Almost every job interviewer, regardless of industry, salary, or country asks the question, what is your weakness? Yet, many recent graduates, and even seasoned professionals do not know how to answer this question. Do you just tell them your weakness? Of course not. You don’t want the interviewer to know that you are weak. You want them to know that you have strengths that would match the position they have to fill.
Here are some strategies on how to answer this question:
Discuss non-essential skills or attributes. For example, when you work in an airline industry, time management and customer service are very essential skills. So, you do not want to tell the interviewer that these are your weaknesses. Focus instead a skill that is not quite necessary in becoming a flight attendant, such as being funny. You do not have to be a comedian to become a flight attendant. You can tell the interviewer that you are only funny to your closes friends, but to strangers, you seem to be more on the serious side until they get to know you better.
Discuss the skills you have improved. For example, tell the interviewer that you once didn’t communicate very well in English. Now, after taking courses at the American Institute for English Proficiency, talking to other professionals, and communicating with all kinds of individuals, you have not improved only your English, but also your communication skills in general. The interviewer wants to know that even if you had a weakness, you challenged yourself and developed your skills.
Another strategy is to turn the negative into positive. For example, perhaps you can say that you were a perfectionist, which led you to spend too much time on a project. However, you have learned to work faster, work harder, and work smarter so that you can get the task done correctly sooner than later. Let the interviewer know that you are not a perfect person, but because you can now work more efficiently and more effectively, your task can be completed right away. Give examples, like when you were a basketball player, you were such a perfectionist that sometimes, you went home late because you kept practicing. Tell the interviewer that in order for you to meet your goal of being a starter, you took advice from and had skills practice with your coach and the team captain rather than practicing on your own over and over again.
As they say, practice makes perfect. Now, I have to keep reading this over and over so that it becomes more natural when I say it. Good luck to those who are also interviewing. If you would like to improve your English and communication skills to prepare yourself for a certain career, like Ralph who wants to become a flight attendant, you may visit us at the American Institute for English Proficiency in Makati or Quezon City.
The Impact and Preliminary Interview with Philippine Airlines (PAL)
by Ralph Jason Buenaventura
Are you looking to be an FA or flight attendant? Do you have difficulties answering some of the questions? Ralph and I are working on making it easier for you. Ralph signed up for a 10-hour private class and a 50-hour group class at the American Institute for English Proficiency so we can help him prepare for his career as a flight attendant, preferably with Philippine Airlines. We are working on helping him answer his interview questions as well as developing his grammar, American accent, and public speaking skills.
I advised him not to memorize it, but he can start practicing because when we have written down the answers and practiced it, it’s much easier for the words and ideas to roll off your tongue. Here are our preliminary answers to some of the questions he may encounter during his Impact and Prelim interview.
Tell me about yourself:
Let me start by describing my personality. I am outgoing, friendly, and responsible. For example, I love sports, and I was a varsity basketball player at Fatima University on full scholarship. Also, I love music, and I sung in different school activities. I love being around friends, and most people say that I am very easy-going and fun to be with. I tend to focus on being positive when I’m with my friends. In addition, I was able to manage being an athlete and worker while I was a student. As a responsible person, when I have a problem, I tend to focus on the solutions and not the problem itself. That helps me to be able to manage my situations very well.
Another thing about me is my professionalism. I have always wanted to achieve something greater for myself and not settle for the average. As a student, I had very good attendance because I almost had perfect attendance and hardly any tardiness. And when I was playing basketball, I attended all of my practices on time. Actually, I wasn’t as good as the others in basketball, but because I treated it with professionalism, I was a part of the team for three years. And when I worked as a promoter, I was able to treat my guests as VIP’s no matter their social status.
Lastly, I would like to describe my career goals. Ever since I entered the university, I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. I majored in travel management so that I could find out more about the travel and airline industry. I realized that it was exactly what I wanted because I love to travel and deal with people. I love talking about culture and places, and the airline industry is the perfect place for it. I have already completed an OJT with Macro Asia Airport Service, and I was able to observe another aspect of the airline and travel industry. I know that this is what I really want to do because every time I was at the airport, I felt so close to achieving my dream.
Why do you want to work for the airline industry?
I mentioned earlier that I studied travel management and completed my OJT in the airline industry. Furthermore, I have traveled to Singapore and throughout the Philippines. I also have friends who are working in the industry, such as flight attendants, passenger service agents, customer service agents, and the like. With all these, I am even more excited to be a part of the industry. As a flight attendant, I will be able to enjoy two of my passions, which is travel and meeting people from different places and cultures. I also know that those who work hard and those who continue to grow would be given an opportunity to travel not only within the Philippines, but also internationally since PAL is international. For me, the airline industry is just very exciting.
Why do you want to work for Philippine Airline (PAL)?
Philippine Airlines is a highly reputable organization, and it is the leading carrier in Asia. The brand is very strong because of its customer service, compared to other airlines. Furthermore, working for Philippine Airlines would be very patriotic for me, since it’s very Filipino. The motto, after all, is “Fly your flag.” For me, I would prefer to be affiliated with a brand that prides itself in nationalism and customer service at the same time. Another reason why I would want to work for PAL is because of the different stories I have heard from my friends who are already working for the company. They told me that the company treated them very well, that the people they work with were like family, and that they really enjoyed what they do. Of course, I’d get some of the employee benefits that PAL offers. The last reason I want to work for PAL is because they look and act truly professional. I would agree with my teacher from The American Institute when he said that he would rather pay more at PAL than another carrier just so he can get more professional service. At the end of the day, the company that pays attention to their customers wins.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My top three strengths are problem-solving, customer service, and professionalism. As a problem-solver, I know how to look at the the different angles to a problem, like how it started, who was involved, and why it did it start. After probing, I focus on looking for creative solutions rather than being stuck with the problem. (Give specific example here.) When it comes to customer service, I understand the customer is king. In fact, when I worked as a promoter, I always had to make sure that my guests enjoyed their night out, and that if they had any problems, they can always call or talk to me. I can definitely relate this to working here at Philippine Airline. I see every customer as VIP. And as I said, professionalism is my other strength. I do manage my time well when it comes to reporting to work. I treat my colleagues with respect. And I am very loyal to the company I work for since it is my source of passion and income. (Give example here).
Weaknesses: (to be completed)
As you see, this article is still incomplete. If you’d like to learn more about interviewing as a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, please come back here soon. Thank you, Ralph, for sharing your answers with everyone. I’m sure you have inspired others.