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I'm having a hard time finding a "greatest weakness" to talk about that is an appropriate answer. I know we're supposed to talk about a weakness that we can show we're working on and can talk about how we already improved.

Backstory: I come from a very poor family and had to start working very young and was in control of the house and budget as a child. I've never been bad with time management, budgeting, or leadership because of this. I continued to work full time through undergrad, sometimes while working 60 hours while studying history and biology. I now have a "big girl job" and I lead 5 cancer clinical trial subgroups in protocol review.

In undergrad I went through intensive psychotherapy and really worked on myself. Gained a lot of interpersonal skills and self esteem, worked on my emotional intelligence and my overall mental health. Started working out in undergrad as well and took control of my physical health (lost more than 90lbs, can bench about 190, went from not being about to run 1/4 of a mile to being able to run 5 miles).

My original weakness that I mentioned in my mock interview is that I've never been a patient. I've never had surgery or spent the night in a hospital (except as a baby) and I didn't go to regular doctors appointments until college. All of my ailments have been relatively mild and I just don't have the same experience that most patients have. I can relate to them, but I feel there is still disconnect.

My *real* weakness that I can't say in an interview is that I don't abide by authority hierarchies if there isn't a good reason. I don't go along with the "we all know it's wrong, but he's the boss, so don't question him" BS that you hear about all the time in medicine. I will not say this in an interview because they'll probably kick me off the zoom right there.


My interview is in 2.5 weeks, someone please help lol
 
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Goro

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I think most weaknesses can be "palatable" when framed correctly. For OP, it might be something along the lines of: "I have trouble staying quiet when something is going on that I perceive as being immoral or wrong.
The BIG caveat is that one can immediately respond "you think that doing the right thing is a weakness???"
 

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The BIG caveat is that one can immediately respond "you think that doing the right thing is a weakness???"
Hence the "I perceive" and the part of the answer I gave that you didn't quote. I'm sure we all know someone who has a lot of righteous indignation that is not necessarily well placed.
 
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My *real* weakness that I can't say in an interview is that I don't abide by authority hierarchies if there isn't a good reason. I don't go along with the "we all know it's wrong, but he's the boss, so don't question him" BS that you hear about all the time in medicine. I will not say this in an interview because they'll probably kick me off the zoom right there.

From the answers above, the common trend is honesty. You could this in a way that doesn't come off as "I am argumentative and don't follow rules." This prompt is on the same lines as "tell us about a time you failed". During my interview, I used the story-identify weakness-tie weakness to my story-plan of improvement approach to answering this question.

For example, you could say something in the lines of "I once got in an argument with [...] ultimately they were right and I was in the wrong. My weakness is that I often fail to put myself in others' shoes and find myself being adamant about something I may not be correct about. This is something I'm currently trying to work on improving by taking a step back and trying to see the full picture before engaging a topic from an emotional perspective."

Possible follow-up questions could be "why do you think that is a weakness?" "how exactly are you working to change this?" "have you gotten in trouble for it?" etc.

If I was the interviewer and a student showed me they had guts that they perceived the system is flawed and that they'll put in an active effort to change it would come off as a positive rather than a negative interview.
 
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I'm having a hard time finding a "greatest weakness" to talk about that is an appropriate answer. I know we're supposed to talk about a weakness that we can show we're working on and can talk about how we already improved.

Backstory: I come from a very poor family and had to start working very young and was in control of the house and budget as a child. I've never been bad with time management, budgeting, or leadership because of this. I continued to work full time through undergrad, sometimes while working 60 hours while studying history and biology. I now have a "big girl job" and I lead 5 cancer clinical trial subgroups in protocol review.

In undergrad I went through intensive psychotherapy and really worked on myself. Gained a lot of interpersonal skills and self esteem, worked on my emotional intelligence and my overall mental health. Started working out in undergrad as well and took control of my physical health (lost more than 90lbs, can bench about 190, went from not being about to run 1/4 of a mile to being able to run 5 miles).

My original weakness that I mentioned in my mock interview is that I've never been a patient. I've never had surgery or spent the night in a hospital (except as a baby) and I didn't go to regular doctors appointments until college. All of my ailments have been relatively mild and I just don't have the same experience that most patients have. I can relate to them, but I feel there is still disconnect.

My *real* weakness that I can't say in an interview is that I don't abide by authority hierarchies if there isn't a good reason. I don't go along with the "we all know it's wrong, but he's the boss, so don't question him" BS that you hear about all the time in medicine. I will not say this in an interview because they'll probably kick me off the zoom right there.


