Have you ever wondered why people commonly say “you can fool anyone but yourself”? That is because we are the best judge of our own character. It is also said, that there is no mirror in this world in which we can see our own faults and wrongdoings.
Leaving apart the moral tone that I have set, my intent of writing this piece is to help my friends and readers understand the importance of your own weaker pulse. None of us are or can be good at everything. The competition today is tougher than ever. Be it any field or profession, knowing and leveraging your strengths is not enough, because there is always someone somewhere better than you.
There is reason we do SWOT analysis. We need to analyze the strengths and weakness of any situation equally well. These two things are complementary. All of us have them. Some, we are born with; some are conditioned with our upbringing. Therefore, before any interview it is crucial to do your personal SWOT analysis.
And yet, when asked during an interview, about our biggest weaknesses, we often fell quite – an answer that all of us have, but we are too scared to admit; a question very frequently asked, but we don’t like to ponder over.
During my placements, I always used to think why the recruiters ask these questions. Do they expect us to really be honest to ourselves and to them? What could they judge about us from the answer to this common question? Well! Here is what –
- They want to see how self assured we are, how well we know ourselves
- Do we have the courage to face and admit our own weaknesses
- Are we able to find a way to overcome our weakness
From a psychological perspective, modern HR seeks people who can reflect answers to above questions which indicate that they believe in themselves; and organizations hire assertive people who do not mind admitting their own negative traits. They understand that strengths are not purely a matter of pride and weaknesses are nothing to be ashamed of.
Self assessment is the key to achieve your personal best. And yet it is often challenging to spot your Achilles heel. So in order to identify your weaknesses, it is advisable to seek a third person opinion. People who are close to you, like family members, friends and teachers are ideal for giving an unbiased opinion about you. Remember, not all of us are good at taking criticism constructively. Therefore, it is important to keep an open mind about what people think of you. You might not agree to everything that others have to say about you, but it will give you a good starting point to introspect, have you thinking about your shortcomings.
A weakness does not necessarily have to be a part of your personality trait, like slow learner, laid back etc. It could also come from lack of some educational skill or training, a negative work habit, a weak network of connections hampering your chances of finding work. It could also be related to your health or lifestyle. I know a friend of mine who is diabetic and felt that he would not be able to fit himself in a demanding work environment. There is absolutely no problem in admitting to things that you are not capable of or fit for. Because when you work in a professional world, you do not expect the world to align itself as per your potential. On the contrary, you understand your true abilities and find a way to do justice to them.
Please note that though I have suggested the importance of identifying and acknowledging your weakness, you have to figure out a way to express it in an interview. Do not make the recruiter think that your weakness might affect your work or come in the way of the skill set that they are specifically looking for. For example, you can’t say you are not a good team player when you are indeed going to work on a team based project. It is advisable to be subtle. You can rather be safer in saying that you feel your best potential comes out working independently, although you try your best in aligning as a team player as well. Yes! There is no harm in being a little diplomatic. But avoid using the old trick of turning your weakness into strengths. It is too clichéd and will not help you get in the interviewer’s good books.
If knowing your weaknesses is good, then trying to overcome them is even better. So before any interview, list down your weaknesses and mention the one you are working on. By doing so, you put yourself in a more assertive position and demonstrate that you take your problems seriously and are flexible to change.
Having written at lengths about knowing your weaknesses and now understanding the importance of it, I would like to mention what I would answer if someone asked me the question about my weaknesses today. To begin with, I am a procrastinator and laid back; sometimes a little slow in situations that demand promptness; I am not too comfortable in socially interacting with strangers; At times, I care way too much about having people form a specific opinion about me; I am not a very good contingency planner. These are some and there would still be many. But I like the fact that now I don’t shun away from them. I know them. I can therefore always challenge myself and not let my weaknesses pull me back in life.
Knowing your weaknesses can help you imagine the potential of what you can become if you overcome them. A real sense of personal knowledge is the most valuable asset. Reach out for help if you need it in possessing skills that you don’t have or getting over problems you alone can’t. But do not run away from yourself. BE YOUR OWN MIRROR!
Contributed By : Isha Jajodia ( Class of 2010, IBS Gurgaon).