What's the point in interview questions like "what's your biggest weakness?"

Updated on : December 3, 2021 by Daniel Harvey



What's the point in interview questions like "what's your biggest weakness?"

Let's look at it from the interviewer's perspective, I don't think it's a waste of time.

This is a trick question. Usually when this question is asked, the interviewer is trying to see the following things in their answer.

  1. Do you have weakness? It is obvious that everyone has a weakness of one kind or another, very few are sincere enough to accept and express it.
  2. Weakness is not always harmful. Your weakness can be a strength for the organization.
  3. Help the organization see the possibility of turning its weakness into strength by recommending an internal training program or workshops. In order to help or assist you
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Let's look at it from the interviewer's perspective, I don't think it's a waste of time.

This is a trick question. Usually when this question is asked, the interviewer is trying to see the following things in their answer.

  1. Do you have weakness? It is obvious that everyone has a weakness of one kind or another, very few are sincere enough to accept and express it.
  2. Weakness is not always harmful. Your weakness can be a strength for the organization.
  3. Help the organization see the possibility of turning its weakness into strength by recommending an internal training program or workshops. To be able to assist or help you in this regard, it is necessary that they know what their weak areas are.
  4. If you know what your weaknesses are, what exactly are you doing for them? It says a lot about your approach. Do you have an action plan or do you just feel ideal and do nothing about it?

Your answer should cover all of the above points. It should start with the identification, the possible good use of the weakness (if any), what you are doing to improve and what kind of help you need.

To answer this question well, one must go through a fair evaluation of oneself by taking feedback from loved ones and close ones. It is useful not only for the interview, but also for life.

You should never waste time in an interview with a question that cannot lead to a hiring or not hiring decision. This is a popular question based on theory, but the reality is different.

While you will get a lot of theory from the other answers in practice, this is just a good question to test how prepared the interviewee is for the interview.

Assuming it is interesting information for the position. You can also ask directly what they did to prepare for the interview.

Since most changed people's strengths are their weaknesses, a better way to ask this is as two parts: fi

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You should never waste time in an interview with a question that cannot lead to a hiring or not hiring decision. This is a popular question based on theory, but the reality is different.

While you will get a lot of theory from the other answers in practice, this is just a good question to test how prepared the interviewee is for the interview.

Assuming it is interesting information for the position. You can also ask directly what they did to prepare for the interview.

Since the strengths of most changed people are their weaknesses, a better way to ask this is as a two-part group: first ask them their strength and then, based on that strength, ask them how they deal with the corresponding weakness. But that requires thought and care on the part of the interviewer.

There are two reasons why one might hear this question in an interview:

  1. The interviewer read about asking questions like this in a magazine article, or
  2. The interviewer wants to see the interviewee think quickly, speak unscripted, see how comfortable they feel being put in a bind, etc.

The question I hate the most is "What's the one question you hoped we wouldn't ask you?" I always answer, "That one."

And of course you know the NSFW joke about the old man who went to the interview and was asked the question, "What do you think is your biggest weakness?" The old man ans

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There are two reasons why one might hear this question in an interview:

  1. The interviewer read about asking questions like this in a magazine article, or
  2. The interviewer wants to see the interviewee think quickly, speak unscripted, see how comfortable they feel being put in a bind, etc.

The question I hate the most is "What's the one question you hoped we wouldn't ask you?" I always answer, "That one."

And of course you know the NSFW joke about the old man who went to the interview and was asked the question, "What do you think is your biggest weakness?" The old man replied, "Honesty." The interviewer said, "Well sir, I don't think being honest is something to consider as a weakness."

The old man replied, "I don't give a damn what you think."

You are most likely asking yourself this question. A parallel scenario is this ..., "why should the interviewer ask me about my work experience when I have written it on my resume?"
As an interviewer, I always ask this question. I just want to see how a candidate responds. Your answer is more important than the answer itself.
Learn the rules of engagement and you will be fine.
You can get more advice from some of my ebooks on interview questions, office politics, etc. Just go to my profile page.

