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I have always fumbled with this question as I have nothing to back up my claims. I have little experience so I cannot guarantee that I can bring the company x number of clients per year, or $x of profit annually, neither do I know how profitable I am.

I only have a testimonial letter from my previous boss to backup whatever I say on an interview. The answer I plan to say when asked is, "The compliment people give me most frequently is that I am a diligent, reliable and trustworthy employee." However, I need more details to fill in as most interviewers expect me to at least speak for half a minute, and I don't wish to lie. Other than this, I looked through what teachers describe me as in report cards, but these testimonials are vague, can be used to describe more than 25% of the students in my class and they don't describe me well anyway.

How should I come up with a more detailed answer to this?
 

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I've tended to use things like 'I'm a quick learner/enthusiastic person/dedicated', 'I have x hobby' (which shows dedication and hard work), 'I enjoy x' (which shows I'm suitable for the position). I think it's better to say it about yourself to show you have an opinion, rather than quoting others. It shows more conviction.
 

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Never done a job interview but looked around and found some stuff.

For your experience problem you could say:
"Im still building experience but am a fast learner."

Also can use something like " im dedicated and goal oriented, i do my work to the best of my ability."

Maybe even something like " I prefer to keep my work place professional and dont try to ruffle any feathers of my fellow employees."

You can even throw in " i tend to be neat and organized so that i know where everything is so that i am on time with my work."

I dont know, best i could come up with off the top of my head also as a side note dont prattle on about yourself or your life personally since i doubt these guys really care, they probably just wanna see how you react to this kinda question and how you would present yourself.

Apparently this is a really hard question and some tips i found are 1. be confident when answering and try not to beat around the bush(keep it short and dont ramble about yourself). 2. Make a script of what your gonna say before hand and practice it since you dont wanna look at your resume in front of them while answering. 3. focus(apparently) list five strengths related to the job in question.

Not much help i wager but still its what i got.
 

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I have always fumbled with this question as I have nothing to back up my claims. I have little experience so I cannot guarantee that I can bring the company x number of clients per year, or $x of profit annually, neither do I know how profitable I am.

I only have a testimonial letter from my previous boss to backup whatever I say on an interview. The answer I plan to say when asked is, "The compliment people give me most frequently is that I am a diligent, reliable and trustworthy employee." However, I need more details to fill in as most interviewers expect me to at least speak for half a minute, and I don't wish to lie. Other than this, I looked through what teachers describe me as in report cards, but these testimonials are vague, can be used to describe more than 25% of the students in my class and they don't describe me well anyway.

How should I come up with a more detailed answer to this?
You're not answering the question that well if you just share what people think about you.

When people would ask me to tell them about myself in interviews, I would share my background.

"Well, 3 years ago I started as a full charge bookkeeper at my previous employer. I did... X Y Z . This December, I graduated from Ferris State University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting. I'm currently seeking a job which will satisfy... X Y Z career objectives. I currently exploring my options."

If you have no experience to share, then just find ways to fill-in pertinent details about yourself. "I've always enjoyed doing X Y Z." "My favorite subject in school was X Y Z, which relates to the position I'm looking for." "My strengths are X Y Z."

Hope that helps.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
What's the job?
No specific job, I just go for anything I can get, from retail associate jobs, F & B service, administrative assistants and flight attendant (which seems to discriminate me for wearing glasses and having freckles on my face, or I just have really poor speech). I have a degree in business studies (which is virtually useless in the workplace) and only 6 months of retail experience at the moment.
 

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My best suggestion is to collect as much information as you can about your potential new workplace and employer.
Once you're at the interview observe them thoroughly. What kind of person are they?
What can you read through they way the present themselves, they way they speak and their body language?

The list of qualities you've written is pretty good but in many cases it would be best to look at the person in front of you and understand what they want you to say. Notice how people around you move, dress and speak, laugh at their jokes, feign interest when you have none and inflate your talents if you must but in a believable way. I'm quite sure everyone nowadays lists "workaholic"as their main flaw.

Good luck~
 

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There isn't actually a right or wrong answer since every employer is different and looks for different things.

The key here is to do research on the employer and ask them what it is that they want and look for.

They will question you to see if you fit what they want and they may try withhold information about what they really look for to prevent you from lying about who you really are etc...

Aside from the obvious fundamental traits like...
Responsible, reliable, confident, good with dealing with people, having a good attitude etc.. etc... I'd generally rock into an interview and make myself stand out.

