Is it Possible to Turn a Negative into a Positive During an Interview?

John Krautzel
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Employers may try to trip you up by asking you about negative situations during a job interview. You might get a question about your greatest weakness, why you were fired from a job or what a previous manager would say about your work performance. Don't fret, because with a little preparation and advice, you can turn those negative situations into positive qualities that land you a great job.

Brace Yourself

One common job interview question revolves around sharing your greatest weaknesses and strengths. Prepare for this query by making a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, write down how you can leverage a weakness into positive qualities.

For example, say a weakness is you sometimes show up late for meetings, and your boss mentioned it to you in a weekly feedback session. To compensate for this weakness, you're learning to use a time management app that has not only made you on time for meetings but increased your productivity and efficiency at work.

Tell a Story

Tell a story during your job interview about how you overcame a particular weakness. This makes you more relatable to your employer, and your story sets you apart from other candidates.

Using a similar example about being late for meetings, relate how you realized you had difficulty with time management when you missed your commute because you were 30 seconds late. That delay caused you to arrive at work 30 minutes late, and you missed an important meeting where you could have volunteered to head up a very important project. That project might have given you a chance at a promotion had you completed it successfully.

Then, turn that negative into a positive by explaining you arrived at the next big meeting on time, volunteered to take on extra work and still got a promotion a year later. That time management app came in handy, after all.

Be Honest and Be Positive

Always be truthful during a job interview. There are plenty of ways to stay positive, even if you have a negative situation come up during your face time. Don't lie about being fired from a job or losing a big internship, but explain how that negative situation turned into a learning experience that elevated your career. Rather than say you hate your former boss, be happy that you found a positive company to work for that shares your values.

Explain Specific Traits

Specific traits may be a negative you can turn into a positive during a job interview. Your shyness can be a detriment to collaborating with your teammates and developing trust, but you decided to take public speaking classes to try to overcome it. Procrastination can lower your productivity, but you can say you're double-checking details of a project to make sure you did everything properly. If perfectionism is your greatest weakness, say it's because you always give 100 percent to your tasks at hand.

A job interview involves an open, honest conversation between you and an employer. It also marks the time when you can turn negatives into positives when you try to stand out from other candidates. What weaknesses do you turn into strengths during an interview?

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