My interview is in 2.5 weeks, someone please help lol
Great question! The strategy here is simple, turn the question of a perceived negative question into a positive attribute or positive thing. NEVER give a real negative. THIS weakness question or negative question is very unfair, the wrong answer can and often WILL be used against, so an effective, thoughtful strategy is required.

My Father is a clinical psychologist, and before that, he put his talents to work(before retiring) in The U.S..Army, winning several awards and medals for being one of our countries best military recruiters, then a national trainer of other Army recruiters. (The successful recruiter does not just make the recruit happy, they are talented at assessing best fits for different areas, and determining which recruits may NOT best be suited for service, too.)

Now, the advice he gave me on this question comes from the numerous sales and interviewing courses the U.S. Army sent him to, and ones he purchased on his on. And, it matches what I learned in my undergraduate business program and professional development program, and some things I learned in my time in the Army Reserves(as a small example never say, retreat, rather, "fall back" to a more strategic position), successful interviews, and also interviewing new attorneys on two hiring committees. Here are se examples:

" I am a perfectionist. I finish things in an effective and timely manner, but I will always think about how I could have done it better, or how the process could be made better." And also along those lines.

"I work too hard. When I enjoy something, it does not seem like "work"- I have to work on not always staying late."

YOU NEVER GIVE A REAL NEGATIVE, what program or job does NOT want a perfectionist who gets the job done on time, but is not just satisfied with that, they want to do it better, or even improve the process they are using in the first place!😊

We all know about the need for work life balance with personal life. But no interviewer thinks highly of the one who says they can be a bit lazy, procrastinate, lack self confidence, get distracted, have a problem with authority, being silly, immature, working with a team, submitting to authority or have a hard time listening or addressing issues of conflict, or standing up for themselves or others, or of NOT being decisive, considerate, compassionate, trustworthy, consistent, dedicated, alert, and dependable. IF your answer negates any of those, it is most unwise to give THAT answer.

You NEVER give anyone a reason to look past you, nor to think you do not fit into what they have to offer.

Here are some other examples, a negative you turn into a positive.

"Well, I am a patient person, but, sometimes I have to remind myself, that all the things I want in life, my profession, marriage, children, being of service to people and the community...I can not rush those things, just have to keep moving forward, trust the process, keep studying and doing the work, be open to change and shake up of what I thought I knew, remind myself this is not a sprint, but a very long marathon or ultra marathon."

(NOTE, these are NOT to meant to be copied literally, just wanted to give some examples to show some principles. The best interviewee is able to connect with interviewers, give them something they can relate to, something that maybe has been a lesson the interviewer has learned and maybe had to remind herself/himself of even now)

"I enjoy exercise" or "cooking" or "fishing," or whatever, and I have to remind myself sometimes, it is okay to have and build my life around medicine (or law or whatever,) rather than making medicine all my life is about, and realizing maybe too late-I need to get a life, have a life...between study, The MCAT (LSAT, GMAT, GRE, or whatever), the application process, hopefully gaining admission to medical school, learnimg a lot and doing well and progressing to residency, fellowship, and a career of service, innovation, it is easy to lose track of that, and I admit, I have to remind myself, and realize I will have lots of work to do on making and keeping the proper balance."

We all know the question is coming, prepare and be ready with a couple of things, so that it comes out natural and sincere.

Having more than one "negative" allows you to not be so robotic in the answer. And if you get that occasional "smart"😉🙃 interviewer who points out, "well that is not really negative, then you say, looking not the least amused, but pleasantly surprised: "Really" or "It's not" as if some weight has been lifted off your shoulders!😇

Regardless to whether someone thinks you are just a smart interviewee or innocently sincere, you will have distinguished yourself from ones who feel into a trap. (As I absolutely did🙁, before learning better)

Also, on a different topic, sometimes, there is not a right answer or a wrong answer. What interviewers are looking for is your reasoning behind taking a position, even if it is not one they would take, do not just reverse course, for example, on an issue of ethics, policy, or if there are 2 treatment paths, and you selected one, discuss it and the WHY and importantly, listen to the differing opinions (sometimes being offered solely to test your ability to be reach a reasoned decision and then stick with it), and acknowledge and respect them, all the while, not altering what you gave.

