2 questions to answer in your next interview

The most common and, perhaps, most feared questions asked in interviews are:

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

Being prepared for these is the most basic thing you can do before an interview; even better is knowing these before you start your job search.  This sort of self-assessment can be very tough to do by yourself.

What tools do you have to get to these answers?

Finding your strengths

Doing it by yourself could be as simple as taking out a pen and pad. Or asking your friends and loved-ones.

Or you may want to use some of the online assessment tools.  There are thousands and some are better than others for different careers.  They cost from nothing to hundreds of dollars.  They come both with and without interpretation or support.  You may have taken one or more of these before, in school or in a job interview or at a temp placement shop.  Some are validated.  Others are based on the provider’s personal theories.

I like Your Talent Advantage and StrengthFinder

Finding your weaknesses

Looking for your weaknesses might be easier with a partner, someone who knows you well and can be honest with you.  Asking a number of your friends for just one weakness each will give you a list you can look at.  Look also at your “growing edges” to see what you might want to learn in your new job.  You can say “I’m weak in (stretch goal) and would like to be guided by my supervisor to improve in that area.”

What have your experiences been?  For the DIYers among you, check out  

Bundle: My Skills, Expertise and Keywords template, video and podcast

And check out these blog posts on interviewing

1st Bioscience Interview Question

Manage the bioscience interview

Do you have an interview suit?

Do you know how many kinds of interviews there are?

This Friday Judson and I discussed kinds of interviews.  The first of 2 parts, this one covered prep, types of interviews (8!), confidence and questions you should ask them!  The next will cover negotiation and follow-up. This podcast is 30 minutes long.

Interviewing is not an exam or a dissertation presentation.  It is a conversation to see if you have the skills (and desire) to solve this company’s problem.  They don’t hire if they don’t have a problem.  You need to know ahead of time what that problem is.

How do you prep for your interviews?

Job search is scary and depressing and you need to get over it

How do you prep for your interviews?

How do you prep for your interviews?

Interviews are NOT like being hauled into the principal’s office.  

Interviews are NOT like being hauled into the principal’s office.  

Don’t start out in a “one down” position.  Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.  Go in with confidence because you have prepared well.

Nor are interviews like networking coffee dates.

Make sure that they have a job you actually want, as well as one you can do. 

You know how, when you are shopping for a new house or even just a couch, the places and details can really run together.  Do not let this happen in your job search!! Keep notes!  You do NOT want to call the hiring manager by the name of the one at the last interview!!

Do let me know if you need some help with any of this.  You can schedule a time to practice or I can help you with the details of the prep! If you have never talked with me before, schedule here.   If we have already had our first conversation then schedule here or here

Interviewing: new podcast with Judson Walsh and Connie Hampton



Interviewing can be a scary proposition or one where you are confident going in and know what happens next coming out.

Preparation is essential.

Most people don’t really prepare enough and when faced with the hiring manager, or worse, a team of interviewers, it is easy to freeze.

Here are some suggestions on how to avoid that and be seen as the person who can solve the problem they are hiring to fix.

For a coaching session on just your interview, click here

How Many Applicants Get Interviewed? Will You?

1st Bioscience Interview Question


Slide1Using a consultative approach to the face-to-face interview, especially in your 1st question, will frame you as an expert in your field.

This question will also reveal what the job really is, not as filtered through HR or recruiter, straight from the manager.  Asking to be told what you can do to help him/her, puts you on the level of the manager – you can help and he/she needs help. This will allow you to avoid the Oliver Twist problem – you won’t be tempted to beg for the job.

If you want to practice your interview skills or discuss your job search strategy in general, please book an appointment.


Job Search Tip #48 – Interviews



What do you need to be confident and clear in your interviews?  What homework should you have done?  What questions do you need to practice asking?  Do you know about the Wonder Woman stance?  The Superman stance? The right first and last questions to ask?

Join us to do the homework so that your interviews are comfortable and consultative.  For more information, click 



Manage the bioscience interview

tip 49 - manage the bioscience interview

You got a bioscience interview! Congratulate yourself!  You have passed so many hurdles.

Now don’t blow it by being too eager! Be professional and take control of each bioscience interview from the beginning.

  • Choose a time to interview that will allow you to be completely up to speed.
  • See if they will give you the name of the person who will be interviewing you on the phone.  
  • Review what you are bringing to the table, but more important, what problem the company is trying to solve.  
  • Which of your dragon-slaying stories fits this job?  
  • Which words do you want on the tip of your tongue so you sound like a member of the tribe?  

Want to talk about it first?  Schedule a time here

Virtual Interviewing – are you prepared?

Are you prepared for online, on-camera, video interviews?


English: A Logitech QuickCam Chat for Skype we...

English: A Logitech QuickCam Chat for Skype webcam Italiano: Una webcam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know how to use Skype?  G+ Hangouts? Your cell phone? Other online interview sites?  Does your computer even have a webcam?  More and more companies are using these tools to do first interviews, especially if you are not local to the company you are interviewing with.

It is not hard to use these tools but you don’t want your first time to be in the interview.  You need and want to make a good impression.

Make sure that the background that can be seen behind you is bland and not distracting – hang a sheet or use a blank wall.  You don’t want the interviewer wondering where you are and what that is in the background.

Be sure you know how to use the webcam and the tool that you will be using.  Plan to use it first with a friend or colleague.  Many people are very comfortable with their webcam but many of us are not daily users and need to get more comfortable.  You don’t want the camera to point up your nose (all too common with a cell phone or tablet), be too close or miss your face altogether.

Unlike phone interviews where you can be in your sweats, do wear the same clothes that you would to a face-to-face, in-person interview.  Look nice and be sure to smile.

Do have notes for your answers and questions but don’t look at them continually. Place them as close to the camera as you can so that you can look into both the eyes of the interviewer and see your notes.  Don’t read them.  

Do you have other tips for video interviewing?

Want to practice?  Book a call here






Networking or Interviewing?

face to faceIf networking is really all about giving, then interviewing is proving that you are worthy to receive.

No one will hire you because you need a job, or because your objective is to (generality, generality) or (ambition, ambition). They will only hire you if they think:
1. You can do the job better than anyone else they are interviewing
2. You can solve the problem better than anyone else
3. They like you because you are likeable
4. They trust you to get the job done.
You have already passed the first and 2nd hurdles – you got past the ATS system and the hiring manager saw something in your resume that made him/her want to meet you in person.
You have probably already been “phone screened” and are now facing an interview.
Remember that “facing an interview” is far more pleasant than “facing a firing squad”!
Now your task is to prove those four points above and decide if you really want the job.
You have prepared well. You know what the company does, why you think you want the job as it was publicized and which of your dragon-slaying stories you might tell. You came prepared and did not need to use the extra cash you brought for bridges and parking so you can go out for lunch afterwards. You are properly dressed (10% better than you would be to work there) and know that you don’t have bad breath. You have already assumed the Superman/Wonder Woman position in private, in the restroom before being called and escorted to the interview room. You have copies of your tailored resume.
You have practiced your interviewing conversations, talking points and questions, your facial expressions and tone of voice. You are confident that you can answer the questions the hiring manager will ask.
What is left? What questions do you have about interviewing?
Join us for free, open, office hours

Job Search Tip #51 – The Last Interview Question


tip 51 Your last interview question

Plan your interview and don’t waste the last questions on something you already know.  Ask this one last interview question instead.

Want to practice?  Click here