I'll start by saying that this is a terrible interview question, but it's one that you'll be asked throughout your career, so it's best to be prepared with some kind of answer. For starters, absolutely DO NOT humbly brag when asked this question. It's incredibly trite. As ubiquitous as the interview question may be, imagine how many times an interviewer has heard the following response: "I may be too much of a perfectionist," even just writing that thing that I almost threw up a bit in my mouth. A close runner-up in the "humble bragging about my weakness" category is: "I take too much responsibility and don't give

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I'll start by saying that this is a terrible interview question, but it's one that you will be asked throughout your career, so it's best to be prepared with some kind of answer. For starters, absolutely DO NOT humbly brag when asked this question. It's incredibly trite. As ubiquitous as the interview question may be, imagine how many times an interviewer has heard the following response: "I may be too much of a perfectionist," even just typing that thing that I almost threw up a bit in my mouth. A close runner-up in the "humble bragging about my weakness" category is: "I take too much responsibility and don't delegate."

I want to make it clear that not delegating and being a perfectionist are absolutely real weaknesses. Not delegating can lead to balls falling and the inability to prioritize tasks or be a team player. Perfectionism can be debilitating and cause severe procrastination. But none of these are answers you should give when discussing your weaknesses and this is why. You should always start from the end goal when evaluating your answer to an interview question. The interviewer asks you this question to get a valuable signal about your self-awareness. Understanding your gaps is important and an employee who does not know his own weaknesses is a walking responsibility. So when it comes to weakness, there is nothing that shows a lack of self-awareness more than humbly bragging. Perhaps perfectionism is your biggest real weakness. Skip it. Go to your second greatest weakness, or even your third. This should be easy. Personally, I have a full list of areas where I can improve. Show the interviewer that you realize what you want to say and give him the answer that will get him the right signal. If you can't recite some gaps in a matter of moments, what exactly are you working on to improve?

Everyone has flaws, some of us know about them and others are blind spots. Sometimes I wish candidates would get over their fear of looking bad and instead confidently share a true weakness in an interview. Be a little vulnerable. No one is asking you to admit that you will never be able to deliver projects on time. That could cost you your job. But knowing your strengths and weaknesses shows that you are self-aware and developing as an employee or an expert in your field.

When people use this question to flaunt their humility, I find it very inauthentic. Are you afraid that it could backfire and be used against you after the interview? Frankly, I would be very cautious if I worked for any employer who did not offer me the job because they openly shared one of my weaknesses. I'm not sure it's a job I really want.

This is the softest softball question I can imagine.

What is a good answer? Just answer honestly and describe your best day. Perhaps the only caveat is to keep it relevant to the position. (For example, if you are interviewing for a marketing position, this is not the time to discuss how good you are at cooking.)

How would you answer that question? Usually something like:

  • I'm smart.
  • I'm creative
  • I get along well with people. It's good to have me on a team (if that's the role) and I'm a good coach (if that's the role).

Etc.

But of course, try to make this a little more conversational.

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This is the softest softball question I can imagine.

What is a good answer? Just answer honestly and describe your best day. Perhaps the only caveat is to keep it relevant to the position. (For example, if you are interviewing for a marketing position, this is not the time to discuss how good you are at cooking.)

How would you answer that question? Usually something like:

  • I'm smart.
  • I'm creative
  • I get along well with people. It's good to have me on a team (if that's the role) and I'm a good coach (if that's the role).

Etc.

But definitely try to make this a bit more conversational. Weave your personality together, whether it's being funny, sincere, analytical… whatever. Be yourself.

For example, I often try to be a little provocative in a caring way. Instead of saying "I'm good on a team," you could say something like, "One of my strengths is that I have a very short memory." I want the interviewer to say (either out loud or to himself): “Huh ?! A short memory is not a fortress! "

I go on to explain: “A short memory, in the sense that I don't hold grudges and only look forward, not back. If you my potential boss want my opinion at any stage of a project, I will give you my best opinion. If you decide to go in another direction, I do not blame you or whoever came up with the other direction. I will never say 'I told you so' if we end up facing a problem, and I will never resent someone else's success. "

The only other strategic tip is to watch out for traps. If I ask you what your best strengths are now, be prepared to talk about your weaknesses below. Don't answer the easy question in a way that ends your answer to the hard question. Make sure they stick together in a way that is credible.

Strengths - Framework to respond

Use the rule of 3: give 3 strengths.

Focus on the core strengths of the position for which you are applying. You want to be able to highlight these skills.

