HR Strange But True!
April 04, 2002

Newsday columnist Patricia Kitchen reports overhearing this at a recent event for job hunters: "Hey, I really like your weakness. I think I'm going to start using it, too."

That was a reference, of course, to the interview question that probably gives rise to the highest degree of applicant anxiety - as well as spin: "Tell me about your weakness."

Kitchen observes that borrowing somebody else's weakness speaks to the growing sophistication of applicants.

The idea is to turn a flaw into something that sounds like a strength. But several of the good answers are being overused, not to mention being spun out of control. Kitchen notes the most popular weakness: "I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect that I sometimes work until 3 a.m., so it's hard for me to balance work and family." Other people, meanwhile, are obviously spitting back answers they've read in books.

Kitchen goes on to offer some answers to the "weakness question" that could work in the right situation. So get ready to hear them:

- "I know office politics is important, but playing that game isn't my natural inclination."

- "I welcome the chance to play devil's advocate, but I don't want to ruffle feathers too much, so I've learned not to sound accusatory."

- "It may take just a little longer for me to learn some things, but once I do, my creativity can blow others out of the water when it comes to problem-solving."

Source: Newsday, via the Hartford Courant

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