Having recently been through the job search and interview process myself, I can testify that there is one thing that you’re always likely to get asked: what are your strengths and weaknesses?
While everyone knows what to say when asked about their strengths (clue: it’s the things that you’re good at), there are two trains of thought when it comes to how to respond to enquiries into your shortcomings.
Firstly, tell the truth. Of course there’s no need to go overboard – if you’re not a fan of collaborating with colleagues, then “I think I’m more suited to working independently” is infinitely better than “I don’t take kindly to being put in a team with idiots”.
The alternative, generally espoused by loud-mouthed city boys when giving advice to some terrified graduate they’ve cornered in the pub, is to cloak a strength in the self-deprecating language of a weakness. The best one I’ve ever heard (clearly ‘best’ is used advisedly here) is: “If anything, I’m too much of a perfectionist”. Quite what this means is a matter of debate, aside from meaning that the interviewer is going to think you’re a bit of a prat.
Like most things, the right answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. If you can think of an attribute that is generally useful but has caused you the occasional problem, that would be reasonable response. The most important thing, however, is to be honest. You won’t be doing yourself or your potential employer any favours if you fail to disclose your poor numeracy skills when applying for a job as a maths teacher. Click here to see some of our current vacancies.
By Joshua Havers