If you’re a grad and thinking of dipping your toe into another pool of possibility, this may be good for brushing up on your interview skills. If you’re going for an office job, you’ll probably be asked, “What is your biggest weakness?” You can either opt for wild self-promotion that is barely disguised by self-deprecation such as, “Oh I care too much” or “I’m a perfectionist”. In a recent post by Medium written by Wharton professor Adam Grant, you should confront this question with more accuracy instead of bloated and skewed facts.
Grant refers to two studies to support this. In one study, interviewers were given the best rating to applicants who were “more concerned with being seen accurately than positively.” In another study held by Harvard researchers, only 23% of undergraduates listed their negative qualities while the other 77% opted for the aforementioned “humble brag”. The reviews showed that they were 30% more interested in hiring the applicants who actually revealed their true weaknesses.
Despite the general belief that playing up your abilities will score you the job, the statistics prove that it isn’t so. James Westphal and Ithai Stern explain, “self-promotion is less consistently effective… it is less subtle and more transparent.”