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Tired of candidates lying when asked about their weaknesses? Here's how to end that once and for all

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

We've all seen it before. As soon as you ask a candidate to share their biggest weakness, they put on a show, act holier than thou, and give you a BS answer.

"I'm too sensitive."

"I work too hard."

"I care too much."


Don't you wish you could just have an honest conversation instead?

In this blog post, I'll uncover the secret of how to overcome this problem.

Well, here it is, here's the secret.







It's a stupid question. It doesn't show "self-reflection" or "self-awareness." It only antagonizes perfectly good candidates and gives you zero useful information. This question is a prehistoric relic that's unfortunately still being passed down from one generation to another.

But what insights does it really give you?

Did you ever think that question made sense when others interviewed you?

Did it help anyone understand you better before they hired you?

Did you tell the truth?

To scratch the surface of who someone is, you'll have to ask insightful questions and derive information yourself. Understanding how it'll be working with the person in front of you won't come from a neat 'strengths vs. weaknesses' checklist.

Here are 11 better questions to use in an interview:

  1. Tell me about a mistake you've made. What did you learn from it?

  2. Tell me about a disagreement you've had with your boss. How did you resolve it?

  3. Someone gave you unfair feedback. How would you deal with that?

  4. What's your most significant achievement? Who helped you get there?

  5. Tell me about the most helpful feedback you've ever received.

  6. Tell me about the most challenging personality you've ever worked with. How did you deal with that?

  7. What did you learn in the past year of your current/previous role?

  8. How do you handle disappointment?

  9. What gives you energy? What drains your energy?

  10. What are your improvement goals in your current role?

  11. What was the most challenging part of your previous role?

Skilfully digging into these stories will give you a flavor of how this person thinks, feels, and behaves. They'll show you if they can self reflect, manage challenges productively, and grow. These stories will also show you the candidate's imperfections. And unless you're interviewing robots, that's perfectly normal. You'll be able to make better hiring decisions with the candidate's full personality in mind.

Empathy and vulnerability for the win

If you're looking for great candidates, make sure you have the right environment so people can feel at ease and SHINE. Asking questions that only make people nervous and prone to fibbing is counterproductive. Some candidates will perform marvelously under pressure on the work floor but suck at interviewing. Are looking for great performers who will boost your business? Or great interviewees with the most polished answers? One doesn't always match the other.

Don't miss out on talent because you're looking for skill in the wrong spot.

Test yourself, are you looking for the perfect candidates? (or the right ones?)


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