Weaknesses? What weaknesses? I’m perfect for this job.

17 02 2009

Job interviews don’t make mglasberg-gumby-job-interviewe nervous.  I don’t get worked up or anxious about them.  For the most part I go into a job interview relaxed and calm. Until . . . they ask the one question that I find the hardest to answer.  “What, would you say are your weakness?”

I hate this question.  And, you would think that I would have the answer down pat since literally every job interview I’ve ever gone to has asked this question.  I don’t.  It’s always the one question I try to rehearse on the way to the interview.  And, it’s the one question I stumble over every time.  I mean, how do you answer that question without potentially telling the interviewer that you’re not right for the job?

Barbara B. Nixon wrote a post on her blog Public Relations Matters that incorporated a video (link provided at bottom of post) from Edelman Digital’s Phil Gomes.  The video was in response to a question she has posed to him – “What’s the one question you almost always use in a job interview?”

Phil talks about the question he uses and why (What do you read?) and then, goes on to ask several other colleagues the same question.  What you get is short little video with lots of great interview questions that I personally wrote down to think about for the job interviews in my future.

From the plethora of questions provided, they all aim to achieve specific objectives.  These are objectives that as an interviewee, you should keep in mind.

1.       Who are you?

2.       What do you know about this company?

3.       What’s so special about you?

(4.  What are your weakness?)

From my experience, this is what potential employers want to know from you.  The questions in Phil’s video seem to back this up.  My question is: does anyone have suggestions for how to answer the what-are-your-weaknesses question??  Get’s me every time.

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2 responses

18 02 2009
Paull Young

There was a WSJ article on this very topic recently… I don’t have the link but you can prob dig it up.

Weirdest interview question I’ve seen: “Tell me how your closet is organized at home”

18 02 2009
Angela Seits

These are the most frequent and annoying responses I’ve heard: I’m a perfectionist or I have a hard time saying “no” and I end up taking on too much. Interviewers can see right through those kind of answers.

What do I want to hear? I want someone to admit a real weakness and what they’ve done to improve. For instance, if you’re not naturally detail-oriented, say, “I’m much more of a big-picture thinker and I struggle to be detail-oriented. In order to keep up with deadlines and tasks, I’ve learned to set daily calendar reminders, spend an extra hour each day keeping my file system organized, etc. (Whatever works to show that you still accomplish the task at hand.)

I think the point of the question is to gauge the candidate’s ability to accurately account for their weakness and find ways to improve and correct it.

Great question – good luck in your next interview!

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