How to answer what is your greatest weakness in a job interview

What is your greatest weakness is the question that nobody wants to answer. Who really wants to talk about their weaknesses especially when they’re trying to impress a hiring manager. In this post, we’re exploring why hiring managers and recruiters love this question but they don’t want you to say in response and how you can really dazzle them with your answer.

Here are our best tips for answering the question what is your weakness

What is your weakness

First, let’s go over why hiring managers love to ask this question.

When I’m in the interviewees seat, I hate this very question. I hate thinking about my weaknesses or exposing them, but I see why it’s a valuable question. Recently, I was talking to a recruiter at a high-growth startup. When I asked her for her best interview advice, she referred to this particular question. And the canned response she can’t stand hearing she said to me, “if I hear another candidate say that I’m so detail-oriented I’m going to lose it”.

Therefore, how do you answer what your greatest weakness is without pulling the perfectionist card? If you’re saying you get bogged down in details as sort of a humble brag, you’re likely not being honest with the interviewer or really yourself. The face-to-face interview is a real opportunity to get to show who you are more than a printed resume.

Ever good, I can’t stress this enough. Make it count since you can pretty much rely on an interviewer asking for your weaknesses. Take the time to come up with a thoughtful answer, one that is authentic and honest.

Here’s a few tough questions to ask yourself to determine your weaknesses

Soft skill weaknesses: Do my duties often fall despite a general sense of vigilance? Do I have a damaging internal dialogue with myself? Does my boss have to check in on my work constantly? What’s my communication style?

Hard skill weaknesses: What is my level from one to ten of proficiency and a required skill? Is my work proofread or checked over by someone else?

Interpersonal weaknesses: Am I quick to offer thoughtful solutions in a pinch? Does my shyness ever get in the way of a greater idea being shared? Do I pause and listen to other people’s input? Do I respond too quickly or not quickly enough? Am I persistent enough or too persistent? Do I take too much work on myself?

Now that you’ve identified your weakness, Think back to a time where you came up against it especially in the workplace. Just as your resume shouldn’t be a list of unquantifiable duties and tasks, your weaknesses shouldn’t be presented as a static shadow in the corner that follows you everywhere.

Everybody and I mean everybody loves a good story. Infuse your story wherever you can in the job hunt process. Think of a time where your weakness shone through, and tell the story if you’re very self-critical; maybe it was not speaking up about an idea you had during a critical project. Instead of speaking up during a planned meeting maybe, you sat back with that little imposter in your back saying no that’s a dumb idea be quiet.

How did it make you feel to see the completed project without your input? Could the outcome have been more successful if you had thrust the negativity aside? What did you learn at that moment? Maybe your weaknesses aren’t even weaknesses at all, maybe it’s an experience in disguise. For example, if you’re going out for your first management position, you’re inexperienced and management might be your weakness. Be upfront about it, here is where you can flex the art of the humble brag.

instead of admitting that you’ve never held a management position think back to a job where you did step in as a manager and you hit it out of the park.

When responding to the question “what is your most noteworthy weakness?When answering the question “what is your greatest weakness?” one of the most important things to do is to acknowledge that you plan to work on your weakness. If you’re interviewing for a job that requires a set of hard skills like coding, or fluency in a specific software suite. be upfront about that tell the hiring manager for example about how you learn to use Adobe Illustrator to complete a specific project, tell her how you begin building your skills from the ground up and how you’re still progressing your knowledge.

We’re not telling you to apply for a job for which you’re completely unqualified. However, if you are working on a specific skill set tell that story by admitting. The hard skill fault you are highlighting, what a resilient employee you actually are. You are telling a story of how you’re self-motivated, open to learning opportunities and forthcoming about your skills based weaknesses.

In summary, here’s our three-step process to answer the question what are your weaknesses:

  • Conduct an honest question.
  • Filled reflection of your weaknesses to frame your weaknesses within a real story.
  • Create a plan for attacking that weakness in your next position.

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