Are you familiar with the job weakness interview question? How many times have you had to answer it in your lifetime? Most people have had to answer an interview question about personal and professional weaknesses at least a few times. If you feel your answer was less than satisfactory or painted you in a negative light, it’s time to do some preparing for this question before you put on the suit and tie and shine up those shoes for your next interview.
Archives for March 2017
Not everyone interviews with the same format, passion, process and questions. There are some old standards out there that some interviewers follow, while others take their own path, especially the entrepreneurs. There are different types of interviewers and with some forethought you can be prepared to interview successfully, no matter which type you encounter.
Keep in mind that an interviewer’s personality and their style make a difference in the outcome. For example, a hotel front desk clerk learns quickly to read a person’s personality as they approach the desk. This is key to customer service because the clerk quickly adapts in order to meet the needs of that customer. A food server listens carefully to a table of guests to assess the mood and friendliness of each person or the group and know how to provide them with excellent service.
Take caution though: if you misread the personality of the interviewer, you might make some mistakes that could cause you to not move further in the hiring process. Here we share the most common types of interviewers to help you make your own “first impression” style assessment, which can arm you with what you need to position yourself in the interview. These are just some simple rules to follow allowing you to be more comfortable at the onset of the interview.
The Non-Stop Talker
You’ve seen the type – they talk more than they ask questions. This sometimes presents a vulnerable situation whereby the interviewer chats personally and sucks you into feeling comfortable enough to move with the conversation. This might lead you to state some information that you might not want to reveal at this time. Be polite and respond with friendliness as the interviewer will appreciate this quality. So carefully listen to the questions and respond in a professional manner. Wait for those opportunities to ask pertinent questions relative to the position or the company. It shows your interest in what the interviewer has to say and allows them to continue with their chatter.
The Drill Sergeant
Opposite of the chatter is the interviewer who maintains domination over the conversation by firing off a list of questions in a monotone voice. This might be a bit intimidating but their goal might be to do just that – make you nervous. Maintain your eye contact with strong earnest, remain calm and confident, look for ways to return some questions, and provide solid answers without adding chatter. Stick to the pertinent information and be ready for the continued drill.
Following Traditional Rules
This style of interviewing is somewhat predictable as they tend to follow a script or specific list of questions. This interviewer wants to be objective and neutral or isn’t comfortable with the interviewing process. Allow the interviewer to remain in their comfort zone by sticking with the routine. Again, listen for opportunities to ask questions about the position or the company – subject matter that the interviewer is knowledgeable about and willing to discuss.
The Newbie (the inexperienced)
Everyone has to start somewhere and encountering an ill-prepared or inexperienced interviewer can be a bit tricky. They may be new to the company or new to the hiring process but you don’t want to “take over” the conversation and leave them uncomfortable. Stay on course with the planned points and try not to ask questions that you already know they won’t have answers for. However it is your interview and if they are unable to provide enough information for your own comfort level, then perhaps ask if there is another person with whom you could schedule a discussion.
The Inappropriate Interviewer
Fortunately not too often, there are the interviewers who inappropriately ask questions. If you encounter someone who steps out of bounds, making you uncomfortable, try to redirect the discussion back to a professional path. This shows the interviewer that you prefer to maintain the discussion around job or company-related subject matter. If their line of questioning persists, it’s best to thank them for their time and conclude the discussion.
Then there is the one you don’t expect
Almost all interviewers fit into one of the five categories already discussed here but there may be an occasion where someone fits outside these five types. It’s unlikely, however if this happens you might want to try patterning some of their own behaviors and speech. Some hiring managers like people who remind them of themselves. In other words, adapt to their style.
Marc Berlin – The “Job Interviewing Coach” relates to each client personally with passion and expertise cultivated through a rich background of knowledge and hands-on experience. His skills are formed from 22 years in career coaching, sales training development, executive sales management and over 3,000 interviews he personally planned and conducted.
Even after a two week holiday, it can seem as if a lot has changed when you return from work. So it’s no wonder that most women returning to work after a career break feel that it is a daunting prospect indeed.
Of course, you know that this time off has been anything but a time for relaxation and you might feel as if you have been working harder than ever. Nevertheless, it’s now time to get back to a career and you need to pay attention to your CV or resume.
