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You must remember that nobody is perfect and that this possible employer knows that.
A really great way of telling someone about a flaw is to always add a suggestion of improving that flaw. For example you could say, " I'm always told that I am a bit too slow... but that's only because I want to do the best job I can. I guess you could say I'm a bit anal when it comes to perfection." An employer can only look at that as being a great characteristic, and in no way a negative quality to possess.
Talking about your strengths is a tricky one; you do not want to come across as egotistical. From my interviewee, an excellent answer I like to get is this: " I am very headstrong. I really like to be challenged in my job, and I just want to learn as much as I can in my position. At the end of the day I need to be able to look back on my day and feel good about the job that I've done. I guess you could call it sense of self worth. That's why I always put my all into everything I do."
Here is more input and examples people have given for strengths:
- Your strengths should already be noted in your resume and cover letter. Go over them (i.e., the strengths) again with the interviewer.
- One of my biggest strengths is my communication skills. I work very well with all kinds of people, and understand that everyone has different perspectives about projects and work tasks - so when I work with others I realize that everyone comes to the table with different priorities and objectives. I keep this in mind when I communicate tasks that need to be accomplished with positive reinforcement and awareness of what others are working on.
- A positive attitude will not differentiate you from the crowd. A good attitude is expected of every employee. Also you should back up what you say with an example. For example, don't just say you have good customer service skills prove it by also telling them how you won a company award or received positive customer comment letters for your good service.
- My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As customer service manager at my last job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive team.
- Hard worker
- Able to prioritize
- Believe in myself; self-confidence
- I have the ability to cope with failures and try to learn from my mistakes.
- I like to work in team and have been an active participant and organizer at several places.
- One of my greatest strengths I've acquired during my education is good analytical and planning skills. This has always benefited me to set goals and try to achieve them. But at the same time, I'm driven by the thoughts of success.
- Full commitment to my work
- Highly energetic
- Love to learn new things.
- Having good interpersonal skills
- Well organized and like to be neat with all of my work
- A good helper towards those who need it
- I am a team player and work well with others.
- I have great communication skills.
- I am a quick learner. I have great problem-solving skills and am willing to learn new things to get the job done.
Here are notes and examples of weaknesses:
- You should answer with things you "are improving upon," e.g., "I believe I should always be improving upon myself, good or bad." You are answering the dreaded question without looking like an egotistical maniac, and showing the interviewer that you see yourself as a work in progress, trying to better all of your qualities.
- For your weakness, just pick one that is not going to disqualify you from the job, and then follow up with - this is what really matters - the examples of what you are doing (or have done) to fix your weakness. The most important point here is to show that you learn from your mistakes and your weakness, and you are taking the corrective action to fix the situation - and stress that! For example, if the job does not require public speaking, you can say that your weakness is you are afraid of speaking in front of the public. Then tell the interviewers that you have joined a Toastmaster club or public speech course to overcome the problem. Remind them that when you identify a problem, you actively take actions to correct it, and that is how you do things.
- Don't try to use a cliche or try to present a strength as a weakness by saying your weakness is that you are a workaholic. No one will believe that answer. Being too emotional will make the recruiter wonder if your interpersonal skills are lacking. Give a true weakness but one of modest size. Shows that you have taken steps to correct the weakness. For example you want to improve your MS Excel skills so you are taking a course on that now.
- I used to have trouble with procrastinating, now I have learned to write down a list of things that I need to do, and keep a calender to keep track of deadlines. I have found that this not only helps me to finish things on time, but it has also helped me to be more organized.
- For my weakness, I always say that some people say I'm over-friendly. You can't go wrong with that one. Usually, the person interviewing is like "Oh, that's not a bad thing at all."
- I'm a little egoistic when it comes to winning things and get a little ruthless too.
- I lose patience sometimes when I am not in a position to complete the assigned job in time.
- I have to work on having more patience and giving myself a break, because I always want everything done at once.
- Tend to go to any limits while helping my friends.
- I am too focused on my work and I need to find more time to relax.
