Contribution from Kirsty Ferguson, interview & resume expert
I know you hate this interview question, we all do. You’re thinking: “I have to tell them something bad about myself and I don’t want to, I just don’t know how to answer this properly!!!” This question makes most people fear that the wrong answer could lose them the job.
Let me demystify this question for you. Why do you think employers ask this? It’s not to trip you up or trick you. They ask this to see if you have good self awareness, simple as that. People with a high level of self awareness have the ability to learn and change. And that’s an attribute an employer is often seeking.
They are trying to see if you know what your weakness is, because if you know and understand those areas, you are presented with a huge opportunity. That opportunity is to put in place “management techniques” so that the weakness is not an issue in performing your role.
Here’s a simple example… I am a communications coach so talking is a big part of my job. I know I speak very quickly, which doesn’t always work for my clients, so I consider it a weakness in my communication style. Because I know this about myself I make a very conscious effort to slow my speaking down when coaching clients. But I have also put a “management technique” in place: before I start any coaching session I tell my clients that they can stop me or ask me to repeat something or tell me to speak slower at any time, and I won’t be offended… as I know I speak quickly.
The weakness has not gone away, but it is managed, so that it does not effect my ability to perform my role effectively.