Being a Perfectionist Doesn't Always Make You the Best Employee, Here's Why

Published June 25th, 2020 - 03:00 GMT
Being a Perfectionist Doesn't Always Make You the Best Employee, Here's Why
Being an idealist junior staff member is not even the worst example of how this trait can negatively impact the workplace. (Shutterstock: WAYHOME studio)

If you've been preparing for a job interview and ready to use the "I'm a perfectionist" line to answer the "What are your strengths?" question, you need to read this article.

Most people assume that claiming to be a perfectionist, whether true or not, makes them the perfect candidate for the job they're interviewing for, because, "What better could a hiring committee ask for in the next ideal employee?"

Those hoping to come off as excellent workers, ones who value quality over quantity may not see the word "perfectionist" from the other side of the table.

While having some sort of perfectionism can show a rather committed and responsible individual who can be trusted with the job, the word could also translate into "takes too much time to finish a task," "stresses each and every little detail that isn't even noticed by anyone else," an outcome no one would want to face since it points at the possibility of slow performance.

You might not be aware that some employers do care about quantity over quality to unbelievable extents, which doesn't necessarily suggest bad management, but is often related to business requirements and dynamics. 

Companies where both quality and quantity matter in terms of results usually resort to designing their own tools to maintain high-quality standards, while still saving team members' time and keeping their productivity high.
Additionally, spending so much time on a certain task could make you miss other opportunities to develop your skills or to explore new tasks that could help your professional growth.

Time management is increasingly becoming just as valuable in a super-fast business world, so you'll have to prove that your aspiration for flawless results will not be used as a pretext for missing deadlines. Alternatively, it's best that you set a reasonable time limit for each task, so you make sure you're not spending more time than needed on any assignment.

Being an idealist junior staff member is not even the worst example of how this trait can negatively impact the workplace. In leadership roles, utopian bosses can pose a very taxing challenge as it gets harder to work with them. Even worse, a hard to please boss could create pretty frustrated teams, ones where creativity and long-term commitment are gradually killed.

Stressing over the best possible product could also block any endeavors for innovation and change in the workplace, making one's perfectionism more of a weakness rather than a strength.

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