- I'm too focused on work and need to develop some after-hours hobbies.
And examples of combination strength-weakness answers:
- I'm a workaholic person and love to dedicate myself to the work I'm doing. But at the same time I forget to keep a balance between other things which I'm trying to improve on.
- Take whatever is your best quality and also describe it as your worst. It often is, as we are all made up like two sides of a coin. Try it out with different qualities and accomplishments and see how it works. For example ... The best thing about me is that I am able to see the big picture in a situation. The worst thing about me is that I can see the big picture in a situation. This is the best thing because I can remove myself from the emotion of a decision that needs to be made and act accordingly. It is a bad thing because I often can see the conclusion quicker than the other participants in a project and that can cause frustration sometimes amongst them.
- My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As Software developer at my last job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive team. Always turn weakness into a positive. If you lack experience or skills for example state this but also state that you are willing to learn, or that it is an area which you would like to improve on.
"I do not have much experience with customer service, but I would like to gain experience in this area. I get along well with people, I am able to listen and am a good communicator so I feel that I would get on well in a customer based environment."
"I am not too experienced with computers, but I am always willing to learn new skills. I have used computers a little in the past and this is one area which I would like to improve on. I am usually very quick at picking up new skills especially when it is something that I need to learn."
Notes on interviewing
- This question unfortunately has become a staple in the interview process and is an easy way out for an interviewer who can't think of any other questions. The reason this is a bad question is simply this: If someone has a weakness that could jeopardize his chance of getting the job, he will never reveal it. So the only answers that this question receives are false answers intended to placate the interviewer. A good interviewer won't ask this question. I'm always tempted to answer this way: "Mr. Interviewer, I always have a hard time with that question. What would your answer be to the question?"
- A good interviewer wouldn't dream of asking someone this question. As the interviewer, you will not get truthful answers from the weakness part of the question, and as the interviewee, you can end up coming across as egotistical and boastful when answering about your strengths. A good interviewer shouldn't want to make you uncomfortable.
"My strengths are my ability to be flexible; I've seen companies go through changes in structure and management philosophy. I've had to adjust my style to the new environment several times. My weakness is my tendency to over-work so I pace myself now."
The key is to turn the weakness - a negative character trait - into something positive.
Whatever you do, tell the truth. While there are certainly answers that interviewers prefer to hear, it has to match reality. Why? First, it's generally not good to get hired for a job that you're not matched well for. If you like new, exciting, dynamic situations but you're looking for a job on an assembly line, you're not going to be happy; saying that you like repetitive work doesn't make sense. Second, any good interviewer will check your references. If your answers don't match what they hear, you're almost certain to lose the chance for job.
Don't ever list as a weakness the following: "I take on too many things and work to hard, and just don't know where to stop." It's a cliche, completely transparent, and I can tell you that it rarely makes the desired impression.
This question is usually asked by prospective employers from candidates applying to them for employment. To answer this question the following procedure should be helpful:
1) Find out what nature of work "the team" in question does.
2) Assuming you are interested in that type of work, list what formal training courses you have taken and qualifications acquired in that field or a related field. Next, mention whatever practical experience you in the field. List any relevant worthwhile achievements you have made. Such specifics will carry lot of weight.
3) As a general plus point, say that you are a team worker and get on well with others, if you feel this is true.
I ask this question and whenever I get an answer like "I work too hard" I know I'm dealing with somebody that I can't really trust, and that I'm going to have a hard time developing an open and honest working relationship with. And I know that I still don't know the person's other weaknesses.
At least with me, an interviewee has a much better chance if I think he or she is honestly telling me about a weakness. And then I can decide whether or not I can work around that weakness. One person told me that he needs fixed deadlines because otherwise he keeps finding additional things to add and it's hard for him to finish the project. I decided this was something I could live with and I hired him. We all have weaknesses. And if you think you're going to outsmart me with nonsense or evasion, you're hurting your chances with me.
Habit 1 — Be Proactive
You're in Charge
I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking.
