“What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”

“What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” It’s the question many fear in interviews, because they haven’t prepared for it. After all, we are there to show them how suitable we are for the job, not to discuss reasons we might not be. Like most other questions about your skills and experience, the best plan is to know how you should respond. There are several great approaches, which should help paint a picture of you as a superior candidate.

Discuss a failing that many would perceive as a positive
Here are my two favorites:

  • As dedicated a team player, I’m always focusing on the results of the group as a whole. Because of this I’m not really a good self-promoter, and that may have occasionally hindered my career advancement.
  • When I’m managing a project, I can have an obsessive attention to detail. Accuracy of my work is important, and this keeps projects from backtracking. This carries over to my own scheduling and prioritizing, so that I allocate the time I know I need to meet time and budget constraints.

Focus on a non-essential skill
By relating a real shortcoming, it can demonstrate your personal awareness. But select one which doesn’t directly impact the job you are seeking. There are a good number of roles where you can state:

  • Your public speaking ability needs development.
  • You have a difficulty spending time regularly updating social media.
  • You fear you aren’t sale-sy enough.
  • You get impatient with prolonged phone calls or meetings.
  • You tend to prioritize organizational goals over those of a specific project or department – especially if they will impact the bottom line.
  • you can be reluctant to delegate if you know that you can still meet a deadline.

Add the Twist
…but you are working on developing these skills, as you know they can be essential for career development.

This is where you can mention any skills you have improved, courses you’ve taken, and how you have invested in personal development.

In any of these cases, if you come across as insincere, you will do yourself a disservice. Authentic responses will resonate with the interviewer.

 

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