Hope all, some or part of this is helpful, and hope to see and learn from more positive "negative" responses, offered by others, too.😊
 
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I love the ambiguous phrasing of "greatest weakness" which could signify:
(1) the largest/most pronounced weakness; or
(2) your least negative weakness affording you the opportunity to spin it into a positive.

Hmmm... The choices... :lol:
 
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I love the ambiguous phrasing of "greatest weakness" which could signify:
(1) the largest/most pronounced weakness; or
(2) your least negative weakness affording you the opportunity to spin it into a positive.

Hmmm... The choices... :lol:
Definitely. The interview is not time for Confession, or what we would say to a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or a dear, trusted and close friend. Each one of us, is flawed and not perfect. And yet, each one of us has some gift, talent, hobby, life goal, or at the least-see the daunting road ahead, in terms medical preclinical and clinical education, passing and doing well on the USMLE portions, choosing a specialty, and interviewing for residency, or preliminary or transational years. (and graduate education for anyone doing a M.P.H., PhD portion of a MSTP or other joint/dual degree). Each person has something they can use.

Not to think of residency, maybe fellowship and all that can come after that? There is enough in just those things to take the so-called greatest weakness and turn it into being viewed as a insightful, level-headed and mature applicant.
 

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Great question! The strategy here is simple, turn the question of a perceived negative question into a positive attribute or positive thing. NEVER give a real negative.
Your entire answer illustrate the dangerous and naïve mindset that what is OK in the business world in terms of interviews is applicable to med school interviews.

THIS weakness question or negative question is very unfair, the wrong answer can and often WILL be used against, so an effective, thoughtful strategy is required.
Life's not fair. And you are still not getting the point that several of us have tried to enlighten you with. The idea is to demonstrate that you are capable of introspection.
" I am a perfectionist. I finish things in an effective and timely manner, but I will always think about how I could have done it better, or how the process could be made better." And also along those lines.

"I work too hard. When I enjoy something, it does not seem like "work"- I have to work on not always staying late."
And again, this type of answer blows up in your face when it get countered with "So you think a positive trait is a bad thing? And surprise! We've heard "I'm a hard worker" ad nauseum.


Believe me, we Adcoms have a lot of experience in hearing the "turn the negative into the positive" answers. They don't come across well. For starters, the people who do this aren't answering the question. It's a simple question, like "do you like the Packers?"

"What is your biggest weakness?" is exactly that. We're not asking you "what is your biggest weakness and how did you fix it or cope?"

So, giving the answer you think that we want to hear is simply displaying that you don't understand a simple question. Communication skills are a required competency for medical students, residents and doctors.

The question, deep down, is not asking you to disqualify yourself from medical school. We're not expecting an answer like "I'm addicted to video games and Pornhub". In some essence, the ability to spin is what we're also looking for.

BTW, we actively seek to screen out perfectionists. They end up either getting sick because med school is difficult and they fail to live up to their preconceived notions of perfection, or they try to memorize everything and end up learning nothing, or they're in our offices constantly badgering us as to why the 90 on their Anatomy exam should actually be a 91. Usually they use some mathematics so contorted that space-time warps and my office desk starts to exceed the speed of light.
 
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Your entire answer illustrate the dangerous and naïve mindset that what is OK in the business world in terms of interviews is applicable to med school interviews.


Life's not fair. And you are still not getting the point that several of us have tried to enlighten you with. The idea is to demonstrate that you are capable of introspection.

And again, this type of answer blows up in your face when it get countered with "So you think a positive trait is a bad thing? And surprise! We've heard "I'm a hard worker" ad nauseum.


Believe me, we Adcoms have a lot of experience in hearing the "turn the negative into the positive" answers. They don't come across well. For starters, the people who do this aren't answering the question. It's a simple question, like "do you like the Packers?"

"What is your biggest weakness?" is exactly that. We're not asking you "what is your biggest weakness and how did you fix it or cope?"

So, giving the answer you think that we want to hear is simply displaying that you don't understand a simple question. Communication skills are a required competency for medical students, residents and doctors.

The question, deep down, is not asking you to disqualify yourself from medical school. We're not expecting an answer like "I'm addicted to video games and Pornhub". In some essence, the ability to spin is what we're also looking for.

BTW, we actively seek to screen out perfectionists. They end up either getting sick because med school is difficult and they fail to live up to their preconceived notions of perfection, or they try to memorize everything and end up learning nothing, or they're in our offices constantly badgering us as to why the 90 on their Anatomy exam should actually be a 91. Usually they use some mathematics so contorted that space-time warps and my office desk starts to exceed the speed of light.
You are entitled to your opinion, I shall retain mine and my experiences. No, I have not yet gone through interviews at medical school(just corporate, and legal, including federal), personally, but I know some who have who echo what I have said.

