What’s your biggest weakness?

Ahmed Gunnaivi, Unsplash

The question we all love to hate. If we don’t have a a pre-prepared answer for this question our minds go into overdrive.

If you tell them a real weakness then that shows you’re flawed — and not absolutely perfect for the job. If you say you have no weaknesses — they now know they’re interviewing a liar (that sounds a bit harsh, but you get what I mean).

So what do 90% of us do? We tell them strength that’s so good it turns into a weakness…

“I work too hard”

“I’m a perfectionist”

“I’m too driven”

“I’m so passionate about everything”

Bingo!

Not.

First thing’s first. Interviewers; please scrap this question. It’s a horrible question that needs to be forgotten, along with “so, imagine we’re at your funeral, what would you like people to say about you?” (Yes, this is a real question I’ve heard being asked).

Put it this way. Interviews are kind of like dates. You’re both trying to impress the other by describing your best attributes and asking really great questions. Imagine asking someone on a date “what’s your worst trait?”

We’d just never do it, so why do we do it in an interview?

The type of answers above scream lack of honesty and no self-awareness — we all have things we could improve on, right.

Anyway, unfortunately, a lot of people will get asked this question so this should help you answer it.

There are many ways to answer this question but thegeneral rule of thumb here is to steer clear of anything that’s on the job description.

If it says must have strong attention to detail then avoid saying anything that could go against that.

What you should do is mention a “weakness” that you’re currently working on and describe what you’re doing to improve it.

e.g. “I’ve always found time-management something that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’d create my to-do list in the morning and before I knew it, I’d spent too long on one task and had to cram the other tasks into a smaller window. Having said that, what I now do is at the beginning of each day I’ll estimate how long each task will take me to complete and block that amount of time out in my diary.”

Go on to mention that you’re still working on improving this weakness even further. Mention books and podcasts and courses you’re attending to find even better ways of overcoming this trait.

The main thing an interviewer is looking for here is to see whether or not you have the ability to self-analyse and that you consciously work to improve yourself. They also want to know that you’re not going to throw your toys out of the pram if they need to give you constructive feedback.

Hope this helps someone.

Thoughts/feedback/questions welcome.

Ash

Originally published at https://asherafjoseph.com on January 12, 2021.

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