Why The Question Comes Up
Job interviews often include questions about personal and professional weaknesses. An applicant may face an inquiry like, “Do you have any weaknesses?” or “What are your blind spots?” While revealing imperfections to hiring personnel may seem like potentially hindering confessions, many recruitment professionals encourage job seekers to expect facing similar forms of the question during interviews, regardless of company, position, or field.
The Purpose Of The Question
The interview question exposes downfalls of candidates. Hiring managers may even use questions regarding personal or professional weaknesses to trick applicants into revealing true personality traits. Business gurus and other HR professionals create formulas and strategies for prospective employees to beat the question, in a sense, and to recast strengths as weaknesses, such as expecting perfection out of everything or arriving too early for meetings and appointments. Painting a weakness as a strength lets an employer know a candidate understands personal downfalls as a professional; however, many career experts believe the now-infamous tactic produces little-to-no results in terms of gaining employment.
A Common Mistake
More and more, employers view the strategy of painting a weakness as a strength as a diversion and pass on candidates unable to answer the question concretely and directly. Bosses like answers and want results. Saying, “I’m a perfectionist and don’t like to give up projects easily,” avoids addressing the issue and merely states the problem instead of providing a solution or a plan assess the weakness. Instead, answer questions about blind spots or weaknesses with responses tailored to specific or concrete instances regarding professionalism.
Explain how a downfall limits gains as a professional, if applicable. Offer specific steps taken to correct or work on weaknesses. Candidates possess flaws, which most hiring managers understand. Willingness to learn and work on potentially disruptive issues demonstrates courage, motivation, and desire as well as personal accountability for actions, which employers often favor the most.
Be Forthcoming Yet Objective
The newer tactic also serves as a way to talk about questionable histories, both personal and professional. When asked about discrepancies with former bosses or coworkers or even criminal histories, applicants should explain the circumstances as objectively as possible and recount specific actions taken to correct behaviors resulting in sanctioning. Provide timelines to better illustrate positive outcomes, if possible. Remember to use discretion when divulging information about incidents stemming from the past. Employers may only ask about professional traits when posing the interview question. Offering the wrong information or touching on subjects seriously detrimental to character may result in exclusion from hiring pools.