Habit 2 — Begin with the End in Mind
Have a Plan
I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school's mission and vision. I look for ways to be a good citizen.
Habit 3 — Put First Things First
Work First, Then Play
I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized.
Habit 4 — Think Win-Win
Everyone Can Win
I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others' Emotional Bank Accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives.
Habit 5 — Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Listen Before You Talk
I listen to other people's ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.
Habit 6 — Synergize
Together Is Better
I value other people's strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people's ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than anyone of us can alone. I am humble.
Habit 7 — Sharpen The Saw
Balance Feels Best
I take care of my body by eating right, exercising and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school. I find meaningful ways to help others.
While acting tough may meet your needs in the short term by artificially boosting your ego or by getting other people to back off, it's not a good long-term strategy. In fact, a new study conducted by psychologists at Rutgers University found that men who act tough may suffer serious consequences.
The study, published in The Journal of Health Psychology, found that men who act tough visit doctors less often. They're also less forthcoming about their medical symptoms when they see a male physician. (Interestingly, these same men were more likely to choose a male doctor because they believe male doctors are more competent than females).
Researchers suspect that delaying medical appointments and minimizing symptoms could be one of the reasons why men die, on average, five years earlier than women.
But clearly, it's not always just men who feel the need to act tough. Many women do, as well. Here are seven signs you're just acting tough:
1. You mask insecurities.Acting tough involves developing a persona that says, "I'm the best." But behind that tough exterior, there's often a lot of self-doubt.
Rather than waste energy trying to cover up their weaknesses, mentally strong people invest time into improving themselves. They acknowledge their shortcomings and strive to become better.
2. You think failure isn't an option.Saying, "Failure isn't option," won't prevent you from failing--but it might prevent you from trying. People who act tough are usually more interested in showing off the skills they already have, rather than learning anything new.
Mentally strong people view failure as a stepping stone to success. They trust in their ability to bounce back from setbacks, and they're prepared to learn from their mistakes.
3. Your self-worth depends on how others see you.People who act tough are very concerned with their appearance. Their self-worth depends on other people's opinions of them.
Mentally strong people, however, aren't worried about proving anything to anyone but themselves. They're willing to ask for help, and they're fueled by their internal desire to grow stronger better.
4. You suppress your emotions.Often, the only emotion tough people feel comfortable expressing is anger. They hide their sadness, fear, and excitement from others as much as possible.
Mentally strong people are willing to admit when they're afraid, and they aren't shy about shedding a tear once in a while. Rather than ignore their emotions, they monitor them. They're acutely aware of the ways in which their feelings influence their thoughts and behavior.
5. You deny your pain.People who are intent on acting tough pride themselves on tolerating a great deal of pain. Whether they treat their bodies like a machine or they refuse to acknowledge an injury, they view their willingness to keep going as a badge of honor.
Mentally strong people aren't interested in tolerating pain as a means to impress others. Instead, they learn from pain, and try to turn suffering into an opportunity to become better.
6. You think you can do everything.While healthy self-confidence is helpful, acting tough involves grandiose proclamations like, "Nothing will ever stop me." People who act tough often overestimate their abilities and underestimate the work required to reach their goals.
Mentally strong people are well-prepared for the realities of a challenge. They acknowledge potential obstacles that stand in their way and they recognize how much effort they'll realistically need to invest.
7. You try to control other people.People who act tough thrive on feeling like they have power over other people. They want to be perceived as being "in control," and they often micromanage others or make unreasonable demands.
Mentally strong people, however, are interested in controlling themselves rather than the people around them. They're invested in regulating their thoughts, managing their emotions, and behaving productively, despite whatever circumstances they find themselves in.
Build Mental StrengthIf you're guilty of putting up a fake exterior that helps you feel tough, consider the toll it may take on your life. Invest in building mental strength, so the way you feel on the inside matches how others see you on the outside. As your mental strength increases, your desire to act tough decreases.
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One day, I was so angry, that I left home, swearing not to return, till I became a big guy.
Parents, who can't even buy me a Bike, have no rights to dream to make me an Engineer.
