No B.S. Coaching Advice

Fixating on Weaknesses | Career Angles

There is a common fixation during job interviews on the “weaknesses” question.

“What are your weaknesses,” sends every job hunter into agony.

Will my answer be good enough?

Will my answer eliminate me from consideration?

It is a dilemma for which there is no answer other than to recognize the stupid the question is.

You see, what you’re doing is asking people to lie to you rather than tell you the truth.

After all, it’s not like on a bad old episode of Perry Mason where someone on the witness stand will break down and confess to having murdered the victim, job hunters are going to lie to you.

And you deserve it.

They are not going to tell you that they are disorganized if they are.

They’re not going to tell you that they don’t tolerate stupidity like your question very well if they don’t.

Nor are they going to tell you about how, in their last few organizations, they were the pain in the rear that no one could stand.

No, they are going to lie to you and make something up in advance.

I believe what’s far more interesting is if you fixated on their strengths and understood the things they do extremely well and tested them for that.

“I’m not going to ask you the weaknesses question,” you might start by saying. “I want to understand your strengths and how they became strong for you. Tell me about what you do extremely well.”

Isn’t that really what you want to know anyway? If it isn’t good enough for what you need nor do they have a track record that confirms it, everything else is BS anyway.

By the way, a person is not avoiding answering the question about weaknesses by saying that they’re not good a couple of different things but for her to spend more of their energy focusing on your strengths and hiring people to help them with their weaknesses. It is a defect in thinking that you have to be perfect at everything, nor should someone expend a lot of energy trying to improve on flaws that can be done by less expensive individuals, right?

Winners find the way to win. Sometimes that involves attention to detail. Sometimes that involves coaches putting them into the best position to win. That’s on you. If you can’t figure it out despite being handed a roadmap by the new hire, you shouldn’t be leading them.



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, Career Angles | Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunterand is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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