Why You Are Still Giving the Wrong Answer to This Common Interview Question

Why You Are Still Giving the Wrong Answer to This Common Interview Question
From Recruiter - November 7, 2016

Ive interviewed a lot of people in my career. Ive also been on the other side of the table as an interviewee. Whereas some interviewing strategies and approaches come and go, there is one question that seems to have stood the test of time, for better or for worse:Whats your biggest weakness?

Early in my career, I wasnt a huge fan of the question. I was scared to answer it for fear that I might expose some huge problems that would take me out of consideration for the job. As an interviewer, though, Ive found that I like it more and more because it gives me a window into a candidates self-awareness, humility, and transparency.

Unfortunately, most of us are still answering this question the wrong wayand worse, we think were outsmarting the question with our bad answers.

If you are anything like me, you received some coaching early on about how to deal with this difficult question. That coaching probably told you to take a strength of yours and cleverly disguise it as a weakness. The result of this coaching is a flawed perception that we are not allowed to show real weaknesses, gaps, or areas for development during the interview. We believe that any acknowledgement of these things will immediately disqualify us.

Last time I checked, I personally have a laundry list of weaknesses. My wife would be happy to be cited as a reference here. Yet somehow, Ive been able to get hired and perform pretty well in roles all the way up to the VP level.

You can call me a dreamer (I think some guy named John Lennon said something like that), but I wish we would all ditch that coaching and give more real and honest answers to this question.

That coaching has led to some annoying weakness-proof answers that most of us have heard. Some of these answers I have received as an interviewermay sound familiar:

- Im a perfectionist. I just want things to be really great, so Ill work tirelessly to get it exactly right. Thats a weakness Im working on.


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