Am I as strong as Popeye? What shall I answer at a job interview?
We know from the cartoon that Popeye is strong. As children, we would have never thought of questioning his strength. But how do we feel about it now? Popeye remained in the last century and we are in another millennium. You might be at the beginning of your career, on the threshold of ‘real life’. Have we eaten enough spinach to be strong? And if not, then what are your real strengths?
S & W: the tricky question
Only two letters, but everything can depend on them: your success, your career, your future. These are not the abbreviations of a sweet or a clothes store, but that of strengths and weaknesses.
Whether you have already been to a job interview or are only familiar with them from movies or through acquaintances, you will know for sure: it is not an easy situation. It is like an exam, but in the world of adults – plus, there is more at stake. It’s good news though that you can prepare for them! While you might have problems at the beginning and feel self-conscious, routine and experience do make a difference! It is more and more often that you keep getting the same or similar questions. And through different tasks, you can get to know yourself better as well. There are some crucial questions, for example the one about wage demands, but it can also be tricky to talk about your strength and weaknesses.
Do not panic!
When preparing for a job interview, it is important to reflect on a few issues: why did you apply for the position, how you can benefit the given company and why they should choose you. They can ask you about your positive and negative traits and what you consider your advantages and disadvantages. Your answers can tell your potential employer what you think of yourself, where you think you belong and how your self-esteem is.
Take a few minutes to think about what you are really good at and what the things are that need to be improved. First, it is not necessarily to come up with huge ideas, the best solution might not be to use big words – instead, try to answer with phrases whose meaning you are completely aware of.
If this is to be your first job and you have just finished school, start at the basics. Think back to what your hobby was during your secondary school or university years, what you excelled at and what you were proud of. Try to come up with answers that you can illustrate with some examples. For instance, if you were a member of the drama club, you probably enjoy being in the limelight and are not afraid of talking in front of people – this trait can come in handy when doing presentations at your future workplace! Or if you were always good at sports then you are probably determined, not likely to give up and are a good team player. Thinking this way, everybody can find the things they would like to highlight about themselves. However, if you have already worked somewhere and have experience with certain kinds of tasks, feel free to talk about these! Bring examples to show what areas you dealt with, what skills you have developed, what trainings you have participated in and how you have improved your career through them.
However, when it comes to your weaknesses, summarize them shortly, but emphasize how you are planning to work on them. It is important to be honest, but it’s a bad strategy to put yourself down by listing too many of them.
In my opinion, a job interview is like an exam. It will never be easy and you will always have a certain amount of anxiety before them, but you can definitely improve your skills to bring out the best in you. Confidence in important and so is staying calm when being bombarded with hard questions. Think about what to answer, but be yourself since even the best-constructed mask will eventually fall off.
Translated by Judit Molnár