You know the one we’re talking about: “What’s your greatest weakness?” If you’re at a job interview and you’re not ready to say what your greatest weakness is, then your greatest weakness is being unprepared.
In a recent “Dear Lucy” column, Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times looked at the right way to go about concocting an answer that will pass muster with the interviewer.
She says it’s dumb to name something that’s obviously a strength, e.g., “I’m too demanding,” “I’m too hardworking.” At best, you’re not fooling anyone, and at worst, your interviewer might think you’re “insufferably smug, deceitful, or [have] no self-knowledge.” (And it might even prompt the interviewer to ask the same thing all over again, in a slightly different way.) Read More →
Being on a conference panel is like your first day at a new school: to succeed, you need to play nice, stay focused, know what you’re talking about, and dress sharp. The dressing sharp part is on you. For the rest, here’s how to be ready:
1. Prepare Your Points.
Don’t go in cold. Prepare 2–3 points in advance that relate to your expertise and the mission of the conference or event. Think about how you can help this audience. What do you know that they should too? If you can, mention these points in advance to the moderator –- he or she can help you make them. Also be prepared with stats, examples, or outcomes that illustrate your points. If you know a great and related joke, bring it, but don’t force the funny. Read More →
I give an annual presentation for members of a religious group about how to ensure that their faith is presented fairly in the media and in the rest of society. What they most want to know is what to do during panel discussions, TV interviews, and other unscripted scenarios in which participants aren’t in control and are sometimes taking unfriendly fire. Here’s what I tell them…. Read More →
This post was previously published in The Hired Guns Gig Alert, our email newsletter with all the most recent job postings as well as no-nonsense career advice from Top Gun Allison Hemming. If you’re not already a subscriber, head to our homepage and sign up.
We recently had a top candidate show up late for a final interview. By that point the job was his to lose—he was “in.” And he was only ten minutes late (because of a high-pressure meeting at his current job that ran over). But he decided to act as if nothing had happened, launching directly into why he would be great for the job. The client didn’t hear any of it. He was still waiting for an apology and thinking to himself that, although this guy wanted to be in a client-facing role, he had no clue that he just made a boo-boo. Crash and burn.
Too much traffic. No time to plan. A boss who takes up all your time so that you have no time to meet any potential new bosses. We’ve all had days when everything that can go wrong does, and some of those days are definitely going to be job-interview days. But fear not: while there are no guarantees, there are steps you can take to redeem yourself and get back on track.
1. Let them know you’ll be late, and do it ASAP. Mom was right. Whether your new job involves meeting with clients or not, manners matter. If you think you’re going to be late, let the hiring manager know as soon as possible. (And plan ahead: have interviewers’ telephone numbers and email addresses programmed into your phone in case of just this kind of emergency. Do the same for the assistants’ and in-house recruiters’ digits.) If you’re using a headhunting firm, reach out to them: it’s part of their job to help smooth the situation. Giving people as much notice as possible demonstrates that you respect their time and aren’t clueless. That extra time may also allow the people interviewing you to move their calendars around a bit, or at least let them answer a couple of emails while they wait for you. Read More →
S.W.F. Seeks J.O.B. is our new monthly career advice column penned by Judy McGuire, a sex and relationships expert who also happens to be hilarious. Judy will help us understand how the rules for dating and job hunting are a lot alike — and how the victories in one part of your life can be applied to the other.
I’ve spent the better part of the last decade writing about relationships for a variety of places, including the Seattle Weekly, TheFrisky.com, Time.com, and the New York Press. Hell, I even wrote a book called How Not to Date, which the Huffington Post called “one of the ten most underrated humor books” of the past few years. But even after ten-plus years both freelancing (a.k.a. looking for work 24/7) and writing about dating, it was years before I realized how similar the two truly are.
I’ve certainly sat through more than my fair share of awkward dates. The dinner conversations that turn into an excuse for the guy to list every asset in his portfolio. The meet-ups for drinks that begin with a disappointed glance (his) and end in tears (mine). Sure, there are highs and there are hookups, but for every great night out, there’s also equal or better amounts of discomfort, disappointment, and downright dismay. Read More →