I instantly remembered, that when I left home, my Dad's scooter was not there.I started feeling weak in my
Being a Lean expert, I am always obsessively spotting inefficiencies everywhere! While it can be to my own detriment, the good thing is that I'm always trying to think about how I can be more efficient. This lets me manage all the things I need to do, such as running two businesses, being a treasurer for a not for profit, investing in property, writing a book, helping my husband on his 1000 herd dairy farm, renovating etc.
So here are the 8 things which I do to better manage my time and increase productivity:
1. Synchronised OutlookHaving my email accounts connected via exchange on all my devices (iPhone, iPad and Mac – yes I am a Apple fan) is essential for me to be flexible and connected no matter where I am. This way I can type emails during what I call non-value add times for example while waiting in a queue, waiting for a flight, sitting in the car.
2. Electronic calendar with categorisationThis is a must – everything I do goes in my Outlook calendar and is synchronised across all my devices. I also colour code each entry such as travel, business meetings, networking, client work, personal appointments, etc. Birthdays also go in to reminders. This way I can easily and quickly see what I have on and where my priorities are.
3. WhiteboardWhile I use tasks in Outlook or on my iPhone app to keep track of my to-do items, the best way to keep track is a Visual Management Board that I keep in my office. This is a whiteboard that I've split into key categories eg Property, Business, Book, Association and under each category I add in bullet points the things I need to work on. I also have a column for Today and This Week. I find this a great visual way of tracking everything and ticking things off all on one board and in one place. It also makes you feel and be in control.
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4. Electronic NotesThere is nothing worse than having a million post its stuck all over your desk (although I do admit that I have a few) or bits of paper everywhere. Worse still is when you are madly trying to find an important note you made amongst all that paper. I write all my notes and reminders on my devices (e.g iPhone) and it is synchronised via cloud so that I never lose any info again and I can find it very quickly if needed.
5. Go PaperlessI used to get so stressed when I would have hundreds of bills, paper documents and files lying around needing to be filed somewhere. My shelves were full of folders. Not anymore. If I need to keep a document or a bill, as soon as I receive it, I scan and file it electronically. I keep backup hard drives to ensure nothing gets lost. I also have a shredder to destroy information sensitive documents.
6. Clear Desk PolicyAt the end of each day, I clear my desk and put everything away into allocated spots. This way I can start the next day with a clean slate and a fresh mind. This does wonders for your mind clarity and productivity.
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7. Standardised Work WeekThis is a big one! I set myself a standard week schedule which has Mon – Friday on it and for each day I have standard time slots allocated to specific tasks. For example Monday morning from 7-9am is blocked out for writing my book, Tues 8-10am is blocked out for writing articles, Friday from 7-8 am is blocked for my weekly Improvement Tip and 8-10am is blocked out for working on my business marketing & strategy. This way you ensure that you work on the important $1000 tasks and not just fill your day with emails, calls and possibly lots of $10 tasks. This is a fundamental way that you prioritise the right things and actually get them done rather than procrastinating.
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8. Small Bite Sized ChunksI try to do a small amount of everything everyday. So rather than have a big mammoth task, I break things down into bite sized chunks and work on a part each day. This way a big daunting task becomes much more manageable. So for example everyday I allocate some time to business, to property, to my Treasurer role, to my book etc. That way it gets done a little bit each day and doesn't feel so overwhelming. And surprisingly you get things done much quicker when they are broken down into small components and worked on one step at a time.
Image credit: orcmid
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Have you ever noticed that when your workplace or home is full of clutter: paper notes all over your desk, documents that haven't been filed, items all over table tops, piles on the floor, things that don't have a home and are just making everything look messy…. You get more stressed out?
A disorganised office or home can leave you feeling out of control, frustrated and add to your stress levels. It also makes your day super unproductive. Do you regularly ask "where is it?" or are trying to look for things and can't find them? Do others constantly ask you where they can find something? Have you re-done something simply because you couldn't find it the first time? Or maybe even bought a new one of something? A disorganised office or home can create a lot of inefficiencies. Furthermore it can look very unprofessional and we all want to make the best impact on people around us whether they are our colleagues or friends visiting our home.
