Posted in Career Best Practices
I'll rob you blind.
Want to give an employer a great reason NOT to hire you? Say something like one of the phrases above.
Want to give a prospective employer ANOTHER great reason not to hire you? Say something like, "I'm a perfectionist," when they ask you about your biggest weakness.
"I'm a perfectionist" is what everybody says when asked why an employer shouldn't hire them. Interviewers just don't buy it, because they hear it all the time. If you give them this canned response, it's the equivalent of saying, "I'm exactly like everybody else you're interviewing."
Definitely not the message you want to send in your next interview.
You know the question is coming, so arm yourself with a better (i.e., more realistic and believable) response. Here are a few things to remember when asked about your biggest weakness or why an employer shouldn't hire you:
Go into the interview knowing what you will say.
If you're unsure of your weaknesses, take an online personality-type quiz and look for clues in the results. Then, look at the strengths required for the job. Plan to discuss a weakness of yours that is NOT related to the position's essential skills.
Stick to work-related weaknesses.
A messy personal life is certainly a weakness, but your potential employer shouldn't ever know about it. Your interviewer is looking for your weaknesses in the workplace and how you've overcome them.
Don't say that you have no weaknesses. Everybody does! And frankly, communicating your weaknesses signals to a potential employer that you are an honest self-appraiser. If you understand your weaknesses, you also likely understand your strengths (and that's a really good thing).
Turn a negative into a positive.
Be prepared to describe how you've conquered the weakness and turned it into a strength. For example, if you have a habit of running late, first explain how important you realize it is to be on time. Then, share concrete examples of how you now keep track of the time so that you're actually early to work.
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