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Thread: Interview question: "what are your weaknesses?"

  1. #1
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Interview question: "what are your weaknesses?"

    I was just notified that I have an interview on Monday. In thinking about it I remembered a question I was going to post here. What is a good answer to the old "What are you weaknesses" question? "I have over 2000 posts on cyburbia" is probably not a good one. How about "I'm perfect, I have none" . I have been asked this question counless times and I never feel I get it right. What has been your answer to this question?
    ďAs soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fallĒ
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    "Ah, beer, my one weakness. My achilles heel, if you will"

    I've indicated that my weakness is my unfamiliarity with the intricities of the local government, citizens, and process of the local I'm interviewing for. I also remind them, that I'm quick to adapt and eager to understand current, local practices.

    Like nerudite below, I've used the "messy but organized" tag before.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I always answer honestly... and I hate that "I'm perfect" type of answer when I'm the interviewer, so I never give it when I'm being interviewed. I've changed my answer depending on the time of my life. Most recently, my supervisory skills was my answer as I only had one job previously where I was a supervisor and I felt I could use more coaching in positive leadership techniques. Other jobs, I've used my messy desk (really bad) although I also state that I am organized in that I know where everything is... it just looks like a disaster area. I think one time I said that I'm like a sleepwalker until I've had a few cups of coffee in the morning.

  4. #4
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    How about "I'm really bad when it comes to reading minds, so be sure you tell me what the heck you want....." The messy desk would work for me too, I may use that one.
    ďAs soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fallĒ
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  5. #5
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Iíve responded that Iím sometimes impatient and that I can get irritated when things donít go my way.

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    I've indicated that my weakness is my unfamiliarity with the intricities of the local government, citizens, and process of the local I'm interviewing for. I also remind them, that I'm quick to adapt and eager to understand current, local practices.
    Yeah...this is the one I used most recently...it seemed to work and is completely honest.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I've told people my weakness is that I see things a bit too black or white at times and that while I recognize there is alot of grey, but sometimes things are Black or white when dealing with an application.

    The books always say to spin a weakness into a strength.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I don't know if this is on topic or not, but I hate the whole idea of being asked questions like that. I don't see things in terms of "good" and "bad" (as far as personal traits). I see that some things are good for some situations and bad for others. An example I sometimes use in explaining that attitude is that my husband is very sensitive to light and is easily blinded by bright lights, which also means he has awesome night vision. Sure, a "square peg in a round hole" is a problem but what if you have a square hole you need filled? Maybe they are Just Perfect.

    Perhaps my biggest weakness is getting irritated at the limited point of view of people who think something has to be either a "strength" or a "weakness", "a good thing" or "a bad thing". I get impatient trying to explain over and over why I think that world-view is flawed and actually causes problems where they don't necessarily exist if such judgement isn't imposed.

    Blech.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    I remember I had somebody ask me in an interview ,"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?".

    I thought about it for a few seconds. Hmmm, driving a beer truck through an AA meeting, shooting zombies once the awaking happens, running a fishing charter, owning a bar, etc. etc.............................

    ........the point being, who knows. I could have said, "Going postal", or "Not here", but I said "How can you answer a question like that?"

    And thats the end of that chapter...........
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  10. #10
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    I remember I had somebody ask me in an interview ,"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?".

    I thought about it for a few seconds. Hmmm, driving a beer truck through an AA meeting, shooting zombies once the awaking happens, running a fishing charter, owning a bar, etc. etc.............................

    ........the point being, who knows. I could have said, "Going postal", or "Not here", but I said "How can you answer a question like that?"

    And thats the end of that chapter...........
    Why do you think you got the job? Do I have to draw a picture for you?? Lame-oh...

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Why do you think you got the job? Do I have to draw a picture for you?? Lame-oh...
    You never asked that question. The only question you asked (or direct threat you promised) was don't drop the green apples off at my soup kitchen.





    Am I fired?
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  12. #12
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    ....Am I fired?
    Not after your wonderful performance at the planning commission today. You gonna give one up for the team with Diane soon?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Not after your wonderful performance at the planning commission today. You gonna give one up for the team with Diane soon?
    A fair warning should be in order next time. Plus you didn't have any paper bags available at the meeting.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    well....

