Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths
by Dale Kurow
The question every job applicant dreads is “what are your weaknesses?” If you’re uncomfortable answering this question, join the club. Most job candidates struggle to develop a plausible response.
Here are tips and examples to help you effectively answer this question:
• First, forget about saying you’re a perfectionist. This response is over used and interviewers don’t buy it.
• Better to cite a weakness that you’ve worked to improve. Example: “I am a hard driving manager but I’ve learned to solicit and incorporate feedback from my staff to make the team more effective.” Or, “I tend to want to do everything myself but I’ve realized I can be more effective if I delegate certain tasks.”
• If you lack a required skill, don’t try to hide it. Before the interviewer has a chance to eliminate you, develop a strategy to compensate for your knowledge gap. And use it to respond to the weaknesses question. Example: a compensation specialist lacked technical knowledge in one of six required areas. Before she interviewed, she researched certificate programs. During her interview, she mentioned this “weakness” by saying she was prepared to take the program to get up to speed as soon as possible.
• Cite a weakness that’s not a deal breaker. For instance, if you are applying for a copywriter’s position, you could say that you’re not a great public speaker. Copywriters typically aren’t called upon to give speeches. Make sure you carefully review the job requirements before you cite a weakness that might be buried in the fourth paragraph of the job description!
• Don’t say you have no weaknesses! This is a dead giveaway that you’re ill prepared or hiding something.
Finally, the employer is aware that nobody is perfect. Admitting that you have faults is okay. What’s key is how aware you are of your weaknesses and what you’ve done to improve upon them.
Dale Kurow may be contacted at http://www.dalekurow.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale Kurow, M.S., is an author and a career and executive coach in NYC. Dale works with clients across the U.S. and internationally, helping them to become better managers, figure out their next career moves and thrive despite office politics. Visit Dale’s web site at http://www.dalekurow.com/newsletter to sign-up for her free monthly ezine "Career Essentials," chock-full of useful career tips and strategies you can use immediately.