Indeed, without revealing too much, I know 2 physicians(one of whom is a rare professional background) at two different top ranked medical schools, who have interviewed applicants to medical school and MSTP's personally, who absolutely agree with what I wrote .

But, then, maybe they are looking at people and seeing them differently, and looking for different things, than you. Diverse, non-monolothic thinking, is okay. Monolithic thinking leads to treating people differently who do not conform to who or what some people think they should be, rather than embracing a diversity in Allah/God's creation.

No two people will ever see anything alike, and perhaps you have zero experience in business or law, or the military, maybe you have lots. Perhaps you have zero tolerance when things do not go your way,, maybe you have lots.. Maybe only one kind of experience and personal perspective is the right answer. 😉

Perhaps you have experience in law from a spouse, friends, television, or from medical malpractice claims or investigations as a witness or on a false or disputed claim. I do not know, and it does not matter, you have a strong point of view based upon your career in medicine, that is your prerogative.

I rather doubt everyone who sits in on an interview with you agrees with you, your world views, views on social justice or your politics, and I am sure some do. I never will agree with your position, personal attacks against me and most certainly not your delivery. " The truth, poorly represented, will fail"- the most delicious food, delivered repugnantly, will not look appealing.

And I am NOT at all sure what you mean by: "And you are still not getting the point that several of us have tried to enlighten you with." When, did these several of you try to do that? In any event, I am going to be who I am, me, not who others want, need or try to make me to be.

Also, most respectfully, I have read your viewpoint, and it means nothing to me, it is of zero import nor does it have influence over me. Had your presentation been less angry and personal, I would not have agreed with you, notwithstanding your opinion or experience.

BUT, I do thank for how you responded, because it reveals all I need to know about who I am corresponding with. Hope you have a good rest of your day and week.😊
 
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Wow! I can't help myself from returning to this brick wall of a thread. PEOPLE, "I have zero experience in this avenue but I know two people with experience who will agree with me?" Vs. someone educationally qualified who has literally been sitting in the interview chair for years on end? Really? This goes beyond interviewing and medicine, although I have this same thought for many anti-vaxxers and Facebook moms lately. Does anyone else here value the ability to entertain a differing/challenging idea without feeling personally attacked and respect the individual's diverse perspective without having to adopt it yourself? Oof. Maybe time to let this thread go. Yes, the answer to this question may differ widely on school, program, interviewer, a bunch of other biases. I knew my answer would be a good personal fit for the places I interviewed. I also felt proud of my confidence in imperfection and still succeeding in med school. I still feel proud now as I see classmates having their entire world crumble over their first ever B grades on a 5 point quiz worth 3% of our final scores, or other things that debilitate when you're going through a brand new challenge. Not to knock them, everyone has their thing, but DO you know what it is and CAN you survive with it? CAN you accept it? Or do you have to pretend it's not there or destroy yourself in the process. To those who have not been through this, really we try to advise for YOUR long-term health, vitality, success, and benefit not just for your interview silvertongue. I implore some of the people on here to instead of getting incensed, try on for size "Hmm, I didn't consider that and that challenges me but I respect your qualified background, thank you". (Hint: a great practice for the 129872348 times you will be assessed and evaluated by physicians and other professionals more experienced than you throughout your medical career). I hope one day you'll see this was meant to save you frustration and heartache not make you feel exposed and/or unjustly attacked. I know I'll likely die on this hill without getting through to anyone but for real people come on.
 
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Goro

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You are entitled to your opinion, I shall retain mine and my experiences. No, I have not yet gone through interviews at medical school(just corporate, and legal, including federal), personally, but I know some who have who echo what I have said.

Indeed, without revealing too much, I know 2 physicians(one of whom is a rare professional background) at two different top ranked medical schools, who have interviewed applicants to medical school and MSTP's personally, who absolutely agree with what I wrote .

But, then, maybe they are looking at people and seeing them differently, and looking for different things, than you. Diverse, non-monolothic thinking, is okay. Monolithic thinking leads to treating people differently who do not conform to who or what some people think they should be, rather than embracing a diversity in Allah/God's creation.

