What Is Your Greatest Weakness? Three Tips to Answering the Most Dreaded Interview Question

It’s a question that really frustrates job candidates. At a job interview, you naturally want to make a good impression, to talk about your skills and abilities, what your strengths are, so there is a natural aversion to describing areas where you need improvement.

What is the purpose of such a question anyway, you may wonder? The reason hiring managers ask it is to get an idea of your sense of self-awareness and maturity. They want to see if you recognize what your faults and failings are – things we all have — and if you have the maturity to admit to them. Further, they want to see if you are doing anything about them. Knowing their reasoning behind the question should help you formulate a good answer. Here are some tips on how to do it.

1. Don’t equivocate

Don’t try to play games with your answer, for example, by giving a fault that is really a strength in disguise, like not knowing when to quit. You want to talk about a real weakness that you have, although one that is not so serious that it eliminates you from competition for the job. For example, it could be something like difficulties getting organized or problems with time management or learning how to accept criticism.

2. Describe how it helped you grow

Explain how you came to realize your shortcoming and how this helped you to grow as a person. For example, you can explain how it gave you more tolerance and empathy for others, how it made you more discerning in evaluating your own abilities, and how it provided an incentive for taking action.

3. Describe what you are doing to improve

So far, you have identified a weakness and what you have learned from it. You must also then describe what you are doing to eliminate it and give examples of the progress you have made in doing this.

If, for example, you have organizational issues, you can describe how you are setting up your calendar and to-do list to schedule and prioritize tasks, how you are keeping records of what you accomplish for future reference, and how you are setting aside time for reflection and planning.

Looking for a new job?

At Opti Staffing, we work to learn the stories of all of our job candidates, building relationships with them based on honesty and respect, so that we can match them with jobs that fit their skills and experience. Contact Opti today to see how we can help you in your job search.

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