BOB LANKARD: Problems in an interview
April 07, 2013 1:50 AM

“I’m a perfectionist — keep doing it over until I get it right.”

“I’m a workaholic — quitting time always finds me still at my desk.”

These are suggested answers to the interview question, “Tell me your weaknesses.”

Some counselors seem to believe the job seeker should never admit to any weakness. They suggest substituting strength for a weakness. I am not impressed with this thinking and doubt if employers are either.

Why do employers seem to be seeking negatives in a situation where the applicant wants to accent her positives?

This should be your priority, too. Even in a recession economy no one wants find themselves in a job that is wrong for them.

What are the dangers an applicant faces in the open-ended weakness questions?

How can a job seeker score points dealing with problem issues?

In addition to the weakness request, job seekers have trouble when they are asked about why they left a previous job? These are jobs where there were problems and the job seeker was fired or they quit. Some advise sugarcoating the truth on these issues. I recommend being honest without a lot of details. Emphasize how you have come to deal with these issues.

Other problem questions could include: “Were you ever given a warning? Were you ever told to improve your work performance? What was your greatest failure? What do you dislike about your job? What was your biggest work problem? Tell me about a work problem you faced?”

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