Ask This Question After They Ask You About Your Weaknesses

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
After they ask you about your weaknesses, or, at the end of the interview when they ask you if you have any questions, ask this question.

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If you’re being interviewed, I don’t care whether it’s by HR, or a hiring manager, and they get to the point of, ‘so what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses,’ most people follow along with the script pretty well.interview

But if they ask you about your weaknesses, I want you to follow up with a question for them. the question is, ‘you know, every organization has its particular friction, that causes people frustration. One thing I learned a long time ago is surprises are rarely good. So I thought I would just ask you, while we’re talking about my weaknesses, what friction exists within the organization that I should just be aware of?’  ‘What do you mean, there’s friction?’ ‘You know, people leave jobs; staff becomes frustrated, it happens. maybe you get frustrated as well. So I just don’t want to be surprised when I join. And thus, if you could tell me about some of the institutional friction that might exist within the group, within the department, within the organization, that’d be very helpful to me.’

Now, this is one of those questions that you can’t ask in a confrontational way. And you should practice saying these things in advance. Now, if they don’t ask you about your weaknesses, which, frankly, I give them kudos for not asking that stupid question, then as you ask questions later on, if you follow my format about questions to ask at the end of the interview, this would take place after you find out about how they’re going to evaluate you after a year. . . ‘Let’s say you hire me, and I come on board and it’s a year from now. It’s time for me to give me my first review. What should I have accomplished during that your that would make you think I was a great hire?’

And before you ask about what the next steps in the process might be, when you might hear back, and whether you can follow up, again, I’ve got very specific language about this. So between how they’ll evaluate you after a year and before  when you might hear about next steps, I want you to sneak that question in.

‘So let me ask you this. Before I join, I believe surprises are rarely good. And certainly someone may have left this job before, someone in the team may be interview frustrated at times. And I just want to get a sense of what I’m stepping into, what sort of institutional friction might show up, that could cause frustration, because, hey, look, just like no employee is perfect, no organization is perfect. So I’d appreciate hearing about some of the institutional friction that might exist. So I’m not surprised.

Because ultimately, when you’re making decisions about organizations, aren’t they painting a beautiful picture of a great opportunity with a terrific team of people? And it’s never completely true. And you discover that early on. And the disappointment that job hunters experience is noticeable.

So asking them this question will serve you very well, because you don’t want to be surprised if they say what makes you think there’s friction because there’s always friction. And you put a big smile on your face, and a twinkle in your eye. ‘There’s always friction that shows up. Whether it’s in my first week or my 400th week. I’m just trying to get an idea because I don’t want to be surprised.’

So I hope you found this helpful. I’m Jeff Altman. Visit my website, There’s a ton in the blog to help you. And if you need advice because people hire me for no BS career advice, which can relate to a job search, hiring more effectively, management, leadership, dealing with workplace issues, career transitions, and more. You can schedule time for a free discovery call scheduled time for a coaching session, find out about my courses, books and guides. There’s a lot there to help you.

Also connect with me on Linkedin at Have a terrific day and be great!

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2400 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Schedule a discovery call at my website, 

My courses are available on my The courses include ones about Informational InterviewsInterviewing, final interview preparation, salary negotiation mistakes to avoidthe top 10 questions to prepare for on any job interview, and starting a new job.

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