Interview: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

Interview_Weakness_April2014This is one of the most frequently asked and most dreaded questions in an interview. Although it’s nerve-racking, your answer can make or break your interview. When a hiring manager asks about your greatest weakness, it’s a time for them to learn about your character and a great opportunity for you to use the question to your advantage.

Jacquelyn Smith, a writer for Forbes shares, “It’s not a trick question and there’s no ‘right’ answer—but interviewers are looking for something specific in your response to this challenging question.” Here are some tips in conveying your greatest weakness while keeping your composure in a job interview.

Identify Your Weakness
First things first, what is your weakness? Be honest with yourself and identify what you’re not the best at ahead of time. If you’re not great with finances or if you’re not super organized, don’t be afraid to say it, but whatever you do, avoid mentioning a weakness that can crush your chances of landing the job. If you’re not exactly sure what the job entails, review the job description to see what the employer is looking for.

Be sure to formulate an answer that’s not generic. Hiring managers know that people aren’t perfect and they make mistakes. People have weaknesses; hiring managers just want to know how those weaknesses have been handled.

Turn a Negative into a Positive
While you’re sharing about your weakness in an interview, you can easily turn the attention to a great strength you have. A Forbes article shares, “Be prepared to give an example of a previous failure or weakness that you’ve successfully turned into a strength. Do not discuss areas of opportunity that you are still working on and have not yet fixed.” After talking about the way you’ve conquered a weakness in life, keep the focus of the conversation positive, so you can leave a lasting impression.

Strictly Business
Talking about your weaknesses and strengths allows you to open up and share about yourself, but be careful to not over share. Throughout your interview process, remember to keep your responses work-related. Do your best to stay centered on the topic and avoid personal drama. “Sure, everyone has got some, but companies want to ensure this won’t affect your job if you get hired. Besides, it’s considered completely inappropriate to bring personal drama into the business world,” says Smith.

What are some ways you’ve shared your greatest weakness in an interview? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.


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  2. Fay F

    My greatness weakness is being too friendly which results in being too talkative. I like people and getting to know them, which enhances my customer service skill. However, this was a negative attribute during my performance review so I took an employee assistance counselling course and I have curtailed my overly friendliness to being polite and less talkative.

    Thank you.

  3. Jill

    Pick a weakness that most people struggle with, like computer skills, they are always changing and I think most interviewers would agree it is impossible to learn everything about computers in this constantly changing technology world. But follow this up with how you are trying to keep up with these changes. Taking classes, watching YouTube tutiorials, going to seminars, ect. Just make sure you pick something that the interviewer can identify with and show how you are improving.

    1. Gloria

      This has been very helpful. I recently interviewed and asked what my weakness(es) were and I did struggle on my response. I have an interview tomorrow and if the question arises, the agency that referred me for this position has tutorials for me to improve computer skills.

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