The stress of a job interview can begin before the interview even starts.
The good news is, if you are preparing by reviewing your relevant experience, re-hashing your accomplishments, and collecting supportive examples, you’re already on the right track. But what happens when you’re thrown that all-too-familiar, inevitable curveball? Even if you know it’s coming, it can still throw you for a loop.
“Tell me about your biggest weakness or something you’re aware you need to improve upon.”
In this blog, let’s talk about how to discuss a weakness in a job interview.
1. Be honest (aka choose a real weakness!)
Discussing an authentic weakness can impress your interviewer – showing them you are introspective about ways to improve. Answering this question with a disingenuous response like “I am perfectionist,” or “I work too hard‚” comes across as cliche and could be viewed as a red flag. Most companies are impressed with candidates willing to discuss an understandable weakness in a job interview and put in work to overcome it.
2. Talk about the work you’ve put in to overcome it
Progress over time demonstrates dedication and shows that you are serious about becoming the best you possible. Most weaknesses don’t disappear overnight. When you discuss a weakness in a job interview, be sure to point out a few steps you’ve taken (or plan to take) to work on it. For example, how you worked with a mentor, extra training you plan to complete, new tools or apps you are working with, or any other ways that highlight the work you’ve put in to overcome your weakness.
3. Be flexible and adaptable
Have a general idea of how you want to approach answering the question but be flexible about how you respond. While it is important to prepare, strategize, and practice how to discuss your weaknesses in a job interview – it is equally important to adapt to your audience, providing the kinds of details your interviewer is looking for. Flexibility and adaptability in a job interview will help you discuss your weaknesses to a range of people and will help you provide the relevant information your interviewers are seeking.
4. Keep it short
Be concise and give an answer that shows a willingness to work on yourself. Present your weakness as something that you are capable of overcoming. The overwhelming focus of your interview should be on your strengths, and the reasons you are the right candidate for the role. When asked to discuss your weaknesses, keep it short and succinct, but honest!
Prepare for common interview questions like this
Of all the questions asked in an interview, “What is your greatest weakness” is your best opportunity to demonstrate honesty, humbleness, and ironically, self-confidence. That’s because the question provides an opportunity to show off positive character traits employers are very often looking for, like honesty, work ethic, flexibility, and ability to succinctly convey ideas.
In the end, accept the challenge and opportunity this question presents.
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