I find that showing assertiveness and initiative are key, don't be afraid to challenge your employers and look for ways to show what areas of improvements they could benefit from and how you can contribute to the change etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My best suggestion is to collect as much information as you can about your potential new workplace and employer.
Once you're at the interview observe them thoroughly. What kind of person are they?
What can you read through they way the present themselves, they way they speak and their body language?

The list of qualities you've written is pretty good but in many cases it would be best to look at the person in front of you and understand what they want you to say. Notice how people around you move, dress and speak, laugh at their jokes, feign interest when you have none and inflate your talents if you must but in a believable way. I'm quite sure everyone nowadays lists "workaholic"as their main flaw.

Good luck~
I really am not going to list "workaholic" as my main flaw. I can work hard if there's a need to, but I am not a workaholic. Wouldn't it be considered a strength in the employer's point of view? I don't have that much energy (I can work hard in short bursts, but not for, say, 6 months in a row) and I hate to disappoint people when I fall below expectations, so I tend to keep things down to the facts and modest. Maybe I need to exaggerate a little after all, since I get passed for job offers a lot. Not sure if it's me or the economy is truly that bad.
 

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I really am not going to list "workaholic" as my main flaw. I can work hard if there's a need to, but I am not a workaholic. Wouldn't it be considered a strength in the employer's point of view? I don't have that much energy (I can work hard in short bursts, but not for, say, 6 months in a row) and I hate to disappoint people when I fall below expectations, so I tend to keep things down to the facts and modest. Maybe I need to exaggerate a little after all, since I get passed for job offers a lot. Not sure if it's me or the economy is truly that bad.
Good. :)

I can't say it's exactly common practice but I've noticed a pattern of people hiding behind faux flaws, like being too attached to their job or too punctual, or simply preferring socially acceptable ones like being overly zealous, a perfectionist, having high standards or being too serious. There are people with those traits (guilty!) but painting yourself in a light that's too flattering means more pressure and will harm you in the long run. Confidence, modesty with a pinch of flattery and reading the other person is a good way to go.

The economy is definitely bad!
While I'm waiting to return to uni, I'm having some trouble finding a good job and the unemployment rates are alarming.
 

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Good. :)

I can't say it's exactly common practice but I've noticed a pattern of people hiding behind faux flaws, like being too attached to their job or too punctual, or simply preferring socially acceptable ones like being overly zealous, a perfectionist, having high standards or being too serious. There are people with those traits (guilty!) but painting yourself in a light that's too flattering means more pressure and will harm you in the long run. Confidence, modesty with a pinch of flattery and reading the other person is a good way to go.

The economy is definitely bad!
While I'm waiting to return to uni, I'm having some trouble finding a good job and the unemployment rates are alarming.
:)

Those aren't actually flaws. They might as well just say that they have no flaws related to the job and it'd be more believable. That's always the way I go!

Which country are you from? I'm from Singapore and there are many graduates struggling to find jobs, as well as people who lost jobs. The only certain way to gain experience is to be abused in an internship, while still not being guaranteed a job after 2 years or so of service.
 

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Oh, that's absolutely a good strategy!

I live in Europe and my country isn't exactly doing well, a lot of students and unemployed people are struggling even to find a modest job and the competition is high since the large majority of people tends to have similar skills and the attitude I was talking about earlier. This is why you have to be smart about it. ;)

Underpaid internships, call centers and fast food jobs are the most popular way to gain experience and positive feedback here, as well. I chose to be more selective but so far, I've noticed that even the most "secure" career paths like Med School, Law School and Engineering are leaving graduates in the dust.
 

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Oh, that's absolutely a good strategy!

I live in Europe and my country isn't exactly doing well, a lot of students and unemployed people are struggling even to find a modest job and the competition is high since the large majority of people tends to have similar skills and the attitude I was talking about earlier. This is why you have to be smart about it. ;)

Underpaid internships, call centers and fast food jobs are the most popular way to gain experience and positive feedback here, as well. I chose to be more selective but so far, I've noticed that even the most "secure" career paths like Med School, Law School and Engineering are leaving graduates in the dust.
Thanks! :)

It's similar to how it is here, and every developed country has to go through that phase, I notice. Like what you mentioned in your advice earlier? :)

Underpaid is better than completely unpaid. I heard of a law intern who died from overworking. I wonder why he didn't quit, it's not like they pay him and he needs the job to pay the bills. Perhaps he just wanted to die. There are simply too many graduates, and there are so many to choose from who can fit the same criteria. At the interview I went to this morning, there were about 120 candidates, and they only need to hire 20 people. So, for every hired person, there are 5 people who aren't hired. It's not easy to stand out from the crowd.
 

