Some time ago I was brought into an informal meeting to talk about my future. Since this was a casual thing, I decided it was safe to not have my “interview guard” up – to be me. You know if I’m mentioning it at the start, then it’s probably foreshadowing. I kind of bumbled into the office, as I sometimes do, flopped down and smiled goofily around the room. Then the questions started. Note: treat the parenthesis like a thought bubble – anything in between them, I thought but I didn’t say. It’s the ones outside of the thought bubble that you should, “dear God!” about.
Supervisor: Beth, what would you say your biggest strength is?
Me: Uhh… communication! (Yes, that’s a solid answer; I’ll go with that one). Yes, communication. I’m also skilled at working with difficult people. (This is true, some of the most difficult, crunchy, grumpy, angry jerks come flop in my cubicle. They bring me presents from their vacations, send me cute notes, think about me over the holidays and won’t miss a beat to growl at others while saying hello to me. I use my goofiness and curiosity about people as my tools to work with them. So, not a bad answer.)
Supervisor: What would you then say is your biggest weakness?
I hate this question. The trick to it, that you already know, is to make that weakness a positive. I typically go with, “I find it challenging to work with people who don’t work as hard as I do.” I don’t really have a hard time with those kind of people, but I can’t say, “I’m glad you asked. It’s sugar! Cute animals. I mean holy cow, they’re cute! Memorizing lines for my next sketch show. Rock climbing. Oh, and not yawning in post-lunch meetings. Hey! I’m digesting people! Wait, that sounds like I’ve eaten people. Make that, “Hey! I’m digesting, people.” Better.” I paused a bit. I really didn’t have my interview game on and my mind was racing around trying to remember what that thing was I always said when asked this question. “Make it a positive Beth, make it a positive!”
Supervisor: Is it kryptonite?
Me (straight faced): Well, it’s actually red kryptonite.
Supervisor: It’s the worst. Any problems with blue?
Me: Not that I’m aware of, but I really hate the one that turns you into a baby. It can make things awkward.
Supervisor (making a note on my résumé): So, biggest weakness is red kryptonite. Anything else?
Me: My terrible sense of humor.
And that’s really what I said in an informal, yet crazily awesome interview. Oh, and I should mention that I may have also asked if I was going to be cyberstalked, because much like kryptonite you see how that could easily come up in interview.