No matter how experienced you may be with interviews, one of the most dreaded and hard-to-answer interview questions for any candidate is “What is your greatest weakness?” This question troubles many candidates for the obvious reason that no one wants to reveal a weakness about themselves, especially in a situation when the goal is to impress the other person! However, despite the challenging nature of this situation, there are ways you can successfully handle this question so that you don’t lose your cool!
Next time you’re faced with this question, remember these tips.
Refer to Something in the Past
Very rarely will an interviewer ask you if your “greatest weakness” is a current flaw. Therefore, feel free to refer to a weakness in your past that you’ve worked on and improved. For example, maybe a couple years ago you found it difficult to meet deadlines. But since then, you’ve developed a technique in which you get all of your daily or weekly tasks completed within a set timeframe. Referring to something in the past takes attention off the present and shows you’ve grown significantly as a professional.
Explain a Lesson You Learned
Explaining how you turned a weakness into a learning opportunity will demonstrate that you have the tools to grow and evolve. Choosing to discuss a weakness which has inspired you to learn and improve your skills, such as using a specific type of software or learning how to communicate better, will show a commitment to self-improvement and professional development.
Don’t Reveal a Weakness that Raises Red Flags
While it may be tempting to reveal any weakness, refrain from discussing a flaw that could reflect poorly on your ability to excel in the new job. For example, admitting that you have trouble getting to work on time will raise a red flag that you aren’t reliable and are likely to show up late to work on a regular basis. When thinking of your weakness, avoid being overly honest and sharing weaknesses that may completely tarnish the interviewer’s impression of you.
The bottom line: Think about your weakness ahead of time and be mindful about how you share it with the interviewer. Remember, this seemingly challenging question can actually be a prime opportunity to highlight your talent and potential to excel at the new job!
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