Bonus points if you highlight 3 strengths directly from the job description. The JD is like speaking the language of the company.

Example "Give me your main strengths"

"Absolutely. I think I have 3 main strengths that I would like to highlight and they are the following:

  1. I am extremely analytical. As an example, this time using information about our clients, I was able to significantly influence a change in the overall values ​​of our clients.
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Strengths - Framework to respond

Use the rule of 3: give 3 strengths.

Focus on the core strengths of the position for which you are applying. You want to be able to highlight these skills.

Bonus points if you highlight 3 strengths directly from the job description. The JD is like speaking the language of the company.

Example "Give me your main strengths"

"Absolutely. I think I have 3 main strengths that I would like to highlight and they are the following:

  1. I am extremely analytical. As an example, this time using information about our customers, I was able to significantly influence a change in our overall customer service strategy. I noticed in our data that there weren't many repeat purchases from our customers. This information that I presented to my team helped us change our strategy in which we started selling our products to customers. I make tons of my decisions based on the data that allows me to keep any biases out of the equation.
  2. I think I have strong leadership skills. The ability to influence others and bring out the best in them is one of my strengths. I didn't have any direct reports in my last job, but I was able to successfully present the idea of ​​better customer service operations to my manager.
  3. Finally, I am relentless and see things through to the end. In my first job as a CSR at Microsoft, there were tons of bugs in one of our older products that management had given up on due to the volume of bugs. This was an opportunity for me to step in, prioritize those mistakes, and communicate it to the product managers working on the project. When we launched it, the project won tons of praise from both me and our department in general and was considered a great success for the company. "

Weaknesses - Framework to respond

Be honest here and don't give something vague like "I work too much."

Pick a genuine weakness.

Be professional and talk about weaknesses related to work, compared to something personal.

Finally, be sure to mention what you are doing to overcome this weakness.

Example: What is your biggest weakness?

“In my last performance review, my boss wrote that“ John has a straightforward and straightforward approach. For those unfamiliar with John, they will be surprised by John's bluntness and find him offensive. "

The reason I am frank is that I am impatient with others. I am eager for my team to do a job and do it well. For the past 3 years, I have worked to be more patient by:

  1. Meditating It helps to be more calm and contemplative.
  2. Be more compassionate. I have begun to accept that not everyone can operate to my standards.
  3. Take time for breaks. Whether it's working out or having a beer with my coworkers, it helps me break the essential routine.

Recently, my colleagues and direct reports have noticed a change in my behavior. One person told me, “John, you are more relaxed now. Little things don't seem to bother him that much. He has been more patient with others and his working relationships have improved. "

Strengths and weaknesses

Sometimes employers will ask you questions related to your strengths and weaknesses. The key is to respond to both.

For example, you might be asked, "What would your co-workers say about you?"

The key to this question is to acknowledge that the interviewer is trying to see if you are critical of yourself, but at the same time acknowledging your strengths.

Sample strengths

Here is a list of strengths that you can check off for your interview.

You show weaknesses

Similarly, here is a list of weaknesses.

Sample questions

Strengths

1. What are some of your strengths?

2. Tell me your strengths.

3. What would be the reasons why we would promote you in your work?

4. Why should we hire you?

5. What is your leadership style?

Weaknesses

1. What are some of your weaknesses?

2. If you are not here at this company in 1 year, what do you think the reasons would be?

Strengths and weaknesses

1. If I asked your former boss / coworker about you, what would they say?

Note: Visit us on Coursetake. We provide job and company specific interview preparation.

Bring a list of them. Look, I got to a point in my life where I realized that my interviewing skills are really good (no kidding, I got rejected twice in twenty years, Quora doesn't count because I wasn't rejected ... but probably if they were). going ') were convincing me of jobs that I wouldn't like or would be bad at. It happened twice briefly, once convinced myself of a role that I was unqualified for and bad at (Costco), and once when I was entering a hyper-conservative and restrictive environment (Goodyear). Both are my flaws, not theirs.

After Goodyear I vowed to go ahead to make a poi

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Bring a list of them. Look, I got to a point in my life where I realized that my interviewing skills are really good (no kidding, I got rejected twice in twenty years, Quora doesn't count because I wasn't rejected ... but probably if they were). going ') were convincing me of jobs that I wouldn't like or would be bad at. It happened twice briefly, once convinced myself of a role that I was unqualified for and bad at (Costco), and once when I was entering a hyper-conservative and restrictive environment (Goodyear). Both are my flaws, not theirs.

