The ‘Biggest Weakness’ question.
This is a tricky one. It’s a question some, but not all, interviewers ask. It’s a bit of a cliché to be honest; however I don’t think most hiring managers are looking at ‘what’ you answer more than they are looking at ‘how’ you answer.
A few points that are worth remembering if you are asked this one.
- You aren’t in a police interrogation and they aren’t looking for a confession. If you pinched milk off your neighbours step way back in the day – this isn’t the time to decide to come clean.
- You also aren’t in therapy. A future employer is looking for what you think you need to work on and potentially what you are doing to address it, they don’t need the whole story about not being able to cope with confrontation because your brother picked on you as a 5 year old. If confrontation, or lack of being able to deal with it, is your issue then it is OK to say you are learning to deal with people that are confrontational as this is uncomfortable for you. Explain what you are doing to work on it.
- Don’t turn it into a positive. I have done a lot of reading on interviews and interview techniques and turning negatives into positives seems to be something a lot of articles focus on as a good thing to do. I don’t think it works in this case. Examples like, I work too hard, I don’t like to leave things undone so I stay late or I am a perfectionist aren’t what someone wants to hear – they want to know what the weakness is and more importantly HOW you solve it, they are looking for a good worker not a martyr.
Think about this question before you get to the interview. I imagine it isn’t asked that often these days, however look at what you do see as a weakness and look at how you could address it if you aren’t already.
Remember, like all questions at an interview, if you are asked this be honest.
Everyone has that something, by showing how you are working on it you are also proving to be a problem solver.