You’ve dressed to impress, your CV has been tailored to within an inch of its life and you’re feeling confident until the dreaded question comes: ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ Such a question can put you on the spot and make a good interview go south if you aren’t prepared for it, so here are a few tips on the best ways to pass with flying colours and get the job.
- Turn it on its head
Unless you are Mary Poppins no one is practically perfect in every way, so don’t say that you don’t have any weaknesses as this will only make you seem arrogant. Instead, turn a negative into a positive and frame the answer around qualities that may have previously been weak you have since improved upon.
For example don’t be afraid to say that in the past you may have been too impatient meaning you’ve rushed into projects, you previously haven’t been great at accepting criticism from others or perhaps you’re too much of a lone wolf and the idea of sharing a group task makes you want to smack your head on the desk (though be careful how you say that last one.) Admit your flaws but then address how you have worked on them, whether this is through learning to think things through before starting, accepting that other people can see things you might have missed or that the ideas of a group can massively benefit a task.
- It’s not what you say it’s how you say it
Hiring managers don’t ask this question just to be difficult and cause you strife, and it’s not actually what you say but how you answer the question that matters. They want to see how you handle being put under pressure and thrown off guard to make sure they find the right candidate who doesn’t turn into a complete mess at the first sight of the unexpected. Don’t show signs of panic by rushing to find any answer, you can pause for a second to come up with a great response and always give yourself a minute by starting with ‘that’s an excellent question’ or ‘I would say my greatness weakness is..’
- Be prepared for a different question
The question of your weaknesses can be phrased in many ways during an interview and much like above this is designed to throw you off and see if you sink or swim. You may be expecting a standard ‘tell me about a weakness of yours’ and receive a ‘if you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?’ Don’t panic, the interviewing is offering you the same opportunity in a different wrapping.
Think about the question, is it asking for a single weakness or many? You don’t want to overwhelm the interviewer with 10 areas you’re poor in when they only wanted one and remember to keep your answer balanced. Generally speaking most of the variations of this question also allow you to promote your strengths, so learn to address an area of concern before following it up with how you have recognised this trait in yourself and how you have improved this.
Above all remember to keep calm and carry on, you will impress an interviewer more with a carefully crafted and honest response that you have taken a moment to reflect on than a panicked answer saying ‘my only weakness is I’m just too hard-working so I’ll be in the office until 3am.’ Like a shark they can smell dishonesty a mile off and if you want to give your new interview confidence a test check out all the jobs that Connections has to offer.