1. Look at this from a positive point of view. During your time off you have amassed several new skills. You are really good at multitasking, time management, project management and your coping skills have improved considerably! Never underestimate what you need to do to manage a busy home and bring up a young one and look at these skills as important additions to your resume.
2. Some specific coaching for women advocates that you should compose a “functional” resume in this situation. This type of approach lists your skills and qualifications rather than focusing on a chronological list of employers. As such, you are definitely focusing on your experience and this should be stressed in the body of the document. List your employers without reference to dates and focus on your skills, experience and qualifications above all else.
3. Don’t be defensive when it comes to your time off for maternity leave. Many women worry that employers judge them if they have prioritised family over career. But let’s put things in perspective here. There are plenty of far more serious things for employers to get concerned about such as lack of honesty, unwillingness to work hard, disloyalty etc. The list goes on and on. Prepare yourself as if you were a saleswoman: What objections might be raised and how will you overcome those objections!
4. What have your interests been whilst you’ve been on your career break? Have you held any volunteer positions? Perhaps you took evening classes or further study. Put all this experience into a positive light and include it on your resume. If nothing else, it shows that you’re able to multi-task the role of mother and home keeper with other interests and duties and this strengthens your position in a prospective employer’s eyes.
5. Show that you are in control of every situation by outlining your plan to manage that time off. In other words, it would be far better to say that you had initially planned to stay home with a newborn until a certain point in time, until he or she arrived at a certain age, for instance. This is so much more professional than if you were to come up with a “woolly” answer such as you were prepared to stay at home until the time was right to return to work. Once again, it shows that you are in control.
6. Do some research before you prepare to send out those resumes. How long have you been away for? Find out if anything significant has changed in a prospective employer’s business. This might be the time to catch up on your specific education, even learn a new system operating procedure. Make sure that you include this on your resume, as it will strengthen your position.
7. You don’t necessarily have to use contacts that you had before you took your career break, and you don’t have to include references only from the workplace. By keeping in contact with some of your networking contacts whilst you are away from the work environment, you will create a useful list of people who might be able to provide you with references testifying to your good character.
In our modern society, professional coaching advice from online life coaching experts can help you to focus on all that is positive in your life, so that you come up with a perfectly presentable resume.
Amanda Alexander, Director of Coaching Mums, helps mumpreneurs and work at home mums who long for more hours in the day. Through her professional coaching programmes and online coaching courses, Amanda helps mums to create successful businesses that work for them.
The quick answer, for those that need to know now is, naturally enough, you are never too old to change careers. If I wanted to be dogmatic I’d point you to articles on the American Grandma Moses and tell you to get inspired. Maybe even ask you to Google the 99 year old lady with a brand new law degree who’s forging ahead to get her ‘Doctorate’. But I won’t.
Too many people put up with jobs they hate
How many friends and family… and work mates do we know that hate their jobs? Many will tell us, usually agonisingly so, just how much they hate their work and then admit to being in that career for years. Sometimes for decades. They tell you they are too old to change careers, and that excuse seems to satisfy them. Yet it seems an impossibly stupid thing to do, staying in a career that does not give us the stimulation or satisfaction we crave. But so many of us do, our sanity saved only by our imagination and the daydream of being somewhere else and doing something else.
And what of the reasons we give for staying in a career that we don’t love? ‘I need the money’. ‘The boss can’t survive without me’. ‘I am loyal,’ ‘It’s a job and it’s close to home’. The excuses are a dime a dozen and they all sound the same. The excuses we use are usually quite interchangeable. We can apply them to our health and our relationships as well, e.g. ‘I needed her money’.
Make your own plans
I heard Nigel Marsh, author of Fat Forty and Fired, say (in a TedX event) recently that if you don’t have plans for yourself, someone else will make you part of their plan. And that’s what we do, willingly hand over our soul and trade our own daydreams for the right to help someone else buy their yacht!
The saddest part is when we have traded much of our life in the name of meaningless loyalty, we find that the loyalty is not reciprocal. The words, “I’m sorry, we are moving in a new direction and you don’t fit as part of our future,” signal there is someone out there that can help our ex boss get that yacht faster and we are gone. As each year passes, the chance of winning the ‘order of the boot’ out of the employment door rises. And then there is always the chance that we screw up and get fired!
