If I was to ask 100 people what the toughest interview question they’d been asked was, then I reckon right up there would be this question.
What’s your biggest weakness?
And this is a really tough one, because you’re in an interview and you want the company to focus on all your strengths.
So why on earth would you want to share what you’re not so good at.
Well.. I’ve got some good news. Because you can really turn this tough question into a huge positive with a simple technique that I’ll give you.
And the best news is, is that it’s super simple to implement.
Hello, if you’re here for the first time, I’m Matt Dodgson and I’m a Co-Founder of Market Recruitment.
And we help B2B marketers accelerate their careers, whether you’re looking for a new marketing job or looking to hire into your marketing team.
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So before I get into the technique I think it’s really important to discuss why this question gets ask in the first place.
Because let’s be honest it’s a horrible question. It would be like going out on a first date and asking someone about their bad habits.
So why do companies ask it in the first place
Well it’s all about self awareness. And in many B2B marketing jobs, you need a strong sense of yourself.
Self awareness is basically understanding how you operate. How your actions and words affect others in your day to day life.
And if you think about your job as a B2B marketer….you’re constantly interacting with people. It could be sales teams, agencies, product managers, teams in different countries. Ultimately you have to work with others, and communicate and sell your story.
So as an example…. having poor self awareness could mean someone behaving like this;
Getting defensive when you’re talking to the sales team about the quality of leads
Showing a lack of empathy when someone in your team is struggling to pick up a task
Making up excuses for projects not being completed by pointing the finger and blaming others
Or you’re over the top with how confident you are about a new marketing strategy even though it doesn’t pass the simple smell test
So you can see in those examples that not being aware of how you come across to others would negatively impact on your success as a marketer.
So being self aware is very important.
However it’s even more important to remember that no-one is perfect. We all have weaknesses.
Because there can be a bit of bravado that gets in the way of answering this question properly.
So some people end up saying, ‘I work too hard’, or ‘My standards are too high for others’.
Those answers just sound fake and too cheesy.
So before we get into this technique, I want to re-iterate that we all have weaknesses. We find some things easy, we find some things hard. That’s normal.
And knowing your weaknesses isn’t actually a weakness, it’s a strength.
So the first thing you need to do is to be honest with yourself and think about some areas of your job that you find hard.
And I’d broadly put this into 2 buckets. Either soft skills or hard skills.
Soft skills are things like work ethic, ability to communicate, persuasion, time management
And hard skills are specific teachable abilities like knowing PPC, HTML, email marketing….. you get the idea.
So pick a couple of genuine weaknesses, ideally one from each.
And then what you want to do is frame your answer in a way that shows you’re doing something about it. Like this;
So one of things I’ve struggled with is communicating my ideas to senior management.
And on one particular occasion I was presenting a new strategy for a lead generation tactic and it was a well thought out idea and backed up by sound research.
But my presentation just lacked a bit of inspiration.
And they didn’t end up taking up my idea. So from that point I knew it was something I had to work on. And off my own back I found a coach to help me with my presentations.
She was fantastic and gave me some really good pointers and things to work on. Things like body language, pace, tailoring it to the audience and adding a bit more impact.
And since then I’ve found it a lot easier. I wouldn’t go so far as saying it’s now naturally easy, but my MD and Sales Director have both commented on how they’ve enjoyed my presentations recently.
So all you want to do is use a genuine weakness and then talk about what you’ve done to make it less of a weakness or……... to turn it into a strength.
And by doing that. Your showing you have great self awareness and that you’ve done something about your weakness. Which are great traits for future employees.
So I hope you found that useful. Feel free to drop me any ideas for future videos in the comments section below.
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Good luck and speak soon.