“What would you say is your biggest weakness?”
If you’ve never been asked this question during a job interview before, you’re likely in the minority of working professionals. For many, discussing your weaknesses during a job interview is an expectation and something you should prepare for in the lead-up to the interview. While nobody likes to admit what makes them less than perfect, you can use this opportunity to your advantage and present yourself as the best possible person for the position!
As you prepare for this question for future job interviews, here is what you should and shouldn’t do:
Don’t: Present a strength as a weakness
It may not be fun to talk about your weaknesses, but nothing sets off alarms in an interviewer’s head more than a candidate who uses a strength as a weakness. For example, saying you’re a perfectionist who cares too much about your work isn’t going to help your cause. In fact, doing this may only prove that you aren’t very humble or emotionally intelligent. While you can take advantage of this type of question, this is not the way to do it. Instead…
Do: Be honest
For many employers, discussing your biggest weakness is a way for them to see how you’ll fit in with the company and how easy you will be to work with. If you get asked what your biggest weakness is during the interview, it’s best to be honest with them about your shortcomings. Being honest not only gives the interviewer a clear picture of the obstacles you’ll face in the job, but it also proves to them that you’re someone they can communicate transparently with.
Don’t: Limit your answers to technical deficiencies
Even if your skills are lacking in a program like Microsoft Excel, a hiring manager isn’t as interested in hearing about technical weaknesses as they are about your less tangible problem areas. At the heart of the question, a hiring manager is looking to see if your areas that could use improvement will prove to be too big of a problem within the role. In this regard, they know that you can build on your technical skills. If a hiring manager is really concerned about your technical skills, it’s likely they’ll ask you about it. Instead…
Do: Discuss how you’re working to improve
It’s important to remember that absolutely no one is perfect, and your potential employer is not expecting you to be. However, they will expect to see someone who recognizes what their problem areas are and already has a plan to improve. For example, you could say:
“I used to have a lot of trouble with multitasking because I have difficulty staying organized. However, I’ve been working to improve upon this by writing down what tasks I need to accomplish, and then prioritizing them by their deadline.”
This is a great response because not only does it identify a problem, but it also shows you have taken meaningful actions to make improvements! Hiring managers love to see someone who is self-reflective and unafraid to address their shortcomings, so having a plan of action to better yourself will easily make you a stand-out candidate.