Rather than take stock of ourselves and what we really desire, the action we’ll most likely take is to find another similar job and work to help the new boss get the harbourside mansion. Contrary to the song lyrics, history almost always repeats. The bone jarring question is, ‘Why’? Is it fear? Uncertainty? Or have we accepted that what we have always done is what we must always do? And therein lies perhaps the greatest excuse. Somewhere back in immaturity, we made a decision on what we thought we’d like to do and then invested time, money and some of our soul into making that immature decision work in with adulthood.
Too old to change careers? Or unsure what to do?
The world is full of self snared workers still willing to trade their futures for their past or because of their past. An unhappy dentist may cry, “but you don’t understand… it took me eight years of education to be a dentist. I can’t throw all that away”! The same guy owning an investment property for 8 years would sell in a New York minute if he knew the stakes were going down on property. It’s in our nature to hold on to what we have because of our past, but doesn’t it really have more to do with our future? No matter how much time we have left?
If we look to the future we have big decisions to make. And still so many of us don’t really know exactly what we’d do if we were allowed to do anything. And of course, we are allowed.
Over many years, I have submitted myself for psychometric testing for employment, allowing myself to be categorized to see if I was suitable to the needs of others. I’d be told I was a ‘high D’ in DISC and an ENTP in Myers Briggs, but I never considered what that meant for me. I’m maybe slow, but it was only a few years ago that it struck me that I could do this style of profiling on me, for me.
The downside was I got to label myself. The upside was that I was liberated, given the freedom to be me, and shown how I could play to my strengths and recognize the strengths of others, allowing them to play those to their advantage. This knowledge allowed me to change careers, aged forty nine.
Seven tips to navigating career change at any age
1. Look to the future and how you want to spend your remaining time, rather than to the past.
2. Make plans (set goals) for you before you become part of someone else’s plan.
3. Be loyal to yourself first and give your loyalty wisely to others. Loyalty is not innate nor unconditional.
4. Confirm or refine your potential through utilising the many tools available. I like the Wealth Dynamics test at a cost of around $100US. I did it and it is my favourite for now, but you choose. Google Psychometric tests or career profiles and research before you pay.
5. Find / create / join a mastermind group and surround yourself with people that have complementary skills to you. You may find that this group will help you turn what you’d do for free into something that can earn you an income.
6. When you do step up and begin to do what you love, the first thing you will notice is that some one will appear from nowhere to try and knock you down. If it’s a total stranger, you are going places.
7. It really is only about the time we have left.
Remember: You are never too old to change careers. [Reposted March 28 2019]
The decision to seek the services of an external coach is often made because of the many benefits currently recognized. Apart from personal benefits for the individual, (increased self awareness, better goal setting etc), surveys have also found clear links to improvement in business performance metrics, such as quality, productivity and revenue. Once the decision has been made it is then handed over to HR to find the appropriate coach or coaches, and that is when difficulty can occur. HR may not have done this before, so knowing what you are looking for is critical. There are two specific areas that you should consider. The Profile of the coach and the Selection process to use.
The profile of the coach should cover many aspects including the following: Background Experience References Coaching Hours Types of assignments Professional Body member Professional Insurance Personal Characteristics Supervision Industry Experience Qualifications Training Tools and methods Boundary Management
To expand them further look for the following:
Background: What is the background of the coach, have they come from a commercial background or from a therapeutic background or a mix of both.
Experience: What organizational level they have worked with, particularly relevant if you are selecting a coach for a senior leader or executive. What kind of assignments have they taken on.
References: All good coaches should be able to supply references from previous clients. No specific details but overall performance should be covered.
Coaching Hours: It is a good idea to find out how many coaching hours they have carried out, more hours usually equates to more experience.
Types of assignments: Have they focused more on career coaching or work-life balance, this may be useful to see how it matches the individual’s needs.
Professional Membership: There are a number of professional bodies now in existence, (eg EMCC, AC, ICF etc), all with a “code of conduct” and a set of ethics. Make sure they belong to one.
Professional Indemnity Insurance or (PI): Not essential, but most established coaches will have this and many organizations now require it. (pays out if for some reason it was proved that the coaches intervention cost you money).
Personal Characteristics: There are many to consider, here are just a few: How good are they are giving feedback and being challenging. Do they build strong rapport, are they great listeners, can they be flexible with their style and methods, can they motivate and encourage new thinking, do they use situations for continuous learning of their own…..
