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#interview#

“What is your greatest weakness?”
“What is something you regret having done in the past?”

Interview questions you hope not to get. If you are not looking for a job, the feared performance appraisal meeting with the BOSS.

What exactly am I expected to say? The good news is that everyone has a weakness. No need to be defensive.

1. Use your judgment
Dont cite weakness in areas which are critical in your job. Such as “lack of attention to details” in accounting. Or something irrelevant like not being able to sing, if you are a banker.

Interviewers are also not expecting “confession box” answers. The interviewer is not a therapist, so now is not the time to talk about the skeletons in the closet. It may also reveal a candidates lack of common sense or not having done sufficient research by checking out critical competencies. I recall candidates who let their guards down to talk about feeling inadequate and not being sure if they are up for the job. Leave it out, or better still, don’t apply for the job. Maybe a recruiter appreciates your being candid? Not often.

2. A strength overplayed can become a weakness

One possibility is to talk about how our strengths can work against us. A double edged sword of sorts.

Fear your strengths“, Robert Kaplan advised. When you have too much of a good thing, it can interfere with your leadership. In his research, Kaplan cited Enron’s Schilling who was a forceful character to the extent that he would bulldoze audit checks.

Dont just understand your strengths, understand what happens when you overuse them.

Example. Steve Jobs was famous for his attention to detail and design for his products. However, if attention to details cause you to miss deadlines, that becomes a serious problem. One must be ready to ship.  

Also avoid overused labels like ‘I am a perfectionist’ which indicates lack of self awareness or condescending to others in the team.

Kaplan’s Leadership Versatility Index (LVI®) measures versatility on two major pairs of opposing but complementary leadership dimensions:

Forceful vs. enabling
Strategic vs. operational

Image result for leadership versatility index

http://kaplandevries.com/leadership-versatility-index

What can I do?

3. Self Awareness and Willingness to get feedback

Show the interviewer that you are aware of this gap, and how it can interfere with your team’s productivity.

Building on the example above, show your willingness to listen to feedback or proactively sought feedback when you observed that the strength had become a weakness.

Leaders need a team to keep themselves in check.

In “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts”, Marshall Goldsmith suggests that  getting feedback is our first step in becoming more mindful about the connection between our environment and our behavior.

4. Working on your weakness.

  • Choose small changes
  • Adopt a regimen
  • Get counterweights or people in place to remind you (deferentially) or
  • Using “triggers” like a photo or a 2×2 card as reminder
  • Accountability
  • Daily reflection question

On that note, top coach Marshall Goldsmith comes up with a list of 40 questions and pays someone to call him daily as a commitment device.

A leader who is forceful, may need to dial back, and be more enabling. Spend time listening and supporting, rather than rushing forth to take charge of a situation.

This was something Linda learned as a manager, over-talking when her subordinates remained quiet.  Something she learned, was to refrain from over-talking and using the “pause” to help her, and asking for feedback.

So what’s your strength?

 

Fear Your Strengths: What You Are Best at Could Be Your Biggest Problem: Robert E. Kaplan, Robert B. Kaiser

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (2015).

#21st century skills#

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Photo taken at Gardens by the Bay, Sep 2018. Sunflowers in honour of Vincent Van Gogh.
image

Its internship application and interviewing time. One of the common questions I get from students are: what competencies should I include in my resume?

Look no further.

1. Examine the job advertisement
Most companies include competencies that help candidates succeed. Sometimes its under the Key Requirements or the Qualifications section

2. Full time applications
Even those that do not include the competences, such as those from DHL for their data science internship (below), will have a detailed writeup in their full time job applications. Similar competencies in identified by different full time opportunities in same company hint at the company culture and values.

3. Company website
Check out the company website. “What we look for in our candidates”. Writeups or profiles of employees and what they say.

4. Check out companies in same industry
Most companies in the same industry look for similar competencies. Sometimes they differ, depending on organisation culture.

5. External sources
Vault, wetfeet and other insider guides. Bear in mind that they could be subjective.

Analyst, intern, McKinsey
https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/search-jobs/jobs/business-analyst-intern-0003

Associate Intern, McKinsey
https://g.co/kgs/osTswf

FSO/ MFA
https://www1.mfa.gov.sg/Careers/Career-Opportunities/Foreign-Service-Officer-Functional-and-Corporate

FSO / MFA
https://www1.mfa.gov.sg/Careers/Career-Opportunities/Foreign-Service-Officer-Political-and-Economic

Moody’s
Intern (Corporate Finance) – Contract until end of 2018
https://g.co/kgs/wJbHRN

Investment Bank/ DB
https://sg.gradconnection.com/employers/deutsche-bank/what-type-of-candidate-do-we-look-for/

Market Data Analyst, Summer Intern
Bloomberg
https://sg.neuvoo.com/view/?id=n705ddhv6v&source=gfj&utm_campaign=google_jobs_apply&utm_source=google_jobs_apply&utm_medium=organic

DHL
Data Scientist, Analytics Lab
https://g.co/kgs/UWYr9N

Intern (Customer Analytics), DHL
https://g.co/kgs/ERfHU2

Manufacturing Intern, GE Aviation (Jan 2019 intake)
https://g.co/kgs/knfCWB

Intern, Automation; Robotics (Jan 2019 intake), GE
https://g.co/kgs/qTAcWc

Allow me to introduce two men, Alan and Ben. You can decide whom you prefer.

Alan is smart, hardworking, impulsive, critical, stubborn and jealous. Ben, however,is jealous, stubborn, critical, impulsive, hardworking and smart. Who would you prefer to get stuck with, in an elevator?

Most people choose Alan, even though the descriptions are exactly the same.

Why?

Your brain pays more attention to the first two adjectives to the lists. The first traits outshine the rest. This is known as the primacy effect. Similarly known as “the halo” effect in interviews.

Sometimes, the recency effect matters as well. The more recent the information, the better we remember it. For instance, if you listened to a series of impressions formed some time ago, the recency effect dominates. For instance, if you listened to a speech a few weeks ago, you will remember the final point or punch line more clearly than your first impressions.

If the series of impressions was formed some time ago, the recency effect dominates.

Takeaway

  1. As an interviewer, randomise the sequence of interviews so no one has an unfair advantage.
  2. Jot down evaluations so that the middle counts as well.
  3. If you’re a candidate, practice your intro and importantly, at the end of the interview, help your interviewer summarise in a few points what you represent.

Source: The Art of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli