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Engaging Interviewer

Case Interview case interview preparation
New answer on Jul 10, 2024
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 13, 2024

Hi there,

I recently watched a video on PrepLounge where it was suggested that one way to engage an interviewer during an interview is to "name the elephant in the room" by addressing our weaknesses, demonstrating our commitment, and avoiding faking it, as that can backfire. Could you please elaborate on how to effectively do that during an interview? Any specific strategies or examples would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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Best answer
Anderson
Expert
replied on Jun 14, 2024
Ex-McKinsey |5y consulting experience | Specialization in Psychology | Proven holistic mentor

Hi, there

I am not 100% sure that I understood your question, but I am going to try to do my best. You are asking how to address your weaknesses

First, let me comment that there are 2 main purposes when talking about weakness: a) showing your level of maturity and self-awareness, b) showing that you are humble enough to recognize points of development. 

That being said, when bringing a weakness to the discussion, make sure to:

1. Pick a topic that is ethical - if you have ethics problems, the first step might be to solve it before even seeking a job ( obvious but I want to be as exhaustive as possible).

2. Pick a topic that is somewhat related to the job but not the most critical part. For instance, if you are applying to FP&A Manager role, you should not say that you hate numbers, or finance, or that you cannot handle high-level estimates. Instead, you can mention that you can get intimidated by presenting to big audiences without preparation, or that you lack the specific industry expertise (imagining that you were shifting from oil industry to banking for example).

3. Be honest about the judgement you make of yourself. Let the interviewer realise that you actually thought deeply about this topic about you and came to a solid assessment. When you are not honest, interviewers will sense that and you will fail, not to mention that you will contradict point 1).

4. Bring an ongoing action plan that addresses the weakness. For instance, if you lack an expertise (on coding, on a foreign language, etc), you should mention that you started taking classes and is noticing some improvement. Another example, if your weakness is feeling anxious when leading with new topics or assuming someone else's responsibilities, you can mention that you started doing yoga, jogging, etc and how it improved your anxiety and performance at work.

I hope that helps addressing your question. If not, please let me know.

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Not sure what video you are mentioning, but the one thing that you should focus on is to have a genuine conversation with the interviewer.

Try not to see them as a gatekeeper. 

If anything, see them as a client with whom you are problem-solving. 

Be professional, yet friendly, approachable and accommodating. 

Don't aim to impress, aim to connect.

Best,
Cristian

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Anonymous A on Jun 14, 2024

Hi Cristian, Here is the link for the video: https://youtu.be/EIKzeaf9Wqc?si=xGK1HUUteQu6gNDv

Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Could you please link the video so we know the context of the advice?

Thank you,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Jun 14, 2024

Hi Florian, Here is the link for the video: https://youtu.be/EIKzeaf9Wqc?si=xGK1HUUteQu6gNDv

Pedro
Expert
replied on Jun 17, 2024
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

Uhmmm, I would probably need to view that video to understand the underlying idea.

There are many possibilities here. One is recognizing and accepting any mistakes and shortcomings that are visible during the interview. Similarly is doing the same for any flaws in your resume.

A different thing is advancing your own weaknesses in a proactive way during an interview - that would be rather awkward, and instead of being a positive would be a double negative (weakness + awkward way of sharing the weakness).

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 10, 2024
#1 recommended coach | >95% success rate | most experience in consulting, interviewing, and coaching

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • While I'm totally in favor of being authentic in your interviews, I don't see any reason to proactively talk about your weaknesses. An interview is a place where you want to convince people of your strengths, not to talk about your weaknesses. But I'm very sure that the colleagues at PrepLounge didn't mean it that way either.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Anderson gave the best answer

Anderson

Ex-McKinsey |5y consulting experience | Specialization in Psychology | Proven holistic mentor
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