Career Development Interview Advice

Career Advice Cliches (Part 1)

If you are a Career Coach, you’ll likely agree that there are many clichés out there when it comes to career advice – just as cliché as the image I purposely decided to use for this post (I’m going with a theme here).  It is frustrating when you try to work with clients or students who have been given cliché advice because you have to un-teach the advice or provide a better explanation before you can make any progress.  So, what are these terrible clichés of which I speak?  Part I of this series will start with the one I dislike the most.

When asked about a weakness, Turn a Negative into a Positive

I can say that this cliché career tip bothers me the most.  First of all, it bothers me because it is so superficial and provides no real advice on an actual approach to responding to a question about weakness from an employer.  When coaching people, Career Coaches should help their clients and students by encouraging them to do an honest, objective, self-analysis to really consider their opportunities for improvement.  Candidates should develop a list so they are thorough in identifying multiple characteristics that can potentially be viewed as weaknesses or “red flags” by employers.  The more thorough this process is, the better the candidate will understand the potential “red flags” perceived by the employer.  Once this is achieved, the candidate should then practice articulating strategic responses that are honest, yet mitigate the perceived flaw(s).  There are two specific ways to do this that I have discussed in a previous post and I know for sure these techniques work because I have used them to coach hundreds and I have observed an amazing improvement in candidates’ responses to the “weakness question.”  Moreover, the individuals I coach also gain true insight into their own traits and how they intervene to improve potential weaknesses.  The cliché advice of turning a negative into a positive is superficial, avoids any true self-analysis, and provides no insight on how to properly execute a response which leads to cliché responses.

Do you have any other clichés with which you disagree?  Leave your comments.

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