If you’re going for a job interview, you’re probably dreading the interviewer asking you to talk about your biggest weakness – and that’s totally normal. This very common interview question puts you on the spot and requires you to evaluate and talk about yourself in a somewhat negative way.
To minimise the risk of freezing up or saying the wrong thing, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for this question:
Understand WHY interviewers ask this question.
It might seem a little strange for an interviewer, who should be interested in your achievements and experience, to want to know about your biggest weakness. But the reason they ask this question is quite simple: they want to get past your smart, rehearsed interview façade to understand what you’re like as a person and what you’re like to work with.
Answer the question in TWO parts:
1. Identify your weakness.
- Don't deny that you have weaknesses.
- Choose a weakness that doesn't directly relate to the job.
- Try not to get defensive or talk about yourself in an overly negative way.
- Don't try to disguise a strength as a weakness - try to be honest.
2. Talk about how you're working on it.
- Give an example of a time your weakness caused an issue at work, then explain how you resolved it.
- Give examples of the ways you plan to work on your weakness (if you haven't started working on it already).
- Be positive and confident - having weaknesses isn't something to be embarrassed about. Everybody has them!
Plan your response to the question.
It is quite likely that the interviewer will ask you about your biggest weakness - this question is so common at this point that it's on the verge of becoming a cliché - so we recommend preparing a constructive answer ahead of time.
- Think carefully about your weaknesses and write them down.
- Look at the job specification and highlight the key skills and attributes required for the role.
- Compare your list of weaknesses to the key requirements of the job. Exclude any weaknesses that might give the impression you're not suitable for the position at all - e.g. don't give shyness as your answer if it's a customer-facing role requiring strong interpersonal skills.
- Compose a strong answer relating to the remaining weakness(es).
Example of a good response:
Scenario: You're applying for a job as a lab technician. This job requires meticulous attention to detail and safe practices.
Good Answer: "I am not very good at public speaking. I get very nervous; I'll happily put my ideas forward when working in a small team, but on a larger scale, I do tend to struggle. However, I have arranged to go back to my university and give a talk to current chemistry students about my experience on the course - I'm hoping that this will help me to improve!"
Bad Answer: "I really struggle to be organised. My friends and family say I'm a bit of a slob, and I'm always breaking things accidentally. There's not much I can do about it, though - that's just who I am!"
Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we can offer lots of helpful advice if you're applying for a job in a scientific sector. Click the link below to browse our latest job listings.
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The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which takes place on the 11th of February every year, was created by the United Nations as part of the ongoing effort to address gender imbalance in core STEM subjects and promote the participation of women in scientific roles.
Across 14 different countries, the percentage of women graduating from universities with degrees in science-related subjects are as follows:
- Bachelor's Degree: 18%
- Master's Degree: 8%
- PhD: 2%
These low figures are quite disheartening, as are reports that under 30% of scientific research and development roles are currently held by women.
The UN's International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to encourage women and young girls to pursue an education or career in science and dramatically raise the above percentages.
Breaking Gender Stereotypes
To mark the occasion, we'd like to take a look at just some of the many prolific female scientists who have done vital work throughout history and helped to pave the way for gender equality in scientific fields:
Lise Meitner (1878-1968)
Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who specialised in radioactivity and nuclear physics. Together with a select group of other scientists, she discovered nuclear fission of uranium - the basic principle of the nuclear weapons that were to follow.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992)
Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark 1 computer, and she developed an early variation of the programming language COBOL which is still in use today.
Sandra Faber (1944- )
Sandra Faber is an astrophysicist specialising in the evolution of galaxies. Some of her important contributions to science include linking the brightness of galaxies to the speed of stars within them and helping to design the Keck telescopes in Hawaii.
Are you ready to pursue a career in science? HRS is here to help! Click the link below to browse a huge selection of science jobs spanning a variety of scientific fields.
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If you are considering pursuing (or already working towards) a career in science, you might be curious as to which jobs can earn you the most money, making the hard work you put into studying worthwhile and providing you with financial security for the future.
Specialists in the STEM industries (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are constantly in high demand due to the rapid pace at which these fields develop and change. Therefore, you can be fairly certain that pursuing a career in any of these industries will have a reasonably good chance of leading to a fairly high salary.
But let's take a closer look at science jobs specifically.
The Highest-Paying Science Jobs
Of course, there are lots of different professions - from biotechnology to manufacturing - that could potentially fall under the 'science' umbrella, but here are some of the best-paid science jobs of all (salary estimates taken from nationalcareers.service.gov.uk).
Starting salary: £26,250 per annum
Experienced salary: £99,000 per annum
Starting salary: £14,000 per annum
Experienced salary: £70,000 per annum
Starting salary: £20,000 per annum
Experienced salary: £70,000 per annum
Starting salary: £25,000 per annum
Experienced salary: £80,000 per annum
Does a job in one of these lucrative science professions sound good to you? Click the button below to browse current science vacancies across the UK, or create a Candidate account to upload your CV and apply for jobs online!
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