The first time I was asked in an interview “what would you say your biggest weaknesses are?” I was a bit taken aback. After all, interviews are about selling yourself and showing off the best parts of you. You want to show your potential future employer everything you have to offer, and hopefully, persuade them that they want to hire you. The job of the interviewee is to explain exactly why they are the perfect candidate for the role. This of course means talking up your strengths, but weaknesses? That’s the thing that you want to pretend you don’t have.
Of course, this is impossible. We’re all human, we all have our weaknesses. And in hindsight, I can now see that that’s exactly what the company was checking. They wanted their employees to be human and self-aware. Knowing your weaknesses as well as your strengths means that you’re more able to work on a team, and be able to compliment other peoples’ strengths and weaknesses. That question stuck with me as I began some self-exploration so that I’d be better prepared the next time someone would ask me this question. Now, I’m not perfect, I have many flaws, but I couldn’t really find one that would be appropriate for a professional working environment. It wasn’t until someone else said to me “oh you’re just so stubborn sometimes” did I realize that this could be applicable.
By this point, I had also learned that the reason an employer is asking this question is that they also want you to show how you would apply yourself in a given situation. Ironically, the reason it took me so long to realize that I was stubborn, was because I was too stubborn to realize it. From my perspective, I just viewed it as ‘not giving up’, or being persistent even when things get tough. I realized I could show employers how my weakness, stubbornness, could be flipped to strength, resilience. This made me realize that while we all have our weaknesses and there’s always room for improvement, sometimes a weakness can flip into a strength, it’s all just a matter of perspective. This can help us utilize all aspects of who we are because only by using all of ourselves, can we truly give the best that we can.