While 'what's your greatest weakness' is one of the most common interview questions- it is also one of the most difficult to answer. As a job applicant- you would probably rather focus on your strengths- but- believe it or not- sharing your biggest weakness is an opportunity to display your strong character and come across as a humble person who is willing to overcome weakness in order to shine. What employers really want to know when they ask this question- is if you are willing to show your flaws and if you are working hard to improve your skills.
Your interviewer may have different ways of asking this question- so be prepared to decipher the meaning if he or she asks you to share what you feel are your professional areas that need the most development- what part of your previous positions you were the least skilled at- what your least favorite task is or what your biggest professional flaw is. By preparing an answer to the question ahead of time- you'll be able to respond in a manner that sets you apart from other job applicants.
How to Answer the 'What's Your Greatest Weakness' Interview Question
Take This Opportunity to Sell Yourself: Every job interview is basically an opportunity to sell the product you know best- which is yourself. Just as manufacturers put the best spin possible on their products- you can present yourself in the best way by being honest about your skills. Interviewers really do want to know what your biggest weakness is- but they are more interested in how you are overcoming the flaw and what skills you have that compensate for it. So- if you are struggling with a commonly used spreadsheet application- share this information- but also highlight what steps you are taking to overcome this weakness- such as subscribing to a daily online tutorial.
Share a Flaw That Isn't a Listed Job Requirement: All job applicants have a weakness- but it can be daunting to choose which one of yours would be considered the greatest in regard to the job you are applying for. Instead- answer with a flaw that isn't directly related to the job. For instance- if you are applying for a job as a pipe fitter- and you are uncomfortable working with the public- this would be a good weakness to share. Just be sure to tell the interviewer how you are working to overcome this weakness- such as volunteering at your child's school fundraising events.
Let Your Weakness Be Weak: Disguising your weakness as a strength may be a tempting strategy- but interviewers will see right through it. Instead- be honest and admit that your greatness weakness is truly a professional flaw. Remember that employers ask these types of interview questions as a way to gauge your honesty and your willingness to improve yourself professionally. For instance- if you've just graduated from college but have very little work experience- share that forthrightly. While you're at it- mention that you are a quick learner and you don't anticipate any problems catching on to the job once you are hired. Tell how your education prepared you for the job- and how your strong work ethic will help you handle your tasks and responsibilities. By showing the interviewer how driven you are to succeed- he or she will have a better idea of how you might perform on the job.
Sample 'What's Your Greatest Weakness' Interview Answers
1. My greatest weakness is my tendency to keep ideas to myself until I have figured out the details in their entirety and created a spreadsheet to track them. This has led to teammates feeling left out or left behind- which has caused some stress at times. Because my previous supervisor was able to point this flaw out to me in a professional manner- I have devised strategies to overcome this tendency. In fact- my last three projects were a collaboration from the start- and because of the overwhelming success of each project- I am now committed to sharing ideas and setting goals with my coworkers from the first stages of a project until completion.
2. Being fresh out of school- I haven't had a chance to gain work experience in my field yet. However- my GPA in college was a 3.8- and I have a firm grasp of the material that I learned. Coupled with my experience gained by working jobs on campus to put myself through school- I know that I have the work ethic- education and ability to learn new things necessary to succeed in this position. I enjoy a challenge- and I believe that I will be up to speed in no time once hired.
With these great ideas in mind- you are sure to be able to answer this interview question like a seasoned pro. Just remember to speak from your heart- and watch your interviewer be amazed.