No two people will ever see anything alike, and perhaps you have zero experience in business or law, or the military, maybe you have lots. Perhaps you have zero tolerance when things do not go your way,, maybe you have lots.. Maybe only one kind of experience and personal perspective is the right answer. 😉

Perhaps you have experience in law from a spouse, friends, television, or from medical malpractice claims or investigations as a witness or on a false or disputed claim. I do not know, and it does not matter, you have a strong point of view based upon your career in medicine, that is your prerogative.

I rather doubt everyone who sits in on an interview with you agrees with you, your world views, views on social justice or your politics, and I am sure some do. I never will agree with your position, personal attacks against me and most certainly not your delivery. " The truth, poorly represented, will fail"- the most delicious food, delivered repugnantly, will not look appealing.

And I am NOT at all sure what you mean by: "And you are still not getting the point that several of us have tried to enlighten you with." When, did these several of you try to do that? In any event, I am going to be who I am, me, not who others want, need or try to make me to be.

Also, most respectfully, I have read your viewpoint, and it means nothing to me, it is of zero import nor does it have influence over me. Had your presentation been less angry and personal, I would not have agreed with you, notwithstanding your opinion or experience.

BUT, I do thank for how you responded, because it reveals all I need to know about who I am corresponding with. Hope you have a good rest of your day and week.😊
Do love it when re-meds tell us our business.

Report back when your cycle is done and let us know how it turned out.

And grow a thicker skin.
 
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You are entitled to your opinion, I shall retain mine and my experiences. No, I have not yet gone through interviews at medical school(just corporate, and legal, including federal), personally, but I know some who have who echo what I have said.

Indeed, without revealing too much, I know 2 physicians(one of whom is a rare professional background) at two different top ranked medical schools, who have interviewed applicants to medical school and MSTP's personally, who absolutely agree with what I wrote .
Adcoms are diverse. I wouldn't argue with any of them, but would look for consensus answers that would appease all during an interview.
 
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You are entitled to your opinion, I shall retain mine and my experiences. No, I have not yet gone through interviews at medical school(just corporate, and legal, including federal), personally, but I know some who have who echo what I have said.

Indeed, without revealing too much, I know 2 physicians(one of whom is a rare professional background) at two different top ranked medical schools, who have interviewed applicants to medical school and MSTP's personally, who absolutely agree with what I wrote .

But, then, maybe they are looking at people and seeing them differently, and looking for different things, than you. Diverse, non-monolothic thinking, is okay. Monolithic thinking leads to treating people differently who do not conform to who or what some people think they should be, rather than embracing a diversity in Allah/God's creation.

No two people will ever see anything alike, and perhaps you have zero experience in business or law, or the military, maybe you have lots. Perhaps you have zero tolerance when things do not go your way,, maybe you have lots.. Maybe only one kind of experience and personal perspective is the right answer. 😉

Perhaps you have experience in law from a spouse, friends, television, or from medical malpractice claims or investigations as a witness or on a false or disputed claim. I do not know, and it does not matter, you have a strong point of view based upon your career in medicine, that is your prerogative.

I rather doubt everyone who sits in on an interview with you agrees with you, your world views, views on social justice or your politics, and I am sure some do. I never will agree with your position, personal attacks against me and most certainly not your delivery. " The truth, poorly represented, will fail"- the most delicious food, delivered repugnantly, will not look appealing.

And I am NOT at all sure what you mean by: "And you are still not getting the point that several of us have tried to enlighten you with." When, did these several of you try to do that? In any event, I am going to be who I am, me, not who others want, need or try to make me to be.

Also, most respectfully, I have read your viewpoint, and it means nothing to me, it is of zero import nor does it have influence over me. Had your presentation been less angry and personal, I would not have agreed with you, notwithstanding your opinion or experience.

BUT, I do thank for how you responded, because it reveals all I need to know about who I am corresponding with. Hope you have a good rest of your day and we

