Interviewers know that one of the best questions to ask in an interview is “what is your greatest weakness”. This is truly one of the most common and aggravating interview questions to answer simply because talking about “your greatest weakness” or flaw is difficult.
Hiring managers like asking this question because it tells them several things. It tells them your strengths in an interview, to know if you are self-aware, and to know if you know your list of strengths. It also tells the interviewer if you are working on the things that you know you are weak on.
One of the best interview tips that you may get is just to be prepared for this question. It shows that you have great interview skills if you can flawlessly give a response to this question. You need to show the interviewer that recognizing your weakness is for the betterment of the organization, and of course, yourself.
This question is not just about your weaknesses, but it highlights what your greatest strengths and weaknesses are. So, you must know how to answer what is your greatest weakness in an interview. One interview tip and trick is that by establishing the appropriate context, you can give hiring managers an honest, thoughtful answer that can give your key-strengths examples, and your professionalism.
So how can you answer the “what is your greatest weakness question.”
WHAT NOT TO SAY
Do not use a discrediting weakness
To have a good job interview, try not to say things that are going to hurt your credibility or the things that would make you look like a bad person. Try to focus on how to answer what areas need improvement and not really things that make you look bad.
An example is if you have tardiness and gambling problems. You do not tell the interviewer that you are struggling with this and want to get help for it. This will surely discredit you bigtime.
Do not mention your old weaknesses
If you have overcome that weakness, and it is not a problem anymore, it doesn’t answer the question of “what are your weaknesses?”. It answers the question, “How you overcame your weaknesses” which is not really the point.
This is not a good example of how to sell yourself because it just makes it seem that you do not understand the question.
Converting a negative to a positive
A good answer to what your greatest weakness is to highlight how you realize your weaknesses and talk about how you are constantly improving.
An example could be that you are a perfectionist and you want to make sure that everything is just perfect when you submit every task. Because of this, it takes you longer than usual to finish things.
You can then state that you realized that not everything has to be perfect. You are now trying your best not to mind too much of every detail and just make sure that everything is well.
You should focus on how you are constantly improving and how it is something that you are actively working on.
NOTE: This example may not be a very good answer. Why? Because this has been overused. You should tell your real weakness instead.
So what is a good answer?
One good interview tip to answer the “what are your weaknesses” is to be truthful.
Try to talk about your irrelevant weaknesses
For example, you are applying for an Operations Manager position. That position requires you to work under pressure and think fast. As an Operations Manager, you need to be excellent in handling the team as a whole, while solving problems, big or small, anytime you’re on the job. You will not mention a weakness related to what the job requires.
A weakness that you can say is that as an Operations Manager, you are not that good with concise reporting. You can state that you have great leadership skills and can work under pressure, but you really could work on being more eloquent with reports. To help you with this weakness, you purchased a few books to help you know when enough information is enough. It’s a working progress for you now.
Try mentioning things that are teachable or things that you can learn to improve over time.
For example, you are not computer savvy. You may know how to use the computer, to get the basic things done and that is it.
Tell your interviewers that you want to learn and improve on a specific computer skill — such as Microsoft Excel. If you mastered Microsoft Excel, you may be able to capture metrics quickly from progress from dashboards to either ramp up production or prepare for course correction.
Try to state a simple weakness, then state a simple solution.
An example is to state that you are not good at public speaking and you get nervous in front of crowds. However, you joined some colleagues who are great speakers and asked for advice on how to improve.
Over time, you know you can become great at public speaking. It’s just that right now, it is not one of your strong suits.”
Give a real weakness.
Make sure that what you will discuss is an authentic weakness of yours.
Make sure that you tell your hiring manager that you are constantly improving on this weakness and that you actually want to improve on it. The goal is that one day, it can be one of your strengths.
Also, note that when you are asked for a weakness, discuss just one weakness. There is really no need to talk about multiple ones.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR INTERVIEWS
- Try to have interview preparation questions or an interview preparation checklist.
- List down what are your strengths with examples.
- You need to be prepared to explain the meaning of your weaknesses.
- List down what are your weaknesses with examples.
- Don’t spend too much time on this question. Do not dwell on the negativity, touch on it then move on.
- Talk about the weakness, and then focus on the solution
- Keep the tone positive and light. Avoid talking about how bad you are on your weaknesses. Keep everything on a positive note.
- Anticipate that this question may be asked. You actually may not be asked this question during the interview, but it is best if you are prepared.
- There is no such answer as “I have no weakness,” because, a person who does not have any single weakness, does not exist.