From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

November 2021
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Weakness. Procrastination. What to add in an interview
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 9:50 am

In our class, we requested each team to split up
responses to the question often posed in interviews:
Half for:
What is a weakness of yours?
Half for:
 What is a strength that you possess?
Then, asked each team to divide up the assignment,
expecting a 50/50 division of weaknesses and strengths.

Interesting results came back that revealed something
about this challenge. 
(1) More than half (2/3) elected to share a weakness. 
(2) Perfectionism was posed as a weakness, which I
suggested is too often used and perceived as a “pat”
answer, for it could be a strength for all of us ’strive
for perfection,’ but obsessing about it by dotting all
the “i’s” and crossing all “t’s” on all things can be done
to an extreme.  Perhaps, I coached them, it could be said
that you worry excessively about what others think and
are self conscious about making decisions
.  To help
yourself you have decided to develop a mentor relationship
with someone you trust to confirm urgent and important
things that deserve attention.

Keep the description of the weakness brief and honest.
Consider developing a direction out of the weakness
that shows insight to the root cause.  Practice describing
it [writing a draft, thinking, speaking].

(3) Procrastination came up most often as a weakness.
It strikes me that we put things off for a variety of
interpreted reasons.  In the extreme, it is a problem.  I
coached the procrastinators, to modify this “habit” by building
on Frank Partnoy’s recognition that procrastination is all about
trade-offs,  Their solution approach involves recognizing
that “structured procrastination,” where we establish priorities
and manage our time is a professional skill. 

It is not avoiding things. 

It is allowing more thought, obtaining more information,
seeking more alternatives  in delaying intentionally to be
deliberate when the judgement calls for it.

2 Responses to “Weakness. Procrastination. What to add in an interview”

  1. site admin Says:

    Ilya Pozin offered suggestions that seem to nicely “chunk”
    the structured procrastination keystone habit.

    My perspective shuffles his order of ten items?

    There’s no secret formula for ending your procrastination
    altogether, but there a number of ways you can manage
    your habits more effectively:
    1. Set goals.                                     2. Prioritize.
    3. Break tasks down.                       4. Eliminate distractions.
    5. Find your best workspace.         6. Make time for breaks.
    7. Assess your avoidance. Stop demanding perfection
    8. Find your rhythm. Evaluate your timing.
  2. site admin Says:

    Nice article on the importance of knowing your strengths:

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