The most hated interview question
Interview questions come in many forms, but there is one question that is dreaded by even the most experienced candidates. This hated interview question, is the classic “what’s your greatest weakness” question. Even though it is one of the most commonly used interview questions, candidates continue to be stumped. They either do not manage to respond or else end up giving a poor reply. No wonder the question continues to be mentioned as one of the most hated interview questions by candidates around the globe.
Knowing that this is a question that will most likely be asked in your next job interview, it is therefore important that you make sure you are well prepared to give a proper answer.
Before going into the details of how to answer the question, we shall first discuss what you should NOT use as an answer. First of all, your inability to mention a weakness is the worst response of all. There is no person on Earth who has no weaknesses and therefore your inability to give a valid reply will give one of two impressions. You are either oblivious to your weaknesses in which case you can never improve yourself. Otherwise you do not want to admit your weaknesses, thus making you a weak team player.
On the other hand don’t give answers such as “I work too hard” or “I am a perfectionist”. Doing so will only give the message that you do not really want to answer the question truthfully, as all you are doing is repackaging what is considered a strength by the employer into a weakness. This is what most candidates do to avoid answering truthfully.
So, how should you give an answer that will have a positive impact on your interviewer?
First of all be honest. Secondly, pick a weakness that is relevant to the workplace. Do not mention a weakness that might be relevant in your personal life, but which would not have any consequence on your ability to execute the responsibilities of your job. Ideally you should pick a weakness that you are conscious of and which you are putting effort to improve upon. In answering the question, you should first state your weakness, then describe how being aware and actively working on improving, you do not let it hamper your performance at work. Also give an example, how in the past you have managed to successfully complete a task or project that required you overcoming your weakness.
So, to give an example, if one of your weaknesses is finding it difficult delegating tasks, your answer could be something like this:
“One area that I know that I need to work on is improving my delegation skills. I pride myself in always excelling in what I do and this is the reason for my difficulty in delegating tasks to others. I understand that in order to be effective and efficient in a Company, and be able to meet tight deadlines, I need to delegate effectively by trusting in the ability of my co-workers, following up on assigned tasks and helping them when in difficulty. I learned the importance of delegation when I was recently given the responsibility for a project that had a very tight deadline and by delegating some tasks to my co-workers I managed to successfully finish the project on time. Both my manager and the customer were very pleased. To continue improving on this area, I have also recently enrolled in a management skills course.”
On the other hand, you need to be careful not to mention a weakness that would make you seem unfit for the job, such as, for example, having trouble meeting deadlines, or having trouble waking up in the morning.
So, what is your weakness, and how would you go about answering the question in an interview? Let us know by leaving a comment below.