Marcus Tullius Cicero – “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error”
“I have no weaknesses. I am simply perfect for this job”. Oh yeh, good one. There are many ways to answer this question, and this is certainly not one of them.
Remember that every single person throughout the whole of existence EVER has weaknesses (like this chap above).
This is a question that time and again can prove to be your downfall in an interview, or when delivered correctly can prove to be your greatest interview ally. Below are my favourite 3 approaches to this question.
The Irrelevant Skills Approach
Take a look at the description of the job and mention a weakness of yours that has little or nothing to do with the job. Now, you could be completely ridiculous and, for example, when going for the role of Software Engineer you honestly answer that your whittling skills could do with some improvement.
Instead, if you know the position doesn’t mention anything about public speaking or presentations, mention that this isn’t your strong suit.
The Improved Skills Approach
Discuss a skill that was a weakness in a previous role, but you realised this and so made the conscious effort to improve.
For example, “in my 1st job I was disorganised and this greatly affected my work. After self-reflection, I overcame this habit by creating daily, weekly and monthly plans and rigidly sticking to them. At the end of every evening I make sure I have completed each daily task, and won’t leave until I am done”.
I would advise to not mention anything that is related to the job for which you are interviewing. You don’t want your qualifications for the job to be questioned.
The Flip Approach
Turn that ‘weakness’ into a strength!
The most common example of this approach is “I’m a perfectionist”. You may take longer triple-checking work and start projects further in advance than others, BUT this ensures the project is quality driven and always on time.
Or, take a virtue such as honesty. “I am honest which can often be seen as blunt, but clients and colleagues alike always appreciate that I do not hide anything from them”.
If you are interviewing right now, the best of luck!
One thought on “Interview Tip: “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?””
Great tips Joe and thanks for posting. I must admit that I always press people that I interview for an answer on this and ‘what are your strengths’. I do warm to people who answer truthfully. I think if someone is honest and says I do have weaknesses, is aware of what they are and tells me what they do to deal with them it shows real character and self awareness. Good personal qualities for me when recruiting. Brilliant blog btw and please keep the posts coming!