Saturday, 15 August 2015


There is this one interview question that I really hate. It's pointless, it's weird and it makes people lie (or worse – tell complete nonsense to a recruiter). Do you know which question is it?

Yes, spot on, this question is: What is your greatest weakness?

I could never quite understand why asking about your weaknesses during a job interview got so popular in the first place. You can't be honest (because if you say that you are lazy no one is going to hire you), you can't be too creative (because anything that actually is a bit odd or plain weird will make recruiter reconsider your candidature), you can't say what you really think (because not being able to swim is not even a tiny bit relevant to the job that you want).

You can of course go and read about all the different 'strategies' for this question – there is plenty of posts on how you should tell a great story about your 'secret weak spot' and how you are working super hard to improve. Great strategy (and I am all for change, development and getting better)...but imagine this:

You are a manager of a small IT company. Recently you got some new clients and you need to hire 2 people to keep up with all the new orders. Your recruiter gives you 5 resumes to go through. All great applicants, top universities, great experience. How do you choose who to hire?

You hire the BEST ONES. Always. The best skills, best team fit - that's it.

You don't go around asking 'What do you really, really suck at?'.

You do the exact opposite!

Have you ever heard of anyone absolutely amazing that didn't get the job because his weakness wasn't 'weak' enough? Because I can give you hundreds of stories about people that were great, skilled, experienced and got the jobs that they deserved because they talked about all the things that they excel at.

When I was a recruiter, I always asked people about what they like doing or what they enjoy most at their job – I got so many great stories in return. People were really happy and surprised that someone is actually interested in them, not their interview skills. They often told me why they chose a particular career, what are they really into, what they would like to learn. Isn't those kind of things a recruiter should be interested in in the first place?

Next time you go to a job interview talk about your talents. If anyone asks you about your weakness tell them, that there are many things you can't do. This is natural for every person. No one is perfect, no matter how hard they try - it's just impossible. You are aware of your flaws, but you decided to focus on your talents - that's why you are great at what you do and you will be even better with time.

Don't lie or tell anyone that you are 'too organized', 'overly critical of your work', 'a workaholic' or worse - that you don't have any weaknesses. Everyone knows that this is not your true answer. Be honest about what you can bring to the company and if you are talking with a no-nonsense recruiter (and this is the best type there is) it will be greatly appreciated.

Have fun!

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