How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths During an Interview

how to turn weaknesses into strengths during an interviewThe typical interview question begins with, “So tell me, what are some of your weaknesses?”  That seemingly innocuous question is a loaded gun for the uninitiated.

Though we all have weaknesses (some more than others), parlaying a weakness into a perceived strength is key here.  Let me give some examples to clarify:

1. Let’s say you are a very impatient person, quick to finish someone else’s sentences.  This impatience can be painted as a very desirable characteristic –which it actually is.  Since impatience is one of my “strengths”, I can relate here.  You can say something like, “when I’m given an assignment, I hate to have it hang over my head, so I usually get right to work on it.  I’d rather have time to put finishing touches on at the end then be pressured to complete the assignment at the 11th hour.”  Impressive.


2. Let’s say you’re a lazy person, you never get to work until several hours before your project is due.  You were the student who stayed up the night before a paper was due, drinking gallons of coffee and staring at the blank paper in front of you.  Some things never change.   Fast forward to answering this question during your interview (which you were almost late for).  You can save your chances for this job by answering in a thoughtful, reflective tone.  You can say, “I like to outline the project in my head before actually starting to write.  I have the ability to visualize the finished product in amazing detail.  Sometimes this creative approach may give onlookers the impression that I’m just sitting around.  This approach has worked well for me in my career to date.”


3. People have said you are obsessively neat, that your desk looks like you do nothing because it is so uncluttered.  The way to counter this objection is to indicate that your philosophy is “an organized desk reflects an organized mind”.  By keeping everything in its proper place, you can put your finger on anything and not have to waste time rummaging through stacks of papers, files and general clutter.  Saves time and valuable energy.


4. You have excess energy that drives your co-workers crazy.  This excess energy channeled into productive work is an employer’s panacea.  You know you tend to pace and rush around, but in so doing, you are generating new ideas that can be immediately be put into place.  Your quick physical activity reflects your quick mind and the way you process your thoughts.


I hope you have found these little tips helpful and encouraging.

Good luck on your next interview!