How to avoid job interview cliches

1 minute read | 16 August 2022

“My weakness is that I’m a perfectionist” – If Hiring Managers got a pound for every time they heard that one in an interview, they’d be able to fund the whole company!
In this competitive job market, standing out from the rest and making a good first impression is key to landing your dream job.
As your career partner for life, we are here to advise you on how to put your best foot forward and present yourself as a very desirable candidate. 

“What are your weaknesses?” can be a very hard question to answer as it is so simple, yet so open ended. You do not want to downplay your abilities or reveal the worst parts of yourself, yet you don’t want to reply in a generic way. 
In an interview, you want to display why you are the best for the role and display the most professional and desirable parts of yourself. Yet everyone knows, nobody is perfect, and everyone has their faults. 
See this as a question to show off your creativity and a willingness to adapt and learn. The way you answer this question can tip the opportunity in your favour.

Interviewees are looking to observe your honesty, self-awareness and your ability to improve. 
A good way to approach this, is by taking a strength and acknowledging the “negative” aspect of this. 

"I obsess over the details"

Telling the interviewer you have a tendency to “obsess over the details” shows you see how this can take up some time but also, you’re not willing to make even the smallest mistakes slip through. 

"I feel stressed when projects run past the deadlines"

Showing you care about a project being fulfilled and executed either before on the deadlines, shows how you prioritise clients wishes, and hold productivity in high regard.

"I would like more experience in..."

This shows your awareness of maybe not ticking all the boxes in the job description, but a willingness to learn the necessary skills and challenge yourself. Everyone has something they could improve on, so do not be afraid to think about how you could learn new things.
If you are hesitating on applying for a role because of a lack of experience – apply anyway! You never know what catches an employee’s eye, and they could have support in place to boost their team’s performance and knowledge.

"I gave a hard time working with certain personalities"

It takes a range of personality types to run a business. But even the most tolerant people can struggle to work closely with certain personality traits. This is very normal, however, it is important to display how you put your personal feelings to one side, for the sake of productivity.
Explain the personalities you’ve had trouble working with in the past and why. An example could be you struggle to work with people who lack communication skills, as it can be a hinderance to
projects and team spirit.
This is a good weakness to talk about, as it shows you value the importance of teamwork and collaboration to execute a project in a timely manner.

Talk about the ways you make an effort to overcome your weaknesses by providing examples of how you’ve handled them in the past.
For example, if you struggle to keep a healthy work/life balance – explain how you recognise how this can impact productivity at work, and what you are doing to overcome this.
You could talk about how you are learning to set appropriate boundaries and emphasise on how you’ve established a more reasonable schedule with yourself.

We hope these tips have helped you think about the way to answer, “what are your weaknesses?”. This is a common question asked in interviews, and as long as you adapt your response to show self awareness and a willingness to learn, you should be well on your way to a positive interview! Good luck! 

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