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Thanks! :)

It's similar to how it is here, and every developed country has to go through that phase, I notice. Like what you mentioned in your advice earlier? :)

Underpaid is better than completely unpaid. I heard of a law intern who died from overworking. I wonder why he didn't quit, it's not like they pay him and he needs the job to pay the bills. Perhaps he just wanted to die. There are simply too many graduates, and there are so many to choose from who can fit the same criteria. At the interview I went to this morning, there were about 120 candidates, and they only need to hire 20 people. So, for every hired person, there are 5 people who aren't hired. It's not easy to stand out from the crowd.
The trend of refusing to list any of your faults and try to make yourself look more competent than you are. So many employers nowadays tend to ignore all the candidates that seem brilliant on paper but nothing impressive or that makes them stand out.

Underpaid is absolutely better than unpaid but only if it's worth it, given how harsh and stressful internships can be. I feel for that man, he was probably clinging to the job and thought he had no other alternatives or perhaps he didn't want to let his family and friends down. It was definitely not worth it and it just shows how poorly regarded most workers are, especially when it comes to corporate positions that can easily be replaced. It's so sad.

You're right about the presence of too many graduates.
University classrooms are jam packed, admission standards are constantly lowering to let everyone in and some majors like Economy, Teaching and Psychology are so popular, that only 1 out of 5 people being able to get the job is completely realistic.
 

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The trend of refusing to list any of your faults and try to make yourself look more competent than you are. So many employers nowadays tend to ignore all the candidates that seem brilliant on paper but nothing impressive or that makes them stand out.

Underpaid is absolutely better than unpaid but only if it's worth it, given how harsh and stressful internships can be. I feel for that man, he was probably clinging to the job and thought he had no other alternatives or perhaps he didn't want to let his family and friends down. It was definitely not worth it and it just shows how poorly regarded most workers are, especially when it comes to corporate positions that can easily be replaced. It's so sad.

You're right about the presence of too many graduates.
University classrooms are jam packed, admission standards are constantly lowering to let everyone in and some majors like Economy, Teaching and Psychology are so popular, that only 1 out of 5 people being able to get the job is completely realistic.
Well, ultimately, wouldn't the main criteria of hiring people be about finding someone who can do the job, as well as stick around for some time instead of job-hop?

The worst thing is, apparently seniors will push their work tot the intern, and they aren't allowed to say no or too scared to. That's right, they treat employees as disposable resources instead of human beings, I suppose. I also hate it when people say "Stop complaining, you're lucky to have a job.", and then there is disheartening news of some intern who died from overworking or an employee who commits suicide from workplace stress. Really, which is more worth it, the internship or one's life? Though I hope not all companies are like that. Unfortunately good bosses can't last long for some reason or another.

It's not even like education is cheap, I suppose universities admit any student with money these days to keep their profits coming in, and are getting less concerned about quality of education and graduates. Can't blame them for trying to stay afloat financially in this difficult economy, but when it comes to corruption for good results then they've gone too far.

I used to study in a private international academy, and half of the 40 students in my class cannot even string together a simple coherent sentence in English, and yet they're studying for their Bachelors. Some of them had to pay some Masters or Doctorate graduate to do their assignments in order to pass. What was most infuriating was that they get the same results as I did (as did the others who did the work personally). They probably were forced by their parents to study at this level when they're not ready for it. I think it's a recipe for disaster when their employers realise that their results do not represent actual knowledge or work being done, especially in industries and training meant for safety and security.
 

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:)

Those aren't actually flaws. They might as well just say that they have no flaws related to the job and it'd be more believable. That's always the way I go!

Which country are you from? I'm from Singapore and there are many graduates struggling to find jobs, as well as people who lost jobs. The only certain way to gain experience is to be abused in an internship, while still not being guaranteed a job after 2 years or so of service.
That's certainly better than lying, but sometimes employers want you to tell them at least one weakness so that you can show that you reflect about yourself and want to improve. The trick is to mention a "weakness" and then say "But I don't really see it as a weakness". Then go on to say either of these "It's more like a target." (and tell them what you are going to do to improve it, e.g. you are going to observer your colleagues and learn from them) or say why it is actually a strength, e.g. "I suppose one could say that I work slowly, but actually that's because I'm very conscientious and I'd rather do it right once than have to correct it afterwards."
 

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Well, ultimately, wouldn't the main criteria of hiring people be about finding someone who can do the job, as well as stick around for some time instead of job-hop?

The worst thing is, apparently seniors will push their work tot the intern, and they aren't allowed to say no or too scared to. That's right, they treat employees as disposable resources instead of human beings, I suppose. I also hate it when people say "Stop complaining, you're lucky to have a job.", and then there is disheartening news of some intern who died from overworking or an employee who commits suicide from workplace stress. Really, which is more worth it, the internship or one's life? Though I hope not all companies are like that. Unfortunately good bosses can't last long for some reason or another.