    I tend not to be happy working with people that don't respect:

    "The need for an appropriately comprehensive viewpoint during the decision making process." and "making decisions without adequate background or research, just to make politicians (or City Manager) happy." I tend not to respect people that cannot say NO.

    Skilled Adoxographer

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    I was just notified that I have an interview on Monday. In thinking about it I remembered a question I was going to post here. What is a good answer to the old "What are you weaknesses" question? "I have over 2000 posts on cyburbia" is probably not a good one. How about "I'm perfect, I have none" . I have been asked this question counless times and I never feel I get it right. What has been your answer to this question?
    I got to answer that very question in a phone interview this morning. My response was that I sometimes get frustrated with how very slow some processes can be and how difficult this is when you want to see results. This frustration has lead me to rant a bit at times. This answer, for some reason, caused the entire review committee to break up laughing ???? I got called back for an in-person interview next week, so I guess it was a good laugh. ?????

    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    I was just notified that I have an interview on Monday.
    Giff57: Don't forget to send a thank you note or e-mail following your interview on Monday.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 15 Dec 2006 at 2:32 PM. Reason: double reply

  16. #16
    BWharrie's avatar
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    Interview Question - Weaknesses

    What is a good answer to the old "What are you weaknesses" question?
    What an opportunity! Just select a weakness that you're currently working on through self study ie self help books,programs etc or other more official training studies. Try 'dealing with difficult people' however after some readins and discussions with other professionals I'm am now seeing and starting to practice some techniques which seem to be fruitful. This shows you are able to identify one of yur weaknesses, plan a strategy to improve and then ilustrate your current actions and initiatives in improving the particular weakness.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian SideshowBob's avatar
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    As others have said, I tend to pick something about their job that I am not intemately familar with:
    1) Nobody is, so they should not think less of me
    2) It is an opportunity to turn it positive--"but I adapt to things well so I am not worried about it."

    Of course, I am zero for my last 5 interviews...
    Fighting congestion by widening roads is like fighting obesity by buying larger clothes.

  18. #18
    Say you can be a perfectionist sometimes. That means you're too good.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    I have actually answered that very question in an interview with: "I have a bad herion habit" They looked stunned and didn't know what to say. Then I said. "Just kidding, my weakness is I often crack a joke at inopportune times. 99% of the time it goes over just fine. 1% of the time it crashes and burns. That is my weakness." They were laughing out loud after I gave my answer. Even interviewers need a moment of levity. I got the job. I'm in it now.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian SideshowBob's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    I have actually answered that very question in an interview with: "I have a bad herion habit" They looked stunned and didn't know what to say. Then I said. "Just kidding, my weakness is I often crack a joke at inopportune times. 99% of the time it goes over just fine. 1% of the time it crashes and burns. That is my weakness." They were laughing out loud after I gave my answer. Even interviewers need a moment of levity. I got the job. I'm in it now.
    I cracked a joke on that question once too. It was my first job out of undergrad. I told them a couple of legit weaknesses (I may have been TOO honest) and finished it with "I'm not very good at tying a tie." They all laughed.

    I got the job--maybe that's why....
    Fighting congestion by widening roads is like fighting obesity by buying larger clothes.

  21. #21
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Slightly OT: When you're asked the theoretical question "what do you do when you're contacted by an elected official regarding your recommendation on a pending project?", your answer is always "I would notify my supervisor/manager." I'm surprised I have to say this.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    Another odd interview question is when they ask you "If you were a food, what would you be?" Good replies would be: 1) a tomato - because of its versatility - it goes well with so many different foods or 2) a grape - it's great individually and can hang in there and work well with a team.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    If I were ever asked during an interview what sort of food I would be I think I would just politely take my leave of them. Or, completely flip out and start ranting and have to be escorted out of the building.

    By the way, you selected grape for the wrong reason. Choose grape because it gets made into WINE.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dashboard
    Another odd interview question is when they ask you "If you were a food, what would you be?" Good replies would be: 1) a tomato - because of its versatility - it goes well with so many different foods
    A better one: A tomato because it's so adaptable. It starts as a fruit, but if you mash it up into ketchup, it becomes a vegetable!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    A better one: A tomato because it's so adaptable. It starts as a fruit, but if you mash it up into ketchup, it becomes a vegetable!
    I was thinking about the fact that a tomato is biologically a fruit but has been legally classified as a vegetable for tax reasons. So it seems it would make a good bureaucrat.

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