Q1: What are your biggest weaknesses?
This week we choose the five most common questions asked in the interview and recommend ways to most effectively tackle it during the interview. We start with the one that is the most controversial!
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Continuing with the theme on how to face and ace a personal interview, this week we will discuss the most commonly asked questions and the best ways to answer those.
I appreciate people who do not follow the expected route and come up with creative answers. For example, once, in an interview for the position of a content writer, when I asked a candidate to describe himself, he recited a poem that he had written. It was a refreshing experience, something that I remember even now! Recruitment is a tiring job and you get to hear several people saying similar things. So something different from the routine does stand out.
The Tricky Question
Answering the question about your weaknesses is tricky. It is mostly advised to not be honest with stating weaknesses and rather say something that sounds like a strength. In college, we were told to “use” things like, “I am a workaholic” or “a perfectionist”. And like most students, I am guilty of using these as well. But now that I am on the other side, allow me to tell you that an interviewer can easily identify between a fake and a real. So be real and showcase your self-awareness. And follow it up with an action plan.
And how do you do that?
Step 1. Be Real
Your weakness cannot be very far from reality. It has to be derived from your actual weakness but has to be polished and presented well.
One of my weaknesses is that I panic in uncertain situations. So, when talking about it, I say, “I dislike last-minute changes because I prefer being prepared in advance.”
Talking about a real weakness is far more convincing and shows that you are self-aware.
The benefit of telling a real weakness is that the interviewer will see you as a responsible person who is actually making efforts to make improvements. And having a weakness is natural. I’d say, it is unnatural not to have one.
So, do not be scared to express yourself.
Step 2. Action Plan
Next, follow the weakness with your plan of action to overcome it. State the practical steps you are taking to overcome the weakness. For example, you continue your answer on weakness and explain that you do realize that professional work often has last-minute changes and one has to be prepared. So you often try to assess the potential hiccups and make a backup plan to overcome them.
Do not mention your weaknesses and leave it hanging. Take the liberty of explaining the plan of action you are undertaking to work on your weaknesses.
Step 3. Here’s a challenge for you
Hit reply and talk to me about your weaknesses and your plan of action to work on it. And I will try and help you craft it better. Offer open for the first five respondents.
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