Most interviews come to the following crossroads. Your interviewer will ask you “what is your greatest weakness” and you may be tempted to go weak in the knees. However, the question is more benign than you think. Hiring managers are really looking to gauge how self-aware you are as an employee.
How to construct your answer
Hiring managers know that no one is perfect and they don’t expect any demi-god levels of perfection. There is a twofold criteria they expect to hear out of any response to “what is your greatest weakness?”
• Address your weakness in a calm and collected way. It shows that you can remain confident in spite of any perceived weakness.
• Show that you are actively working to improve your weakness. By taking corrective action, you show that no obstacle to your success will hold you back for long.
• Say “I have no real weakness.” Even if by some divine miracle this is true, a hiring manager will always assume you’re being insincere.
• Choose a weakness that reflects badly on a trait that the company is looking for in an ideal employee.
• Give a response that sounds rehearsed.
Though you shouldn’t be working from a memorized script, it doesn’t hurt to review a few potential “greatest weaknesses” options before the interview. That way, you can choose whichever seems ideal based on the conversation you’ve had up to that point.
If you are having difficulty pegging down the best way to approach this question, reach out to one of our recruiters. They know the type of answers that will scare hiring managers away and what will capture their attention for the interview and beyond.
by James Walsh