Supervision:) Many but not all coaches use supervision, separate meetings with another coach to discuss their coaching. Often used as ongoing self development and another perspective for spotting potential areas for concern. Many of the coaching bodies see this as essential.
Industry Experience: This may not be relevant for the detail, but might be important for understanding context and also for initial acceptance by coachees. But remember it is well accepted that coaches do not need industry knowledge to provide great coaching.
Qualifications: There are many qualifications available now, do your research and ensure it’s accredited to one of the major bodies. (also remember that longer established coaches will not have had access to these, so this does not guarantee a good coach)
Tools and Methods: A good coach will be able to use a wide range of tools and methods and show flexibility in how and when they use them. Beware of the one size fits all approach. You should also explore how they construct a coaching program, how much will it be aligned with your organization, what reporting will they provide for you. You may also want to find out if they use reflective learning with their learners.
Boundary Management: Find out how they recognize and manage boundaries. This is often a very sensitive area. Coaches need to recognize their own limitations and should not knowingly accept someone for coaching who really needs specialist support. The above is an initial guide to what you should be looking for. The next stage is to run a process that will allow you evaluate these criteria and then make an informed selection decision.
Peter Green is an Executive Coach at Performance for Growth Ltd. For information on choosing a coach, visit http://www.performanceforgrowth.co.uk
As you begin to evaluate your encore career, it is important to establish your core values as a tool for discovering your encore career. The next step is to determine what skills or expertise you have that align with what you define as your personal values.
In order to do this, you must look back over your experiences to find those things that you’re not only good at, but you really enjoy doing. Face it. There are lots of things you’re good at that you dread doing. But, what’s the sense of creating an encore career that has you doing anything but what you most enjoy?
Uncovering those things that you most enjoy that you’re good at is a great next step on your internal journey of discovery for your ideal encore career. Take some quiet reflection time, and ask yourself these seven must-ask questions:
What do/did I enjoy most about my current career?
This is a terrific place to start. Write down every thing you like about your work, that puts a smile on your face. If the challenge (and enjoyment) are long gone from the work you do, think back to the beginning. What excited you about the work? What pulled you out of bed in the morning that you couldn’t wait to do?
What do I most enjoy learning?
Over the years, you’ve most likely invested a lot of time and energy in learning. Only include what you learned for the simple joy of it. Please leave out what you either “had to” learn for your work, or what you learned for the people you love, but didn’t light you up.
What do other people always come to me for?
This is a great one. I’ll bet there are a number of things that the people in your life consistently ask you for. It might be for your ability to see the big picture, help solving a problem, or just to be heard. These are great clues as to what you’re good at. Again, only write down the ones you really enjoy doing.
What do I discount as valuable because I do it so effortlessly?
For years it never occurred to me that my energetic, enthusiastic cheerleading would be something that I could earn a living at, because it’s just part of who I am, and I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl. But, my coaching, writing and presenting make good use of this gift, and that I get paid for it is a wonderful bonus.
What do I love so much that I would pay someone to let me do?
Okay, so now you’re sworn to secrecy. I love my work as a coach and workshop leader so much that I would gladly pay my clients to let me coach them, and my Boot Camp participants to let me inspire them. Of course, one needs to make a living, but it’s a great way to feel about the work that you do. Your ideal encore career should feel like this.
What am I doing when I lose all track of time?
They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s true for me when I’m designing a new keynote, workshop or Boot Camp. Hours pass and it feels like minutes; my creative juices are flowing and I’m having a blast. When does time fly for you?
What do I love to do just for the sake of doing it?
I love presenting. Being up in front of people, sharing my passion, knowledge and expertise thrills me. It never gets dull, I never get bored, and it gives me the opportunity to meet interesting new people all the time. What do you love to do this much?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have a valuable piece to add to your “What’s My Ideal Encore Career” puzzle. Your answers should begin to reveal some of the essence of your ideal encore career picture.
Remember, in order to find your ideal encore career, it’s imperative that you determine what it is you want first, then get down to the nuts and bolts of how to get it.
Copyright (c) 2009Â Lin Schreiber, A Certified Retirement Coach. She is the author of the popularÂ ABC’s of Revolutionizing Retirement, helps self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement” by designing a new encore life that includes a fulfilling encore career. To claim your free Encore Career Starter Kit, visit her site at http://www.EncoreCareerStarterKit.com.