We all have flaws, so why is it so difficult to answer the “What is your biggest weakness?” interview question? An interview is a big opportunity to sell yourself and impress someone so much that they want to spend five days a week with you, therefore it is easy to see why many people become stumped when asked to throw their worst traits on the table.
In short, the interviewer simply wants to see that you’re a real, humble human-being who faces obstacles yet strives to overcome them. So with that in mind, below are some key tips to remember when confessing your weaknesses:
Review the job description and pick a weakness that is appropriate for the job:
Before an interview it is vital for your preparation to involve more than a manicure, new outfit, and fresh haircut. Taking the time to research the company and the job requirements will help you to frame your interview answers. Find out what you will need to be strong at to avoid revealing a weakness that will put you at a disadvantage.
Honesty is the best policy (within reason). You will make a good impression with sincerity, and should be able to deliver your response with more confidence.
Select a weakness that is fixable/you are making a conscious effort to fix:
Citing a weakness that is relatively minor and ‘fixable’ is the ideal scenario. An example is “I get nervous when speaking in front of large groups.” This is a common area for development, and can only get better with practice and learning new skills.
Turn your negative into a positive:
Articles written in the past will give advice about how to turn your negatives into positives, and claim that this will be desirable to employees. This may have worked for a while, however interviewers are able to see through these now generic responses, and might think you are trying to hide something.
Refuse to answer the question – nobody is perfect:
If you freeze when asked this, you are not alone, yet it is not advisable to claim you have no weaknesses whatsoever. Pause, breathe, and figure out an answer.
Reveal a weakness that could raise a red flag:
Avoid confessing to a weakness that would hinder your ability to excel in the role. If you will need to be punctual and attend morning meanings, for example, it would be detrimental to reveal that you snooze your alarm five times a morning and really struggle to get to work on time.
Rehearse the perfect answer:
Thinking of appropriate examples of competency is advisable before an interview, but interviews can go in a number of ways and go off into strange tangents. If you think of a weakness beforehand yet your chat leads to a different trail of thought, be fluid and changeable. The likelihood is that if an interviewer senses a response is too rehearsed, they will ask for a further example anyway.
It is important to not solely focus on your inadequacies, but also to not come across as conceited. Find the balance, and most importantly, be yourself.