One strategy is to turn a negative into a positive. Admit to a weakness – a minor one – then quickly turn the conversation to how you have overcome that weakness, or how you manage it.
For example, I get distracted very, very easily. A person walks by, an email pops up, or I hear someone talking about a movie I just saw and have to add my two cents. I manage these distractions, in part, by wearing headphones and listening to music to block out sounds, and by turning off all auto notifications on my email – no dings or bouncing icons. This demonstrates to the interviewer that I'm capable of self-assessment and self-improvement.
And that's the main point of the question. The interviewer wants to know if you can recognize where you need improvement and if you can figure out how to make yourself better.
And keep in mind, you don't want to admit to anything that might be a deal breaker, like you hate writing or don't always work well with others. But you also don't want to say anything completely irrelevant either. A weakness for chocolate or an inability to manage your chequebook are just weird answers.
If you're in a job you hate or have been out of work for a while and you're desperate to find a new gig, the worst thing you can do is let that desperation show to potential employers. In a pair of posts (with a third promised), recruiter Lindsay Olson talks about how frustrating job hunting can be.
She shares an absolutely horrible job inquiry sent her way, which starts out
"I'm hoping you won't say that you 'don't have anything right now', or you 'don't have anything at my level'. That would be a horrible way to start the week."The letter is quite cringe-worthy, and worth the read. Of course, it speaks to the frustration a lot of people are feeling right now, so Lindsay also offers up a few tips to keep in mind on why a company will and will not hire you. A company will not hire you because you have bills to pay and need the job; they will hire you if you're the right person for the job. Make sure they're hearing about the latter and not the former. No one responds well to desperation.
There's the thrill of getting your first internship. Of seeing your name on the masthead for the first time. Your first business card that says editor. Your first byline. Landing the job at the magazine you've always wanted to work at. Meeting an editor you've long admired (our celebrities, if you will). The really good swag (admit it). And, of course, getting nominated for a National Magazine Award.
This is my first time being nominated, and it's a very nice little thrill.
Congrats to all the NMA nominees.
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Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.