It's not even like education is cheap, I suppose universities admit any student with money these days to keep their profits coming in, and are getting less concerned about quality of education and graduates. Can't blame them for trying to stay afloat financially in this difficult economy, but when it comes to corruption for good results then they've gone too far.

I used to study in a private international academy, and half of the 40 students in my class cannot even string together a simple coherent sentence in English, and yet they're studying for their Bachelors. Some of them had to pay some Masters or Doctorate graduate to do their assignments in order to pass. What was most infuriating was that they get the same results as I did (as did the others who did the work personally). They probably were forced by their parents to study at this level when they're not ready for it. I think it's a recipe for disaster when their employers realise that their results do not represent actual knowledge or work being done, especially in industries and training meant for safety and security.
Of course it should be.
But it's disheartening to see that too many fakers and inflated CVs are throwing shade on the actually prepared candidates that apply for the same position.

Dying for your job, especially a throwaway job, should never be considered acceptable and yet it happens all the time. The public eye is all on unemployment and economy lows but I've never heard any complaints about the poor treatment employees and interns and no one seems to be fazed by deaths on the workplace or the growth of suicides rate. It works for them, it makes the world go round, so not only people aren't horrified but they feel justified in their thinking that an unpaid job is better than none and "death happens". But I don't want to generalize since there are good bosses and my family is an example of people rising up while still being fair.

Exactly! Education is not cheap by any means yet all Universities (both private and public) never have a shortage of students, most of whom cannot even speak basic English and barely graduated out of high school. Now, I'm all for giving everyone a chance and the benefit of doubt but some of them are only there to kill time and party with their parents' money and others, like you said, seem forced to be there.

Yet many, if not most, of these people will be directly competing against you in your field of choice and a potential boss will assume you have the same qualities and the same degree of knowledge as them.
That's why you have to prove yourself and why it takes effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Of course it should be.
But it's disheartening to see that too many fakers and inflated CVs are throwing shade on the actually prepared candidates that apply for the same position.

Dying for your job, especially a throwaway job, should never be considered acceptable and yet it happens all the time. The public eye is all on unemployment and economy lows but I've never heard any complaints about the poor treatment employees and interns and no one seems to be fazed by deaths on the workplace or the growth of suicides rate. It works for them, it makes the world go round, so not only people aren't horrified but they feel justified in their thinking that an unpaid job is better than none and "death happens". But I don't want to generalize since there are good bosses and my family is an example of people rising up while still being fair.

Exactly! Education is not cheap by any means yet all Universities (both private and public) never have a shortage of students, most of whom cannot even speak basic English and barely graduated out of high school. Now, I'm all for giving everyone a chance and the benefit of doubt but some of them are only there to kill time and party with their parents' money and others, like you said, seem forced to be there.

Yet many, if not most, of these people will be directly competing against you in your field of choice and a potential boss will assume you have the same qualities and the same degree of knowledge as them.
That's why you have to prove yourself and why it takes effort.
That's why I feel discouraged. It feels like being a genuine, truthful and someone willing to learn is never enough. I'm just not good with flattery, so I never quite stand out in the whole bunch of candidates. Do the interviewers just like hearing flattering words or what?

That's right. What's more important, being alive or the job? These are people who lack empathy towards others' welfare, as long as theirs are well taken care of. They'll only complain when they are affected. I'm not sure how an unpaid job is any better from no job, unless one is trying to accumulate experience, but still, it's not a permit to abuse interns and employees. That's right, generalising just isn't fair to those who play fair.

Even the most hardworking student will struggle if they do not even have a fundamental understanding of the language that the course is being taught in. That's why it's crucial to take everything step-by-step. They have the right to spend their time the way they like, but their work should be their own or it will be unfair to others who really work hard to complete the coursework.

That's right.
 

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That's certainly better than lying, but sometimes employers want you to tell them at least one weakness so that you can show that you reflect about yourself and want to improve. The trick is to mention a "weakness" and then say "But I don't really see it as a weakness". Then go on to say either of these "It's more like a target." (and tell them what you are going to do to improve it, e.g. you are going to observer your colleagues and learn from them) or say why it is actually a strength, e.g. "I suppose one could say that I work slowly, but actually that's because I'm very conscientious and I'd rather do it right once than have to correct it afterwards."
Well, I have plenty of weaknesses to choose from, like lack of experience for instance. I see, so this is the answer that they actually want to hear.
 
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