Dont say you’re a perfectionist

Dont say you’re a perfectionist

I was asked this week whether saying you are a perfectionist is a good answer to provide during a job interview when asked to confess your “weakness”.

Absolutely not.

When asked to identify “weaknesses” start by substituting the word “challenge” for “weakness”. Also, choose a challenge you are already tackling. For example, investigate signing up for a Toastmaster’s Speechcraft course to overcome fear of public speaking.

Make sure you pick something you are genuinely doing something about. Don’t lie.

It is equally important not to pick a challenge that would torpedo your chances. I met someone recently who started life as a medical doctor until he realised he didn’t like sick people. This would be a “challenge”

I’d imagine would be a deal breaker in an interview for a GP role. Thankfully he changed professions.

Saying you are a perfectionist could set off alarms for interviewers and sink your chances. Being a high achiever who always strives to do better is a positive. Perfectionism is a genuine problem that can be treated.

Research reveals perfectionists are far less happy than high achievers and less able to cope when things go awry. They might blow up or panic when things go wrong rather than move on with a new solution.

Would you want to recruit that behaviour into your team?

There is no such thing as “perfect” so perfectionists are chasing an impossible task. They can often miss deadlines and waste time, money and resources re-doing a task that they will never be pleased with anyway.

Perfectionists also make poor managers by setting impossible standards and withholding praise from staff. If you are a perfectionist and it is making you anxious, unhappy and or standing in your way of career success then it could be time to talk to your doctor.

If you need workplace or career advice, submit your question to Kate at CareerOne’s Advice Forums.

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