The question in an interview that you always know you’re going to be asked, but you never quite know how to answer.
Realistically, what are you supposed to say to “tell me your faults”? They may as well say “tell me what’s wrong with you, c’mon, I dare ya!”.
It’s the impossible question to answer correctly. It is the Kobayashi Maru of the interview world. So what do you say to it? Well, you think up your most endearing quirks:
- Oh, me? Oh yeah, I definitely work longer than the hours expected of me (this is unfortunately true, as my wife to be and previous 60 something hour a week job will attest to).
- I’m far too nice sometimes (Nope, not really! You eat my lunch, I will go all Ross Geller on you!).
- I sometimes find it hard to leave my work in the office (Sometimes true, but then again, only because some employers make it impossible for you to leave it at the door).
- I always try and please everybody (I don’t. You can’t. It’s impossible. All you can do is your best. You can please some of the people some of the time et cetera et cetera).
- I’m too much of a perfectionist (What! Really?! Every time I say this I feel like I’m screaming HIRE ME YOU F***ER, SURE I’M TELLING YOU I’M BRILLIANT).
Tell me your faults. To the interviewee it reads like an invitation to openly lie about how bleeding deadly you are.
Think about it, what if you were honest? Would they openly welcome you in as the pint swilling rugby fan with a penchant for Facebook stalking until 4 in the morning (Oops, I accidentally clicked like on a photo from 2009 on my cousins friends sisters friends bikini picture from Ibiza).
So what is the question all about? I think it may be a trick question. A question put there to try and identify just who the insane people are. When you think about it you end up spending more waking hours with the people you work with then your own family. You kind of want to be sure that the dude(tte) sitting on the opposite side of the table isn’t going to come in in a long trench coat someday muttering about the reckoning.
Is there a right answer? No, I don’t think so. However, I do think there are varying degrees of wrong answers. As long as you don’t leave the person on the other side of the desk screaming for the cops, then you probably did ok.
So what will I say the next time that question is put to me? My faults, you say? Well, I stay up too late, I watch far too many Zombie films, I have a slight obsession with Scarlett Johansson (especially in 3D), I don’t really exercise enough, I tend to undress across the bedroom floor leaving a minefield of clothes for the missus to contend with and yeah, that cup of tea without a coaster underneath? Yep, my work!
Actually, I might just tell them that I work outside of my designated hours, that I’m far too nice, I bring my work home with me, I try to please everyone and I’m absolutely a perfcetionist!