By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Rudy entered the room and was introduced to the members of the search committee. After some pleasantries, the interview began. Right off the bat, Rudy was asked – “What strengths would you bring to this position and why should we hire you?” Rudy was prepared for this question and was eloquent in his response. But this wasn’t always the case. Rewind a year earlier when Rudy was interviewing for a similar position. The “strengths and skills” question came up and Rudy wasn’t prepared. He stumbled, bumbled and continued to ramble on. A bit embarrassed by his lack of preparation, Rudy vowed to never let this happen again. He conducted research into how he should properly handle this question and here’s what he found.
Being asked about your strengths and weaknesses, or your skills and abilities, is almost a certainty in your interviews. When you understand your personal assets, and can effectively communicate them, you are able to present yourself in the best possible light. This is critically important if you are going to have a successful interview. So how do you uncover your strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities?
As Rudy researched this topic, he found that there are many self-assessment instruments that will help you to uncover your strengths and skills. He referred to the book “Getting Hired in College Sports”, which has four self-assessments that prepare you for this question. These four assessments will help you to discover:
- Your likes and dislikes with regard to sports-related occupations
- Your basic skills (i.e. computer skills, communication skills, speaking skills, etc.)
- Your people skills (i.e. ability to lead or manage, persuasion skills, friendliness, teamwork, etc.)
- Your Personal skills (i.e. dependability, integrity, work ethic, etc.)
- Your thinking skills (i.e. creative thinking, problem-solving skills, etc.)
- Your motivated strengths
- Your knowledge-base skills (i.e. accounting skills, sales abilities, etc.)
- Your transferable skills (i.e. writing skills, computer skills, etc.)
- Your personal traits (i.e. achievement oriented, honesty, etc.)
By discovering your strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities, you will be able to really sell yourself to a search committee. In his recent interview, Rudy was able to answer this “strengths and skills” question very well and he had a great interview. A week later, he was offered the job and Rudy is happily employed. It took an embarrassing interview and extensive research in order for him to learn, and ultimately, to ace his interview. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities is necessary so you can effectively sell yourself, and your personal assets, in your cover letters, during your interview and in your follow-up letters.
Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.