How would TMI answer “What’s your greatest weakness”?

It’s the one question which leaves candidates flummoxed.  How to comment on your flaws without undermining your interviewer’s impression of you?  With this in mind, TMI had a brainstorm in the office about how we would answer that thorny question guaranteed to be on your interviewer’s lips.

Firstly, what NOT to say…

If your immediate reaction was to respond with one of the following; “I’m a perfectionist”, “I work too hard” or “I pay too much attention to detail”, you’re guilty of falling into a classic trap.  While you probably thought you were being clever researching ‘ideal interview answers’ on the internet the night before, just remember that so did the other candidates that you’re battling against.  It’s preferable to think of a more personal response which demonstrates to the interviewer that you have considered his/her question and that you have the ability to be self-reflective.

What’s more, if interviewing for a secretarial/assistant position, steer clear of these so-called ‘fail-safe’ answers because they might actually backfire on you.  Your interviewer is looking for somebody efficient who can work to tight deadlines, so saying any of the above might imply that you are a slow worker.

Instead, identify an area of personal development…

A good way to tackle the question is to mention a current goal that you are working towards.  For example: you weren’t proficient at using a certain type of software at work, which cost you time, and so you took an online course.  While this might highlight that you are not the most technologically-savvy, it does illustrate that you consider your personal development to be a priority, which is always a desirable quality in a candidate.  Approach with caution, however!  Obviously, if you are applying for a job as Communities Manager, mentioning any weakness regarding technology is not going to stand you in the best stead.  It is hence essential that the weakness you describe is not a fundamental skill in your line of work.

Turn a negative into a positive

If you’ve scoured careers websites, you’ll have noticed that the following advice from HR experts is unanimous: turn a negative into a positive.  The danger with this tactic is that your response can come across as contrived.  A way to apply this approach more effectively is to complement it with a concrete example of when your weakness turned out to be an asset.  A flaw could be that you spend a long time on a task but this means that your work is accurate.  To make this answer count for more, be sure to mention the time that you were analysing the company accounts and you spotted a crucial error, saving the company ‘x’ amount of money.

Throw a curve-ball…

One of the TMI consultants once answered with “I have a really bad sense of direction”. While this might not be directly relevant to the workplace, it could steer the interview onto another topic of conversation. However, probably one best to avoid if you turned up late to the interview!

Finally, if you’re a recent graduate…

If you’ve recently finished university and have not worked before, you could mention that your lack of experience in this particular sector could be interpreted as a weakness.  You’re not actually revealing anything new because your interviewer has presumably already read your CV.  Make sure, nonetheless, that you combine this with how motivated you are to prove that this will not hold you back and that you have transferable skills.

All in all, our most crucial advice is not to fall into the trap of panicking and revealing a weakness that could work against you.  If you reflect on how you would answer the question in advance and have some examples up your sleeve, you will be in a better position to impress.

Did you find this article useful? Head over to our website for more useful tips.

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3 Trésors gratuits en ligne pour maîtriser une langue étrangère

Vous avez un très bon niveau dans une langue mais vous ne la parlez pas encore couramment ?  Comment trouver ainsi des ressources en ligne pour perfectionner votre maîtrise ?

Si on débute l’apprentissage d’une nouvelle langue, il est facile de trouver des logiciels en ligne adaptés à votre niveau : Duolingo, par exemple, nommé application de l’année 2013 par l’entreprise Apple, propose des exercices ludiques pour vous enseigner, et il y en a beaucoup d’autres qui suivent ce modèle.

Quant aux locuteurs adeptes, le défi consiste cependant à trouver des outils en ligne correspondant à leur niveau supérieur.  Acquérir un vocabulaire de base, comme « dog » et « cat », ne vous sert à rien si le besoin est d’étoffer un lexique technique.  En plus, à quoi bon faire des exercices pédagogiques si vous souhaitez maîtriser un anglais des affaires courant ?  Ne vous inquiétez pas parce que voici plusieurs suggestions pour vous :

WeSpeke

Imaginez un mélange entre Skype et WordReference, et voilà, vous pensez à WeSpeke.  C’est un réseau social qui vous permet de joindre des locuteurs natifs aux quatre coins de la planète et avoir des conversations avec eux en temps réel.  Choisissez votre niveau de langue (1 pour un débutant et 5 pour un natif) ainsi que vos intérêts et vous serez prêt à vous lancer dans une communauté globale ! Vous parlez à tour de rôle dans votre langue maternelle d’un thème qui vous intéresse, les deux pendant un certain temps avant de changer de langue.  Ce site est tellement populaire qu’il connaît un succès grandissant depuis son lancement en 2010.  Inscrivez-vous ou trouvez plus de renseignements ici.

Linguee

Vous parlez couramment une langue mais vous avez du mal à traduire certaines expressions techniques ou spécifiques ? C’est Linguee que vous cherchez !  Un dictionnaire en ligne qui propose des traductions contextuelles, l’outil ramasse ses données des sites officiels qui ont été traduits par des traducteurs professionnels.  Donc, la prochaine fois qu’il vous faut trouver l’expression équivalente de ‘produit intérieur brut annuel’ en anglais, allez sur : www.linguee.fr !

Meetup

Etre bilingue à partir d’un logiciel… c’est probablement une promesse trop belle pour être vraie.  Cela dit, vous pourrez profiter du web pour rencontrer des gens dont la langue maternelle est celle que vous désirez perfectionner.  Meetup propose une manière de joindre les gens dans votre région qui ont envie de se retrouver.  Il y a beaucoup d’échanges linguistiques dont vous pouvez bénéficier.  Il faut simplement créer un compte pour découvrir l’adresse de votre prochain rendez-vous… n’hésitez pas !

