Talk about your weaknesses and strengths
During the job interview, it is very likely that the person interviewing you will begin asking you questions about your weaknesses or strengths. This is a scenario in which you are walking on a tight rope, because it is easy to say the wrong thing.
It is important to know your strengths, especially those which are related to the job for which you are applying, but you must also be aware of your weaknesses. For example, if you are applying for a sales job, and your strength is your ability to work with people, you will want to emphasize this heavily.
Explain to the interviewer that your skills with people is a strength that can ensure more sales for their company. Be prepared to give an example of cases where you worked well with people.
Mentioning your weaknesses can be very difficult, but it has to be done. If you do not talk about your weaknesses, you will convey the impression that you are arrogant. Never tell the interviewer that "you don’t have any weaknesses."
Just saying this one sentence can kill your chances of acing the interview and getting the job. Everyone has a weakness, and if you are unwilling to admit that you’ve made mistakes, there is a good chance that you will make mistake once hired that you will refuse to admit you made. Employers do not want to hire people who refuse to admit their mistakes.
The best way to handle the issue of weaknesses is to admit a weakness which is related to the job, but one which you are working to overcome.
Just as you should give an example of your strengths, you will also want to give an example of your weaknesses. It is absolutely critical for you to include the things you learned from the experience. By doing this, you show the interviewer that you are a person that grows, and who learns from their mistakes.
While companies do not expect to hire employees who are perfect, they do want to hire employees who will grow and learn from their mistakes. It is also important to pick a weakness which actually has a strength.
For instance, because most companies emphasize teamwork, you could say something like: one weakness I have is that I find it hard to work with people who are not team players. This is called mixing a strength with a weakness, and it is a brilliant job interview tactic.
How to handle the issue of being fired from previous jobs
At some point during an interview, you may be asked about previous jobs you have had. If you have been fired from a previous job, you may be tempted to avoid talking about it, or even listing it on your employment application. This is a big mistake because the employer will inevitably find out about it once they perform a background check.
Once they find out that you got fired from a previous job which you "forgot" to mention in your job interview or application, then you will either not get the job, or be fired from a job you were just hired at. Regardless, the best solution is to be honest. If you were laid off from a previous job because the company went under, or it downsized, then this is nothing to be ashamed of.
How to handle a previous job firing
But even if you were fired because of something stupid on your part, like being late too much, or something even worse than this, it is best to be honest about it, and say so in a calm manner.
If you show any bitterness when talking about this experience, you will convey the message that you have not learned from your mistake, and blame others for your wrongs.
By showing the potential employer you made a mistake, without blaming your former employer, you show that you’re a person who can learn and grow, and this is what employers are looking for.