One of the more common questions asked in a job interview is, “What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?” While it’d be easiest to answer the weaknesses part Michael Scott style with, “I work too hard and care too much.” I’m thinking and hoping hiring managers see right through that. So in order to prepare myself for the (hopefully) upcoming interviews I’ve taken some time to answer the hard part of that question, the weaknesses and what I’m doing to overcome them.
Overly concerned with efficiency
I struggle with doing things the way they’re “supposed” to be done just because. If you give me a reason for doing it a certain way then I’m very good with following directions. I like efficiency and unexplained inefficiency drives me nuts. You can imagine, as a child I was the annoying one who always wanted to know why we were doing what we were doing. I realize that employers aren’t always going to give me a reason for what they want or how they want it done and I’m working on being able to follow instructions without always having a clear explanation as to why. This isn’t always negative, because I’m concerned with the efficiency of a process I often find a more time and cost effective method of getting the job done which can be clearly beneficial to a company.
The horrors of shared responsibility
I get uneasy delegating to people until I’ve worked with them enough to know the quality of work they produce and what their work ethic is like. If I’m going to be associated with a project I want to be sure the end result is the highest quality possible. Loads of group work experience (with students from 20+ countries) in my Master’s program helped with this one, establishing clear expectations and individual responsibilities along with lots of communication go a long way to ensure everyone’s on the same page and the project is going in the right direction. I also learned to schedule extra time before the deadline just in case someone’s done less than stellar work so the group can work together to pick up the slack and still deliver on time.
I love TV and movie spoilers, I read the last chapter of a book before I’m through the first half, and the arrival of November was the start of the hunt for Christmas presents in my parent’s closet. I hate waiting and I’m still not great at it. Living on a different continent from my family and having to wait a few months to meet my newborn niece immensely improved my patience. Although those examples have nothing to do with work , my patience problems apply to waiting for things on the job too. With work it has to do with my need for efficiency, I used to get really upset if my boss was 45 minutes late for a meeting that he requested and scheduled. My thought process was something like, “You pay me to sit here and wait when I could be getting work done to make you more money?” It’s taken a while to realize that getting frustrated fixes nothing and what my boss was doing was likely more important to him than an extra 45 minutes of me working.
I found a great post about how to answer this question in an interview. How do you think I did?