Thursday, 5 March 2009

The most difficult question in an interview and how to answer it

I am sure a majority of us have attended interview(s) before. From what I gather, there is this particular question which interviewees hate. I tend to agree since I have been an interviewee before. Do you know what that question is?

“Can you tell us what is your weakness and what have you done to improve yourself on that?”

First of all, you need to identify a weakness. And this must not be a weakness that makes you look bad. It must be a moderated weakness, one which should not affect the role you are applying for. And then, you need to tell what you have done to improve yourself. Very often, you will have to lie not just on how to improve yourself but the very weakness itself.

So how should you tackle such situation?

My friend Jon told me the brilliant idea on how to deal with this question. It is adding the word “too” on a positive adjective. Example:-

I feel I am tooooooo meticulous in my work. Others might not be able to keep up with me. I have been trying to see the bigger picture to improve this.

I feel I am tooooooo hardworking as I will grab all the work for myself. I learning on how to say no when I am bogged down.

I feel I am tooooooo focus on technical applicability. I am trying to apply other aspects of the business into decision making.

I feel I am tooooooo driven on not just meeting but exceeding expectations. I am learning on how to not push myself above the limit. Reaching limit is enough.

I feel I am tooooooo good to my subordinates sometimes. I treat them like my close friends. I need to draw the line sometimes.

See the wonder of the word “too”? Now you know what to say in your next interview.

I will be away for a while. I am making my initial entry in “grassy land” to active my “ticket”… hehe… Enjoy the long weekend!


2 years go…
Chinese culture, what’s not and what’s lost

33 comments:

EdiÁ•ě said...

I feel I am too eager to be your boss and might kick you out of the company oneday!

blackjack said...

holiday... at this time... in down under? zewt, what recession? where got recession!!!

rachel said...

when asked if i have missed a deadline, i said i have. i must be stupid!

xabi said...

hehe!!

btw, does jon have a blog?

QuaChee said...

that is a good way. also, to announce a weakenss, and say how to overcome it :)

whoalse said...

Melbourne or Sydney? rather Melbourne and Sydney TOO....

Have a good one....

iamthewitch said...

Wow indeed that's a very smart way to identify the 'weakness' Haha.. but how would you feel if someone you're interviewing actually says things like that? I hope you won't roll your eyes! :P

Huei said...

CONGRATULATIONS once again!!!!!!

do update us on ur status in grassy land!! =D

j or ji said...

i think i have toooooo many weaknesses

jon said...

Love that mamak conversation we had! There were so many ideas on answering this question...

"I think I'm too productive. When I finish my work fast and leave early, people think I'm slacking."

"I think I'm too smart. People end up thinking I can solve cancer. I shouldn't get their hopes up."

Xabi, you are CS right? It's theadventist.tumblr.com

Binn said...

im too good to be in this interview, maybe you should just give me the job... haha busted~

3POINT8 said...

My weakness is that I do not disclose my flaws with potential friends, clients and employers alike. But no worries, I try to correct this weakness of mine by being honest.

XD

cibol said...

my problem always arise when they ask me "where do you see urself in 5 years"

my mind is set on one answer - definitely not here, just that I dunno where.

Have a blast with the kangaroos dude!

ocean said...

Hi Friend.. Interesting post.. Nice blog.. Keep up the good work.. Will drop by your site often.. Do find time to visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care mate.. Cheers!!!

drumsticks said...

hmmmmm dont recall being asked that question!! hehe..

foongpc said...

Haha! I don't think that will work. If I am interviewing somebody and he replies like that, I will think he is lying : )

littlepolaris said...

hey zewt, tiba-tiba if some interviewer is ur blog reader... and tiba-tiba someone picks up the line from ur blog and went for the interview with that interviewer.... I wonder how he gonna pass the interview? lol.

jam said...

Very true! But I think the purpose to ask such question to the interviewees is not to find out their weaknesses, but to see how well they can talk and present themselves, how confident they are, as well as their problem solving skills.

H.C. Tan said...

grassy land huh..good luck! btw..hooray to liverpool's 4-0!!!!

good luck to MU tonite...break some legs (and i mean it! haha)

JustJasmine said...

i'm way too good to take the job :P

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

Problem is that I am toooooooooo horny so because of that I am sooooooooooooo boring in real life!!!
BTW where is this glassy land??? Plenty of glass to chew???
Have a very nice day!

Manal said...

I suppose grassy land has a massive dryland (desert) area too....

Happy gallivanting around like that Kangaroo once u there ok matey?

Fi-sha said...

Hi Zewt...i so like this hehehhehe... because of the time, malaysian companies couldnt handle smart people like ... me? They cant handle my speediness, my analysis, my understanding and my commitment.

So, would you hire me if you own a company?

Hv a good holiday Zewt and come back with more great points to ponder / enlighten ok? Cheerio!

flaminglambo said...

Have a great one dude.

Mandeep Gill said...

I'm too committed when it comes to work. I make it my sole goal and disregard all else. I'm working on it.

Does that sound right?

doc said...

for me,the most difficult question to answer is : what is your expected salary?

because i can't keep a straight face or look eye-to-eye with that question.

mar said...

All the best in the grassy land Zewt!

zewt said...

Edi - hahaha... u will definitely get the job!

blackjack - shhhhh....

rachel - it's good to admit mistakes... really.

xabi - he does. drop by your blog later to let u know the url. he even commented below.

QuaChee - hehe...

whoalse - melbourne... absolute bliss!

zewt said...

iamthewitch - hahaha... i will not hire him!

huei - will do... a lot of stories.

j or ji - how are u going to overcome it bro? hahaha...

jon - i think you enjoyed the mamak session due to other reasons! hahahaha...

Binn - you know, u might just get the job.

3Point8 - that's a very good attempt. but what about disclosing your own flaws? :P

cibol - that one easy lah... just dont say your boss' place.

zewt said...

ocean - cheers.

drumsticks - your interviewer no power lah haha.

foongpc - hahahaha... well, lying is the game of the interview.

littlepolaris - sure fail lor like that.

jam - hahaha... yeah, i know. but i guess this is quite a witty response.

HC Tan - we won!!! but yeah yeah... i know which results u will mention.

JustJasmine - good luck to u! haha...

zewt said...

Hor Ny Ang Moh - plenty of grass to po... oh no...

Manal - thanks... gallivanted and back :)

Fi-sha - yeah, most malaysian companies cant take smart ppl... we need to leave :P more opinions coming up!

flaminglambo - had a blast indeed dude!

Mandeep Gill - hey there...i will hire u :)

doc - aiyah... why not... it's so easy... just be honest :)

mar - i am back!

kyliemc said...

a good idea..put 'too' in front of the weakness.. :D

zewt said...

kyliemc - no... it's put a "too" in front of your strength to make it sound like a weakness :P