A young lady in a suit before the first in the life job interview ready to answer, "what are your weaknesses"

By Katherine Konrad, an experienced marketing professional and recent Celarity contractor 

Unless you’re Michael Scott from the hit show, The Office, who believes his weaknesses are his strengths, answering this timeless interview question is the least-fun to answer. That is, if you’re saying any interview question is “fun” to answer. If you are: you are a rare unicorn. Please tell us your secrets. 

For the rest of us, here are some real-life things you can do to not only improve on these weaknesses, but also have a killer answer to the question in an interview setting. 

You wanna take this outside?

Many people get squirmy about confrontation. As Minnesotans, we’re especially known for our aversion to it. So, if you’re afraid of confronting someone at work, try ‘practicing’ in a more comfortable situation with a less intimidating person – say, a friend.  Use “I” statements and focus on the positive result of the discussion. The next time you are in a situation that might require an uncomfortable conversation, you can recall the positive resolution you experienced the last time you ‘practiced’ and realize if you’ve done it before, you can do it again, eh?

I’d rather croak. 

We’ve all heard that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of heights or even death. But maybe these people haven’t heard of Toastmasters: an international non-profit that teaches its members leadership and public speaking skills. Much to my disappointment, these meetings don’t open with a champagne salute to public speaking. But the organization and community equip you with the intellectual tools necessary to give a good one, should the occasion arise … so now, I’m just afraid of heights.  

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

The Internet has a lot of ideas about practices you can employ in order to gain more confidence, and you can surely go that route on your own. But if you’re like me, you need a little more accountability than reading lists on the Web. Weekly phone sessions with a Life Coach has helped me visualize myself how I want to be, to question my inner critic and to care for myself.  Helping me look at my thoughts and my actions with a different, positive lens which arm me with the confidence I need to pursue my goals. 

Yes, and … 

A pillar of improvisation is “yes, and”. Meaning, whatever the last person onstage says to you, you must agree to and build upon. You cannot negate or shut it down. By joining an improv class, your brain will get used to looking at what IS possible, versus what isn’t. Your mindset will broaden; your thinking patterns will shift; and you will learn to exist out of once was your comfort zone. Think about it: if the night before you got on all fours and barked like a dog onstage, then surely you can run a status meeting – as a human – at work.  

I’ll do it tomorrow

So, you’re reading all this and thinking this is all great, but my interview is in a couple days. I don’t have time to go out and join a public speaking club or an improv class right now. I hear you. And I’m not trying to brag, but I’m one of the best procrastinators out there. My method of choice is my iPhone. It’s safe to say that smartphones are one of the most effective way to procrastinate. Aside from removing it from your vicinity (which takes willpower, ick), you can download apps (Freedom, StayFocused) or change settings to black and white mode to reduce its allure. On the contrary, when it comes to creative or brainstorming solutions to problems, procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Research suggests that as long as you start thinking about an assignment, it’s better to “procrastinate” and come back to it later. The time in between allows your mind to be open to more stimuli and creativity; let the idea ‘marinate’ a little before it’s fully baked.

Blond woman smiling at the camera - Katherine konrad.

Katherine is a marketing professional by day and a content creator by night. She enjoys summers in Minnesota, and anywhere else in the winter. When she’s not writing you can find her exploring new neighborhood hangouts; dressed up at a social event; jogging around Minneapolis lakes; or staring at her phone.

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