Does revealing your weaknesses in an interview mean that you are being authentic? It’s a question that came up in a conversation when discussing topics for a professional organization panel group.
It’s the dreaded question that no one likes to be asked. No doubt, you shy away from telling someone your weaknesses – after all what employer wants to hire you if you are not perfect. Is that the dialogue going through your head?
Let me tell you why this question is an opportunity. In essence, when the interviewer asks – what is your greatest weakness or tell me about one of your weaknesses, the interviewer is inquiring about how “authentic” you are. Rarely do they come out and ask – how authentic you are? Through questioning, the interviewer wants to know how “real” you are…and by that, they want to know that you know yourself well – both your strengths and weaknesses…and not to be ashamed of them.
Employers do not expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to know what you are capable of doing and if you are not particularly good at something how to get it done through other resources or people. When talking about a weakness, focus on a skill that you don’t do so well.
Avoid sharing weaknesses such as I have a temper and throw things or I get bored really easy and slack off. If some of your weaknesses are behavioral, consider getting some extra help outside of work to overcome them – no employer will tolerate disruptive behaviors. There is a difference between not having strength in a skill or particular experience and acting out.
Another behavior – an overinflated ego – gets in the way of being authentic. Eventually this behavior puts the organization at risk because being right or maintaining your reputation is more important than the organization’s mission.
When you share one or two areas that you are working on, you convey humbleness.
So, next time you are asked to share your weaknesses in an interview, do it with confidence. Bottom line, if you don’t have the skills or qualifications, then you are probably going after the wrong position. Know that if you can 80-90% of the job, that’s enough and being real about your capabilities will help your new manager and organization position you for success.