How To Take Advantage Of the Question: ‘What is your greatest weakness?’
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Your interviewer asks you that dreaded question: what is your greatest weakness?
You’re guaranteed to hear it during your job interview, and it’s very, very easy to mess it up. Contrary to what you may think, I’m not here to make you worry even more. You just need to do a bit of planning prior to the interview. So before you shake hands with your hiring manager, take a look down below if you need a bit of help crafting your best answer.
Table of Contents
The logic behind the interview question
So if no one likes answering it, why do interviewers even ask in the first place? Simply put, they want to see your level of self-awareness and whether or not you will acknowledge areas that need improvement. Acknowledging them should lead onto your plan to fix those issues, at least, that’s what it implies.
Before your interview, reflect a bit. What do you think you need to work on? Has there been something that you’ve been trying to improve on lately? Believe it or not, choosing one isn’t the tricky part; it’s structuring your response while being as honest as possible while also making yourself look like a good candidate. No wonder people dread this question. But it’s not impossible. First, let’s look at what you shouldn’t do.
How not to answer: ‘What is your greatest weakness?’
A common trap interviewees fall into is twisting their weakness, so it looks like a strength. Your interviewer wants to hear you be honest about where your failings lie and saying that you ‘work too hard’ makes you sound fake. If you want to avoid any awkward moments consisting of your interview wincing at your obvious lie, then steer clear from this strategy. Another major red flag is saying that you don’t have a weakness. Again, it goes completely against your interviewer’s purpose here, which is to see you acknowledge any areas that need improvement. One last thing: when you’re choosing a weakness for your response, make sure that it isn’t one that is absolutely essential for the job you’re applying for. You still want to be hireable after all.
So, what are good weaknesses for a job interview?
Before we head on to the next part, I’d like to preface with this: don’t think you can just take a random example and use it in your interview. I’ll say it again, you need to be honest, and think of a weakness that pertains to you. To figure that out, think back to what people have told you in the past. Maybe you rush through projects, or you don’t pull your weight during group tasks. Whatever it is, explain it to your interviewer and perhaps point out how you’ll resolve this in your new job, or better yet, outline the concrete steps that you’ve already taken to fix this.
Say you struggle with public speaking. You decide that you want to do better, and so, you took a course on it. This is exactly what your interviewer wants to hear! It shows problem-solving on your part, something that any hiring manager would say is a strength. So, in other words, a good weakness is what you make of it. If you can show that you can improve on it, I, along with your interviewer for that matter, would call that a so-called ‘good’ weakness.
What is your greatest weakness answer samples
If you’re having trouble structuring your answer, here’s an outline for you. Let’s take the example of group cooperation, a common answer to this question. Here’s a possible response you can take and tweak to your liking:
“That’s a really good question. I would say that I struggle with communicating in a group situation. Before, I liked to work alone, because I thought I could do everything by myself and didn’t trust anyone in doing a good job. However, my previous job had put me in the situation where I had to work with a group. I often got terse with my co-workers when it came to deadlines. This has been brought to my attention, and I promised myself that I would be more patient and develop my management skills more. Constantly exposing myself to a team environment has gotten be more and more used to it. I still have a way to go, but comparing myself now to where I was before, I would say I’ve improved a lot.”
You’re probably still frustrated that you need to answer this question. But I hope you realise now that you can use this to your advantage. By structuring your answer in the way outlined above, you have an opportunity to turn the tables around.
Understanding your flaws and taking steps in improving yourself is very encouraging to your potential employer. To sum it all up, you can make your biggest weakness your biggest strength with the right choice of words.
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