How to answer the interview question “What is your biggest weakness?”

Welcome back! Yesterday we covered answering the interview question “What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?” If you haven’t read that yet, head on over there after you read this post. I am actually surprised I was able to wait as long as I did to answer this question. This is a stable of interviews and I think what really makes it interesting is there is a general consensus on how to answer this question that I think is wrong.

I think the general school of thought on this question is you answer this question with something that really isn’t a weakness but rather is a strength. The problem with that is everyone see’s through that. Everyone immediately dismisses your answer as disingenuous. I mean think about it. I imagine your are interviewing someone for your team and you ask this question and there answer is “Well, I guess my biggest weakness is I am willing to stay late to make sure I accomplish all my goals and I meet my objectives”.

Do you take the answer seriously? I have heard that answer and guess what, I didn’t. Its seen as dodging the question and really isn’t appreciated. You are actually much better served picking an actual weakness that wouldn’t impact your ability to function at a high level in the role you are interviewing for followed up by the ways you are working to bolster that weakness.

So, first, make sure it isn’t a weakness that is going to severely impact your ability to do your job. So, if you are applying to be an internal auditor, your weakness should not be your inability to stay focused and occasional lack of attention to detail. If you are applying to be a surgeon, it shouldn’t be that you get really shaky hands when under pressure. You get the idea.

Instead find something that is reasonable that you have been working on improving. For example, I often ask the question, “What areas would you like to improve upon in your career?” That is essentially the same question. Some of the best answer are just honest answers about what they value and want to make sure they can turn into a strength. I want to get better at mentoring more junior engineers. I want to make sure continue to learn as the technology advances in my industry.

I had a person answer the other day that her greatest weakness was public speaking. This is an excellent answer to the question. Why? Because it wasn’t a major component of her role, it’s a fear many people share and it’s something she is working towards improving. That right there is the trifecta. If you answer does those three things you will be just fine.

There you have it! Make sure you come back again tomorrow when we cover answering he interview question “What are you looking for in terms of compensation?” Also, if you like these posts, go down load my FREE Interview Prep Guide, its totally free. As always, I appreciate any likes or shares of these posts. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

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