Worldwide Panel LLC, a small market-research firm, is getting flooded with resumes for four vacancies in sales and information technology.
小型市场研究公司Worldwide Panel LLC准备招聘4名销售和IT技术人员，结果收到了大量简历。
However, officials expect to reject numerous applicants after asking them: 'What is your greatest weakness?' Candidates often respond 'with something that is not a weakness,' say Christopher Morrow, senior vice president of the Calabasas,Calif., concern. 'It is a deal breaker.'
The weakness question represents the most common and most stressful one posed during interviews. Yet in today's weak job market, the wrong answer weakens your chances of winning employment.
Some people offer replies they mistakenly assume that bosses love, such as 'I am a perfectionist.' That response will be used against you because you appear incapable of delegating, warns Joshua Ehrlich, dean of a master's program in executive coaching sponsored by BeamPines Inc., a New York coaching firm and Middlesex University in London.
一些应聘者会给出误以为老板会喜欢的答案，比如，“我的缺点是过于追求完美”。对此埃里奇(Joshua Ehrlich)提醒说，这个回答会对你求职不利，因为它显得你似乎没有能力授权给他人。埃里奇是一个由纽约职业培训机构BeamPines Inc.和伦敦米德塞克斯大学(Middlesex University)合办的经理人硕士班培训项目的负责人。
A careful Game plan could help you cope with the shortcoming query in a way that highlights your fit for a desired position. Job seekers who field the question well demonstrate that they can 'take initiative and improve themselves,' Mr. Morrow says.
The key? Thorough preparation. Career specialists suggest you take stock of your weaknesses, focusing on job-related ones that won't impede your ability to perform your duties. Tony Santora, an executive vice president for Right Management, a major outplacement firm inPhiladelphia, says an information-technology manager flubbed a 2007 interview by choosing a personal foible as his reply: 'My true weakness is that I am a terrible cook.'
关键在哪里？那就是充分的准备。职场专家建议，你可以整理一下自己的缺点，挑出其中跟工作有关、但又不会妨碍你行使工作职责的方面。费城大型职业介绍机构Right Management执行副总裁桑特拉(Tony Santora)说，2007年一位IT经理在参加面试时，在有关缺点的问题上败下阵来：他的回答居然是，“我真正的缺点是，我的烹饪技术很糟糕。”
Rehearse your responses aloud, role play with a friend or videotape yourself -- but don't memorize your words. As you review the video, look for aspects you would like to change so you can continue to get better as you practice, says Peggy Klaus, a leadership coach in Berkeley, Calif.
The IT manager changed his tune after practice sessions with fellow job seekers and a counselor in Cincinnatifor Right Management. He instead said he worked such long hours that he found it difficult to stay current with world events. So, he spent 30 minutes every evening catching up at home.
When the manager pursued an opportunity at a global drug maker, his revamped response 'really resonated with the interviewer,' says Mr. Santora. The manufacturer hired the man.
It's equally important that you consider an employer's corporate culture. While being interviewed by a start-up, 'you could say, 'My weakness is I get bored by routine,'' says Ben Dattner, a New Yorkindustrial psychologist.
Last month, an aspiring executive director of a nonprofit group in suburbanSan Francisconearly jeopardized his selection because his reply to a variation of the weakness question ignored one of its core values, according to Ms. Klaus, a board member there. Near the end of his interview, she wondered whether he might have problems with any aspects of the job. 'No, I am confident I could do it all,' the prospect declared.
His flip comment dismayed Ms. Klaus, because she felt he lacked awareness of his weaknesses. She says his response raised doubts among board members that 'he would be able to take critical feedback,' an attribute the organization values highly.
Because the man was well-qualified, the board gave him a second interview -- and demanded a fuller explanation of his weak spots. He said he had been 'unprepared for that question and nervous about coming out with a big fatal flaw,' then described his tendency to make decisions too fast during workplace crises. Board members' doubts disappeared, and they picked him for the nonprofit's top job.
Ideally, your reply also should exclude the word 'weakness' and cover your corrective steps. Dubbing your greatest fault a 'window of opportunity' signals your improvement efforts should benefit the workplace, says Oscar Adler, a retired Maidenform Brands sales executive and author of the book, 'Sell Yourself in Any Interview.' For instance, he suggests, a salesman might note that he sold more after strengthening his facility with numbers.
理想的情况是，你在回答中应尽量避免使用“缺点”这样的词，同时还可以提到改正措施。Maidenform Brands销售主管、《在面试中推销自己》(Sell Yourself in Any Interview)一书的作者阿德勒(Oscar Adler)说，将你最大的缺点转化为“机会之窗”，表明你的改善措施将使工作受益。比如他建议说，销售人员可以说，在强化数学能力后，销售业绩上升了。
When an interviewer pops this nerve-wracking query, your body language counts as well. The wrong nonverbal cues undercut your credibility. Certain candidates hunch over, glance furtively around the room or wring their sweaty palms. 'They sort of look like they're being asked a question they can't handle,' says Mr. Adler.
Maintaining eye contact, regular breathing and a broad smile impress employers that 'you're prepared for the weakness question,' says psychotherapist Pat Pearson, author of 'Stop Self-Sabotage!'
心理学家皮尔森(Pat Pearson)说，保持视线接触、正常呼吸和明朗的微笑可以让雇主觉得“你对有关弱点的问题有所准备”。皮尔森着有《停止自我摧毁》(Stop Self-Sabotage!)一书。
For the same reason, you seem thoughtful if you pause before responding. But don't wait too long. 'If you're going to take a minute,' Mr. Morrow cautions, 'I've just identified your weakness.'