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What is your greatest weakness?

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What is your greatest weakness? This is one of those job interview questions that tend to give job seekers cold sweats during the job interview process. Take your time and think about your answer before responding to this one. The trick is to answer the question without making it look like you have a weakness that might prevent you from getting the job. You want to avoid providing a weakness that isn’t actually a weakness.

Provide an answer that is a positive trait disguised as a weakness. For example, “I tend to become a workaholic and take on too much at times,” or “I can definitely become a better public speaker.” etc. You want to provide a weakness that is a personal weakness and not job related. For example, avoid answers like: “I don’t take direction well and tend to get off track”, “I need to learn how to take direction and think on my own” etc. With every answer you want to back it up with methods of how you are overcoming your weakness. For example, “I have recently joined Toast Masters to help me overcome my fear of public speaking. This will give me the confidence to be able to provide strong presentations to large groups of people”.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when answering this question:

Be honest- Respond with a truthful and honest answer. Making up a weakness that isn’t really will get noticed by the interviewer. Try and think of a couple of weakness responses in case you are asked to give another answer.

Mention a weakness that isn’t directly related to the job– We all have weaknesses but it doesn’t mean you tell the job interviewer everything.. If for example you are interviewing for a manager position job, it’s best not to mention that you have trouble getting along with certain people since you’re going to be working with others as a requirement for the job. It’s best to use a weakness that can be easily resolved.

Keep responses short– Questions such as these are open ended and meant to be short responses as opposed to behavior or scenario based questions. This question is meant to put you on the spot and see how you deal with stress, so be well prepared and know how you are going to answer the question before the interview. The better you are prepared the less you will ramble.

Remember: Be sure the weakness you talk about is NOT a key element of the position!

For more see our job interview and resume writing articles. So until our next post, we wish you much luck and success in your career search.