“What’s your biggest weakness?” This is a question job seekers still have a difficult time answering. Should you admit to an actual weakness? Or make yourself seem like a superhero? Although it’s a tough question, it reveals a lot about a candidate to a hiring manager. The point of the question is to see how you address a challenge or difficulty, it also allows the hiring manager to see the type of perspective you have about yourself and your abilities.
So, how should you approach this question in your next interview? There isn’t one correct answer, but there are a few different approaches that are your best bet to a successful answer.
Be as specific as possible
This is a question you don’t want to give a generalized answer to such as “I’m not good at communication”. This is a huge red flag and can lead to an onslaught of questions. If communication is truly one of your issues, perhaps pinpointing that in the past you have had difficulty speaking to large groups but are working on your presentation skills by giving a specific example, is more appealing than a huge communication weakness. Whatever your weakness may be, try to pick a small aspect of that weakness to talk about.
It might seem like finding cliche answers to this question is a good idea but it can come around to harm you in the end. The hiring manager might dig deeper into the answer you give and it will become clear you’re not being honest. Take a long look at your weaknesses prior to the interview and decide which you are comfortable speaking about in the interview. Giving an honest answer will create a genuine and thoughtful image.
Avoid key skills
Before you walk into the interview, carefully examine the job description and make sure the weakness you’re going to speak about isn’t on the list. If you walk in blind and mention that you work better individually but a huge part of the position is working across multiple teams, it will be a deal-breaker. Avoid mentioning any weakness that is part of the job description, or the hiring manager will automatically assume you’re not a fit for the role.
Demonstrate your progress
When you speak about your weakness, don’t call it a weakness and don’t use absolute terms. Use words like “tend to” or “sometimes” so that it doesn’t seem like a constant problem. Once you’ve stated your weakness, mention how you’ve worked on this weakness to improve. For example if your weakness is being a people pleaser, mention how you’ve actively worked on completing your work before taking on too many responsibilities. Or if your weakness is a specific skill, that you’ve taken courses to improve, anything to show that you recognize your weakness and are actively working on it.
There’s no magic answer to this question, it’s a tough one to answer and it always will be. If you have an authentic and relevant answer, the hiring manager will appreciate your honesty and willingness to acknowledge the weakness. Ready to put your answer to the test? Check out our openings and apply today! Check out our blog for more advice on how to answer other tough questions like how to address your salary expectations.