A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Probably one of the most dreaded questions asked during job interviews, being asked what your weakness is still catches a lot of people off-guard. Asking about your weakness is among the most common job interview questions that allow possible employers to take a look at your overall character by seeing a few different factors in a single answer: it shows how honest you are about your own shortcomings and it becomes an opportunity to show how you rise from a fall.
How Do You Answer the Question?
There are different kinds of approaches in answering this question. One approach is giving a skill that is not really essential to your career path. For example, you could say that you are not good with numbers while applying for a writing job. It shows that you are able to admit to your weaknesses without sacrificing their judgment on how qualified you are for the job. If you play your cards right, this could even become a good conversation piece and could turn a stiff and serious interview into a lighter and more casual one.
You could also give a weakness that may be a little relevant to the job but would also show that you have worked on it and have made a lot of improvement. For example, you could say that you are often overly anxious about making big presentations. You could then follow it up by saying that you understand that it is somehow important in the field you have chosen, so you have successfully formulated ways on how to make yourself more composed when given that responsibility. Follow this up with admitting that you are still a work in progress, but people have commended you on how far you’ve gone in improving on it.
What’s the Best Answer?
Of course, the best answer for common job interview questions like these would be an honest one. Avoid saying that you have no weaknesses because this would not only be impossible, but it would also get across as being arrogant. The key here is to be specific. Specific problems would mean specific solutions as well and would leave very little chances for follow-up questions. Saying, for example, that you have issues with communications skills would only open a can of worms and could lead to other questions and doubts. You could say that you have some difficulty extending a thought to different people perhaps, or you find talking to people over the phone a bit of a challenge.
You should also have a list of the primary skills and traits required for the job and refrain from giving these out as an answer. No matter how specific you are or how hard you are trying to improve on the weakness, saying that you have a hard time speaking in public will be an automatic deal-breaker if you are eyeing a teaching job.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Lastly, common sense plays a big role in answering these common job interview questions, so put yourself in the interviewer’s place. Ask yourself: what are things that I wouldn’t want to hear from a person aiming for this job? Once you find an answer that you wouldn’t mind hearing yourself, then that’s it.