Practicing your answers to key interview questions ahead of time is a great way to improve your confidence and help your interview flow smoothly. There’s one question, however, that many candidates simply dread: “What is your greatest weakness?” Planning for this question and preparing an answer could change the way the interviewer views your eligibility for the position. If you’re faced with this dreaded interview question, try some of these strategies.
In order to effectively answer an interview question about your weaknesses, you need to know what they are! There’s a big difference between a personal weakness and a professional one. Take the time to get to know your weaknesses in a professional setting. If you aren’t sure what they are, take the time to take an online personality quiz, which will help identify some of the most common weaknesses for your personality type.
Think through what’s important for the position you’re applying for. What skills are most necessary for a worker in that position? You don’t want to mention one of those items as one of your key weaknesses, even if you might struggle in a specific area. For example, if you’re being hired for a programming job, you might not want to admit that you struggle with a particular programming language. If you’re going to be working construction on a roof, you might not want to admit that you struggle with heights. Pick a weakness that isn’t a core requirement of the job that you are interviewing for.
Sure, you don’t want to give an answer that implies that you don’t have the right skills for the job you want, but you also don’t want to provide your interviewer with an answer that doesn’t reflect your genuine weaknesses. Be honest in your answer. Give your interviewer something that is a genuine weakness of yours – for example, how you struggle with conflict – but that doesn’t reflect something that could be detrimental to your job performance in this specific position.
Everyone has weaknesses, and anyone who implies that they don’t is lying. How you handle those weaknesses, however, can have a huge impact on how you perform in your job environment. How do you adapt your day to cover your weaknesses? For example, if you struggle with conflict in the workplace, you might ask your boss to help you address an issue with a coworker. If you know that you often miss details the first time you go through something, you might find that it makes sense for you to read back over your work before you submit it. Turn your weakness into a positive part of your interview by discussing what you have done to overcome it and include examples to give depth to your answer. This will make it clear that you’re willing to work on your weaknesses and improve yourself as an employee.
You don’t want to go on indefinitely when you answer any interview question, but especially when you’re talking about your weaknesses in an interview. As you prepare your answer to the “What is your greatest weakness?” question, make sure that you keep it simple. You don’t have to over-explain or give a complex example unless you’re asked to do so. Instead, provide a simple answer to a common question with confidence and assurance – not arrogance.
When you’re headed in for an interview, you don’t want to give an answer that sounds scripted. You do, however, want to provide them with a well thought-out, considered answer that shows personal awareness and a good sense for what is needed for the open position. Working with a recruiter like Atlantic Group, with offices in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, and following these steps can make it easier for you to provide your interviewer with an answer to the dreaded question about personal weaknesses without ruining your chance of getting the job.