Tips For Round 2 MBA Applicants

Learn to differentiate yourself in the MBA interview.

How to Answer This Common Interview Questions

Almost every job interview will include the question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”

The common interview question often allows for the typical responses, but there are ways to answer the question in an original and authentic manner. Joel Schwartzberg, a professional presentation coach and contributor for the Harvard Business Review, recently outlined clear steps for how to describe your strengths and weaknesses in a way that leaves a meaningful positive impression.

READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION

Most job descriptions will include a list of required and preferred skills. Schwartzberg recommends focusing on a skill that’s listed in the job description.

“There’s no need to guess what superstar qualities they’re looking for — it’s all there in black and white,” Schwartzberg says. “Look for the attributes listed under the ‘preferred qualifications’ or ‘required skills’ section of the job description.”

REFRAME YOUR SKILLS

When sharing your strengths, try offering context over simply listing a skillset.

For instance, Schwartzberg says, if the job description is asking for strong “communication skills,” take it one step further and say you excel in “public speaking” or “presentation skills.” Rather than saying you have good “people skills,” say you excel at “team management.”

FOLLOW THIS OUTLINE

Schwartzberg says every quality response includes the following four elements: the strength, a real-life example of that strength, an impact of that strength, and how much you enjoy leveraging that strength.

Here’s a sample response that covers each four elements:

“I know a lot of people are afraid of public speaking but I really like it, and often use my speaking experience to support team projects. For example, last week, I presented our new customer-service portal to a prospective client, and they signed up immediately. I also get a lot of personal fulfillment from helping my colleagues with their presentations.”

REFRAME WEAKNESSES AS CHALLENGES

When it comes to addressing weaknesses, Schwartzberg recommends referring to your shortcomings as “challenges.”

“This removes some of the injurious sting of ‘weakness’ and makes shortcomings seem more fixable because a weakness implies more permanence than a challenge,” Schwartzberg says.

Sources: Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn

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