January 17, 2017

Flipping a Strength into Weakness In Interview


Flipping a Strength into Weakness (and then Recovering)

Consider how or why you developed a particular strengths or achieved an accomplishment? Tell that narrative (in two parts, as usual) about how you converted a weakness into something positive.

Weakness: Microsoft Office Experience
Strength: Initiative

Frame this description as how you have overcome a weakness you have. For example, if one of your strengths is expert usage of Microsoft Office (and that is relevant to this job), you could confess a weakness like this confession (and recovery):

(Confession) "In my last job, we used the same medical transcription software for many years. It ran on the old technology we used, so my software skills became out of date. Other than Microsoft Outlook and personal use of Word and Excel, I had no experience using Microsoft Office software."

(Recovery) "I learned about the new version of our medical transcription software that we needed to convert to. It is based on current Microsoft Office products. So, over a 6-month period, I took 100 hours of training in the Microsoft Office products, practicing on my own time. As a result, I became proficient enough to help when we finally made the transition to the new software. In helping my colleagues learn the new software, I realized that I must continue to pay attention to what is happening with technology in this field and keep my skills up-to-date, even if my employer isn't staying current."

When you use this "greatest weakness" it may eliminate one of your answers to the greatest-strengths question.

Weakness: Obsession with Technology
Strength: Knowledge of/Comfort with Technology

If one of your strengths is expert knowledge in the use of current technology, like smart phones and computers, you could use this (again, in two parts: confession and recovery):

(Confession) "I have had a hard time disconnecting from technology. I always have my smart phone with me and, of course, I have both a Mac and a PC at home. So, I was constantly checking in with my work email, visiting the company website, checking competitor's apps, and industry news. I didn't use technology, except my GPS, while driving, but I did spend too much time outside of working hours and even on weekends looking at some sort of smart phone or computer screen related to work."
(Recovery) "I promised myself that I would stop being so obsessed with technology, and pay more attention to real life -- to my family, my friends, and what's happening around me. Detaching from technology is restful, good for my eyes (I'm told), and keeps me better-connected with the real world. I'm even reading a book, printed on paper, currently. So, I think I'm a more balanced person, now. But, I do still always have my smart phone with me, even when I'm sleeping."
Obviously, this would not be the weakness to choose if the position being sought required being "on duty" by your phone twenty-four by seven. And some organizations want and expect this kind of "obsession" by employees. So, if you want to work for one of those employers, you might want to find a different, more irrelevant weakness.

So, save one of your related but not critical strengths to use for your greatest weakness if necessary, and be ready to describe it as above: confession and recovery.

What Is Your Greatest Weakness ?

The "Strength in Disguise" Weakness Example

The "Irrelevant" Weakness Example



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