Monday, 31 August 2015

How To Answer 'What's Your Greatest Weakness?' by Liz Ryan

 I found this article on LinkedIn,  and since its a monday morning and I am too busy to write I decided to share the work of my new favourite linkedin writer, Liz Ryan. It made a good and insightful read. I hope you see it too.

Not everyone in the world believes that people walk around with weaknesses, but a lot of Americans sure do! I have talked with CEOs and other executives who insist that we are all flawed and that big chunks of our time and energy should go to correcting our defects.

Personally I think that’s a twisted view. Does Mother  Nature make mistakes? Not as far as I can see!
I think we come down to this planet perfectly equipped to do our work here. Why fix what isn’t broken? People don’t have weaknesses – they only have talents to develop, and new interests to explore!
Take me — I’m meant to be writing, singing, drawing and speaking to groups. I should be doing those things, and coaching and consulting and dreaming up courses and books and coloring books.
I shouldn’t be creating Excel spreadsheets or working on cars. Does that mean I have weaknesses? Are my weaknesses equivalent to all the things I don’t know how to do and don’t care about? That’s going to be a long list! There are millions of things I don’t know how to do and couldn’t care less about.
Why are they my weaknesses? What do those things have to do with me?
The interview question “What’s your greatest weakness?” has been around forever and has not gotten any less offensive over time. It’s none of anyone’s business what your imaginary weaknesses are, and the question has no place in a business conversation — which is what a job interview is.

Here’s how you can answer this brainless and insulting question without feeling like you rolled over and played dead the next day:

INTERVIEWER: So, what’s your greatest weakness?
YOU: Great question! I’ve changed over time. I used to worry about what I thought were my weaknesses, and I read a lot of books and took courses online and in night school. Those were great experiences but eventually I learned that there are hundreds of things I don’t know how to do, and that’s okay.
I don’t need to know how to do everything. I need to focus on the things I’m good at — in my case, things like financial modeling and forecasting. I need to keep getting better at those things and stop worrying about the other things — graphic design for instance or fly-tying — that I don’t do well and probably never will.
What do you think?
If you can try to end your answer to every stupid interview question with your own question, as I’ve done in this example, you can often get the interview off the weenie script, and that is your objective. At every opportunity, try to move away from the script and turn the interview into a human conversation.
That’s going to be more pleasant for you and the interviewer both, and lead to a better interview. It’s a new day! The Human Workplace is already here, and only the people who get you, deserve you!
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