After Goodyear, I vowed to move on to make a point of going over my top five shortcomings. Why? They have been there my whole life. They are not going anywhere. I subscribe to the Marchus Buckingham program (explained in his book: Now Discover Your Strengths), and instead of punishing myself and promising that "I will no longer be that thing," I now wear them on my sleeve by interviewing and clearly stating, "Don't hire me. if these are not supported here. Here's what I do to soften them up a bit, but they've been that way since I was ten years old and they aren't going to change much now that I'm 40 years old. "

To that end, I said this before and will say it again. Stop convincing yourself of places you don't belong and stop convincing yourself to be someone you are not. You can have great professional success if you know your weaknesses (yes, call them that, damn the language police) and how you fix them. Your weaknesses dictate how you develop your strengths: focus on them and show how in your life they have been the key to your success.

What doesn't change about Dan Holliday:

  1. I'm not the type that you stick with in long meetings or small spaces. I experience the twin pressures of: claustrophobia and ADHD. When the phobia strikes, I have no anxiety, I get physically sick and vomit or just start to pass out. I sweat profusely. I experience physical pain when sitting in long meetings, so if that's the job, I'm not your man.
  2. I'm not the type that you have to pore over reports looking for variations, let alone create them. I have worked for almost 20 years to improve my report reading skills. I read very slowly, rereading the pages frequently over and over again. In the reports with a lot of wavy lines and shapes that mean things and things, everything starts to look Greek to me.
  3. I am debilitatingly gregarious. I need human contact, I don't want; Needed. You can't just put me on a project or I'll go crazy. I need to be in a social environment where I can speak. I'll wear my Bose noise-canceling headphones when I need you to shut up. (I don't say that much in interviews ... but I don't say it either.)
  4. I am incredibly and obsessively driven by routine. This may seem like a fortress, but it is not. I've missed seeing loved ones in town through a short window because I have to go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 4:51 am †. Anything that deviates me from that routine changes my life and everything falls apart. My day is planned to the minute and I can tell you exactly where I will be and what I will eat from Sunday night to Friday night.
    † Wake-up times should end in "1" - How about that for weird OCD-style behaviors?
  5. I am very, VERY forgetful. (Ask the people who met me at Quora meetings - if it weren't for the badges, I wouldn't remember anyone.) If it can be forgotten, I will forget it. I write everything down and use a ton of reminders, but if it weren't for them, I'd forget. My ability to forget even massive and important problems is legendary. (My friend came to town a few weeks ago ... I forgot he would come even after he told me repeatedly during the weeks before he showed up at the office.) If it's not on my schedule, calendar, or alarm reminders, it no longer exists for me.

I share them wherever I go. Some places thank me and say, “Wow. You know, this may not be the best role, ”and for that I thank you. Some folks (like my current employer and hopefully forever) Facebook said, “Yeah, you'll be a perfect fit with our folks, you crazy hammer box. Now give us a hug and hit the Like button! "

How do you answer the question, "But then how can you fix them?" it is just as important. Write down your five biggest weaknesses. Then write (you're doing this in private so you have to be honest with yourself silly), what you're good at that helps you get things done in life. This may be leaning towards a weakness that is also a strength in different ways, or it may be in how you invent the processes.

  • I am incredibly open to coaching and even direct and forceful feedback. It has always been the most important call from my manager in my annual evaluations. I accept criticism easily and adjust course just as quickly.
  • I make very ethical decisions with a strong philosophical thought process on how it affects others.
  • I learn very fast. I'm proud of how quickly I can take on a role and learn it, getting up to 90% functionality in time, typically half of what most people need.
  • I am a player / team builder. In every team I've been on, one of my key focuses has been to help (in whatever way appropriate) build esprit de corps with my co-workers, whether it's baking for them, organizing trainings / team building, or planning regular meetings.
  • I focus on the metrics. I do what I do, I identify the "specialties" and I specialize in them. Deliverables are always key.
  • Focus on efficiency. I'm always playing with the process and I'm always thinking of new ways to standardize it without stifling individual creativity.
  • I care about teaching. My subordinates and colleagues have regularly pointed out my obsession with knowledge transfer and coaching in ways that are tailored to the needs of each individual.
  • I'm the guy you find when there's a breakdown in a team. I'm very good at identifying what is wrong and really good at helping you figure out how to fix it. So it's also great to have it on the team as the solution is rolled out and sold to the team.
  • In teaching and guiding others, I focus on "Three Signs of a Miserable Job" by Patrick Lencioni. To that end, I avoid inflicting that professional killer on others. These are: anonymity, irrelevance, and incommensurability. Treat people as people of integrity and value; teach how work and equipment are important in our daily lives; Provide tools that allow any individual to know how to be successful as an objective truth (rather than depending on you or someone else to know when you are doing well).

