How do you answer the fatal flaw interview question? To understand the concept in depth, read about “character flaw”.
TRAP: If an interviewer has read your resume carefully, he may try to zero in on a “fatal flaw” of your candidacy, perhaps that you don’t have a college degree…you’ve been out of the job market for some time…you never earned your CPA, etc.
A fatal flaw question can be deadly, but usually only if you respond by being overly defensive.
ANSWER TECHNIQUE: As every master salesperson knows, you will encounter objections (whether stated or merely thought) in every sale. They’re part and parcel of the buyer’s anxiety. The key is not to worsen the buyer’s anxiety but to diminish it.
Whenever you come up against a fatal flaw question, do the following:
- Be completely honest, open, and straightforward about admitting the shortcoming. Showing you have nothing to hide diminishes the buyer’s anxiety.
- Do not apologize or try to explain it away. You know that this supposed flaw is nothing to be concerned about, and this is the attitude you want your interviewer to adopt as well.
- Add that as desirable as such a qualification might be, its lack has made you work all the harder throughout your career and has not prevented you from compiling an outstanding track record of achievements. You might even give examples of how, through a relentless commitment to excellence, you have consistently outperformed those who do have this qualification.
Of course, the ultimate way to handle “fatal flaw” questions is to prevent them from arising in the first place. You will do that by uncovering the employer’s needs and them matching your qualifications to those needs.
Once you’ve got the employer to start talking about his most urgently-felt wants and goals for the position, help him see in step-by-step fashion how perfectly your background and achievements match up with those needs.
You’re going to have one very enthusiastic interviewer on your hands, one who is no longer looking for “fatal flaws”.
Have you faced the fatal flaw question in interview of any kind? Want to share one or more tips on answering such behavioral interview questions? We’d love to know more in the comments.