It is probably the most difficult and hated question during a job interview: “What’s your greatest weakness?”. 9 out of 10 people answer that they are a ‘perfectionist’ or ‘workaholic’ which they then cannot back-up with examples. Other people answer that they can’t think of any of their weaknesses, which is an even worse answer than the previous two!
The ‘weakness’ question is hard to answer and yet it could be the most important question during your interview. The way you answer that question shows a lot about who you are, how well you know yourself and how truthful you are with your, hopefully, future employer.
CGD gives you the 4 steps on how to answer the weakness question!
#1 – You always have a weakness
Everyone has a weakness, so saying that you don’t know what yours are only implies that you are not truthful to your potential employer, you never evaluate and don’t know yourself, which is never a good impression to make. So no matter how hard you must think or how badly you blank out during your interview, never answer this question with ‘I don’t know, can’t think of any’ or ‘I don’t have any weaknesses’.
#2 – Pick your best weakness
Sounds crazy right? But it is important to pick your best weakness. Never say ‘I am not a team-player’ or ‘I don’t like feedback’, even if its true! If you’re looking at your weaknesses you should pick the one that you can turn into a slighter positive weakness or that is not related to the job, but make sure it is a real weakness to you and don’t make one up. Always make sure that the weakness does not conflict with the job or hinder your ability to fit in with the company.
#3 – Always give reasoning
Why is this a weakness for you, back it up with examples from your past. If you say you are a workaholic but you have a gap on your resume, how does it show that you truly are a workaholic. A funny anecdote always works, but show them how this weakness showed in the past.
#4 – Minimize the impact of the weakness
Immediately after you backed up your answer, tell them how, in the past, you ‘recovered’ from that weakness and how you are working on minimizing the impact of it. How did you deal with the weakness and how are you dealing with it now. Give your answer a positive spin, show them that you take your weakness seriously and that you are working hard to ‘overcome’ or ‘better’ this weakness. This not only shows that you know yourself, it also shows your determination in developing yourself and your career!