It has been literally years since the last time I had a job interview. Naturally, I am worried about the next one. Thus, I have been thinking of various questions that may come up and the best possible answers. One interview question seems to pop up a lot on LinkedIn and in my research about leadership and job-search topics.
What is your biggest weakness?
Some make fun of it. Some feel that it is a dinosaur that should not be coming up in job interviews anymore. Yet others believe that it does have the potential to uncover value. But in the end, all this hype around this question actually makes me think what my answer would be.
I don’t remember ever having to answer this question before. But theoretically, how hard can it be? I have an MBA, which means that I can BS my way pretty much through anything. For example, I could tell you that my biggest weakness is that I am a perfectionist. So it is hard for me to recognize, when “done is better than perfect”. I could also tell you that because of my type-A personality I have hard time delegating – I am the only one able to get the job done to the right standard. Fortunately, I have encountered opportunities that taught me that there is only one of me against the range of priorities.
On the different extreme, I could tell you that this question should be approached from a point of perspective – what is considered a weakness in one job, can actually be a strength in another. For example, in many situations I feel like I am not creative or imaginative enough. But how much does it matter for the role that I am aspiring to? For all I know, maybe I just don’t drink enough beer. To dig even deeper – what is often considered to be “impatient” in a woman is viewed as “driven and a go-getter” in a man. But let’s not get caught up in minor details.
The truth is – I am an INTJ. I am extremely introverted. My biggest challenge has always been dealing with people. And it will probably always remain my biggest challenge. However, I have a feeling that very few people that know me now even have a clue that I am an introvert. I am loud. I am funny. I am articulate. I am well-liked. I am not afraid to have a personality. I organize meetings and throw parties. I follow up and follow through. I call on people that don’t deliver, and, as previously mentioned, BS my way through a few issues practically on daily basis.
No one knows how much hard work it took to get here. No one will ever know how much hard work it still takes. There will always be areas of interpersonal relationships that I need to work on. For example, I will never really know what it means to have a child, but I still act like I care to see the baby pictures, and I will awe at the wedding dresses and act like your new hairdo is a major event in my life. Oh yes, the goal is to take advantage of every learning opportunity and, thus, never stop improving.
To be honest, I have more weaknesses that I care to admit to. However, my greatest strength is that I recognize that I will always be a work in progress.