August 2019,
Seattle, WA.

A very good friend came to ask me for help. He trusts me and was having trouble in his career and needed some advice. He's not super smart or brilliant in a conventional way; something that he is very aware of and something that I have often pointed out to him in various situations over the years. In about 5 minutes of talking to him, it was clear that the reason there were problems was because he was not being very receptive to feedback. He took it all as criticism and immediately went on the defensive trying to blame and offer excuses for every misstep. It was always the fault of circu

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August 2019,
Seattle, WA.

A very good friend came to ask me for help. He trusts me and was having trouble in his career and needed some advice. He's not super smart or brilliant in a conventional way; something that he is very aware of and something that I have often pointed out to him in various situations over the years. In about 5 minutes of talking to him, it was clear that the reason there were problems was because he was not being very receptive to feedback. He took it all as criticism and immediately went on the defensive trying to blame and offer excuses for every misstep. It was always the fault of circumstances, colleagues, misunderstandings from bosses, etc. He didn't want to accept responsibility for his mistakes and failures and learn and grow from them.

It took me less than 5 minutes to lose my patience with him and go from being a caring and understanding mentor to an angry lunatic yelling at him for being a complete idiot. I have always had a very strong growth mindset. It really bothers me dealing with people who don't subscribe to that ideology. That day, I berated him for being an idiot who was not willing to accept his mistakes and learn and grow from them, I told him that he was going to crash and burn if he did not stop blaming the world for his mistakes. He told her that her career would stagnate and she would die if she didn't start to take control of her life, accept responsibility, and start fixing things.

Everything I told you was absolutely true. But somehow, the result was that his trust died slightly that day, his trust in me as a friend and mentor wavered, and he regretted trusting me and coming to me for help.
I stood there feeling like a complete asshole for disappointing my friend; a complete failure and a great idiot.


What is your weakness?

I have a strong cognitive bias about certain things. Specifically, I dive into a confirmation bias very often. I have also been making active and conscious efforts to steer clear of selfish biases for the past few years. But by far my biggest personality trap is mirror images. My inherent assumption is that the person I'm talking to is a projection of myself, thinks like me, processes information like me, and has the same goals and objectives as me. It prevents me from really putting myself in someone else's shoes.

I have always tried to surround myself with colleagues, friends, mentors, and guides who are much smarter than I am. I think I'm the average of the five people I spend the most time with, so I've tried to make sure they are always people that I can learn and grow from. But my metric measurement growth has been myopic; it has been overindicated in cognitive intelligence. I have completely ignored the social and emotional index. This has often caused stress in my relationships with my friends, my spouse, my family, and even colleagues and acquaintances. I like to think of myself as open-minded and quite liberal, but I often don't realize how quickly I am quick to judge and categorize someone on an intelligence scale; my quality and content of the conversations, my level of interest and commitment, my sincerity towards the time that I will invest with them, all are based on that one metric. This is a big problem.

I have found that I am doing this over and over again, more and more with each passing year. It wasn't until very recently that I realized that this was not a strength, but a great weakness. I used to pride myself on being able to have intelligent conversations with just about anyone about just about anything, be it as a great contributor or as an avid listener soaking up every word of new and interesting information. I have always been devoid of most of the emotions, I cannot relate to sympathy; however, I have always been a champion of empathy. Slowly, day by day, my cognitive biases have eaten away at this. My prejudice has started to turn me into a conceited idiot. This is a big problem.

What am I doing to fix it?

