It seems to be a common theme that within an interview candidates are asked about their strengths and weaknesses. What is also a common theme is a lot of people do not know how to answer this effectively.
Typically when Opal Tree Solutions conduct interview preparation sessions, the answers to strengths tend to be all, or any of the following;
- Quick Learner
- Team Player
- Hard Worker
- Always go the extra mile
- On time and punctual
- Able to work independently
- Work well under pressure
You get the idea…..
The answers to weaknesses tend to be;
- I’m a perfectionist
- I can be opinionated
- I’m not too good at ABAP De-Bugging (For functional experts)
- Organisation and Self Management
- I work better on my own than in a team.
You need to be able to stand out in an interview, generic answers will just entice the interviewer(s) to prompt further with questions and they may view you as someone who can’t articulate yourself clearly, which is definitely needed in the world of SAP. It’s a bit like when we see CV’s that say “I work well both independently and as part of a team” it’s a bit cliché and sounds like you’ve used an online CV template from 1990(!)
It is quite easy to identify your own strengths, if you struggle with this, you can always ask a friend, or even better a work colleague to help you with this. Weaknesses on the other hand, can be much more difficult to, not only identify, but put across to a potential employer without putting them off you, so you need to think carefully about this.
Opal Tree Solutions coach candidates that request for assistance with interviews, most do not need this, but some candidates may have not have interviewed for 3+ years and our assistance can give confidence and new ideas on how to prepare for the big day!
To give you a few tips on Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses, the following may be something to consider;
Make a list of the most important day to day activities you complete in order to do your job, maybe 5-8 different key elements ; rate them on a scale of 1-5, 1 being poor, 5 being expert. For anything you have scored a 2 or a 1 these would be obvious weaknesses, we would suggest maybe removing these all together and concentrating on your 3’s, 4’s and 5’s.
For anything you score a 3 or a 4, state them as a weakness, for your 5’s these will be your true strengths. That way, when an interviewer asks you what your weaknesses are, you will be highlighting things that you are actually competent in, but just require some extra support or practice. Try to use examples that are relevant to the role you are applying to, rather than the generic cliché type answers as mentioned earlier. Some generic answers can work though, so long as you have solid examples, such as, you adapt well to change; you are a strong leader, or a problem solver. Just stay clear of answers that would be a given for any professional job seeker.
By using this technique, it will allow for you to give clear examples about you can strengthen your weaknesses, as you are only a couple of points away from being expert in them already!
To discuss career options, Opal Tree Solutions offer career advice across the SAP market, and welcome calls from Job Seekers 5 days a week. To arrange a call, or meeting with an SAP recruitment expert, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0161 214 3849.
Blog written by Steve Hudson of Opal Tree Solutions.