Application tips

Self-analysis: how do you start?

"What are your strengths and weaknesses?" is without doubt the most feared question in a job interview. Yet this is completely unjustified. We would like to explain why and give you concrete tools for your own self-analysis. 

The strengths/weaknesses question is an excellent opportunity to show that you have self-insight and can reflect well on how you function as an employee. If you have a clear idea of where you can develop and you are honest about it, this is a golden opportunity to demonstrate your self-awareness and maturity. We are talking about character traits here, not technical competences, skills or abilities. Think for example of accurate/sloppy, enterprising/waiting or self-confident/uncertain. These all come from within and cannot be taught. Think of it as the manual to your personality. So, how do you get to such a self-analysis? 

5 tools to analyse yourself and to get to know your strengths/weaknesses

1. Look in the mirror and start with yourself

In a quiet moment at a place where you feel good, take pen & paper and look back in time. Question yourself and be honest and critical. These questions are a good starting point: 

  • What makes you the person you are? 
  • What is your strength?
  • What characterises you?
  • What is easy or difficult for you?
  • What do you get compliments on/criticism about?

Also try to think concretely in terms of examples. For example: I am very shy and can therefore come across as quiet and distant. Especially if I don't know my colleagues or am in a large group, I will stay in the background. After I have become more open, I am very easy to get on with. 

2. Call in helplines

If you are having a hard time reflecting on yourself, you can always consult people who know you well: partner, family, friends or colleagues. Ask them what your strengths and weaknesses are. How others see you or how you come across can sometimes be very different from your self-image. Really talk about concrete situations so that you can find professional examples for yourself. For example: Do you remember when you had to study in the library or in the dormitory when you were a student and you couldn't concentrate because of everything around you, so you sat at home in the attic with your books? Can lead to: I find it hard to focus when there are lots of distractions. I like to work alone in a quiet room. That way I can let my creativity flow and I always find new and fresh ideas.

3. Online personality tests or previous assessments

If you are really stuck, you can take an online personality test. Not all of these tests are as scientifically based or accurate. As far as possible, try to separate the wheat from the chaff and take the results with a grain of salt. In any case, it can be an interesting starting point for introspection or to discuss with people who know you well. If you completed a personality questionnaire or took an assessment in a previous job application, be sure to ask for feedback. These are all pieces of the puzzle that may help you. 

4. Avoid empty words and look for a concrete example

We often notice that applicants use competences or fake weaknesses when they have negative points. Delete I'm a perfectionist and I'm a workaholic from your list immediately. Perfectionism is a strength rather than a weakness (unless you attach a solid story to it). Workaholics are from another era; employers are looking for employees who can find a good work-life balance. Do not be reluctant to say something good about yourself. During a job interview you present yourself as the right candidate for the vacancy. Choosing the 'right' strength and weakness without over- or underplaying yourself is crucial. The key lies in the example you associate with the attribute and in which you highlight or demonstrate your potential for growth. 

5. Our inspiration list

At the bottom of this article, we have placed a number of reflection questions for your inspiration. You can read through them and elaborate on recognisable points for yourself. We emphasise again to be really honest and sincere. Only in this way do you stand the best chance of getting a job offer that really suits you. By the way, the truth always comes out: if not during the application, then later on in the workplace. 

A weakness is often the pitfall of a quality. Thus arrogance is the downside of self-confidence and time-wasting that of accuracy. Make sure you have mapped out at least three strengths and weaknesses. By now you must have understood that you always have to prepare an interview thoroughly. Otherwise you will be caught out by such questions. In this article you can find more tips and tricks. 

Our consultants are also ready to guide and help you! Do not hesitate to contact us. 

 

If you are interested in working with Arcadius on your search, find out what we can do for you here. See you soon! 

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Inspiration list with reflection questions

  • Do you like to be on front stage and take the lead? Or do you prefer to work behind the scenes?
  • Do you like to be surrounded by others, or do you prefer to work alone?
  • Are you an analytical mind? Do you work in a methodical and structured way?
  • Do you have a positive outlook on life? Are you the person who contributes to the good working atmosphere?
  • Are you the person with the creative ideas or are you rather the person who makes sure everything gets done practically?
  • Are you sensitive (to other people's moods, criticism ...) or are you thick-skinned?
  • Are you assertive and do you dare to say what is on your mind?
  • Are you someone who focuses on details or rather on the big picture?
  • Decisive? Or do you prefer to weigh things up? 
  • Do you like to work autonomously or do you like to have support and a framework?
  • Are you a rebel or a compliant? 
  • Are you more traditional or innovative?
  • ......
     

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