ask other people for feedback on your performance as this will uncover your growth areas and highlight your key strengths. This will allow you to answer tricky questions better as you have an overview of your performance.”
“During the job interview, once you‘ve identified your weakness, explain how you‘re working on it. Self-awareness is vital in a professional environment. It shows that you want to improve, be challenged and improve in areas you had issues with in the past. Time management, perfectionism and delivering high quality results are common pitfalls,“ she adds. “If you have a problem with time management, say something like ‘I will not multitask, but rather prioritise the tasks that add the most value to my day-to-day work‘. This will show that you‘re taking the steps to change your process, workflow and attitude to achieve more.”
A version of this story first appeared in CLEO. Offering an insider perspective on everything a twenty-something woman in Singapore wants or needs to know, CLEO Magazine is now available in both print and digital formats. Visit www.CLEO.com.sg to subscribe.