My next pet that I get to name will be called “Peeve.” Why, you may ask? I can then say to people, “this is my pet Peeve.” Speaking of such pets, one of mine is the cliche and over used job search advice and tactics given by almost every job counselor in the system. Equally “peeving” are the common questions that still are used by employers that cause interviewees to stumble over a greatest weakness or strength.
I recently started reading a book called “Be Your Own Shrink” by Dr. Kevin Leman. In the first chapter, he discusses strengths and weaknesses. As I read, an epiphany came to me that the questions “What is your greatest strength/weakness?” are stupid. I have known that for a long time but who in their right mind would answer the question with their TRUE greatest weakness. Seriously, I am not going to tell a potential employer, “I can’t wake up in the morning! I am going to be late every day. Would it be OK if I just shave time off of my lunch hour?” Duh! I am going to tell them something they already know, a weakness within a strength or even a weakness which is now a strength.
I feel like I have good responses to these questions, but so does every other career coach. I don’t even want to dive into what is a good answer today in this blog. I want to teach a concept of internalizing the interview questions.
While reading the book, the epiphany that came to me was that as an interviewer, or a job coach, I am going to start asking the questions “What character trait in your life has contributed to all of your failures?” or “What character trait in your life could help you save the world?” Even better, as my Sheldon-esque friends would rather hear it. “What is your Kryptonite?” or “What is your super power?”
My job as an employment counselor is way more than teaching a person how to write a resume, or answer the question of “Tell me about yourself” roboticly using a memorized elevator pitch. My job is to help a job seeker, identify barriers, find that inner value and conquer the world with their new found superpower.