Si vous avez d’autres astuces pour se perfectionner en langue, partagez-les avec nous en les écrivant en dessous.

Et ne pas oublier de visiter notre site pour découvrir toutes nos offres d’actualité pour les personnes bilingues ici.

B.Y.O.D…. Coming to an office near you!

How long did you spend guessing what the acronym stands for?  A while?  Not long?  If you were quick off the mark, chances are your company has adopted a Bring Your Own Device to work policy.  Gone are the days of being provided with a company laptop and phone, as businesses move towards allowing their employees to use their own personal smartphone or tablet for work purposes.

In an effort to cut costs, companies are BYOD-ing with increasing vigour.  Statistics speak for the advantages; a report published by Cisco in 2012 found 89% of companies in the nine countries queried to have enabled their employees to use their own devices at work.  Companies save not only on supplying the actual hardware and software but also because of increased productivity as working offsite becomes a possibility.

Yet, one would have thought that such a policy would have provoked some backlash on the basis that company technology, previously provided, is now being funded out of employees’ pockets.  Furthermore, is there the unspoken expectation that employees should be working around the clock, leaving the office only then to work from home?

On the contrary, research shows that being able to use your own devices at work actually increases employee satisfaction.  As Dermot McCann, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at Kaseya, states, “Mobile professionals have their own clear preferences, whether it’s Android or Apple’s iOS iPhone and iPad devices, and they don’t want their employer dictating one over the other”.  This is what companies can capitalise on; with the general public now being the net consumers of avant-garde technology, buying the latest models as soon as they become available, companies can bypass the installation of new IT systems which is time consuming and costly.  If employees already have cutting-edge technology, it makes little sense to purchase it twice.  Hallelujah for management intent on cost-cutting and improving employee satisfaction.

However, here’s the hitch:

With the need for multiple operating systems to access a central corporate IT system from anywhere, company security is increasingly at risk.  As employees store files on their smartphones, keeping track of confidential property is proving somewhat of a headache for the IT department.  Lawyers are equally perplexed at how to draw up a liability contract when the line between the personal and professional spheres has become so blurred.  With greater power to employees, who is responsible for the safeguarding of company material: IT or the individual?

As such, the implementation of BYOD requires increased employee training on adhering to the latest privacy procedures as well as advice on how to protect company confidentiality.  Having raised some of the most common concerns, here are some steps you should follow as an employee of a company which has adopted BYOD:

  • Acquaint yourself with the company policy on the use of personal devices in the workplace. Make sure you know the limits and the responsibilities of the policy.
  • Check whether your company obliges you to install certain security/antivirus software or encrypt your device.
  • Have you backed up your device according to company guidelines? Data loss may be your responsibility.
  • Ensure that you have downloaded (and know how to implement) the appropriate device wiping app in the event that your phone/tablet gets lost or stolen.

Did you find this advice useful?  Share it with your contacts!  Then, have a look at our job offers on our webpage here and more useful advice here.  Thanks for reading!

How to avoid feeling dejected after being rejected…

 “Following your recent application, I regret to inform you that on this occasion you have not been successful.” 

Does this sound familiar?  Given that there are 118 applicants on average for every job, of which only 20% make it to the interview stage; it is likely that at some point in your career you will have been the unlucky recipient of such a letter.

While rejection can damage your self esteem, it is important to remember that it is only a temporary state.  Here are some key public figures that were once in your shoes:  Starting out her television career at the tender age of 22, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job and told that she was “unfit for TV”.  Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times before going on to open his own production company.  And Michael Jordan?  Axed from his school basketball team.  So, what separates these three personalities from the average Joe?  The mere matter of perseverance.

Persevere

Rejection can seem so brutal because it goes against human nature.  Mankind is not equipped to take it on the chin and there’s an evolutionary reason behind this.  If a caveman were rejected by his tribe, his chance of death would be likely.  The desire to avoid rejection is hence an instinctive reaction.  While rejection may not be a matter of life and death in recruitment as in the cavemen times, a lack of perseverance nonetheless wipes out the weedy.  Don’t let yourself be weedy!

This is all well and good, I hear you cry, but it is so hard to persevere when the whole world seems to be against you.  Let’s re-read the opening sentence of the letter in another light: the key aspect to focus on is the phrase: on this occasion.  In your disappointment, it is likely that you glossed over these three little words, but they hide a powerful message.  While you weren’t successful on this occasion, more opportunities will come your way provided you keep searching.  Don’t give up; it’s not called a job hunt for no reason.

Don’t take it to heart

Unless you were in that lucky 20% of candidates invited to interview, the chances are you were rejected on your CV alone.  Without a meeting in person, it’s not you that the company has rejected but your CV.  And your CV can be remodelled and improved, so things are starting to look up!  On the other hand, if you were unsuccessful after an interview, don’t regard the experience as a failure but look at it as practice.  It is important to remember that not every job will be the right fit for your expertise and personality, so don’t take your rejection personally.

Solicit feedback

Now for the juicy stuff.  Many candidates fail to ask for feedback after being rejected for fear of aggravating the company and ruining future prospects.  Furthermore, it’s known that certain companies are reluctant to offer feedback because it may interfere with their legal guidelines.  However, it’s always worth a shot, especially if you approach it in the following manner: disguise your feedback request in a follow-up thank you email, thanking the interviewer for their time before politely asking whether they have any advice for your future job search.  Often, expressing gratitude provides a way through the backdoor.

So, to reiterate: persevere, don’t take it personally and ask for feedback.  Yet perhaps I should just bow down to Winston Churchill who summed it up perfectly:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.