What is your Weakness?

Yes, a classic. "Tell me about a weakness."

Career coaches or job gurus will sway back and forth between never show your cards to your opponent ("I don't have any glaring weaknesses") and the ("take the opposite of a strength and spin it that you've worked on it to completely improve"). Both of these irk me.

Sure, most of us aren't interviewing for CEO positions.

Wait, what? What does a CEO position have to do with anything that I do, you may ask. Well, I'm of the belief that if you're given that executive-level opportunity, you hopefully know yourself very well. A part of knowing yourself very well in a professional or career sense is that you enjoy doing what you're best at, capable at accomplishing the things you need to that you may not love, and then you can absolutely delegate either the things you simply hate doing or that you know you're not the best person for the job. Understanding the separation of these parts of the role lends itself to being able to accomplish all you set out to do in the timeframe that sets the business in line for success, also.

Again, how do we translate that to us here and now? Know yourself. Be honest. And why beat around the bush in an interview if you're only aligning everyone (yourself and your team) with a much larger challenge than there needs to be if you're up front and match your beliefs.

Mine - urgency when there isn't a need for urgency. It isn't that I do not care - it's quite the opposite. When there is a true deadline and true urgency (in my line of work, thankfully never life & death, although some of those in corporate would have you believe otherwise), I can absolutely buckle down and do what's needed and talk to who we need to talk with. Put me on a plane to Philly for a day trip immediately following a vacation and the day before I'm supposed to do a conference - done and done - customer wanted to see movement and wanted to see it before month end. But give a fake deadline without reason as a line drawn in the sand for no better reason than to stress all parties out - call out and go with the usual process, wait a week to ensure people feel comfortable.

I've never been one to sell or blatantly fib to get a deal across - I'd much rather speak to the parties involved and come to a consensus, tease out terms and the priorities, and execute in a manner that gets most of the most. Rarely are transactions, changes, business completely one-sided (at least from an advising/consulting/lending/investing). Priority rank and determine how we can get on the right page. In banking, this made sense as it wasn't a "here's your money and we're wiping our hands clean" - it was a partnership. One that we hoped wouldn't be needed again unless clients wanted to - the urgency of restructuring was a battle nobody wanted (except maybe judges and restructuring firms).

I saw a joke / half-real comment the other day about IB hours that was related to how I feel here (was in corporate banking myself, not IB firm), but still funny - "I hated my hours but if I ever wanted to feel better, I'd talk to the attorneys on the deal." The availability of those firms was off the chart. If I lived to absolutely work, then sure. Or you have a team that fits with all sorts of work styles (including late hours and on weekends), okay.

A weakness, if you can call it that, is that I want a solid justification for why we're on red alert and where our priorities lie going further. Not a "because I said so" or a date for convenience sake, let's be respectful and allow us to work as comfortable as we see fit.