Did I Answer This Job Interview Question Correctly?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by lifeinhd, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. lifeinhd macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    Today I went on my first job interview. Everything went well, except there was a part I wasn't sure of. The interviewer asked if I could change one character trait, what it would be. I know the answer to this question is supposed to be "Nothing," but I couldn't bring myself to say that. So instead I paused, looked him in the eye, and said clearly and thoughtfully: "I'm a good son, a caring friend, and a loving brother. I wouldn't want to change any of those things."

    What do you think?
  2. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    I suppose interviewers who ask questions like that, deserve answers like that :p
  3. Xavier macrumors 68030

    Mar 23, 2006
    Well you would not want to say "my work ethic."

    Good answer
  4. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    It's more about how u answer the question then what your answer is. Did u think too long? Did u laugh or act like u were uncomfortable? Did u seem to be truthful or just making up some bs? Etc
  5. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Yeah, that is what I have discovered. Like everything else associated with job hunting, there seems to be more than one approach to this. How you answer is the main approach. There is one school of thought that says "nothing" is correct, since it shows you are happy with yourself, and plus, why would you admit character flaws upfront? Another school of thought is to answer it so that a weakness seems like a strength. Something like "I tend to get too caught up in my work and lose track of time" or some B.S. like that.

    I dunno. Like every other aspect of job hunting, I basically gave up trying to figure out what is "correct". You see conflicting reports all over the internet. "You need a one page resume!" "No, multiple pages will be fine!" Stuff like that.
  6. pooryou macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    "I wish I was slightly less awesome so that I could have more room to grow."
  7. lifeinhd thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    I had it perfectly planned in my head how I would say it, and it sounded great, but unfortunately after I said it I thought it sounded a bit corny, cheesy, and daft, all rolled into one. I guess that's mostly what I'm trying to get a judgement on-- does that statement, even stated seriously, come off as cliche or even sarcastic?
  8. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    Best answer. :)

    Seriously, I always answer questions like that with something along the lines that I'm a perfectionist.
  9. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality

    I don't think the OP's answer was bad, but yours is the one I've tended to go with. I tell them, "I'm never really satisfied with something, I always think it can be made better."
  10. michaelo macrumors newbie


    Jul 13, 2010
    Queensland Australia
    Nothing wrong with that, you did well as you can see from all the positive responses, good luck (luck shouldn't have anything to do with either)

  11. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I think you did just fine.

    I remember my first job interview, for a part-time technician job at a small radio station. I was 15. My boss asked me if I'd ever taken apart a toaster. I paused for a moment and said "Not when it's still plugged in." I got the job!
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    What the OP did was deflect the question and took an opportunity to promote himself. It feels like something out of a politician's bag of tricks, but it works!

    Otherwise, answer in a way that says that your negative could also be seen as a positive. "I am a bit of a perfectionist" is a good example.

    Remember too that there's not always a "right" answer and even the answer you think is right isn't necessarily the one they're looking for. In one job interview (for a software position) I was asked my opinion of a particular development methodology (UML modelling tools with "round-trip" code generation). It was very new, very "slick", and being taught in my engineering courses. But I had some real issues with it, and I said so in the interview. I said it was good for small projects like what I had done in school, but that I felt it could be a real pain for anything much larger than that, and I listed the reasons I thought so.

    I got the job. Later I heard that my answer to that question was what sold them on me. I wasn't some bitter old-timer that was afraid of "the new-fangled stuff", nor was I a naive fresh grad or high level manager with ideas of changing the world with new and better processes. (The company already had plenty of people from both of those camps, and the developers were getting tired of it). They liked that I had a realistic, practical outlook and a diplomatic way of describing the issues.

    Bottom line: Sell yourself positively, but be yourself. If you're not, they'll find out soon enough anyway.
  13. lewis82 macrumors 68000


    Aug 26, 2009
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    This is by far the worst answer. It used to be good, but then everyone started to use it. Experienced interviewers know that this one is BS ;)

    Edit: not the worst, but definitely not the best.
  14. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    Whatever happened to answering questions truthfully? :eek:
  15. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Like: I've never thought about that. (or, I haven't thought about that for awile.) I don't really know if there's any trait I want to change. I mean, if there was, I'd be in the process of trying to change it.
  16. (marc) macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2010
    the woods
    It's a question many interviewers ask but I don't like it, because it makes you lie. There are many things about me I'd like to change (and I guess most people feel the same way) but that's something I'd discuss with my wife or a close friend, not my employer.
  17. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2005
    Manchester UK
    I don't know if it is a cultural thing, but I would never answer the question how many are suggesting. If I asked that question and somebody said "I'm a perfectionist" I would just think it was B.S.

    For my current job I answered truthfully. In my case, it's procrastination. To counter that, I explained what I do to stop things drifting (keeping an up to date to-do list and calendar appointments etc.). This shows you are aware of your weaknesses and you know how to fix the problem. Nobody is perfect and I think it is very important to be able to accurately understand your weaknesses and limitations.

    Just my personal opinion.
  18. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I would have something along the lines of 'I work too hard, I care too much and sometimes I'm too invested in my job.'.

    Thanks Michael Scott. :p
  19. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    Don't worry. You were prepared with an answer and didn't appear dumb while trying to think about how to answer without shooting yourself in the foot.

    That question is so cliche and anybody who has made any attempt to prepare for an interview knows that they might get asked a question like that. As a result, most answers are going to sound cliched too. It's really only those without any ready answer at all that look bad.

    In any event, it's likely the interviewer had already formed his opinion of you by the time he came to that question.
  20. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    At the very least if your answer is truly "I'm a perfectionist" (which it is, in my case) -- be able to back it up with specific examples so they know you're not just BSing.
  21. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    This is a question only inexperienced interviewers ask, who have googled for a list of interview questions. It tells the interviewer nothing about you except whether you've googled the same list of interview questions.

    I've been asked this only once, in my first ever interview, and I bs'ed about being a perfectionist, only to be challenged on it by the interviewer. And I've never asked anyone this myself while interviewing anyone.

    Still, you should probably be prepared for this kind of question. The best answer is actually to prepare something truthful. r1ch4rd's is the one I wouldn't mind hearing if I were to actually ask this. I'd be disappointed in the rest of the answers.

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