Here at Crafted Career Concepts we believe authenticity is key to finding meaningful work. If you’re not being honest about yourself, your talents and your goals, then where will you end up?
In interview settings, candidates often feel the need to please or say what the interviewer wants to hear. The problem with this is two-fold: One, people can sniff out answers that lack authenticity; and two, inauthentic responses won’t send you in the right direction – which is a position that’s truly a good fit for YOU.
So, how can you tackle the hard questions without shooting yourself in the foot? Well, let’s take this common question as an example: “Tell me about a weakness of yours.” Avoid an answer with a self-promoting brag (“I work too hard!” “I care too much!”). The key is to answer the question honestly:
- Start your answer with a phrase that demonstrates you are self aware and/or open to feedback:
– “Over the past year I’ve become aware that I can…”
– “In the past, I’ve received feedback that I…, and I can see how someone might think this about me because of x,y,z…”
- Communicate the circumstantial nature of your weakness. Sometimes your weakness might present, other times you might be able to keep it in check:
– “At times, I can…”
– “When juggling multiple projects I can/I tend to…”
- Use this question as an opportunity to share a strength while also answering honestly:
– “I’m at my best working with teams, and when I work alone for extended periods of time, I can tend to…”
– “I really enjoy work that is creative. When the majority of my work focuses on project plans and tactics I tend to…”
- Finish by communicating the action steps you’ve taken to address your weakness.
– “In order to avoid getting overwhelmed during the holiday retail season, I write daily and weekly goals and to do’s.”
– “After leading our monthly team meetings, I circle back with my team members individually and ask for their feedback on my management of the discussion.”
In most interviews, this question will be asked in one way or another. “What’s your weakness?” is not a question that needs to intimidate you. It’s a great opportunity, in fact, to prove your confidence, self-awareness, commitment to self-improvement and most importantly, your personal authenticity. Authentic answers will lead to positions that are in keeping with your strengths and goals.
There is nothing wrong with expressing a little vulnerability. It’s human. It’s real. Tell the truth to find the position that’s right for you!
Eli Howayeck (MBA, Kellogg School of Management), Founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts, is passionate about helping motivated people achieve their career, educational, or personal goals and helping businesses, large and small, overcome a variety of challenges facing their business.