One of most frequently asked questions during an interview: What are your weaknesses? seems to have scared the hell out of many applicants. Some people would dread facing this type of question fearing that something they say or not say may jeopardize the chances of landing a job.
Typically, when the stakes are high, so is the stress level. And the stress comes from the need to be perceived a strong person to the outside world. It’s our ego does the talking.
When I last came across this question during the interview process in 2013, I gave a very answer: I don’t like talking about too many negative things. The interviewer smiled. I thought OK it could be a good sign.
Apparently, there were total 89 applications received, only 5 people were shortlisted according to the HR manager. After going to three interviews, each with a different panel of interviewers, plus one psychometric test, I got the job eventually. Yes, I did win hearts and minds, but not without a fight. A fight to look my best.
Now, more than six years later, I have gained a better perspective on weaknesses. No surprise, I found a close correlation between weaknesses and strengths. They’re an inseparable unit from the same family after all.
Of course, questions along these lines aren’t just about weaknesses alone, they are intended to get you talk about self-awareness. For example, you may be asked about what action you’d taken to address own shortcomings or steps you’d followed to improve the imperfections. More importantly, the bottom line – what the results were.
For long we’ve labelled weaknesses as a black mark or shameful personality traits. We even have a stigma attached to them. However, I’ve noticed that those people who didn’t shy away from talking about their weaknesses, exhibited a great deal of courage and confidence in themselves. If we look more closely, our strengths really lie in our weaknesses. It takes strength to be vulnerable. That’s why there’s a fine line between weaknesses and strengths. Sometimes both are interchangeable.
Well, when all is said and done, where do I go from here? If I can start by saying I need to improve my time management, my sleep and I’m working on it. Now everyone knows, should I go hiding somewhere? I’m proud of myself for having the guts to say it out loud. Now, over to you!