How do you respond to the interview question, "What is your greatest weakness?"

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by usmbguest5318, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    Yesterday I had to do a phone interview of an experienced hire candidate who seeks to join our firm as a senior manager (one step below "entry level" partner). The interview was going along well and I decided to as one of the easiest "tough" questions there are: What's your greatest weakness?

    Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. Yesterday was the first time I've asked that question and received an answer that by itself determined my decision about whether to give my imprimatur for hiring the candidate.

    The man answered by in effect saying that he's been told that he can be difficult to work with. Upon hearing that, I abruptly ended the interview, asking if he had any questions of me. He didn't and that was that.

    I have no idea what led the candidate to think that giving the answer he did could possibly aid and abet his assertion that he'd be a good person for us to hire, but insofar as he gave it, he must have his reasons. What I do know is that being hard to work with and lacking the judgment not to say that in an interview indicated the guy is too stupid and under seasoned for us to hire in any capacity. I was so astounded that I emailed the people who did the preliminary "phone screen" and early stage interviews on the guy to inquire how his abject inanity and unfitness for our firm did not come through when they spoke with him. I was and remain incredulous that the guy made it far enough through the interview process that he got to talk to me.

    (Normally, I don't any longer do interviews, but the guy specifically expressed an interest in being part of my practice unit, and I have final say on all manager-and-above experienced hires who aim to it. It was rather serendipitous that I had to be part of the interview team considering him because the unique nature of my unit's work militates for "growing" people more so than finding them from outside the firm.)

    The guy could have said any number of things. Hell, he could have gone with one of the standard pat answers to that question, and I'd have at least counted his answer as neither strong nor weak, but as neutral.

    So with that as background, how did you answer the question I posed when you have been asked it?
     
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  2. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    compassion
     
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  3. aaronleland
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    aaronleland Gold Member

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    Those kind of interview questions are stupid because you're pretty much asking the interviewee to feed you a line of bullshit. Sounds to me like the guy you interviewed was trying to be honest.
     
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  4. evenflow1969
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    evenflow1969 Gold Member

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    I absolutley dispise that question. You are begging to be lied to by asking it! The reality is that any one with half a brain would not tell some one their greatest weakness as it opens one up for exploitation. I almost feel as though they are trying to find out how good of a liar I am. Then I imagine, that if my lie was good enough and they will hire me and expect me to lie while working and fucking miserable I would be in a job that required lying all day. So I look for the most truethfull answer I can give them on the subject. I answer with " I am not very good a taking compliments for a job well done as I feel that I should not even be here if it was not a job well done. I certainly prefer bonuses and raises over accolades." I would have to be in dire straights to take the job. Unless the situation was nothing like I expected from the question, I likely would not be there long. I would be continually looking for an employer that I felt was more interested in the truth than putting some one on the spot!

    PS. I am hoping that an offer comes from some one who did not ask the question. Assuming similar pay I will take the job from the interviewer that did not ask that question first.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  5. HereWeGoAgain
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    HereWeGoAgain Diamond Member

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    I was asked that question once and I answered with...I sometimes catch myself getting to detailed in my work and it slows my production.
    I was going to be making flight hardware for the shuttle program.

    I got the job.
     
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  6. aaronleland
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    aaronleland Gold Member

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    "What would you say your greatest weakness is?"

    "I like to rape."

    "Welcome to Chuck E' Cheese. You start tomorrow."
     
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  7. evenflow1969
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    evenflow1969 Gold Member

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    So how do you feel asking it?
     
  8. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    No fair interviewer asks that question for that reason.
     
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  9. yiostheoy
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    yiostheoy Gold Member

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    I tell them that I tend to be an over-achiever and with this comes certain weaknesses that laid back slackers do not ever have.
     
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  10. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    That's essentially one of the pat answers one expects to receive upon asking that question. If it or something like it is what I get in response, giving that sort of answer neither helps nor hinders the candidate's position with me.
     
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