HOW TO ANSWER “WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?” AT INTERVIEW
Uggghhh! Don’t you just dread that question at interview? Especially when you’ve spent the last five minutes discussing your greatest strength, i.e. what an asset you will be to the organisation. It can be hard to admit shortcomings to friends and family, let alone to a potential employer! Our advice: don’t panic when you’re asked this question and use your response to your advantage. Here are some suggestions on how to answer “What is your greatest weakness?” at interview.
- Demonstrate self-awareness. You likely have a good idea of qualities you need to work on or areas that require improvement at work. If not, think back to recent appraisals. What shortcomings have you and your current supervisor discussed that could help you prepare your response to this question?
- Provide an example that could also be viewed as a strength. Perhaps you spend too much time on the detail. Or maybe you struggle to delegate tasks to other team members because you know you can do the job yourself. You’re not admitting terrible flaws here. Having a keen eye for detail is a real plus in certain situations, as is motivation to take on tasks.
- Explain what steps you are taking to improve your shortcomings. Your interviewer wants to see that you’re converting your self-awareness into positive actions.
If delegation is a challenge, you could be making a list of the tasks required in a project, then allocating them to team members according to their strengths.
If you know you are detail-oriented, you could be striving to look at the bigger picture by reflecting on your current approach to solving problems, and future planning. Or perhaps you’re giving mind mapping a go.
- Be honest and authentic in your response. By sharing knowledge of your shortcomings with your interviewer, you are helping them see who you truly are, where you might best fit in the organisation and what training/coaching may be useful for you in your new role.
- Don’t take an essential requirement of the role and admit that it’s a weakness.
You don’t want to be interviewing for a role with a public speaking component and then reveal that you fall apart when you have to address large groups of people. You can avoid a similar stumble by checking the job description before your interview (and ideally before you apply for the role).
- Don’t give a cookie cutter answer like “I’m a perfectionist”. Your interviewer will have heard it a hundred times before and will likely doubt your credibility as a result.
- Don’t put yourself down. Your answer should demonstrate your ability to pinpoint your shortcomings and show what strategies you are using to improve them.
- Don’t be arrogant or attempt to brush the question off by saying you don’t have a weakness. Learning is a lifelong process, and everyone has qualities they can work on.
So, what is your greatest weakness? Rather than being a question you dread to hear at interview, consider it an opportunity to demonstrate your self-awareness and the positive actions you are taking to strengthen your shortcomings.
If you’re looking for a new professional opportunity, contact the team at Optimal Recruitment today on email@example.com or 02 8416 4181.