In our continuing series on tough interview questions, we present the Greatest Weakness Edition.
One of the most common questions a prospective employer will ask is for you to describe your biggest weakness.
As with any question you get in a job interview, its important to understand what your interviewer is looking for in a response.
Avoid a long list of personal flaws
When and interviewer asks you about your weaknesses they don’t want a long list of things you don’t like about yourself. They aren’t looking for a big regret or even something you’re terrible at. What they want to know is how well you know yourself and how you are working to improve.
Don’t throw yourself out of the running
Before going into the interview make sure you are thoroughly acquainted with the skills and responsibilities they’re looking for. They’re likely in a list as part of the job description. If one of your weaknesses is in that list, it’s probably not a good idea to mention that as your biggest weakness.
Know matter how self aware you are, no interviewer wants to hear that key parts of the job you are applying for are the things you don’t feel confident about.
Avoid sounding self-congratulatory
You want to answer this question with honesty and integrity. Saying you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard or care too much are not going to get you any brownie points with the interviewer. It will make them think you don’t have any idea about what your weaknesses are or that you do know and don’t want to share them.
You can talk about something that you know you need to work on. For instance you could say you sometimes have trouble speaking up for yourself.
Talk about how you are already addressing the situation
After identifying the weakness, don’t just leave it sitting on the table staring at the interviewer, discuss the steps you’re taking to address it. Say although you’re not comfortable speaking up for yourself, you are currently putting yourself in situations where you have to speak up. Give examples. You will come across as a self aware individual who has plans to move forward with your own future.