Saturday, November 24, 2012

Working Smarter: The Best Ways to Talk About Your Weaknesses at Interview

By guest writer Alice Cooney

Talking about a weakness is not something that is easy to do. It can be a question that throws even the most self-assured people off track, but there are some clear ideas that will make that question a little less daunting. 

# Be Honest 

Everyone has an answer prepared for the tediously obvious interview question about their biggest weaknesses. Surprisingly, 'caring too much' or being 'too much of a perfectionist' are not usually based on a realistic assessment of one's own limitations. Being honest with yourself is no easy task, particularly when it comes to identifying areas that may require a little extra attention and work. This is the reason why it is so important to be pragmatic about your current limits, and in turn this is the catalyst to teach yourself how to exceed them!

Genuinely ascertaining your weaknesses and openly discussing them is not an easy task, particularly if you are in a situation where you need to frame yourself in the most positive light. Allowing yourself to be honest is the best way to astutely understand your weaknesses. 

# Be Positive 

Having a weakness isn't always a negative thing! Some people may have to acknowledge that one of their weaknesses is that they cannot positively approach a chance to improve themselves. Talking about a weakness prompts a need to change, but this is not always the case. An awareness of your weakness may bring about a positive response. This may present itself in the abillity to engage with other people who have exhibited strength in the attribute of which you may be lacking. Talking about your weaknesses does not have to be an exercise in self vilification.

# Be Open to Improvement
 
An excellent way to approach a serious consideration of your weaknesses is to ask yourself (or others) for tips on how to improve them! It may not be realistic for you to become an Olympian if you have a penchant for struggling to exercise, but you can engage the services of those who have put in the hard work and ask them how they got there! Remembering that lots of things are possible with the right support and guidance is an important part of talking about a weakness. 

# Be Conscious of your Strengths 

Talking about a weakness can be an excellent opportunity to give yourself a metaphorical (or literal) pat on the back for the wonderful things about yourself. The sandwich approach to discussing negative comments (i.e. - positive comment, negative comment, positive comment) has been criticised as a management tool for working with a team but as a personal approach it can be effective. Allow yourself to recognise your weaknesses in the context of your positive attributes. An exercise in addressing weaknesses should not leave you feeling defeated, but remember to keep the other tips in mind remain realistic. 

# Be Proactive 

The best way to talk about your weakness is to end up doing something about it! Acknowledging and talking about an area that needs improvement is a vital aspect of the approach to be able to fix it. The trick comes in at the nexus of choice between obsessing over a weakness and actually making the choice to improve your skills. Whether it be for personal reasons or to surpass a sticking point in your professional life, every weakness can be worked on. Enrolling in further training courses, seeking out people who have improved a similar weakness or actively taking on board the tips for improvement are great places to start.

This post is written by Alice Cooney. Alice believes in the value of education and advanced training and has been a student for a number of years. For more posts from Alice visit http://apti.edu.au/blog/.




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