Have you ever been in a job interview and been asked, “What is your biggest weakness?,” and been completely unprepared with the response? You are not alone. There is a right way to reply to this question, and I’m here to give you some pointers. First of all, let me share how not to answer this question.
As an IT recruiter, I ask this question a lot. Most of the time, candidates represent themselves in the wrong light by answering the question in one of these three ways:
- The I’m Perfect Response: “I have no weaknesses”
- The Pity Party Response: “I’m too ambitious” or “I’m too hard on myself” or “I expect too much from myself”
- The Don’t Give Me This Job Response: Worst of all, is when people are brutally honest and portray legitimate flaws in a negative manner such as, “I am always late for everything” or “I am very disorganized and cannot multi-task”
The Correct Way to Answer this Question
Be honest about a real weakness, but then let the hiring manager know what you have done in order to overcome this weakness. The hiring manager will appreaciate your honesty, because let’s face it, no one is perfect and if you say you are, it’s much harder to prove it than to admit you are human.
“My biggest flaw would be public speaking. After realizing this, I signed up for a public speaking technique course in order to help improve this skill. I also chose to take classes in university that required a great deal of presentations so that I could get as much practice as I could public speaking.”
The key is to admit a true weakness, but then spin the weakness in a positive manner so that the hiring manager sees you have the drive and ambition to overcome it.
Let’s practice the question, “What’s your biggest weakness?”
Feel free to post how you’d respond below.