Tackle the question: “What Are Your Weaknesses?” Part (2)

Remember Part 1 of tackling the Weakness Question in a job interview? Now it is time to get those 5 weaknesses to work… read part 2 and find out how.

Now that you have your 5 weaknesses / adjectives, lets get down to business. The traditional question: “What Are Your Weaknesses?” brings out the negative aspects of you. Instead you should be thinking of this scenario:

“Now, let’s imagine you are on a team with a new person at the company. You notice there’s some tension between the two of you. You also realise that this person would probably describe you as [insert the list of 5 adjectives]. How would you handle the situation?”

By inserting your 5 weaknesses, you are able to make a difficult situation a good situation because you are justifying why your weaknesses are in fact your strengths.

The traditional question of “What Are Your Weaknesses?” would put you in a compromising situation because the five adjectives are only part of the answer. Instead, the above scenario allows you to provide a meaningful and believable area of improvement.

Rather Use this 5 adjective approach as a candidate

Next time, you hear the weakness question – and you will – answer the adjective and follow-up questions above instead. To show how this works, I’ll demonstrate the technique using a few of the adjectives people who don’t know me well might use to describe me. The important point here is to take this one step further and say what you are doing to improve. For example, I would say:

“Sometimes people who don’t know me particularly well get the wrong impression and see me as intense, hyperactive and sometimes even aloof. Even though people who know me well would never use those words to describe me, I know I can come across that way at times. For this reason, I am taking steps to be seen as more down to earth and approachable – like being the person who smiles and says hello to strangers.”

At that point, the interviewer will probably smile and maybe also add a personal statement like:

“As someone who grew up in Johannesburg, smiling at complete strangers isn’t something I do naturally either, but I too am working on it.”This approach works well for a few important reasons. First, every word of it is true. Second, it communicates honesty, self-awareness and a commitment to self-improvement. Better still, it often has the unintended consequence of creating a connection with the interviewer.

Somehow, I can’t picture an interviewer hearing about your perfectionist tendencies and excitedly exclaiming, “Me too! ”Keep this in mind the next time you are asked about your weaknesses. It’s a great way to be honest and compelling without damning yourself to a life of unemployment.

Remember, whether it be 5 questions asking you about your weaknesses or just 2; always be real about your answers. Be productive at the same time. Instead of saying you get tired at 3 PM and can’t do much after, say, “I work too fast the entire day and by 3pm; I feel burnt out.” We hope that these tips and advises aid you to a successful and productive interview. Please feel free to comment on this post if you can offer more advice or if you have any questions.

You might find the following posts on the Job Mail blog useful (ahead of your Job Interview):


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