We recently received a request from a job seeker asking how to answer the question, "What is your biggest weakness".
You will probably find career advice telling you to name something that is a positive dressed up as a negative, such as "I'm a perfectionist," or "I work too hard." However, answers like these are often "the fastest way to exasperate" interviewers, according to a US News article called 5 Pieces of Bad Career Advice. Answering this way shows a lack of self-awareness and an indication that you are unable to assess yourself well enough to communicate your weak points.
Interviewers want to know your weaknesses to gauge whether you will thrive or struggle in the role for which they're hiring. They don't want to hire someone who will have to be dismissed later if they aren't suited well for the position.
Be truthful and straightforward when you answer the question, and don’t say you don’t have any weaknesses (everyone has them). At the same time, don’t admit a weakness that you're not sure how to improve, rather, tell the interviewer a weakness but explain how you are working to overcome it.
- "I have a hard time with time management and understand that this is an important skill to master, so I have started to prioritize my projects and create daily and weekly schedules for myself that I can stick to."
- "I feel uncomfortable speaking in front of groups which I know is a valuable skill to have, so in order to be more confident speaking publicly I have been taking public speaking courses and have joined the Toastmasters to help me get over my fears."
Remember to be honest. The interview is a two-way discovery process, and attempting to tell someone what you think they want to hear might lose you and the interviewer the opportunity to determine whether or not there is an authentic fit for the role. Boldly be yourself, especially if you have concerns that your "weakness" might get amplified or agitated by the environment rather than nurtured and developed.
Disagree? Or perhaps you have successfully used a different approach? Do you have requests for other interview questions you would like us to investigate? Comment below!Tweet Share