During an interview, the hiring manager may ask, “Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know,” or something else along those lines that implies he wants you to expose your faulty side.
When the hiring manager asks this question, he is trying to get you to reveal negative information about yourself. He uses this friendly terminology to make you think you are speaking to a confidant instead of an interviewer in order to learn something about you that you may not reveal otherwise.
Points to Emphasize
When you answer this question, choose a positive characteristic that you can cloak as a negative one.
- Discuss personality traits that show your strong work ethic.
- Mention an area that you used to be weak in and how you’ve overcome it.
- Emphasize your level of commitment that goes beyond the traditional 9-to-5.
- Take any positive characteristic and then elevate it to make it sound like a negative.
No matter how you answer this question, the most important rule is to remain positive about yourself and your ability to perform well on the job.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
A question that assumes a level of confidentiality is one that can easily be misconstrued. In order to avoid this potential pitfall, you’ll want to follow these guidelines:
- Don’t discuss a negative trait unless you’re focusing on how you overcame it.
- Don’t forget that the interviewer has planned these questions in advance.
- Make sure you don’t sound self-deprecating or overly cautious about your ability to perform well on the job.
- Avoid the thought that the hiring manager is asking you this question as a friend.
However you answer this question, you’ll want your answer to help elevate you as a candidate.
A good response to a question asking you to reveal your weaknesses could be along the lines of:
Sometimes I take my work maybe a little too seriously. While my friends are able to leave work at work once they go home for the night, my brain is always thinking about how to improve my department. Sometimes as I’m falling asleep I’ll come up with a great strategy that I get really excited about implementing the next day.
The interviewer will phrase certain questions that may sound off-the-record in order to get you to reveal information. However, you’ll want to put your best foot forward throughout the entire interview.