How to Answer, “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?” During a Job Interview

Posted by Amanda Augustine

01:07 PM

This dreaded, seemingly trick question will no longer be difficult to answer in job interviews.

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Most job candidates are familiar with the “What’s your biggest weakness?” interview question, but few feel equipped to answer it with confidence.

The next time you’re asked the stress-inducing question in an interview, use these tips to provide a powerful response. [TWEET]

Avoid faux weaknesses.

Recruiters and employers don’t want to hear that you’re a perfectionist or any of those other faux weaknesses that can be turned into strengths. They actually want to know about an area you’ve struggled with, and most importantly, what you’ve done to overcome that limitation. Steer clear of the “positive” weaknesses and stick to sharing something that’s genuine.

Choose something work-related.

This is not the time to discuss your fear of commitment or that you get awful road rage during rush hour. Focus on an area that’s relevant to your professional life. For example, perhaps you struggled with multi-tasking earlier in your career but have become a master at it in recent years.

Don’t mention essential skills.

Remember, the goal is to share a shortcoming that you’ve already taken steps to improve. This demonstrates to the hiring manager that you’re not only self-aware, but you’re dedicated to self-improvement.  If your greatest weakness is a critical requirement for the job and you’re still struggling in this area, then you may want to reconsider whether it’s the right role for you.

Use the STAR method to explain.

The STAR method is typically used to respond to behavioral interview questions; however, it can also be a great way to explain how you’ve overcome a weakness in a succinct, thoughtful manner. Here’s what to do:

  • Think of a Situation or Task that you’ve struggled with in the past. This could be anything from having difficulty remaining cool under pressure, being afraid of public speaking, or getting too caught up in the little details of a project and missing deadlines.
  • Identify what Actions you’ve taken to improve your skill-set or overcome this shortcoming at the office. For instance, if you’ve been too efficient for your own good in the past and ended up cutting corners, you can explain what measures you’ve taken to ensure you produce a high-quality, error-free product now.
  • Discuss the Results of your actions. Are you no longer struggling with this skill at the office? Have your customer scores or employee assessments improved? Are you performing better at your organization? Prove you’re an accomplished professional by explaining the final success.

Use this question as an opportunity to demonstrate to prospective employers your commitment to excellence and professional development. Remember, it’s not always about the strengths you possess, but the results you can achieve when the odds are against you.

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Amanda Augustine provides job search and career guidance for recent college graduates and professionals looking to improve their careers and find the right job, sooner. Follow Amanda at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and like her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute advice. Want to work with Amanda? Learn more at www.JobSearchAmanda.com.

 

 

 

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Topics: Ask Amanda, Interview, New to the Workforce