This question is another attempt at learning more about your weaknesses. We all have areas we could improve on, but in order to ace your interview, you’ll have to be strategic in how you answer this question. Do not name a weakness that will interfere with your ability to perform the job well. You can either:
- Tell about a weakness you have that will have no relevance to this job.
- Name a strength that you want to become even better in.
- Mention an area of improvement that could be seen as an asset in the job, even if it negatively affects your personal life.
- After you mention the area for development, talk about the steps you have taken to correct or eliminate that as an area of development.
- Give an example of how you have already improved on the development area by the actions you have taken to improve them.
- Mention an area of improvement that everyone could do with improvement on, such as detail-management or finding the right work-life balance.
- If possible, try to talk to your references prior to the interview to ask them what they would say are your strengths and weaknesses so you’re on the same page and your answers don’t conflict.
Example: “I have a tendency to micromanage the details of a project because I really want to produce the best possible product. I have taken steps to try to trust my staff more and give them the space they need to work on their part. I limit myself to weekly team meetings where I get feedback on the status of each team member’s progress, and this has been going really well.”
2) Tell me about a time that you failed at something.
Hiring managers love to ask these types of behavioral interview questions, especially related to your weaknesses and failures. It may seem unfair, but hiring managers can gain a lot of insight about you by hearing your answer to these types of questions. The truth is that everyone has areas for improvement, and everyone has likely failed at something at one point or another. How you deal with failure and react to it, shows a great deal about your work ethic and character—something hiring managers also want to know about to determine your fit with the company. Failures can bring about positive outcomes as long as you learned something from the experience, and this is what employers want to see. That you can recognise your own failures, take responsibility for them, and then learn and grow from them moving forward.
- Choose a failure that you learned something from which helped you to become better at what you do now.
- Try to choose failures that were failures not because of a primary skill you need to succeed at the job, but rather a simple mistake such as time management, etc.
- Choose a time you failed that was towards the beginning of your career, or a long time ago so that you don’t give the impression that you fail at a lot of things now.
- Explain the situation you were in, what mistake you made and why you made it, then let them know what you learned from it and what actions you took to ensure you would not make the same mistake again in the future.
Example: “When I first started out in my career, I was a little over-ambitious about getting as many properties rented out as quickly as possible. I ended up making too many appointments in one day and wasn’t able to meet with every client that I had arranged to. I ended up losing a couple of clients because of my poor time management practice. That experience made me realise how important it is to be reliable to clients and not to waste their time by being late or having to cancel appointments. I now leave plenty of time for each client and have longer relationships with the clients I have, which has made me more successful in my work.”
3) How long would you plan to stay with us, if hired?
This is a pretty simple question to answer. It costs companies a lot of time and money to go through the recruitment and hiring process, training new employees and getting new employees completely settled in their position until you’re up to full capacity in the role. It’s in the best interest for companies not to hire candidates who will only leave a few months into the job when they find a better opportunity. If you have stayed in your previous jobs for a significant amount of time, you can use it as an example for how long you’d like to stay here if hired. If you’ve held a lot of short-term jobs, however, then you might need to convince the hiring manager that you aren’t planning to leave soon if hired, but that you’re looking for a longer-term position with the company.
- Use this opportunity to tell the hiring manager what a good fit this job is for you and where you are in your career. The better fit you are for the position, the more likely you would stay longer in the position.
- If you stayed in your last position for 5 years, you can state how long you were in your last position and say you’d like to stay even longer in this position if it worked out.
- If you’ve only stayed in your previous positions for short time periods, feel free to give a short explanation of why that was, what you learned from it and state your intentions for staying much longer in the position you are now applying for.
Example: “I left after less than a year in my previous company because there was an illness in my family and I needed to relocate to be able to help a family member recover. I regret having to leave so soon, because I don’t feel I learned everything I could have from the position, but I would like to stay with your company for at least 5 years, I hope even longer than that. I’m looking for a position and a company where I could really start a career in.”
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