At some point during an interview, chances are the interviewer will ask you one of the most intimidating questions of the process – “What’s your greatest weakness?”
While this question is difficult to answer and may seem like an odd thing to ask a stranger, it can reveal a lot about you. The interviewer asks it not only because they are interested in how you handle a tough question, but also because they’re trying to figure out if you’ll be a good or bad fit for the open position.
Knowing what interviewers are looking for will help you face your interview fears and showcase yourself as the perfect job candidate. Take a look at these dos and don’ts before you head to your next interview.
- Try to turn a negative into a positive. This is an old trick interviewers will see right through. Avoid answers like, “I work too hard,” “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I care too much.”
- Be brutally honest. While honesty is encouraged and expected in an interview, there are certain answers you should avoid – even if they’re true. This is not the time to reveal that you have trouble getting to work on time or that you aren’t a team player.
- Avoid the answer. This question can be intimidating, but you should try to answer it to the best of your ability. Everyone has at least one weakness, so saying that you can’t think of one is not the way to go.
- Make a joke. Now’s not the time to be funny. If you answer this question with a joke – like “I can’t avoid eating chocolate” – it may make the interviewer think you aren’t taking the interview seriously.
- Be aware of the job requirements. Don’t pick a weakness that sets you up as a poor candidate for the job. For example, if you’re interviewing to be an office assistant, don’t say that you’re bad at organization or dislike answering the phones.
- Be real. It’s easy to pick a weakness that doesn’t actually affect you, but it’s better to be honest with your answer. Don’t pick your worst weakness, necessarily, but there’s bound to be a weakness that is interview-appropriate and honest.
- Reveal a weakness that is somewhat minor. It’s best to state a weakness that can be viewed as fixable. If you’re a poor public speaker or are not familiar with all of today’s computer programs, those are fixable and trainable weaknesses to have. Don’t forget to add that you have a desire – and a plan – to fix it.
- Be brief. There’s no point in going on and on about your weakness. Be concise, and avoid sounding negative or defensive.
As with any interview question, remember to practice your answers beforehand. Anticipating what an interviewer may ask and preparing your responses can help you feel less anxious about your interview and present yourself in the most positive way possible.
How do you answer this interview question? Share your tips in the comments section below!
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