Not talking about negatives is different to talking about overcoming
shortcomings. For many high achievers, work is largely about
overcoming shortcomings in their skills and knowledge in order to
achieve their aims. Rather than being frightened by new things,
they embrace them as learning challenges and look forward to
overcoming them. Often the difference between a highly effective
employee and one who is struggling has little to do with talent and
much to do with this attitude towards learning.
Employers like nothing more than hearing about how you
overcame a skills or knowledge deficit in order to complete a project.
Overcoming deficiencies demonstrates to the interviewer that you
are the sort of person who is able to learn on the job and, as a result,
get the job completed. Here’s what an ‘overcoming a skills/knowledge
deficit’ answer may sound like:
After receiving the assignment, we soon realised that some
of us on the team did not have the required knowledge to
maximise our contribution. My deficit was in understanding
how to use several complicated software applications that
were crucial to the quality control side of the assignment.
My challenge was to learn how to use these applications
within a very short space of time and reliably apply this
knowledge. Because we were working under a very tight
timeline and the rest of the team were relying on me, there
was very little margin for error. Fortunately, I was able to
apply my newfound knowledge, as did the other members
of the team, and we successfully completed the assignment.
This answer not only tells the employer that you can learn complicated
information whilst working on an assignment, but that you can
also do it under pressure and deliver the required results.