Submitted by aak2000 on
I am finding it difficult to answer interview weakness question. I listened to the podcast but can't find single weakness that is relevant to my work at the same time not part of direct job responsibility. I am a project manager and typically all soft/hard skills are required for this role :-) I would really appreciate if you share your ideas or concrete example about weaknesses that follow the rule: not directly part of Job responsibility and at the same time satisfy the interviewer.
Widen the field
Think a bit wider than "direct job responsibility". Yes, obviously you don't want to pick one of your KPIs, but every job has peripheral requirements that are not a make or break item for the role. Odds are you're not perfect and there has to be at least one you could work to improve.
The other area to look at is things that you used to be poor/average at but have improved lately. Surely you've improved yourself in some way recently? (I hear Manager Tools has tons of podcasts with ideas on how to improve your skills!)
Can't really give you concrete examples without knowing specific details about you and the job. It also will depend on the interview criteria - each company/role will prioritise certain skills over others.
Take a look at the potential role's job description and selection criteria. Now think of something that wasn't mentioned, is part of a project manager's role, and is something you have improved. Use that. If they didn't mention it, it isn't a deal breaker for choosing you.
Think about your skills for this role in terms of percentages. Rate all of them from 1-100 based on how good you are in general, and in comparison to others in the same role. Maybe you'll be above 50% in all of them, maybe even higher. But if you're really honest with yourself, you'll have a couple of areas that are lower than the others. Those are your weaknesses.
If you do this and STILL don't find anything that could be termed as a weakness, be careful. That kind of hubris is the cause of many lost promotions or failed interviews. I've heard that when you're through learning, you're through. If you really think there's no learning or changing left for you to do, it could be the end for you, even though you have many years left before retirement. Executives who sense this kind of attitude will let you stay where you are until you realize your mistake or get fed up and leave. Either way, it could set you way back in what is probably a very promising career.
An approach I have found
An approach I have found effective is to start by recounting my mistakes (of which there are many) and work to identify any themes or trends and cast those into weaknesses and actions take to learn from, mitigate, address, etc.
I echo MThoming - be careful if your answer is "I can't think of any mistakes either". Self-awareness is a critical competency as an effective manager and leader - if you can't be honest with yourself you are in a tight spot....
"One are that I have always
"One are that I have always been challenged with is interpersonal communication. Because of this, I work hard to be mindful of what I am saying, to whom I am saying it, and how I say it. I try to understand their preferred method of communication and then adopt that so that I am more effective with them from the beginning.
Learning this is what has made me so effective on past projects and collaboration teams."
Try something along those lines.
Pick out an area that challenges you and that you are very mindful about. Often this question is searching to see how self aware you are and if you have the ability to realize your own missteps an the. Work to correct them.