Have you ever been completely blindsided by the question, “What is your biggest weakness?” in a job interview? You’re not alone. But don’t worry because next time you’ll be ready. There is a right way to reply to this question and I’m here to give you some pointers.

First of all, here’s how not to answer this question.

Have you made this interview mistake?The Wrong Way 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:

  1. The “I’m Perfect” Response: “I have no weaknesses”
  2. The “Pity Party” Response: “I’m too ambitious” or “I’m too hard on myself” or “I expect too much from myself”
  3. 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 multitask”

Answering a question about your biggest weakness is a great opportunity to turn the situation around and build trust with your potential employer. The Tell Me About Yourself Checklist helps you prepare an answer ahead of time so you’ll be ready for tough questions.

The Right Way to Answer this Question

Tell Me About Yourself Checklist

The “Tell Me About Yourself” checklist helps you plan the perfect answer so that the recruiter will be hoping for you to get the job.

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 appreciate 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.

Example:

“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.

It really helps if you make sure that you are in a positive frame of mind. See: Mind hacks to calm your thoughts and feel more confident, even if you’re feeling nervous.

Let’s practice answering the question, “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Here’s a slideshow by Bernard Marr that proposes some really helpful response templates for the question, “What is your greatest weakness”:

How do you respond when you are asked about your biggest weakness in an interview? Please post your answer in the Comments section below.

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