The Japanese realised this decades ago in their factories and developed a concept called 5S which has been used by some of the biggest and best companies globally to improve their quality, safety and productivity, and also the work environment for employees.
So what is this tool all about? Here are the 5S steps:
Step 1 – SORTThis is about Sorting through what is needed (really needed) from what is not needed in an area (your office or home e.g the wardrobe). This can be quite challenging but you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the area? What does it need to do?
- Do I need these items?
- How often do I use them?
- When did I last use them?
- Are they still relevant?
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Step 2 – SETThis step means to decide where the items you will keep should be placed/ stored or positioned within the area. This is about having a place for everything and everything in its place. Items that you use regularly should be placed near to where you use them so that you reduce unnecessary movement. Items used less regularly can be stored a little further away. Importantly, you should have clearly marked locations for things such as labelled drawers or cupboards so that the things are very easy and visual to find.
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Step 3 – SHINENow it's time to clean up – this is about ensuring that the area is thoroughly cleaned. So time to pull out the cleaning gloves and products and make your area shine! Don't forget hidden spots. As a practical point, it is sometimes easier and more practical to do this step before step 2.
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Step 4 – STANDARDISEThis is a really important step but often gets forgotten. Once you have put in all the hard work in steps 1-3 you must create a Standard for how the area will continue to look. This is about documenting or making it clear what the expected level of cleanliness and organisation that needs to be maintained, how often cleaning or organising is required, who is responsible, where the standard locations for things are and so on. A good visual standard will ensure that everyone is aware of the expected condition and your workplace or home will stay organised. If you don't put this standard in place, you can be sure that within a very short time your area will be back to square one.
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Step 5 – SUSTAINThis is probably the hardest bit but most certainly a standard will help you to sustain a well-organised and professional looking workplace or home. Regularly monitoring the condition of the area and comparing it to the standard will help you to keep it looking good. A good idea is to set yourself a standard frequency of checking your area and maintaining its condition.
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Source: Gregory Han Leadersinheels
Confidence is not to be confused with arrogance, although when taken overboard it can come across that way. Instead, think of confidence as the juice to jazz your thinking, feeling, and doing in more powerful ways. Rather than second guess yourself every step of the way, or chopping yourself down to size … put a cork in your fear, while uncorking your possibilities.
That's where big ideas, bold action, and daring adventures come from.
Of course, like anything, there are two ends of the spectrum. You can dial your confidence up or down, depending on what you need to be effective for your scenario. One way to dial up your confidence is to have a handy set of pithy prose to help inspire or remind you of the confident way. Quotes are a powerful tool, and they put the brilliance of minds like Aristotle, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, and others right at your mental finger tips.
The Wisdom of the Ages on Confidence …If we flip through the words of wisdom from the ages and modern sages, we see a few key patterns and themes for improving confidence:
- Flow your confidence from the inside out. Don't hang it from the praise or accolades or reinforcement of others.
- Find your way forward. Confidence is not the absence of fear, but instead feeling the fear, and finding your way forward.
- See it in your mind's-eye. Picture it. Visualize the confident you, and drink often from your fountain of images.
- Flip the switch. It's like flipping a switch. It's an emotional and mental state that you can drive from. You just might have to turn it on. For some, this means fake it till you make it.
- Don't let critics limit you. Don't let other people push your buttons, and know how to push your own. Sometimes you need the critic to tell you that you can't, to figure out that you can … but don't become reliant on reverse psychology to make up your mind.
- Know that confidence comes before competence. Don't fall prey to the "if … then" trap (If I'm competent, then I'll be confident.") Instead, anchor your confidence to the belief that you will get better with practice. Expect great things from yourself and make them happen.
- Let your confidence bloom as you do. You might be sapling where somebody else is a sage, but don't let their shadow overshadow you. Simply recognize the stage you are at, and be confident in your ability to grow. Your capacity is a powerful thing.
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