25 Shortcomings That Can Be Transformed Into Qualities
During a Job Interview

Having to talk about one’s shortcomings as part of a job interview is never fun.

However, a shortcoming is often nothing more than a quality that has been mismanaged and exaggerated into a flaw.

In this article, I’m going to try and point out the different qualities that are related to one’s shortcomings. The goal isn’t to minimize one’s shortcomings during a job interview, but rather to be able to show a recruiter the good intention behind a perceived flaw while emphasizing assets that are specific to you as a candidate.

That being said, keep in mind that these associations may not seem appropriate for everyone. Consider these to be starting points from which you can work to transform a flaw into a quality in the eyes of a recruiter.

Extracting a quality from a shortcoming also takes a certain amount of tact. It must be done in a personalized way and must be accompanied by concrete examples of why the association is valid.

Without effective presentation, the alchemy of turning a flaw into a quality may be perceived by a recruiter as a strategy to avoid talking about your shortcomings, which can throw up a red flag.

Shortcomings Related to Emotions

Emotions grow out of the many needs we have as people and, inevitably,  influence how we work. Of course, emotions aren’t always easy to control. Here’s a list of some emotionally-driven shortcomings and an associated quality for each.

  1. You feel stressed out? = You demand a lot from yourself.
  2. You’re sometimes emotional? = You have your work at heart.
  3. You worry a lot? = You’re prudent and careful by nature.
  4. You’re stubborn? = You persevere.
  5. You’re shy? = You care about your image.
  6. You’re impatient sometimes? = You like getting results quickly.
  7. You feel guilty easily? = You care about the needs of others.

Shortcomings related to reasoning

Critical thinking skills are valuable assets that help people develop expertise and solve problems. But when it comes to exercising these intellectual skills, some people spend too much time on reasoning, and others not enough.

  1. You have a hard time synthesizing ideas? = You are focused on the details.
  2. Your ideas aren’t always concrete? = You’re focused on flexibility and the long term.
  3. Your analytical abilities are limited? = You concentrate on the essentials.
  4. You have a hard time staying focused on one idea? = You’re naturally curious.
  5. You have a hard time with ambiguity? = You try to avoid making mistakes.
  6. You do not have a long-term vision? = You’re oriented on practical things.

Shortcomings related to personal relations

To progress in the working world, it’s essential to know how to get along with others in a variety of ways and contexts. But there are many challenges associated with these interactions, and there’s a delicate social balance to maintain.

  1. You’re too sensitive? = You are an empathetic person.
  2. You lack autonomy? = You like working as part of a team.
  3. You’re too aloof? = You know how to manage yourself.
  4. You’re too firm? = You stand your ground.
  5. You lack political tact? = You engage with people frankly and directly.
  6. You don’t consult with others? = You have confidence in your own vision.

Shortcomings related to organization

To successfully complete large projects, it’s not enough to simply have good intentions: you must also know how to organize your work and take action. As the saying goes, you can’t be too organized!

  1. You lack organization? = You follow a more intuitive style.
  2. You don’t follow up enough? = You have confidence in other people.
  3. You’re rigid in your working style? = You are structured and rigorous.
  4. You wait too long to take action? = You take the time to reflect before making a decision.
  5. You have a hard time delegating? = You prefer to be in control.
  6. You don’t follow established norms closely? = You dare to be creative.

In conclusion

The purpose of this article was to help you make connections between shortcomings and qualities, with the goal of inspiring you as you prepare for job interviews.

Today, many recruiters prefer to use words other than “shortcomings” or “flaws” in the context of candidates; often they will speak of “areas to develop” instead.

But are strong qualities always accompanied by major shortcomings? No!

A mature employee will always be able to leverage their strengths from the very start, while minimizing the shortcomings associated with those strengths.

In other words, this is called becoming experienced!

By: Mathieu Guénette, Guidance Counsellor at Les Chercheurs de sens

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Mathieu Guénette

Mathieu Guénette is a self-employed Guidance Counsellor with over 20 years of experience, as well as an author and a lecturer. He has worked with a diverse clientele (teenagers, adults, managers, job hunters). In 2017, he has simultaneously obtained the Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d'orientation du Québec’s Professional Award and the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés’ HR Book of the Year Award for his work Le candidat visceral. He provides services in Montreal, Lanaudière and remotely. His website is full of handy resources for you: Les chercheurs de sens.

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