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Smart Interview Tips for Starters

Smart Interview Tips: Turning Your Weaknesses into Strengths

We all have weaknesses – those nagging professional shortcomings we hope hiring managers won’t ask about. However, interviews often shift from discussing accomplishments to directly addressing weaknesses. With the right preparation, you can pivot the discussion to focus on the efforts you’ve made to actively improve those areas.

Follow the smart interview tips below to make a strong impression when asked the difficult questions.

Smart Interview Tips for Starters

Don’ts – What Derails Candidates

The first rule of thumb is not to claim any clearly bogus, irrelevant, or utterly fatal flaws, just to seem more forthright. Stating, “Sometimes I work too hard and skip breaks” or “I just care too much” comes across as obviously evasive fluff rather than authentic transparency.

Equally, avoid highlighting weaknesses clearly tied to key roles and responsibilities. Saying “I’m not really detail-oriented” for accounting positions or “I don’t work well cross-collaboratively” never sits well.

Finally, beware of rambling mildly problematic backstories that don’t answer the question. Nervous candidates have a tendency to air personal issues better discussed privately versus with prospective employers. It’s best to resist the urge to focus on vulnerabilities unrelated to the job duties and instead emphasize strengths.

Dos – Framing Fixable Areas of Growth

Now for the formula to tactfully navigate the weaknesses question minefield: Focus on the skills you’re lacking but are reasonably improvable through deliberate effort over time. Structure responses using the handy PAR approach:

  • Problem – Name the weakness concisely, keep it specific, not overwhelmingly broad
  • Action – Describe active steps taken to remedy this shortcoming through training, mentoring, or self-study
  • Result – Highlight measurable progress made resolving the issue with more room for improvement ahead

For example, consider a detail-oriented accountant who admits to struggling with public speaking. They could respond:

I hesitated with presentation skills early on but pursued Toastmaster training to address that gap. After five sessions, my manager noticed a greatly increased poise. Public speaking now feels less intimidating with further progress ahead through continual practice opportunities.”

See the game-changing difference? They own shortcomings, demonstrate proactive dedication toward resolutions, and have early positive outcomes to report.

You may not entirely resolve weaknesses, but showing hunger for self-improvement can be equally, if not more impressive, to interviewers seeking lifelong learners hungry for growth.

In Closing

Embrace the weaknesses question as a chance to showcase that drive toward being 1% better daily. Demonstrate self-awareness for areas needing enhancement alongside diligent commitment toward change for the better good. Use these smart interview tips to redirect attention from anxious flaws toward uplifting narratives of empowered development.

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