There are 2 mistakes almost everyone does when it comes to sharing their weakness, failure, adversity. These mistakes can even cost them an entire call or an entire year.
So what are these mistakes and what most students do ?
Not being Vulnerable Enough : This trait is usually observed in Males. That doesn’t mean Females don’t exhibit it. Males usually are afraid to be vulnerable because they are biologically wired in a different way. They are told not to express emotions easily. They are told to toughen up. They are also told not to share their weaker side.
Boys don’t cry.
There is other side to it.
Being too much Vulnerable : Usually, it’s observed in Females. This also has roots in how Women are biologically wired. If someone exhibits this trait, he/she thinks it’s OK to share all the failures/mistakes in the hope to get approval/validation from the other person.
But that doesn’t usually happen during the interview. In fact, if you do it, it will backfire on you.
Today, I am going to share how I used Vulnerability correctly and I am also going to give you few examples to prove my point, so you know how to use it correctly to your advantage without falling into any of those deadly traps.
Watch this video by Brene Brown on Power of Vulnerability to know how to use it correctly.
Take a look at this matrix
There are 4 Quadrants.
- Loser : Low Status and Vulnerable
- Delusional Wannabe : Low Status and Not Vulnerable
- Accomplished & Aloof : High Status and Not Vulnerable
- Accomplished Leader : High Status and Vulnerable.
When you are talking about your weakness, failures, adversities, the panel members are least interested in your mistake. They are testing your maturity and ability to learn from it.
They want to know that can you face your own flaws and discuss them openly, working on improving it without trying to hide behind them or be in denial. If you do it correctly, it shows your leadership quality.
No one really wants to talk about their weaknesses and failures but everyone has failed at some point in their life.
The greatest managers and leaders have all made significant mistakes in business and their lives. The point is not to prove that you don’t fail, or won’t fail. You have to prove that you can bounce back from failure, learn required lessons and know how to face the failure if it occurs again.
Show them how you managed to get over failure, your learnings, what you learned about yourself (your faults/shortcomings as well as your biggest strengths) They want to see that if you can locate your underlying weakness and can you address it.
A failure must be the result of a weakness.
Ethical or Moral failure is a big NO NO
You are not out there to get sympathy. Don’t share anything with Interviewer that you wont share with your trusted advisor.
Share your real weakness, don’t pretend. Don’t care about looking good or bad. If you do it appropriately and Interviewer still judges you, it’s not your problem, it’s their problem.
For God’s sake, don’t state strength disguised as weakness.
I made some of these mistakes and now I can share them freely with you without any hesitation.
First, becoming too much vulnerable with low Status. When you do that, it feels like emotional manipulation. When students try to play victim card, he is seen as someone who manipulates others to get what he wants.
As we know, when we share our failures, vulnerability, adversity, challenges, we get maximum comments, likes and shares.
Remember Me Too, Depression is Real.
Many of these posts are downright negative, gloomy and the author hasn’t made any kind of attempt to come out of it. They are just being complainers.
There are very few who actually face the problem, do the work and come out of it and share their stories. They are considered as High Status & Vulnerable.
Many of other stories are out there just to garner sympathy.
I made this mistake in my SCMHRD Interview, when I was asked about my low graduation score, I blamed it on one of my family member’s critical illness. Instead of taking responsibility of my failure and facing it like a man, I tried to hide behind. I acted like a LOSER.
Results : It was backfired and my interview went into a totally different direction where interviewer thought I am using it to justify my failure. It worked against me. I was rejected. Despite scoring high in written exam, I totally f**ked up by saying this. I was rejected.
One example of how Vulnerability can help you.
Last year, I was approached by Mr.X who received call from NM. His score was on borderline. He had gap year after 12th. He was trying to cook up a fake reason to justify the gap. When I further inquired, I realized that he had a great story behind it and it was so good, that it needed to be told.
My job was just to give him courage to get the story out. I told him not to hide anything and share the story. He had all his doubts that why it won’t work. But eventually, he decided to share it. He talked about odds he faced in the gap year, how he overcame that.
If he would have done absolutely nothing to repair the situation, then that probably wouldn’t have been such a great story but that wasn’t the case. But he had done something significant to overcome the odds. That’s why it was such a great story.
When he shared his story, there was silence in the room and interviewer applauded and congratulated him for the same. He converted NMIMS call.
Let’s take my another example. I shared my CAT failure story. Read it here
I did that when I scored 98.5%ile, I didn’t share it when I scored 83.5%ile. I didn’t do it when I scored 91%ile. I waited. It’s sometimes better to just work and improve, instead of being vulnerable. If you don’t. You will be considered as a Loser.
I also shared about my rejects/accepts at different B-schools. I am quite candid about it. I also do share that I am not an MBA. I don’t’ feel inferior or I don’t feel shame about it. It helps me better connect with my audience.
I also did share how I overcame these failures. I only started talking about when I started having some/more wins in my hand. That situation is much better than complaining/blaming. Now, I use it to polarize the audience.
A lot of answers I get from students are not like these. If you haven’t overcome it or haven’t done something significant to mitigate the bad effects. You come across like a loser.
There is another example I particularly remember. How to answer questions without making other person feeling victimized.
There was a student who had face deformities and others used to make fun of his appearance. He was operated several times but instead of becoming negative, he started challenging himself to get out of comfort zone. He started participating in various competitions, public speaking, different events, started taking different courses.
When I read his answer I was so impressed.Not even a tinge of complaining attitude. He shared it when he overcame the issues and emerged successful. He didn’t make me feel victimized.
Then there is another quadrant. Accomplished and Aloof. If you are accomplished and if you feel like you shouldn’t be Vulnerable because why do you even want to share about your failures.
My advice to them “Dude, you should definitely talk about it. Not hold yourself back. It’s the biggest leverage point if you do it correctly without nonsense of complain, playing victim card. It’s a challenge, failure you have overcome.”
If you do that, you will win the hearts of panel.
I had a conversation with someone from XLRI few weeks back, she had 4 years gap for UPSC prep. When she was interviewed for Summers at Management Consulting firm. She was asked this question
“So what is the real reason you want to work here ?”
She gave her answer.
Don’t lie. We know you want to work here for money. Just say it.
Sir, if I wanted to work for money , why I would have invested 4 years on UPSC jeopardizing my job , not making money. If money was the motivator, I would have taken the job 4 years back.
The interviewer was so impressed, he made her meet everyone in the office and shred her story. Of course, she was selected.
If you have these stories inside you, work hard to find and use these stories on strategic occasions.You won’t make much progress by playing safe all the time.Learn to connect with your panel. You will have a long road ahead.
That’s what I teach , how too use approach of story telling to rise head and shoulders above the competition. How to share your adversities, failures, challenges without jeopardizing your chances of converting the call, instead use them as your highest leverage points.
If you want to learn this approach, check out GD WAT PI Revolution