Several have tried to explain the "Point" of this question to you. It appears to be about an inch beyond your grasp. I'll try to help. Obviously, this question is used during interview for Doctors, lawyers, investment bankers... pick the scenario. In MEDICINE, we look for different characteristics than one might look for a real estate lawyer who works in a cubical, a trial attorney, or a CPA. BTW, it is not an unfair question. In medicine, as stated earlier, we want to understand if you are introspective and can formulate a coherent authentic response. We are trying to determine if we would want YOU as our Doctor. We are NOT trying to find a reason to eliminate you, (as you suggest), but are looking for reasons to accept you. You already have, in our opinion, the academic credentials for admission, or you would not be invited for an interview. We are looking for people who are authentic, can connect with others, and have a strong sense of service to their fellow human beings. There is no correct answer for this question and I don't want someone to blather on about what they think I might want to hear. Service to their fellow human beings is probably not high on the real estate lawyers list. So people use the question for different things. Would people at other schools have their own reasons for using this question? I'm sure. Having said that, I really don't care what people at other institutions do. I care about the students we recruit and their success. They are our product and graduating successful competent, caring physicians is our mission. I'm not responsible for the inadequacies of interviewers at other institutions. If they want to use it to reject you for admission, that's on them.
As far as turning the question to positive, it probably can be done, but it would be the rare applicant who can do this and present it in a way that doesn't sound like their are trying to BS me. An authentic answer is always the best. Your continual reference to other peoples opinions on this topic does not make your answer more authentic, After reading your posts, it appears you are more interested in being right than considering the responses from others. This projects entitlement and is not a good look during an interview. I would consider some mock interviews before you attend any for med school. Try to work on some of the advice presented here. Connect with the interviewer, project warmth, and give the most authentic response to questions as many won't have a right or wrong answer. These are all part of having an great interview. Good luck and best wishes!
 
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Great question! The strategy here is simple, turn the question of a perceived negative question into a positive attribute or positive thing. NEVER give a real negative. THIS weakness question or negative question is very unfair, the wrong answer can and often WILL be used against, so an effective, thoughtful strategy is required.

My Father is a clinical psychologist, and before that, he put his talents to work(before retiring) in The U.S..Army, winning several awards and medals for being one of our countries best military recruiters, then a national trainer of other Army recruiters. (The successful recruiter does not just make the recruit happy, they are talented at assessing best fits for different areas, and determining which recruits may NOT best be suited for service, too.)

Now, the advice he gave me on this question comes from the numerous sales and interviewing courses the U.S. Army sent him to, and ones he purchased on his on. And, it matches what I learned in my undergraduate business program and professional development program, and some things I learned in my time in the Army Reserves(as a small example never say, retreat, rather, "fall back" to a more strategic position), successful interviews, and also interviewing new attorneys on two hiring committees. Here are se examples:

" I am a perfectionist. I finish things in an effective and timely manner, but I will always think about how I could have done it better, or how the process could be made better." And also along those lines.

"I work too hard. When I enjoy something, it does not seem like "work"- I have to work on not always staying late."

YOU NEVER GIVE A REAL NEGATIVE, what program or job does NOT want a perfectionist who gets the job done on time, but is not just satisfied with that, they want to do it better, or even improve the process they are using in the first place!😊

We all know about the need for work life balance with personal life. But no interviewer thinks highly of the one who says they can be a bit lazy, procrastinate, lack self confidence, get distracted, have a problem with authority, being silly, immature, working with a team, submitting to authority or have a hard time listening or addressing issues of conflict, or standing up for themselves or others, or of NOT being decisive, considerate, compassionate, trustworthy, consistent, dedicated, alert, and dependable. IF your answer negates any of those, it is most unwise to give THAT answer.

You NEVER give anyone a reason to look past you, nor to think you do not fit into what they have to offer.

Here are some other examples, a negative you turn into a positive.

"Well, I am a patient person, but, sometimes I have to remind myself, that all the things I want in life, my profession, marriage, children, being of service to people and the community...I can not rush those things, just have to keep moving forward, trust the process, keep studying and doing the work, be open to change and shake up of what I thought I knew, remind myself this is not a sprint, but a very long marathon or ultra marathon."

(NOTE, these are NOT to meant to be copied literally, just wanted to give some examples to show some principles. The best interviewee is able to connect with interviewers, give them something they can relate to, something that maybe has been a lesson the interviewer has learned and maybe had to remind herself/himself of even now)

"I enjoy exercise" or "cooking" or "fishing," or whatever, and I have to remind myself sometimes, it is okay to have and build my life around medicine (or law or whatever,) rather than making medicine all my life is about, and realizing maybe too late-I need to get a life, have a life...between study, The MCAT (LSAT, GMAT, GRE, or whatever), the application process, hopefully gaining admission to medical school, learnimg a lot and doing well and progressing to residency, fellowship, and a career of service, innovation, it is easy to lose track of that, and I admit, I have to remind myself, and realize I will have lots of work to do on making and keeping the proper balance."

