This question is important, so give it lots of thought...

Friday February 8 2019

For a long time, I have been curious about why employers insist on jobseekers revealing their weaknesses during an interview.

For a long time, I have been curious about why employers insist on jobseekers revealing their weaknesses during an interview. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MWIKALI MUTHIANI
By MWIKALI MUTHIANI
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Q. For a long time, I have been curious about why employers insist on jobseekers revealing their weaknesses during an interview. Do they realise that most of the responses given are rehearsed?

While this question is common during interviews, I have seen candidates struggle to answer it despite anticipating it.

The question, though seemingly obvious, seeks to assess a number of skills, and it is equally important like any other. Remember at this point you have just met the interview panel, and they will only go by what you say.

This question seeks to assess your self-awareness capability. The right way to answer it is to not just give a short statement and move to the next, rather, demonstrate how well you know what you are very good at, what your potential is, and what you are doing to turn that potential into a strength.

The expectation is that you will be looking at strengths that complement the competencies desired in the job. The interviewer is also interested in your ability to communicate genuinely and convincingly.

Be sure to take some time to explain each strength in detail, why you think it is a strength and if possible, give examples of how this strength has come into play in the course of your work.

The same rationale applies when you are asked about your weaknesses. Acknowledging that you are not perfect is important because no one is, however, demonstrating your understanding of how that weakness limits you is the key to answering this question.

And not just that, demonstrating how you are working towards limiting the gaps arising due to your weakness is important. You may want to mention that you are working with an expert coach to address this limitation.

Or the importance of selecting the right team, ensuring that you bring on-board individuals with strong skills in areas of your limitation.

Sometimes candidates see this as the easiest question during the interview and pick easy answers such as, “I am a good team player, I get along well with my colleagues”, only for their reference checks to confirm otherwise, or perhaps contradict an earlier statement where they may have stated that they are working on developing stronger team skills.

The best way to demonstrate self-awareness is by remaining true to who you truly are and being open about your plans to enhance your potential where weak.

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