An employer wants to know that the person they are hiring can reflect on their actions and strive for better (Huhman, 2013). In an interview, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-promotion. Once asked to name negative things about myself, I would mention being a perfectionist. This statement doesn’t acknowledge any flaw. Without an identifiable flaw, there can be no improvement.
A better answer came to mind when my manager assigned someone to help me complete a task. My co-worker was less-than-thrilled about the extra work and I tried to de-escalate the situation by taking care of the work as soon as I was free. “In the meantime”, I would appreciate if you did as much as you could handle” I said. Though polite, this is not what an employer wants to hear. For one, I didn’t follow instructions. Also, it shows that I struggled to take charge and resolve conflict.
Using the steps from the above video, a better way to frame the issue is to say that you were not comfortable assigning tasks to others. Ultimately, you learned that sharing the workload with others led to completing the work more efficiently. My co-worker and I devised a system where she would log the documents and I would file them. The filing was not as high of a priority and so I did not have to surrender responsibility completely. We even managed to finish the task before the deadline.
To identify your weaknesses, it may be useful to ask yourself questions like “have I ever been in a situation where I fell short of the expectations?” and “what can I do to avoid this from happening again?” (Firebrand Talent, 2013, Interview). In answering, explain the circumstances surrounding the situation and finish with an example of how you learned from it.
Firebrand Talent. (2012, November 14). Interview tip: “What’s your biggest weakness?” [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oyj2PCWHPHc
Figure 5. From “Interview Weaknesses,” n.d., http://www.hrfootprints.com/heres-how-to-tackle-professional-weaknesses/
Huhman, H. R. (2013, June 27). 5 Weaknesses to tell your interviewer about. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/5-weaknesses-to-tell-your-interviewer-about-2013-6