We all know the question is coming, prepare and be ready with a couple of things, so that it comes out natural and sincere.

Having more than one "negative" allows you to not be so robotic in the answer. And if you get that occasional "smart"😉🙃 interviewer who points out, "well that is not really negative, then you say, looking not the least amused, but pleasantly surprised: "Really" or "It's not" as if some weight has been lifted off your shoulders!😇

Regardless to whether someone thinks you are just a smart interviewee or innocently sincere, you will have distinguished yourself from ones who feel into a trap. (As I absolutely did🙁, before learning better)

Also, on a different topic, sometimes, there is not a right answer or a wrong answer. What interviewers are looking for is your reasoning behind taking a position, even if it is not one they would take, do not just reverse course, for example, on an issue of ethics, policy, or if there are 2 treatment paths, and you selected one, discuss it and the WHY and importantly, listen to the differing opinions (sometimes being offered solely to test your ability to be reach a reasoned decision and then stick with it), and acknowledge and respect them, all the while, not altering what you gave.

Hope all, some or part of this is helpful, and hope to see and learn from more positive "negative" responses, offered by others, too.😊
“I am a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” are two answers you absolutely should NOT give. The interviewer does not want to hear about a strength that you are falsely portraying as a weakness. That is a tactic that is overdone.
 
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AnotherGuyWithQuestions

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My philosophy on this is a tad different than most ppl on the post, but I agree with the humor route if it's something you can pull off. I went through dental school interviews which are practically conducted the same way. It sounds cliche but interviews really are just about being yourself and trying to stand out a bit if you can. Imo giving them cookie cutter answers is what they expect. I said "tall shelves" bc I'm a guy on the shorter side. I know some people may not agree with a more lax approach, but showing them you have personality and can make them smile goes a much longer way than just picking some random weakness that 10 other students may have said.
 
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Med Ed

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Great question! The strategy here is simple, turn the question of a perceived negative question into a positive attribute or positive thing. NEVER give a real negative. THIS weakness question or negative question is very unfair, the wrong answer can and often WILL be used against, so an effective, thoughtful strategy is required.

My Father is a clinical psychologist, and before that, he put his talents to work(before retiring) in The U.S..Army, winning several awards and medals for being one of our countries best military recruiters, then a national trainer of other Army recruiters. (The successful recruiter does not just make the recruit happy, they are talented at assessing best fits for different areas, and determining which recruits may NOT best be suited for service, too.)

Now, the advice he gave me on this question comes from the numerous sales and interviewing courses the U.S. Army sent him to, and ones he purchased on his on. And, it matches what I learned in my undergraduate business program and professional development program, and some things I learned in my time in the Army Reserves(as a small example never say, retreat, rather, "fall back" to a more strategic position), successful interviews, and also interviewing new attorneys on two hiring committees. Here are se examples:

" I am a perfectionist. I finish things in an effective and timely manner, but I will always think about how I could have done it better, or how the process could be made better." And also along those lines.

"I work too hard. When I enjoy something, it does not seem like "work"- I have to work on not always staying late."

YOU NEVER GIVE A REAL NEGATIVE, what program or job does NOT want a perfectionist who gets the job done on time, but is not just satisfied with that, they want to do it better, or even improve the process they are using in the first place!😊

We all know about the need for work life balance with personal life. But no interviewer thinks highly of the one who says they can be a bit lazy, procrastinate, lack self confidence, get distracted, have a problem with authority, being silly, immature, working with a team, submitting to authority or have a hard time listening or addressing issues of conflict, or standing up for themselves or others, or of NOT being decisive, considerate, compassionate, trustworthy, consistent, dedicated, alert, and dependable. IF your answer negates any of those, it is most unwise to give THAT answer.

You NEVER give anyone a reason to look past you, nor to think you do not fit into what they have to offer.

Here are some other examples, a negative you turn into a positive.

"Well, I am a patient person, but, sometimes I have to remind myself, that all the things I want in life, my profession, marriage, children, being of service to people and the community...I can not rush those things, just have to keep moving forward, trust the process, keep studying and doing the work, be open to change and shake up of what I thought I knew, remind myself this is not a sprint, but a very long marathon or ultra marathon."

