Job Interview Tips – Discussing Weaknesses

Be outstanding in your next job interview in Belgium. Here is an important Interview Tip. How can you answer that horrible interview question, “What are your weaknesses?”

It’s no longer acceptable to come up with negative things which can be turned into the positive, such as, “I am a perfectionist” This was used in the 90’s.

Do you know what your job interview weaknesses are? Now, recruiters are looking for maturity. We want to see that you have self-awareness. We all have weaknesses so what’s critical is that you are aware of them, it’s called self-awareness. This is part of leadership. It’s being taught to CEO’s at Harvard. Next, recruiters want to know is what you learned from your mistake. Finally, they want to know what steps you are taking so it doesn’t happen again.

Books/Reading List

  • eBook, Interviewing in the global economy, how to get hired by a multinational. Erica Elias
  • Marcus Buckingham, “now, discover your strengths.”
  • What color is your parachute, Richard Bolles.
  • Soft Skills and Leadership: A must read for all people who want to improve their leadership skills
  • Stephen Covey 7 habits of highly effective people
  • Jim Collins, From good to Great.
  • Conscious Business, Fred Kofman

These are the models used today by HR Managers. Learn them and hone in on your interviewing skills. Interviewers use these interviewing techniques. It’s not a secret…candidates review them and practice STAR and competency based Interview Models:

  • Competency Based Interviewing
  • “What you did in the past, predicts your ability to do it again in the future.”

Here are some guidelines to help you practice behavioral interviewing:

  1. Identify which competencies or ‘behaviors’ are listed in the description of the job you’re applying for. Often you’ll find that each job description lists several skills the company would like to see in a candidate such as “superb negotiation and communication skills, analytical, flexible, goal oriented.” If you see a list like that you should be prepared for an interview where you’ll be questioned about your soft skills.
  2. If you believe that you fit the criteria a company is looking for, think back to when you demonstrated such skills in the work you’ve done. If you believe you’re an excellent communicator, for instance, you must have a reason for that conviction. Maybe you had an idea that you pitched – and it wowed your boss and colleagues. (Presumably you can do the same in your interview.) Or did a situation arise where you were asked to mediate or settle differences between colleagues or departments? If you think you have good negotiating skills you should have some basis for it. So what happened? Can you make a convincing case to the interviewer that you do in fact possess such skills? Put yourself in a manager’s shoes. What would you like to hear from a candidate? What would convince you that this person can do what they say? Your answer must be concrete, detailed and precise.
  3. Prepare to answer these questions following the model STAR. This is a very common interviewing model widely used by multinational companies.  It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Interviewers who use STAR generally follow a formula:

Read definition of competency (found on eBook, “Interviewing in the Global Economy, How to get hired by a multinational, Erica Elias)
Find examples in your life when you exhibited those competencies
Use STAR to structure your response
Behavorial Interviewing
STAR, Situation, Task, Action, Results

Situation or Task

Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

Action you took

Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.

Results you achieved

What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

Situational Interviewing
Case Based Interviewing (Boston consulting group, Accenture, McKinsey, McBain)

Interview template for junior graduates or entry-level persons

  • Why did you choose these studies?
  • What courses did you like the most and why?
  • How will you choose which direction to take? What really makes the difference to you in accepting this job or a different one?
  • Give 5 words to define yourself – what is your reputation amongst friends or colleagues?
  • Where do you see yourself in 4-5 years time?
  • What is important for you in your life?
  • Weaknesses? What areas are you seeking to improve?
  • Did you have personality tests already? What where the results? What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t already know?
  • What are your activities outside of school?
  • What was your role in a specific project?
  • What stages or internships have you done? What did you learn from it?
  • Describe your thesis.
  • What is the difference between two IT tools/theories? Adapt to the role: What is the difference between the two?
  • Do you have any questions? About this job? The Company? It’s essential to have a few intelligent questions prepared. Ask HR questions to HR person and technical questions about the job for the line manager. Know each person you are interviewing with and what is their title beforehand so you direct your questions best.

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