“What’s your greatest weakness?”
If you’re already shuddering thinking about this dreaded interview question, you’re definitely not alone. Identifying your weaknesses is one of the scariest moments of any job interview for experienced job seekers, students, and new grads alike.
It’s no surprise that this interview question can be challenging. You’ve worked hard to write a great resume and get yourself prepared for the interview. You want to prove why the employer should hire you, not why they shouldn’t!
But the “greatest weakness” interview question is actually a massive tipping point in the hiring process. Depending on your answer, you could score the job of your dreams – or stumble right back to the job board.
So, what’s the best way to answer the “What’s your greatest weakness” interview question?
Do you walk about one of your strengths as if it were a flaw?
Do you say that you have no weaknesses?
Do you skip over the question entirely?
Unfortunately, employers know all the tricks in the book. They want to know how self-aware, honest, and willing to improve you are, so don’t shy away from this interview question. Just prepare ahead of time so that you’re ready to give your best answer as soon as you’re asked.
Here are three steps that will help you prepare for the “What’s your greatest weakness?” interview question with confidence.
1. Be Honest About Your Greatest Weaknesses
Let’s face it – nobody’s perfect. Before your interview, take a few minutes to really think about areas that you could improve upon in your life.
If you get stuck, try asking yourself these questions:
- What do I find challenging at work or school?
- What have I sought help for at previous jobs or school?
- What have I been given feedback about in the past?
Here are some professional weaknesses:
- Getting too caught up in the details
- Getting too involved with the big picture
- Being too hard on yourself
- Not having enough work experience
2. Consider the Job Description
While it’s important to be honest with your employer, it’s equally as important to keep the job you’re applying for in mind. Your weakness should never hinder your ability to do your job or stop you from being a good fit at the company.
Think about the job posting, the job description, and the job requirements. This will help you identify weaknesses that are off-limits to mention in your interview. When in doubt, choose a weakness that’s relevant to your job, but harmless or easy to overcome.
Now you’re ready for the last step to answering this interview question: offering a solution!
3. Offer a Solution to Your Weakness
There’s a secret to the “What’s your greatest weakness” interview question that many job seekers miss. The employer really wants to know what you’re doing to improve upon your weakness, even if they don’t say it out loud.
Keep reading for examples of great answers to the “What’s your greatest weakness?” interview question.
“What’s Your Greatest Weakness” Interview Answers
Example A: If You’re Applying to Be a Sales Representative
If you’re applying for a sales representative position, make sure your weakness doesn’t stop you from being able to provide fantastic customer service. This isn’t a good time to share how grouchy you are in the morning or how much you dislike working with people!
But there’s certainly nothing stopping you from telling the employer a story about when you were too hard on yourself. Being very self-critical is definitely a weakness, but this flaw doesn’t stop you from being a sales representative.
Talking about this flaw is also a great opportunity to share how you’re actively working on making yourself a more well-rounded person by reading self-help books about being less self-critical.
Example B: If You’re Applying to Be a Restaurant Server
If you’re applying to be a restaurant server, make sure your weakness doesn’t stop you from being able to delight customers with your great smile and stellar service. This interview isn’t the best place to share that you’re constantly late or always sick!
For example, if you don’t have a lot of restaurant experience, you don’t have to lie to your employer about it. It’s okay to have limited or no work experience. Talk about the skills and abilities that you have already have that would make you a standout server. Don’t forget to go into detail about how you’re working hard to get practical experience and knowledge in your spare time, such as volunteering at soup kitchens or attending service classes.
The best way to answer the “greatest weakness” interview question is to prepare ahead of time. Get your response ready and walk into your interview with confidence with Resume.com’s career resources and free resume templates for job seekers!