(NOTE, these are NOT to meant to be copied literally, just wanted to give some examples to show some principles. The best interviewee is able to connect with interviewers, give them something they can relate to, something that maybe has been a lesson the interviewer has learned and maybe had to remind herself/himself of even now)

"I enjoy exercise" or "cooking" or "fishing," or whatever, and I have to remind myself sometimes, it is okay to have and build my life around medicine (or law or whatever,) rather than making medicine all my life is about, and realizing maybe too late-I need to get a life, have a life...between study, The MCAT (LSAT, GMAT, GRE, or whatever), the application process, hopefully gaining admission to medical school, learnimg a lot and doing well and progressing to residency, fellowship, and a career of service, innovation, it is easy to lose track of that, and I admit, I have to remind myself, and realize I will have lots of work to do on making and keeping the proper balance."

We all know the question is coming, prepare and be ready with a couple of things, so that it comes out natural and sincere.

Having more than one "negative" allows you to not be so robotic in the answer. And if you get that occasional "smart"😉🙃 interviewer who points out, "well that is not really negative, then you say, looking not the least amused, but pleasantly surprised: "Really" or "It's not" as if some weight has been lifted off your shoulders!😇

Regardless to whether someone thinks you are just a smart interviewee or innocently sincere, you will have distinguished yourself from ones who feel into a trap. (As I absolutely did🙁, before learning better)

Also, on a different topic, sometimes, there is not a right answer or a wrong answer. What interviewers are looking for is your reasoning behind taking a position, even if it is not one they would take, do not just reverse course, for example, on an issue of ethics, policy, or if there are 2 treatment paths, and you selected one, discuss it and the WHY and importantly, listen to the differing opinions (sometimes being offered solely to test your ability to be reach a reasoned decision and then stick with it), and acknowledge and respect them, all the while, not altering what you gave.

Hope all, some or part of this is helpful, and hope to see and learn from more positive "negative" responses, offered by others, too.😊
An excellent example of why the question is still used. Once in awhile you catch someone like this.
 
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“I am a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” are two answers you absolutely should NOT give. The interviewer does not want to hear about a strength that you are falsely portraying as a weakness. That is a tactic that is overdone.
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but am interested in learning. How does "I work too hard" or "I am a perfectionist" constitute a strength? I can understand why those two responses would be undesirable for other reasons though. "I work too hard" sounds lame admittedly. Perfectionists often fail and self sabotage, I get that too. Your response makes it sound as if you would view those as strengths and on that basis find the two responses unsatisfactory.
 

Angus Avagadro

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I'm not trying to be argumentative, but am interested in learning. How does "I work too hard" or "I am a perfectionist" constitute a strength? I can understand why those two responses would be undesirable for other reasons though. "I work too hard" sounds lame admittedly. Perfectionists often fail and self sabotage, I get that too. Your response makes it sound as if you would view those as strengths and on that basis find the two responses unsatisfactory.
I don't mean to speak for Luna, but it comes off like saying "I care too much", when you take this approach. Working hard and caring are positive traits and most would consider them a strength. Excessive work or caring might constitute a weakness. Better to lead with a true weakness than construct one out of a strength imo.
 
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LittleBrother

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I'm not trying to be argumentative, but am interested in learning. How does "I work too hard" or "I am a perfectionist" constitute a strength? I can understand why those two responses would be undesirable for other reasons though. "I work too hard" sounds lame admittedly. Perfectionists often fail and self sabotage, I get that too. Your response makes it sound as if you would view those as strengths and on that basis find the two responses unsatisfactory.


I think if they are asking for a weakness they want something framed as a weakness. "I work too hard" is an obvious attempt to spin "I am neurotic" into a positive light. If you "work too hard" you really "fail to maintain a work life balance and need to make a greater effort at maintaining your relationships or promote resiliency ect ect".

My greatest weakness is that I am puritanical about my professions and hate dumb ****. Having worked for government for 10 years the #1 thing that has pissed my bosses off is when I display my frustration over ******* things we have to do for political/policy purposes. At the end of the day I am a guy who takes orders and no one is asking my opinion on things. When I get frustrated over the dumb stuff that is endemic in government I only reduce morale and introduce opportunities for conflict in areas that my bosses have no control of themselves.

I don't even say I've fixed it I just say its something I've identified and am working on mitigating.
 
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Med Ed

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“I am a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” are two answers you absolutely should NOT give. The interviewer does not want to hear about a strength that you are falsely portraying as a weakness. That is a tactic that is overdone.
Yeah, you can tell me you "work too hard" when your application has thousands of hours of research, service, employment, and leadership, with multiple high quality publications, numerous awards, a trail of broken relationships, and gradually escalating self-medication.
 
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