How to Answer the ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ question

What's the best way to talk about weaknesses at job interviews? Laugh it off? Get deep and personal?

 

It's important to respond carefully because you don't want the interviewer to think that you're not going to be able to do the job. There are several different ways to answer when you're asked during a job interview what your greatest weakness is. You can mention skills that aren't critical for the job, discuss skills you have improved on, or turn a negative into a positive.


Even though the question is about weaknesses, your answer should always be framed around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee.

Discuss Non-Essential Skills


One approach to answering this question is to analyze the key skills and strengths required for the position you are interviewing for and then come up with an honest shortcoming which is not essential for success in that job.

For example, if you are applying for a nursing job, you might share that you are not particularly adept at conducting group presentations. In this case, it will be critical to underscore your strength in one-on-one communication with patients while providing an example of your difficulty with presentations to large groups.

Mention Skills You Have Improved


Another option is to discuss skills that you have improved upon during your previous job, so you are showing the interviewer that you can make improvements when necessary.

You can sketch for employers your initial level of functioning, discuss the steps you have taken to improve this area, and then reference your current, improved level of skill.

If you use this strategy be sure not to mention anything that you improved upon that is related to the job for which you are interviewing. You don't want your qualifications for the job to be questioned.

Turn a Negative Into a Positive


Another option is to turn a negative into a positive. For example, a sense of urgency to get projects completed or wanting to triple-check every item in a spreadsheet can be turned into a strength i.e. you are a candidate who will make sure that the project is done on time and your work will be close to perfect.
 

 

Mention a weakness that is not work related


Bring some brevity into the interview and mention a weakness that isn’t related to the position and responsibilities... maybe it could be how you can’t resist eating the last piece of chocolate or when your dog looks at you with their big loving eyes you can’t help but give in to them!
 

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