”Tell me about your greatest weakness.”
When we’re confronted with that dreaded interview question we often seize up.
After years of teaching ourselves to highlight our skills and celebrate our achievements, listing the things that we are not proud of can seem downright wrong.
In the corporate world especially, we have been taught to always put our best foot forward and never let our downfalls show.
However, new research from scientists at University College London suggests that we should no longer be hiding our weaknesses. We should actually be shouting about them.
The study, which analysed nearly 2,000 individuals found that people who voluntarily bring up their flaws in job interviews are more likely to be successful because they stand out from the other candidates.
Lawyers who were upfront about their inadequacies were five times more likely to land a job than those who pretended to be perfect for the role. Teachers who were open about their faults were 22% more successful.
Still not convinced? Here are just a few more reasons that you need to be truthful about your abilities, warts-and-all.
You’ll seem much more human
Stop trying to be a jack of all trades. Everyone has gaps in their skill sets. Having weaknesses doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human.
Your employer will trust you more
Employers appreciate honesty and hard work. Be truthful about the areas that you need to focus on, then work your ass off trying to improve them. This will show your employer that you’re ambitious and self-aware, two things that cannot be taught on the job.
You will go into the job with reasonable expectations
Starting a new job is always difficult but if you go into it with a keen awareness of your skills it is a lot easier. You’ll know what areas of the job you will excel at, and which areas you will need to work on. This will be a great help during your first few weeks.
You will be given the chance to grow
A good employer will listen to your weaknesses and try to find ways to help you to improve them. Whether that’s suggesting an online class, dedicating part of your onboarding to learning a new skill or simply providing monthly reviews to see how you’re handling a particular aspect of the job. If you are not honest about your weaknesses then you may never be given the chance to turn them into strengths.