When an interviewer asks you about your flaws or weaknesses, and you're trying to present yourself in a positive light, it can put you in an awkward position. You know that everyone has flaws, but you don't want to highlight your negative characteristics during an interview. There's a right way and a wrong way to handle the question. The wrong way is to admit your flaws and reveal your weaknesses. Or you can turn your flaws into something positive.
Flaws That Highlight Strengths
You can use your flaws to highlight your strengths during an interview to create good flaws. If an interviewer asks you about your weaknesses, for example, instead of saying you aren't good at public speaking, say you get nervous when speaking in public, and you've been improving through public speaking classes. Instead of saying you don't have a lot of experience, you could mention you've been taking classes to boost your level of experience and explain how what you've learned relates to the position.
Flaws That Show Honesty
By asking about your flaws during an interview, the interviewer might be trying to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. Your answer can show your ability to overcome challenges, demonstrate your professional commitment and show how you strive to improve yourself. Everyone has flaws. You can use this opportunity to describe how you’ve mitigated yours, and you'll come across as honest as well as capable.
A good flaw to have is a specific flaw rather than a wide and general flaw. For example, your weakness in delivering presentations to large audiences would be a specific flaw. You can make presentations with small groups and meetings, but you prepare with extra effort for large groups because of your nerves. This way, you aren't saying you can't communicate well. You just have a flaw for a specific audience.
Flaws as a Novice
For a new position, you can play the newbie card and bring out flaws related to familiarizing yourself with new environments. You can talk about getting accustomed to new software or remembering names of new colleagues. You can mention your challenges with finding your way around the building. Learning the ropes is a valid flaw, and no one would hold it against you. Asking for a mentor to help you through your learning curve might even show your willingness to be a team player.
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