Tagged: What Are Your Weaknesses?
July 10, 2018 at 6:01 pm #2246JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
Today, I want to talk with you about 1 of those tough interview questions that, invariably, trips people want. I want to set a context for it. Whenever you are on an interview and they asked the question, “Tell me about your strengths,” you can be very sure that the next question is where the question after that is going to be, “So, tell me about your weaknesses.” You might as well be prepared for an answer.
With regard to your strengths, you really should have 2 or 3 things you should be able to say without seeming like you’re acting (as I’ve said many times, interviewing has a certain amount of theater to it. You have to have a certain amount of acting skill in order to be most effective). Talk about your determination. Talk about how you care about your work. Tell them how you work well with others. You facilitate change. Whatever it is you happen to be good at, that is what you will talk about.
So the answer to that question, “So, tell me about your weaknesses,” what I would like you to do is to say, very simply, “You know, there was a time in my career when I really spent a lot of time and effort fixating on my flaws. When I made a mistake, I will really beat myself up. I would read books. I will try to get better. I would ask for advice. I would sit in meetings and try to learn from people who were more experience than I in that area.. What I really learned over the course of time is that they’re not certain things that I would be particularly good at. For example, in my case, I cannot develop an app. I find it particularly difficult to learn how to code. I just don’t have that kind of mindset. What I really learned to do is focus on what my strengths are and play to my strengths, because trying to cope with my weaknesses, well, there’s always going to be someone better than me at those areas that I am. However, if I play to my strengths, no one is going to be better than me at those areas.”
See what I’ve done? I re-framed the question of weaknesses to say, “I used to spend a lot of time worrying about them but, what I learned over the course of time, is to work with my strengths.”
You’ve indirectly answered it by by talking, in my case, I can’t learn how to code to develop an app. Okay. It is a throwaway answer. You’ll figure out your version of a dumb weakness to give away in the course of the conversation. Then, you turn it into, “But, what I learned over the course of time was to fixate on what my strengths are and to really work with my strengths because they are exceptional. No one is better than me in these areas. Whereas, if I become tolerable at my weaknesses, there are plenty of people better than me in those areas. So, what’s the point?
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