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Transitioning A to Z: "W" and "X"

by Military Transition News Staff

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Return to March/April 2015 Issue

In upcoming issues of Military Transition News, we will be listing everything a service member needs to know about transitioning, from A to Z.

This month, we tackle “W” and "X”

“W”: Weakness

“What is your biggest Weakness?”

“Tell me about a time you failed.”

These questions or some form of them, have plagued interviewees for generations. How do you best answer this type of question?


Try to develop one or more situations in your past where the result wasn’t exactly what you expected. Maybe it will be an example where you didn’t necessarily do something wrong, but you weren’t prepared for an unplanned contingency.


So for instance, perhaps a weakness is budgeting: “I was in charge of a project that went over budget due to an unexpected expense. Afterward, I identified the cause of the cost overrun and documented it for the next time I was in charge of the project. I then took a financial management online course to be more aware of other budgeting contingencies. And the next time the project occurred, I helped it come in under budget. So while it may not be my strongest current skill, I am progressively improving as I’m sure that it will be good to know moving forward, no matter what my specific role is.”


The key to the weakness question is to show that once you became aware of the weakness, you addressed it and improved because of it.



Transitioning A-Z“X”: Roman numeral for 10

We are using “X” in its Roman numeral form to represent our 10-point interview checklist:


I.  Arrive at least 15 minutes early

II. Wear a dark-colored conservative suit; white or blue shirt; and if a male, a red or blue subtle tie

III. Bring copies of your resume

IV. Research the business you are interviewing with as this is something interviewers frequently ask: “What do you know about ACME Global?”

V. Make sure you have thought of some of your past successes and can describe them in challenge/solution/result scenarios

VI. Rehearse to sound natural; ironically, you need to rehearse to be able to sound unrehearsed during your interview; practice talking about your education, background and work experiences out loud

VII. Prepare questions so you will be ready when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” Make the questions about the work and the position (which demonstrates your interest in the role), not about how much vacation time you will get or what the benefits plan is – save those questions for after you receive the job offer

VIII. Keep eye contact when speaking and listening

IX. Display confidence in your abilities, skills and readiness to do the job

X. Tell them you want the job; those are powerful words which let the hiring manager know you are very interested.


See the complete A to Z list.

Return to March/April 2015 Issue