The first step in solving a problem is accepting that it exists. It has not been an easy pill to swallow, but little by little I am trying to accept the bitter truth that I am sunk in this hole. I am trying to read and learn more about these prejudices, where they come from and how; what to do to achieve that proper balance without over-indexing. I am trying to learn to accept people with a varied intelligence and emotional range as I do with any other type of diversity. I am trying to accept feedback in this space as much as I do when it comes to my rational, analytical, and technological thoughts.
I am trying to learn and grow.

Well, I guess that's a disgusting way of putting it.


Footnotes:

Cognitive traps for intelligence analysis - Wikipedia

Cognitive bias - Wikipedia

Confirmation bias - Wikipedia

Selfish bias - Wikipedia


In case we haven't met before, I'm Rohan Kamath.
Thank you for reading. I hope I can help you reflect today. :)

Everyone has one weakness or another, and the interviewer knows it. That is why you ask this question. Answering it wisely is the solution.

If your weakness becomes a strength for the company, it doesn't get better than that. For example: - If you say that being a perfectionist is your weakness because people feel that you are too particular with things and they do not understand you sometimes, this will reflect a positive side of you, instead of showing your weakness, it will reflect your strength. What company doesn't want people to do their job perfectly?

Suppose you cannot express your

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Everyone has one weakness or another, and the interviewer knows it. That is why you ask this question. Answering it wisely is the solution.

If your weakness becomes a strength for the company, it doesn't get better than that. For example: - If you say that being a perfectionist is your weakness because people feel that you are too particular with things and they do not understand you sometimes, this will reflect a positive side of you, instead of showing your weakness, it will reflect your strength. What company doesn't want people to do their job perfectly?

Suppose you cannot express your weakness in a positive way, accept your weakness. Talk about how you are working to overcome it.

Be honest. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses with equal confidence.

We must accept ourselves first, only then can we hope that the world will accept us :)

This happened to me at my off-campus job interview at wipro.

Now it was my turn and it was around 12:35 am (Nov 9, 2015) and I was completely exhausted after clearing

All rounds of GD and aptitude testing.

I was waiting for this since 9:00 am (November 8, 2016)


I entered the room and greeted the interviewer "Good morning" sir (That guy
looked at me harshly)


Interviewer: Sit Harsh


Me: thank you sir


Interviewer: He asked me about my project from last year and some other technical things from my field (ohhh, I forgot to tell you that I was studying Engineering in Electronics and Communications).


Everything was fine until

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This happened to me at my off-campus job interview at wipro.

Now it was my turn and it was around 12:35 am (Nov 9, 2015) and I was completely exhausted after clearing

All rounds of GD and aptitude testing.

I was waiting for this since 9:00 am (November 8, 2016)


I entered the room and greeted the interviewer "Good morning" sir (That guy
looked at me harshly)


Interviewer: Sit Harsh


Me: thank you sir


Interviewer: He asked me about my project from last year and some other technical things from my field (ohhh, I forgot to tell you that I was studying Engineering in Electronics and Communications).


Everything was fine so far.


Interviewer: GET OUT (I mean, what is this guy throwing at me?)


Interviewer: stay outside when I call and then just come in


Almost 5 minutes passed, I knew the time perfectly because every minute for me was like an hour.


Then the bell rang and the peon called me.


Interviewer: Harsh, come in
. Sit down. Tell me what is the difference in the room now after 5 minutes than before.
(At this moment I was dumbfounded, I was like what this person is asking me)

IN MY MIND: I checked the desk thoroughly, scanned the wall, looked at the papers randomly scattered on the table ..
Then after checking all the things correctly, I replied

Yo: Señor, antes de salir, el reloj de pared mostraba la hora 12:47 am (era digital, así que sé la hora exacta) y ahora muestra 12:56 am, es la única diferencia que veo aquí.

Entrevistador: (una sonrisa profesional)
Gracias duras, puede irse ahora.

Me: Thank you, Sir ( ohhhhh my god the butterflies just stopped in my belly)

Result : Got Selected

It’s simple, observe yourself in day to day activities. You will find your weaknesses. Note it down and also, work to improve on it.

There are some of people weaknesses that are easily improved like some people get easily provoked, short-tempered, lack of concentration, shy, communication skills etc etc.

Hope this was helpful to you.

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