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The majority of interviewers will address your strengths in some way, possibly asking questions like "What are your greatest strengths?" or "What skills do you have that can contribute to the success of our company? You need to be prepared for such questions.
Do your own SWOT analysis looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The key with this is to be honest with yourself, and if you can’t be, ask someone else who can! After all, there is no point in listing things you would like to have as strengths. At the same time, it doesn't help you either to ignore some unpleasant weaknesses.
To help you prepare your SWOT analysis, think about what you enjoy and equally what you do not. Typically you enjoy what you are good at, so this can be a simple but effective indicator.
You can also help craft your SWOT analysis by regularly asking for feedback from your colleagues and peers – again ask them to be honest with you. You can also review past appraisals and one-to-ones.
Before the interview, conduct your SWOT analysis using the above sources. Preparing this in advance, and having comprehensive knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, will put you in a favourable light in the eyes of the interviewer. Don’t stick too rigid to a script though; you don’t want to be completely flummoxed if the interviewer asks you a question outside of your prepared material. Use the following tips to build your interview SWOT analysis:
Which of your strengths are particularly noteworthy? Divide your strengths into two categories: soft skills and hard skills. Hard skills are your qualifications and qualities that make you do your job better. Soft skills are your character traits you can use for contributing to a positive working atmosphere.
What skills and qualities do you have, but also what type of person are you? It’s not just a case of hiring someone with the right experience, the employer also needs to know you’re going to slot in well to the team. A CV is not a great means of determining a candidate’s soft skills – these are mostly identified during the interview process – so show them off.
Probably one of the most difficult questions you’ll be asked during your interview is: “What is your biggest weakness?” Address this question by exploring the negative areas you need and wish to improve on.
Your weaknesses are the toughest and most delicate aspect of a SWOT analysis to communicate to your potential future employer. Be realistic and show that you realise and are aware of your weaknesses, along with what you are doing to turn the weakness into strengths. For example: “I sometimes get into too many details that may delay execution” or “I find it difficult to say ‘No’ if someone asks for help which can overload my schedule”.
Don’t be too honest and opt for a weakness that is going to severely impact your chances of being hired – if you’ve got a problem with being punctual then keep it to yourself!
This refers to positive external conditions you can take advantage of. Start off with opportunities you see in the job you are interviewing for; this will show your interest and positive attitude.
For example, if you mentioned in your strengths that you have good communication skills, you could say: “Due to my knowledge of XYZ, I can help train new members of the team, in turn improving my confidence level and presentation skills”. The interviewer will be impressed that you’ve researched the role, and also that you’ve then matched it against your own profile.
These are negative external conditions you can’t control but can minimise. There are always threats you will face at your workplace; for example, overworking yourself by taking on so many responsibilities or your job responsibilities changing.
Suggest how you can minimise these threats; for example, using time management to avoid getting overworked and upgrading technical skills to keep up with industry changes to cope with the job requirements. This is probably your best opportunity to seek reassurance from your interviewer on any aspects of the job description that you’re wary or unsure of.
Now you are perfectly equipped to successfully sell yourself to your potential future employer. If you use the above-mentioned methods correctly, you can develop a more comprehensive understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Having identified the opportunities and risks of a certain job also demonstrates that you are well informed about the position. Finally, you also show that you are both able and willing to grow beyond your limits within your new role. Honesty is a decisive factor of every method. So, be honest with yourself and you will shine during your job search.
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