Anticipated question #1:
"Tell us about your greatest weakness."
I've mentioned Manager Tools before, and I think they regularly offer good advice. In a recent "members only" podcast, they talked about how to handle this question in an interview. Their advice is great, and it serves everyone well-- the interviewee actually answers the question (rather than dodging it), but is also given a way to save face.
They advise an essentially three-part answer:
- Qualify your answer-- in other words, state outright that this is not your struggle in every moment. Say, "sometimes" or "in certain situations" or some other like qualification.
- State a real weakness. Don't soft-pedal or understate, and don't find something utterly irrelevant to the job.
- Tell what you are doing to improve on it. Notice the present active tense-- this is not what you plan or hope to do, but the action you are in the process of taking to strengthen what is weak.
As for me, here's something akin to the answer I'll give:
In situations where I have a conflict with someone else, I sometimes have difficulty accepting my part of the responsibility for the conflict and responding appropriately. In those moments I become defensive, rather than apologizing for my errors and seeking repentance. In the past, this has caused tension in relationships, and has hindered me in ministry. I have learned a lot about dealing with my own pride and sin through studying Ken Sande's Peacemaker, and I've recently begun reading Miroslav Volf's Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace which is teaching me a lot about living relationships more graciously. I have also been dialoging about this problem with my friend Dan Zink, who is Professor of Christian Counseling at Covenant Seminary.