Question within a question

Question: I am all set for my job interview next week but there’s just one problem. What should I say when my potential employer asks what my weaknesses are?

Answer: What prospective employers actually mean when they ask about your weaknesses during a job interview is: "How have you overcome a weakness in the past, and how do you plan to continually improve?"

Interviewers aren’t at all concerned about your personal failures, and aren't looking to unveil your deepest, darkest secrets – they just want to ensure that you’re a right fit in the organisation by getting to know your work attitude and habits. So how do you convey your weaknesses and still ace that job interview?

Honesty, with a twist
Self-awareness, reception to change and the willingness to continually improve oneself are traits that many employers value. Instead of simply listing down your weaknesses, position them in a manner that could benefit the employer. For instance, if you find it difficult to communicate with a big group of people at one time, focus on how you’ve utilised one-on-one interaction to build strong rapport, which in turn helped to drive a project or deal forward.

Stay away from clichés
It is no surprise why many would cringe or give an eye roll when you crown yourself a perfectionist or claim that “you work too hard”. While there is nothing wrong about being hardworking and meticulous, using such vague and overused clichés does not give the interviewer much insight into what you can offer to the company. By volunteering experiences that establish your case, such as a relevant example or an anecdote, you provide an employer with useful information which in turn can make you stand out. For a more substantial alternative, try:

“In the past, I’ve let my constant attention to details prevent me from seeing the bigger picture. I’ve since learnt to take a step a back from situations or tasks each time they get overwhelming.”

A little confidence goes a long way
Many people dread talking about their weaknesses, but putting yourself down or appearing diffident could hurt your chances of getting a job. Inject energy and enthusiasm into your speech, and show that you are confident about taking on the role!

How else do you convey your weaknesses at a job interview? Share with us in the comment box below!

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