Job Interview: What ARE your strengths and weaknesses?
I got an interesting question on my busy Ask Dave Taylor blog:
"I had been to ur site, its very useful information u have provided on this site, i want to know if in the interview if they ask u "tell me about you, & your strengths & weakness, how to answer them. pls suggest some tips or examples."Now I'm actively resisting being cranky about someone who can't spend the time to spell out all the words in the interest of clear and accurate communication, but I will say that any email you send to a prospective employer should not be in "text message" format and should be grammatically correct. 'nuf about that.
The question itself is an interesting one because it points to a dilemma that people have when they're on a job interview: if someone asks you about your strengths and weaknesses, do you be straightforward and honest, risking sounding like a high risk as a potential employee, or do you tweak your response to come across as honest but still aware that you're on an interview?
I'm reminded of when a casual friend asks "How ya doing?" because it's the same dilemma. if you're not doing well, do you start sharing your troubles with them, or are they really just saying "hi" but aren't actually interested in what's going on, just being polite?
Obviously, saying "weakness? I have no weaknesses!" isn't going to go over well, even if you're interviewing to join a band of superheroes. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and masking it just makes you see a bit dim. Oh, and a weakness like "I work too much" or "I have no life outside of work and love what I do" can come across a bit sycophantic.
To get more input, I asked a group of colleagues on LinkedIn how they'd address the situation, and here are their answers:
A broad job-interview question like "Tell me about yourself" is an opportunity for a sharp-eared job seeker to learn more about the business pain the job opportunity has been created to remedy. Here's how that conversation could go:
INTERVIEWER: So, Dave, tell me about yourself.
-- Liz Ryan, www.AskLizRyan.com
I say answer honestly without putting yourself down. e.g. My strength is my tenacity and follow through, (give a couple examples). When I overextend this strength, I have in the past created a challenge for myself because ..... (give an example). Then finish off with what I have done about the weakness to minimize it or keep it in the strength range.
-- Trina Hoefling, www.GroupOneSolutions.com
Truthfully, I'd almost want to walk out of the interview. It is such a formulaic question I'd be asking myself "do I really want to work for this company/person?" and... well... depending on the amount of chutzpah I'm feeling that day, would probably pointedly say so. If they want a trained circus animal who performs on cue (I mean, you can rehearse the answer to that question ad nauseum), that's fine; they won't get me.
-- Jody Gastel
Two approaches :
1] Be prepared on what you are going to tell about this question i.e. be real, be original, irrespective of job type and just go for it. For this you need to understand yourself, study yourself.
2] Study what is the requirement / job u are getting interviewed on. If you are very much sure about soft skills related to that position cover them in your answer, along with your original skills. No need to be honest always and everywhere, provided you are able to justify it.
-- Vikas Kanade
The best thing is to put it in a positive light. For example, "Organization has never been my strong suit, but by recognizing that, I've been able to put systems in place so that it's not a problem." Don't try to just rephrase good things: "People say I work too hard, am too thorough and make everyone around me look bad." Not so good.
-- Doyle Albee, Metzger Associates
Now, dear reader, how would you answer a question like that on an interview?
Experiences with Keynote and the iPad VGA connector: not so good
Last night I had a chance to test out a feature of my new Apple iPad that I'd been eager to try: the VGA connector. On a laptop you plug in a second screen or projector and it generally mirrors what's on your existing screen, giving you the ability to share what you're doing with others. Flip a setting in the Displays preferences and it becomes a second screen, and what's shown on it is different to what's on your computer screen. That's super helpful with a spare monitor, but it's particularly useful for people running presentations.
I use Apple's Keynote for presentations and it's terrific at working with a projector, where the slide is shown on the screen, but on the computer you see a thumbnail of the slide, a smaller thumbnail of the next slide and a timer.
I copied my presentation onto the iPad and made sure I had Keynote ready to go. Some glitches with typefaces and layout, but nothing I couldn't fix in a few minutes of fiddling on the iPad itself. Ready to go!
And then I found out that while the device did a splendid job of driving a projector using the VGA connector ($29 from Apple), what it didn't do was offer anything at all useful on the iPad display itself:
Very disappointing. Even if it didn't show the slides, at least a timer would be useful. It's startling lame actually, and I expect it'll be one of the first things that will change in the first rev of Keynote for iPad.
Another thing I quickly learned is that if you have app notifications turned on, every time you get a notification alert it kills the presentation, drops you back into Keynote edit mode, and makes the projected screen go blank. You confirm receipt of the alert and restart the preso so it's not a nightmare, but, really, can't Keynote pop up "I notice you have Alerts enabled. I recommend you disable them for a presentation. Disable now? Yes / No" or similar?
Since I had the iPad hooked up to a second display, I took advantage of the opportunity to try running different apps and seeing what was second-display aware. Turns out almost nothing is. Netflix? Nope. ABC shows? Nope. Safari? Nope. What did work with the second monitor was iTunes video. Sweet!
I plugged in external speakers and we were enjoying Buckaroo Banzai -- which I had previous ripped from my DVD and copied onto the iPad via iTunes -- on a big, crisp screen. Very nice. The iPad screen was blank during this time, however, which was a bit weird. Why not have it show pause/play controls, volume, etc?
Then I tried to play a bit of Inglorious Basterds, a film I'd bought on the iTunes store, just to bump into this:
Ah, so there are DRM limitations here too.
Anyway, that's a summary of my experience. Not that great, and certainly Keynote worked, but it was surprisingly crude and simplistic compared to the great experience of a two-monitor setup for Keynote on the Mac itself.
What are other people's experiences with the iPad VGA out connector? Any other apps you've found that can utilize it? Is it part of the API and accessible to iPad developers?
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