It’s quite common to be asked what your weakness is in a job interview these days.
Unfortunately, it’s equally as common to give a bullshit answer.
Part of this problem likely comes from the coaching we get (people with full time jobs on college campuses telling you how to get full time jobs off college campuses) as well as the societal pressures placed on ourselves to be ‘put together’ or ‘on top of it’ when it comes to a career.
But when it comes to weaknesses, those really should not have anything to do with it when you start to think about it.
A weakness is a weakness for a reason. Either you have not had the time to develop the hard skill or something more fundamental has remained in the way.
As it relates to putting in the time, employers are not naïve when it comes to what you can and can’t do right out of college. They are hiring you to learn new skill sets and hopefully continue to build new skill sets in the future.
So where does this leave us? Is it time to get a but outside of the comfort zone?
Since we know experience-based weaknesses are a null part of the conversation now, we are left with a deeper level of introspection.
We must ask ourselves, what truly is a weakness of mine? What am I inherently able to do less well than others — despite the level of effort applied?
This isn’t a fun question to really dig deep on and come to terms with. It shouldn’t be. It goes against everything self-preservation and ego claim as the correct course of action.
However, if we leave ourselves in the dark on this truth, we are faced with two problems.
First, you will never know how to help yourself.
Second, you will not know how others can help you, either.
And in both personal and professional life, going it alone makes for a costly, limited, and lonely path forward.
So… I suggest getting honest with yourself, unless the above sounds appealing to you.
But for those who decide to get honest with themselves, I am about to tell you the most important thing in this entire article:
For every weakness, there is a strength…
Not just a strength that can balance, but many strengths that can neutralize a weakness.
And in the spirit of being honest with ourselves, I will share mine as an example:
I am lazy.
There, I said it. I am a lazy person who enjoys having things given to me. I know that I if I am not actively committed to something, I will default on being inactive.
It isn’t something I am proud to admit, but I have spent years thinking about it and have come to terms with it.
Here is the catch though.
A strength of mine I find stronger than laziness is Commitment.
Not only is it agonizing for me to de-commit to something but it is also a pet peeve of mine when people are non-committal (“flakey” is actually the better word). This not only goes in action but in speech as well.
So how does it all tie together?
I use Commitment to overcome Laziness.
Whether committing myself to a certain lifestyle, to a career path, or to a physical challenge, I use a strength to overcome a weakness.
Going back to the ‘Weakness’ Question… Which I am sure you have figured out by now…
Sit down and figure out your fundamental weaknesses. We all have them.
More importantly though, list out your strengths.
Once you have both, figure out how you use your strengths to minimize your weaknesses — which I am sure you already do but haven’t even realized it!
After all is said and done, I guarantee you someone would be more intrigued by the question “do you want to hear how I overcome it?” after sharing a weakness.